Thoughts from a "gainfully unemployed" trader

“Why is trading so hard?”


This was a recent question posted on

Here was my answer:

For the majority of traders, it isn’t the trading that’s hard, it’s managing their emotions, and sticking to a plan, that’s hard.

                                     Trading is:

 (please excuse my crappy pyramid. You don’t want to know how long I struggled to make this damned thing)

Ever been driving somewhere that you’re not completely familiar with, and start to wonder if maybe you made a wrong turn? As the miles start to tick by, your uncertainty grows, and you ease off the gas. Maybe you consult google maps on your iDevice. It says you’re on the right course, so with that, you happily steam forward. Nothing has changed – the road is the same, the cars around you are the same, the plan is the same, but now you’ve got renewed confidence that you are indeed going the right way.

And it’s the same with trading.

Without a plan, a plan that you can refer to and rely upon, confidence diminishes.

Where traders frequently falter, is in their ability to follow their plan, or their map, if you will. Questions of self-doubt might start to creep in, if the trade goes against them. Thoughts of,

Why isn’t this working?
How much money have I lost?
Why can’t I do this?
How come I keep screwing up?
What’s wrong with me?
Why am I so stupid?

None of those questions, by the way, are remotely helpful.

Your job as a trader is to come up with your plan during non-stressful times, so that it can be thoughtfully and prudently constructed…and then executed when it needs be, in the heat of the moment. You don’t see the captains of ships frantically putting together evacuation plans as they’re taking on water. Nor do military commanders scramble to devise retreat plans when they come under unexpectedly heavy fire. Because that would be foolish. And stupid. And most likely, those plans would really suck.

Instead, come up with a thorough plan before you set sail, attack an enemy, or put on a trade.

The good news is, coming up with a solid plan is the relatively straightforward part (and an entirely different conversation).

The bad news is, managing your emotions when those unhelpful questions like the ones above start surfacing, well, that’s the hard part of trading. However, once we recognize that, we can address the issue, and learn to manage not just our trades, but our emotions. And from that, comes confidence, and trading becomes less hard. That’s terrible English, but you get the point.

Final thought: Pros focus on limiting risk and protecting capital. Amateurs focus on on how much money they can make.



Weird Stuff in the News…This Week 03/28/15

Crowd-funding your kid’s birthday party

Yale concludes that this Computer Science thing may be not be a fad, after all

Prison sucks. It just does.

Race cars…without race car drivers (video)

Four stories that caught my eye. Maybe not entirely new’ish, but definitely read-worthy.


Because birthday parties for eleven year olds are expensive…

Parents Are Crowd-Funding Their Kids’ Birthday Parties

PHOTO: Parenting experts say crowd funding is growing in popularity as a way to pay for kids birthday parties.

Depending on who you ask, it’s either the smartest way to throw a birthday party on a budget or it’s the worst possible representation of keeping up with the Joneses.

Either way, it’s a real thing: Parents are using crowd funding to pay for kids’ birthday parties.

One such fundraiser on GoFundMe reads: “My pumpkins 2nd birthday is coming around faster than i could ever imagine. I managed to throw an amazing 1st birthday for [name omitted] and would like to follow through with an amazing 2nd birthday for my blue eyed princess!!. . due to a series of unfourtunate [sic] events in our lives recently money is tight. . every dollar helps!! thank you in advance for any donations made <3″

“Crowd funding is in the air and on the news, so moms — along with everyone else — are more aware of the idea,” said Rebecca Michals, director of BabyCenter’s global community. BabyCenter‘s parenting experts spotted the trend of crowd-funding kids’ parties.

The number of birthday-related campaigns within the “Celebrations & Special Events” category on GoFundMe has “skyrocketed,” according to a site official. Since the company launch in 2010, nearly $1 million has been raised for birthday celebrations from more than 20,000 donors. There was a 330 percent increase in donation volume for birthday campaigns between 2013 and 2014.

“Social media has an influence,” said Michals. “Some moms see photos of their friends giving their children amazing birthdays and holidays and just want that for their own child. While it’s not a sure thing that donations will come rolling in, moms feel that it can’t hurt to try. There is also some sense of what goes around, comes around. … If you give to my child’s birthday party, I’ll give back to yours.”

The idea of crowd-funded birthday parties has it’s critics.

“It ridiculous,” said Lyss Stern, CEO and founder of “There is no reason to put yourself in debt or ask other people to pay for a birthday party.”

Children want to be surrounded with their friends and family, smiling and laughing on their birthday,” said Stern. “They don’t care if the party had all the bells and whistles. They will cherish the happy memories not the excessiveness.”

Is it me, or does this sort of suck all the fun out of motorsports?

Driverless Car Takes to the Racetrack

NBC News Stanford University researcher Chris Gerdes showcases Shelley, Stanford’s autonomous race car.

(Click da link. I spent 25 minutes of my life trying to figure out how to imbed/embed/put the video here, without success. I give up. You win, computer.) :


If you’re contemplating a prison stay, here are 8, um, suggestions: 


Different nations take very different approaches to the convicts they deem the most dangerous. From Russia’s prison island to Saudi Arabia’s unexpectedly cushy cellblocks, here are some of the most notable.

1. San Pedro Prison, Bolivia

The prison’s only goal is to prevent escape. There are no guards inside the walls. Its 1,500 inmates must purchase or rent their cells, according to their means; they govern their own community, complete with markets for food, clothes and drugs. Wives and children often stay inside, and there are two nurseries within the prison.

2. Ezeiza Penitentiary Complex, Argentina

Despite underground movement-detection cables, remotely controlled doors and extensive video surveillance, 13 inmates managed to escape at once from the maximum-security facility in August 2013 through a tunnel. In all, roughly 100 inmates escaped from Argentine prisons in 2013, most likely aided by corrupt staff.

3. Pollsmoor Prison, South Africa

An elaborately structured prison gang called the Numbers Gang — and its subgangs, the 26s, 27s and 28s — plagues the overcrowded Pollsmoor. The Numbers have operated for decades throughout South African prisons, with baroque hierarchies and rituals; its power is so widespread that years of attempts to eradicate the gang have failed.

4. Al-Ha’ir Prison, Saudi Arabia

Though Saudi Arabia is routinely criticized for public floggings, executions and suspected use of torture, this high-security prison for inmates under terrorism charges is known for its high level of comfort. It offers welfare payments for families and a hotel for extended family visits — all intended to entice dissidents to recommit to society.

5. Tihar Jail, India

The largest prison complex in South Asia, Tihar encompasses nine high-security facilities with more than 11,000 inmates, despite an official capacity of 5,200. Nearly 25 percent are in for murder charges or convictions. Rehabilitation programs include art and music therapy, meditation and workshops for carpentry, baking and textiles.

6. Bang Kwang Prison, Thailand

Known as Big Tiger or the Bangkok Hilton, Bang Kwang holds death-row inmates and those with sentences longer than 25 years. Until 2013, it was common practice to weld metal shackles onto the legs of prisoners for years at a time; permanently for those condemned to death.

7. Petak Island Prison, Russia

Here, in total isolation on an island in Novozero Lake, 193 prisoners serve life sentences. Only two small wooden bridges connect the island to the mainland. Prisoners spend 22.5 hours a day in a small-group or single cell and the other 1.5 hours in an outdoor cage.

8. Qincheng Prison, China

This maximum-security prison holds many political prisoners who are accused of crimes against the state. According to several memoirs, prisoners are largely isolated from one another and identified only by number. More recently, it has become home to corrupt politicians, who are held in more luxurious conditions.

Yale caves, and concedes that maybe computer science is worth a look after all. Progress!

Yale Stepping Up Computer Science After Students Demand Better Tech Training
by John Lauerman

1200x-1Students line up for commencement on campus of Yale University in New Haven, Conn. on May 20, 2013.
Photographer: Jessica Hill/AP Photo

(Bloomberg) — Yale University said it will expand its computer science department after years of student and faculty complaints that the Ivy League school had fallen behind rivals.

Yale will add seven professors over the next few years, bringing the size of the department to 26, the school said. Two anonymous donors will partly fund the new positions.

Colleges across the U.S. are competing to excel in the fast-growing and lucrative field and are eager to replicate the success of schools such as Stanford University, birthplace of search company Google Inc. Even the wealthiest colleges, such as Yale, with an endowment of $23.9 billion, are struggling to retool.

“Increasingly, the skills at the heart of computer science are the means by which we move ideas forward in today’s world,” Yale President Peter Salovey said in a statement. “We are acknowledging the vital importance of those skills.”

More than 1,000 Yale students and alumni signed a petition over the past month complaining its computer science “faculty shortage” is holding back teaching and research at the New Haven, Connecticut, school. The college’s computer-science faculty is about the same size as it was three decades ago, yet it has 181 undergraduate majors — about four times as many as in 2010, Bloomberg reported earlier this month.
Harvard Import

This fall Yale will import Harvard’s most popular course, an introductory programming class called CS50 — a move the department called innovative while students have characterized it as humiliating.

The expansion “comes as a huge relief to a lot of CS students,” said Mohan Yin, a junior majoring in computer science who signed the petition. “It seemed like the program was kind of in dire straits until this announcement.”

Tamar Gendler, dean of the faculty of arts and sciences since July, said the expansion is among her top priorities.

“This is a great first step,” Joan Feigenbaum, who heads the school’s department and has been calling publicly for more faculty, said in an e-mail. “Yale’s CS department will still be small after this initial growth spurt, and it will be important to sustain growth.”

Computer science will also become part of Yale’s School of Engineering & Applied Sciences. Yale will build an underground concourse that will connect the computer science department with other engineering buildings.

Computer programing is among the fastest growing careers in the U.S. and students are demanding more and better computer science classes.

Last year, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Steve Ballmer gave his alma mater Harvard University a gift estimated at $60 million to increase the school’s computer science faculty to 36 from 24. Princeton University, which already has 30 professors in the discipline, has said it will also expand.




Quora as a social experiment


About a week ago, I joined the next sensation sweeping the nation, Quora. It’s another futile effort on my part to remain relevant with the cool kids. At 46, you’d think I’d be past my high school angst by now, but you’d be wrong.


Because life is competitive, they have a “stats” page. This, like high school, let’s you know whether or not you matter on the social spectrum. Healthy! I’ve answered seven questions thus far, and they’ve ranged from life/relationships to, of course, trading.

Interestingly, I’ve noticed something peculiar. Can you see what I’m talking about?

quora1I’ll give you a hint: look at the top question, and look at the bottom question. My answer to the top question I rattled off in short order, and while I did silently pat myself on the back for some of the humor I managed to inject into it, it wasn’t a terribly thoughtful write. Conversely, the bottom question that I answered, I actually put some thought and heart into. I answered that question because I felt it was an important one – in my mind, certainly more important than what my recommendations were for options reading material.

But the people have spoken. They don’t give a shit about inspiring spouses! They want to trade options! Our partner’s happiness be damned! Bank coin! Bank coin! Bank coin!

Even a relatively ‘boring” (well, certainly not to me, and apparently 130 other geeks) post on understanding the delta of an option garnered 6 times the views.

The inquisitive part of me can’t help but wonder if there’s an observation to be made here on our social priorities. Granted, it’s impossible to know the gender, age, occupation, etc of the audience, but it does appear from this very small sampling of 1,000 views, that money related posts hold more social currency than life and relationship ones. If that is the case, then I am a bit troubled. Perhaps the individual priorities of many of us are out of whack. Are our significant others really getting the focus they should, and that they deserve? Are we spending enough time on ensuring we grow as healthy, balanced souls? Are we well-rounded, thoughtful, contributing members of our communities, and our society? Or are we hell-bent on trading the shit out of $SPY weeklies off the 5 minute?

Just a thought.

Either way, I’ll continue to answer questions that I feel I can answer intelligently, and that interest me…regardless if they’re popular with the cool kids, or not.


“How do you inspire your significant other?”


This was a recent question posted on .

This was my answer:

There’s a quote I saw a while back that seems like a good way to start this answer:

Never Forget, there are three types of people in your life:
1. Those who helped you in your difficult times
2. Those who left you in your difficult times
3. Those who put you in your difficult times

When we’re in a relationship, we’re in a team. Or, put another way, we’re now members of a very small gang.Where once there were two separate people, now there is one unit, which contains two people. Like any good gang, our job is have the back of our fellow gang member. Hmm. I see this rapidly deteriorating into street fights with lead pipes, neck tattoos, and prison time at Pelican Bay, so perhaps we should break from the analogy now.

The point is, two people in a relationship need to be able to rely and depend upon each other. That’s what breeds inspiration. Here are some ways we can do that:

1. Be on your partner’s side. Always. Maybe they’ve had a bad day at work, and messed up. Maybe they spent 40 minutes in the boss’s office getting ‘chatted to’. Even if your partner was maybe, sorta, probably, kinda in the wrong…stand by them. In all likelihood, they already know they were in the wrong, but they don’t need to hear that from their boss, and then their spouse. Be supportive, be compassionate, and be on their side. Because right now, they need you. Your job at that point, is to provide a safe place for them to land.

2. Lift them up, don’t bring them down. Life can be crummy enough at times, without having the one you trust the most adding to the crumminess. I’m reminded of the crabs in a bucket story:

One time a man was walking along the beach and say another man fishing in the surf with a bait bucket beside him. As he drew closer, he saw that the bait bucket had no lid and had live crabs inside.
   “Why don’t you cover your bait bucket so the crabs won’t escape?”, he said.
   “You don’t understand.”, the man replied, “If there is one crab in the bucket it would surely crawl out very quickly. However, when there are many crabs in the bucket, if one tries to crawl up the side, the others grab hold of it and pull it back down so that it will share the same fate as the rest of them.”

The point here is don’t be one of those crabs holding back the one trying to improve. Be your spouses cheerleader; remind them often how great they are. Tell them you’re proud of them. Encourage them, don’t discourage them. If they want to take a class, but are feeling less than confident, be the one to tell them they can, and should, take it. If they want to switch careers, but aren’t sure of your reaction, let them know you’ve got their back.

Back in 2002, after 9 years as a stockbroker, I left my job abruptly to begin a new career in the trades. My then wife at the time was not only supportive, but encouraging; that, despite her parents being unsure of their son-in-law’s decision. For a while, she was probably the only one on my side. Knowing she had my back made all the difference, and gave me the inspiration to be successful.

3. Listen. There’s a saying that goes something like this, “It was never my listening that got me into trouble“. We all want to be heard, and that’s understandable. Somewhere along the way though, we’ve stopped practicing the art of listening to one another. And your spouse, of all people, needs that. So be the person in their life that truly, really, listens to them. It costs you nothing, and doing so will give them a place to feel heard; and when we feel that we are heard, we get inspired.

So back to that opening quote, make it your mission to be the first type: the one who helps them in difficult times. Being a positive influence will bring more inspiration to your partner. You may find it also brings more inspiration to yourself, as well.

Good luck!




“What books are good to learn about options trading?”

This was a recent question posted on .

This was my answer:

That’s a great question. It can be overwhelming to know where to start.

I have two recommendations that I think will be more than sufficient to not only get you started, but carry you for quite some time. Options trading can be as simple – or as complicated – as you want to make it. If your goal is to be a successful trader, there’s no need to make it complicated; the market doesn’t reward complexity, nor does it care how smart you think you are. That said, if you’re a bit of a trading geek like myself, reading about, and understanding, some of the deeper nuances of options trading is “fun”. These books will keep you busy.



1. Option Volatility & Pricing, by Sheldon Natenberg. This is a comprehensive, and I’ll be frank, somewhat dry read. Even for me. That said, I’ve highlighted half the book, and have page markers and post-it notes throughout it. It’s a valuable book in my library, and I think of it as a textbook. There are 18 chapters covering everything from the basics of what an option is, to theoretical pricing models, to trading strategies. Odds are, you won’t read the entire book, as it won’t all be of interest to you (are you really going to be trading intermarket volatility spreads? And do you see yourself putting on a jelly roll anytime soon? – and yes, that’s really a thing; page 231.). That said, the book is loaded with examples and is nothing if not thorough.

2. Your Options Handbook, by Jared A. Levy. This is probably my favorite options book. It’s well written, meaning it doesn’t come off as a textbook, and it engages the reader. There are 11 well thought-out chapters, starting with Market Basics and Market Mechanics, which if you think about it, is a pretty logical place for an options book to begin. Huh. It breaks down trading strategies from the basic, to the slightly more complicated, to advanced, to advance advanced (I just made that term up, as it seems appropriate). But it also offers up worthwhile advice on other aspects of trading as well, such as “Top 10 things professionals do that the average retail investor doesn’t”; lessons that will serve traders well in all aspects of their trading, not just in options. And again, there are examples on everything throughout the book. It also goes into the topic of Risk and Money Management, which I think is paramount – something every book on trading should pay homage to. There’s a section on Trading Tactics, where the subject heading is, “Take Kibbles and Bits, Not The Whole Pie”. That gives you a feel for the style here.


Weird Stuff in the News…This Week – 03/21/15


Smelling like a bacon cheese burger…all the time, on purpose (video)

A “Chinese Driver” decal that’s apparently mostly offending…Caucasians

Free news for all! Because, apparently it’s our right

Rental car company crossing the line between helpful and pervy

Another week gone by, and another week that brought us plenty of news stories that make no sense, or at least very little.


As local TV anchor @sophielui tweeted earlier this week…

sophie 1My favorite quote of this article?

“I don’t think you should pay for news,” Eric, a 22-year-old Chicagoan, said. “That’s something everybody should be informed in. Like, you’re going to charge me for information that’s going on around the world?” And then there’s 19-year-old Sam from San Francisco: “I really wouldn’t pay for any type of news because as a citizen it’s my right to know the news.”


Millennials say keeping up with the news is important to them — but good luck getting them to pay for it

The new report from the Media Insight Project looks at millennials’ habits and attitudes toward news consumption: “I really wouldn’t pay for any type of news because as a citizen it’s my right to know the news.”


Most millennials don’t seek out news on social media, but the vast majority of them get news from social networks once they see it there, according to a report released today by the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Only 47 percent of the millennials surveyed said consuming news is a major reason they visit Facebook, but 88 percent of the respondents said they get news from Facebook at least occasionally. 83 percent said they get news from YouTube on occasion, and 50 percent found news on Instagram. Next in line: Pinterest at 36 percent, Twitter at 33 percent, Reddit at 23 percent, and Tumblr at 21 percent.

“Simply put, social media is no longer simply social,” the report says. “It long ago stopped being just a way to stay in touch with friends. It has become a way of being connected to the world generally — to send messages, follow channels of interest, get news, share news, talk about it, be entertained, stay in touch, and to check in and see what’s new in the world.”

The study found that of those who get news from Facebook, 57 percent do so at least once a day; 44 percent said they did so multiple times per day. That’s a far more regular habit than other social networks induce: The once-a-day number was for 29 percent for YouTube and was 26 percent for Instagram. And Twitter? Just 13 percent of millennials said they use it as a daily source of news.


The report emphasizes that millennials don’t exclusively get their news only from Facebook or other social media. In virtually every news category included in the study, millennials said they have multiple pathways to find information.

The survey asked respondents how they accessed 24 different news topics, from national politics and government to style, beauty, and fashion. Facebook was either the number one or two source of information for 20 of the 24 topics, and in nine of those topics it was the only source cited by a majority of respondents. Search was the second most popular source of information, ranking first or second in 13 of the 24 news topics.


For hard news topics, like economic news or local crime coverage, millennials tended to look directly toward original reported sources for information, as opposed to looking on social media or through curated sources like Google News or other aggregators.


About 75 percent of millennials said they turn primarily to social media for coverage of lifestyle topics. 91 percent of millennials, for example, use social media as a primary source for coverage of pop culture and celebrities. 84 percent of respondents also said social media is a primary source for style, beauty, and fashion topics.


“There are also a few topics for which there is no favored path, or for which people use at least two of them equally,” the study says. “For instance, Millennials have no clear preferred path to news about science and technology. Social, curated, and reporting platforms are cited equally for these topics.”

The study found that millennials of all ages get news from various sources, but that their habits vary. More than half of millennials older than 30 describe themselves as mostly proactive consumers of news; only a third of millennials under 25 say the same. There was broad support for the idea that keeping up with the news had value — 85 percent of millennials surveyed said it was at least somewhat important to them.

Will they pay for news? From the report:

When it comes to paying for the news, 40 percent of Millennials report paying for at least one subscription themselves, including a digital news app (14 percent), a digital magazine (11 percent), a digital subscription to a newspaper (10 percent), or a paid email newsletter (9 percent). When subscriptions used but paid for by others are added, that number rises to 53 percent who have used some type of paid subscription for news in the last year.

Interestingly, this digital generation is more likely to have paid for non-digital versions of these products. For instance, 21 percent say they have paid in the last year for a subscription to a print magazine, and 16 percent for a print newspaper, rates that are higher than for digital versions of the same products.


In addition to the broader survey data, researchers did deeper interviews with 23 millennials in three different locations around the country. Those interviews revealed a reluctance among some interviewees to pay for news online.

“I don’t think you should pay for news,” Eric, a 22-year-old Chicagoan, said. “That’s something everybody should be informed in. Like, you’re going to charge me for information that’s going on around the world?” And then there’s 19-year-old Sam from San Francisco: “I really wouldn’t pay for any type of news because as a citizen it’s my right to know the news.”


Burger King to launch burger-scented cologne. Because, yeah – THAT’S what the ladies what…

Would YOU wear cologne that smells like fast food? Burger King to launch Flame-Grilled, a fragrance inspired by the Whopper… but it’s out on April’s Fools Day

  • Burger King Japan is promoting a new scent called Flame-Grilled
  • The limited edition cologne will be scheduled for release on 1 April 
  • The fragrance is retailed at 5,000 yen – around £27 
  • A single-day promotion includes a free Whopper with every perfume sale

Vegetarians look away. If you’ve ever craved the smell of fast food all day long, Burger King has come up with the ultimate solution with the launch of a new burger-scented cologne.

The cologne will supposedly imitate the signature aroma of the Whopper Burger, which consists of 100 per cent flame-grilled beef, freshly sliced onions, lettuce and mayonnaise.

The scent, which has been named Flame-Grilled, is set to be launched by Burger King Japan on 1 April 2015.

Burger King Japan's new cologne, 'Flame-Grilled' is set for launch on 1 April 2015

Burger King Japan’s new cologne, ‘Flame-Grilled’ is set for launch on 1 April 2015

Not for vegetarians: 'Flame-Grilled' will smell like the Whopper Burger: beef, fresh onions, lettuce and mayonnaise

Not for vegetarians: ‘Flame-Grilled’ will smell like the Whopper Burger: beef, fresh onions, lettuce and mayonnaise

‘Flame-Grilled’ will set you back 5000 yen – which comes to around £27. Pricey.

There will also supposedly be a one day promotion, whereby every customer will receive a free Whopper Burger with their purchased perfume bottle.

It’s apt that the release of the perfume would fall on 1 April (April Fools’ Day), and many have speculated that the ‘launch’ is in fact a global practical joke.

While many people are doubtful of the launch’s authenticity, the fast food chain insists that the upcoming release is not a hoax.

In fact, this isn’t the first time that it’s launched a fragrance. In 2008, Burger King unveiled a men’s spray, dubbed Flame, which was promoted as ‘the scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broilled meat’.

Flame was only available online and in certain stores in New York, and was discontinued shortly after its launch.

Spoof Burger King advert for perfume set to become reality

April Fool's? While many people think that the cologne is a hoax, the advert insists the authenticity of the cologne and sees it retailing for 5000 yen, which is around £27

April Fool’s? While many people think that the cologne is a hoax, the advert insists the authenticity of the cologne and sees it retailing for 5000 yen, which is around £27

Are we ready for a pervy Rental Car Company? I think likely not.

 Hertz Puts Video Cameras Inside Its Rental Cars, Has ‘No Current Plans’ To Use Them

from the no,-really,-it’s-not-switched-on-yet department…


Last week we wrote about the hypothetical situation of CCTV cameras being installed in every home. It turns out that this particular dystopia is closer than we thought: an article by Kashmir Hill on the Fusion site passes on the news that Hertz is putting cameras inside its rental cars as part of its “NeverLost” navigational system:

Hertz has offered the NeverLost navigational device for years, but it only added the built-in camera feature (which includes audio and video) to its latest version of the device — NeverLost 6 — in mid-2014. “Approximately a quarter of our vehicles across the country have a NeverLost unit and slightly more than half of those vehicles have the NeverLost 6 model installed,” Hertz spokesperson Evelin Imperatrice said by email. In other words, one in 8 Hertz cars has a camera inside — but Imperatrice says that, for now, they are inactive. “We do not have adequate bandwidth capabilities to the car to support streaming video at this time,” she said.

So why did it install them?

“Hertz added the camera as a feature of the NeverLost 6 in the event it was decided, in the future, to activate live agent connectivity to customers by video. In that plan the customer would have needed to turn on the camera by pushing a button (while stationary),” Imperatrice explained. “The camera feature has not been launched, cannot be operated and we have no current plans to do so.”

But of course, Hertz would hardly go to the trouble and expense of fitting its cars with this feature unless, at some future point, it did plan to use them. Morever, that future use might go well beyond “live agent connectivity”, as Hill rightly points out:

you could imagine camera mission creep, such as Hertz using it to capture video of what a trouble renter is up to in the vehicle, or to see who is really driving the car, or to snoop on a singing — or snuggling — driver.

According to the Fusion article, Hertz doesn’t seem to be telling anyone about the camera, on the grounds that the company doesn’t plan to use it, and so there’s nothing for customers to know. But if and when it does announce its presence, there will be precisely the problem Techdirt mentioned last week: that people in front of it would naturally be worried they were being spied upon — even if assured to the contrary — and would start constraining their speech and behavior.

“Chinese Driver” decals are back in the news here in Vancouver. Again.

Funny joke or racist stereotype? ‘Chinese Driver’ stickers spark debate

A car decal that resembles an ICBC new driver ‘N’ sticker or ‘L’ learner sticker is raising some eyebrows.

Lynda Steele and Sandra Hermiston, CTV Vancouver
Published Tuesday, March 17, 2015 6:00AM PDT

A car decal that resembles an ICBC new driver “N” sticker or “L” learner sticker is raising some eyebrows in Metro Vancouver. (editor note: ICBC is the governing drivers licensing body in BC, Canada. “N” stickers denote “new” driver, “L” stickers denote “learning” driver)

The yellow “C” stickers have the words “Chinese Driver” written underneath and they have sparked a debate: Are they meant to be funny or are they a racist stereotype?

Gary Menard was out walking his dog in Vancouver’s West Side, when he noticed the unusual sticker on his neighbour’s car.

“I just didn’t know quite what to think, whether it was a joke or an actual warning or what. It kind of caught me off guard,” he said.

He wondered why the driver put the sticker on their car and so did we. But no one was home at the house where the car was parked.

So consumer reporter Lynda Steele tracked down the store selling the controversial sticker, the Super Garage in Richmond’s Aberdeen Mall.

When she asked the retailer who was buying the stickers, she was told it was mostly purchased by Chinese people.

“But sometimes we also get Caucasians buying it because it’s funny,” said the retail clerk.

But not everybody felt the same way. All of the Caucasian people who were asked were offended by the sticker. But the majority of the Chinese people CTV News questioned didn’t feel the same way.

“It could be very light hearted. Maybe people are just trying to amuse people,” said Queenie Choo of S.U.C.C.E.S.S, a group that provides social services for the Chinese community in Metro Vancouver. “I don’t know what are the intentions are, but I don’t think there was any intentions to be racist.”

And since most people purchasing the sticker are Chinese, one UBC sociologist says it’s probably a form of gentle self-mockery meant to unite, not offend.

“Some would argue it actually increases solidarity because we all acknowledge there’s a stereotype, we’re okay with it because it’s not true, so we’re going to show you we don’t mind and we’re going to have fun with it. I think that’s the difference,” said Dr. Elic Chan.

But in an area like Metro Vancouver, where 43 per cent of the residents are of Asian heritage, Gary Menard thinks there’s no room for racial jokes, regardless of who’s making them, or why.

“It’s wrong to do the ICBC-looking thing, and it’s just not an area where I think we should be going,” he said.

Why I follow… @Scot1and


In life, Like tends to attract Like. You put out good energy, you will likely attract good energy back. I can’t recall which of us found each other first. We may not agree on every trade, which is to be expected. I do know his posts, process, and mannerisms are in sync with my own, and I place value his work.

Case in point, his blog post from March 17, 2015 – this is exactly how I think, too:

speculator 1

He understands the theory of Risk of Ruin. And that it doesn’t need to be complicated:

speculator 5

His charts are simple, concise and are clearly put together by someone that “gets it” – discipline to a process is everything:

speculator 2or this:

speculator 3I follow people that show they have a process, and a willingness to embrace that they cannot know what the market will do. Those are the traders that are unstoppable, regardless of whether or not their last 5 trades were profitable. Those are the traders that will be around in a year, or five, or twenty. And it’s exciting and motivating to watch them work. This can be a solitary business, and weeding out the noise, for the wise, is paramount.

Plus, his site disclaimer is fucking awesome:

speculator 4Follow him on stocktwits ( @Scot1and ) or on his blog at





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