Friday, December 4, 2020

Friday Night Links

  • To make matters worse, if the value of the bonds increased, so too did their insurance premiums. Eric Yip, who had been in the trade at least a full year longer than MP, found himself in the grip of this reality. Alder Hill was bleeding money, and the hemorrhaging caught up with his fund. In September, 2019, Yip backed out of the trade, swallowed the losses he had accrued, and shut down Alder Hill. Another firm, Sorin Capital, also shuttered its fund that traded in CMBX. Things didn’t look much better for MP, who, thanks to the crushing premiums, found themselves in a 37 percent hole by the end of 2019—a roughly $92 million loss. “It felt like we were getting kicked in the teeth every single day,” McNamara said. Things became contentious with their pool of investors, who began pulling their money out of the fund. “It felt like a run on the bank,” Rosenthal said. “I said, ‘I need you to have confidence in me that we are right.’ [Investors] were like, ‘I don’t care.’” The firm had to lay off three employees. It was a dark time. [Esquire]
  • The quadrennial Vendée Globe competition is going on right now, three months from France to Cape Horn, then around Antarctica, then around the Cape of Good Hope and back to France … single handed, solo, one guy on a 60-foot boat. The boats are IMOCA 60 class, mostly ultralight carbon fiber hydrofoil boats, with hulls that are only 2 or 3 millimeters thick. These things rise up over the waves and fly … but this is Antarctica, so there is ice and the whole thing seems crazy to me, one guy who basically cannot sleep for three months on a flying boat in iceberg waters. One of the boats, the Hugo Boss-sponsored boat, has already started to fall apart, and the repair videos are getting a lot of viewership. At any rate, I notice that with normal sailing videos, solo or couples, that women really seem to struggle with the rigging ropes. This requires a lot of upper body strength. To be honest, the older guys also struggle (a lot of sailers are well-off older retired guys). The younger and middle-aged men don’t seem to struggle, or at least they look like they have things under more control. The big competition boats often have push-button electrical sails that spool into the mast or the boom. This would be a big equalizer I would think. [Sailer]
  • Piotroski's findings that especially thinly traded stocks with high F-scores perform best is very encouraging It confirms what Benjamin Graham always said; that low volume in a stock should not discourage an investor taking a position in an issue that shows compelling quantitative readings. It is a huge advantage for the small investors over the big investment boutiques. We don't have too many and it would be a negligent act not to monetise on that one! [Undervalued Japan]
  • With the automotive industry investing billions in the development of autonomous systems, Tesla’s risky first-mover behavior sets a dangerous precedent. By moving quickly to rein in Tesla, the Biden administration can protect today’s road users while paving the way for safe development of autonomous technology throughout the industry. [Slate]
  • No company better exhibits vertical integration than Apple. Something I have always been shocked about is “what could Apple be spending their absolute dollars of R&D on” but as time has gone on it’s clear what it is, and that’s building their in-house semiconductor expertise. Something I wanted to note is that every single company mentioned so far spends more on absolute R&D than Intel! Samsung, a company that is out of the scope of this discussion rounds out the list of the companies that spend more than Intel on R&D worldwide. [mule]
  • But fortunately for AMD and Intel, Apple doesn’t sell their chips on the market. So PC users will simply have to put up with whatever they are offering. PC users may jump ship, but that is a slow process. You don’t leave immediately a platform you are heavily invested in. [link]
  • This is an astounding chart – smoking hardly even mattered! Similar charts are in the article for hypertension and physical activity: in terms of heart disease, if your trig/HDL ratio is low, you can get away with having lots of other risk factors. Basically, as I see it, insulin resistance trumps everything in terms of heart risk, going by this study at least. [Mangan]
  • In this cohort, 118 patients (64%) had vitamin D insufficiency at recruitment (including 41 patients with vitamin D deficiency), and 16 patients died of the infection. With a covariate-adjusted relative risk of death of 11.3, mortality was much higher among vitamin D insufficient patients than among other patients. When translated to the proportion of deaths in the population that is statistically attributable to vitamin D insufficiency (“population attributable risk proportion”), a key measure of public health relevance of risk factors, these results imply that 87% of COVID-19 deaths may be statistically attributed to vitamin D insufficiency and could potentially be avoided by eliminating vitamin D insufficiency. [link]
  • Psychologically prepare the population. This is most easily accomplished by making movies for the plebes. See Pearl Harbor (May 2001) and Pandemic (January 2020). You need an “invisible enemy” that “knows no borders,” one that is impossible to definitively eradicate. But don’t use terrorists or a virus again. That’s played out. You’ll have to come up with something bigger and better next time. Aliens might be cool. Make the epicenter the Big Apple, because those folks are generally on our side and always easy to work with. Also, take a cue from Hollywood: Godzilla didn’t invade Charleston, and I Am Legend doesn’t take place in Helena. There is a reason for this. [Lew Rockwell]
  • Patent owners should take care when preparing and licensing patents to ensure that infringement claims for complementary products or use cases associated with patented products are not exhausted by the sale or licensing of the patented products, as shown by the Federal Circuit case of Helferich Patent Licensing v. New York Times. [IP Watchdog]
  • The semiconductor space is almost uniformly expensive, save for perhaps Intel. Financials like Visa, Mastercard, S&P, Moody’s are also way above average. Large cap Tech (MSFT, AAPL) and Industrials (HEI, TDY, DHR, DSV), particularly stocks that screen high on Quality and Organic Growth, are both pretty crazy right now. Tobacco is dirt cheap (I’ve written about that). Some retail stuff like EA, Autozone and Domino’s are not that inflated, which is surprising. EA and Domino’s seem to be COVID beneficiaries and yet valuations haven’t deviated much from the norms. Facebook and Alphabet, despite being part of FANMAG, are not materially expensive relative to their past valuation ranges. [link]
  • Previous studies have documented association between wider retinal venules and dementia. However, to date, it has not been clear whether vessel caliber is related to neuropsychological status prior to declines seen later in life or to those declines associated with illness and disease. To us it seems unremarkable that venular caliber in the eye is abnormal in elderly individuals who have documented vascular disease, yet rather more remarkable that venular caliber in the eye is related, however modestly, to mental test scores of individuals in their thirties, and even to IQ scores assessed in childhood. Taken together, these findings suggest that the developmental processes linking retinal vessel abnormalities to neuropsychological functioning begin at much younger ages than previously assumed in studies of retinal vasculature and memory loss in the elderly. It appears that digital retinal imaging may serve as a tool for testing the theory that general intelligence represents brain/body system integrity across the life course. [NLM]
  • Based on molecular data, a population bottleneck among ancestors of modern Finns is estimated to have occurred about 4000 years ago. This bottleneck resulted in exceptionally low diversity in the Y chromosome, estimated to reflect the survival of just two ancestral male lineages. The distribution of Y chromosome haplotypes within Finland is consistent with two separate founding settlements, in eastern and western Finland. The Finnish disease heritage has been attributed to this 4000-year-old bottleneck. The geographic distribution and family pedigrees associated with some Finnish heritage disease mutations has linked the enrichment in these mutations to multiple local founder effects, some associated with a period of "late settlement" in the 16th century. [Wiki]
  • Conclusions: We have revealed a biochemical link between vitamin D, LL-37, and COVID-19 severity. SPR analysis demonstrated that LL-37 binds to SARS-CoV-2 S protein and inhibits binding to its receptor hACE2, and most likely viral entry into the cell. This study supports the prophylactic use of vitamin D to induce LL-37 that protects from SARS-CoV-2 infection, and the therapeutic administration of vitamin D for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Further, our results provide evidence that the direct use of LL-37 by inhalation and systemic application may reduce the severity of COVID-19. [bioRxiv]

1 comment:

Allan Folz said...

And she sank. OK, ok, it wasn't Hugo Boss. It was PRB... "A catastrophic disaster. Boat broke more or less in two. Bow was at a 90 degree angle into the water."