Monthly Archives: October 2011

Understanding Finance- Mark to market accounting

A junior excutive shopping for goodsMarket to market accounting is kind of a big deal. Captains of industry like Jeffrey Skilling adopted mark to market accounting when he became CEO of Enron. But what exactly is mark to market?

Simply put, mark to market accounting is a practice rooted in the history of corporate espionage. Corporate spies would account for times when marks, or in this case, corporate executives, would go to the market to buy groceries. When performed en masse, the theory is that the cumulative action of all corporate executives at grocery stores could provide accurate intelligence into the company’s conditions. For example:

  1. Lots of caffeine – When execs purchase a lot of caffeine, it tends to mean that they’re up to something big, so they’re working long hours. Expect big news.
  2. Lots of fiber – Execs hitting up the Kashi aisle are probably constipated. This means that they’re eating lots of expensive meat, which is backing them up. Expensive meat means that they’re sitting on a lot of cash. Expect higher than expected earnings.
  3. Lots of alcohol – It’s Tuesday. Nothing really to learn here – execs just like to buy alcohol on Tuesdays.

Though this sounds like fancy pants accounting and voodoo math, it has been shown to work on numerous occasions. For example, corporate spies found that in 1983, when Randolph and Mortimer Duke cornered the frozen concentrated orange juice market, they consumed copious amounts of caffeine in the days leading up to the release of the orange crop report, and they ate lots of fibrous foods as they expected a large influx of cash. However, once they found out that his crop report had been tampered with, they proceeded to drink a lot (because it was on a Tuesday).

So that’s really all there is to mark to market accounting. If you have a firm grasp of mark to market, you can also make some educated guessing around what mark to lingerie model accounting is too.

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Cut to the Chase–Crossing the Line

crossingthelineThe other day, I watched this documentary called Crossing the Line. It’s about a soldier from the US army that defected to North Korea in 1962. To condense the 1.5hr documentary to a single sentence:

I defected to North Korea and it was mediocre.

Of note about this documentary: it’s narrated by Christian Slater! But more on that in another post.

What I thought was specially crazy was the propaganda from the North Koreans, trying to convince soldiers to defect. They’d be all like, “hey, come over to North Korea. Everything’s awesome here, and we’ll give you money.” You know how you know that something isn’t right? When someone’s willing to give you money to take something awesome.

It’s like if Blizzard were like, hey, come play StarCraft2. It’s really fun, and you’ll get to play with girls that look like this:

ailuj

That’s Ailuj. She’s a diamond Protoss player (pret-ty good). Sure, there’s the possibility that you’ll end up playing with her, but realistically, you’ll end up playing with someone like Fat Mike:

mikefat

Note that I said “like.” Fat Mike isn’t even a real person. It’s just an undoctored photo I found of my roommate where he looks fat for some reason. So you won’t even get to play with Fat Mike. Because he doesn’t exist!

But I guess the real point was that there’s no way that StarCraft2 would be fun AND let you play with girls that look Ailuj because Blizzard would have no incentive to put that together!

Anyway, next up, what DID happen to Christian Slater???

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My thoughts on electrons

I’ve got a chemistry exam tomorrow, so I’ve been thinking about electrons a bunch. Here’s some of the output of that thinking:

Heisenberg Uncertainty Cartoons

Version 1

heisenberg_kinda

Version 2

heisenbergcartoon2

The following exhibit ionic character

halogen-ionic-bond

Magnesium-Oxide-Formation

sodiumchloride

ionic_column

The Name's Bond - Ionic Bond - Taken, Not Shared

And now for something unrelated to chemistry

houston_eulers

The Houston… Eulers????

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Chemistry inspired sandwiches

From the genius that brought you Al’s Light Meals (you remember, the sandwiches cooked in photocopiers?) comes a new quantum leap in sandwich shops:

bohrshead

Bohr’s Head Sandwiches come with pretty mediocre meat, but they’re known for our signature ingredients:

  • Rydberg Bread – A Rye bread, baked fresh, almost constantly
  • Atomic hot sauceguaranteed to give you the runs for your money!
  • Vidalia anion sauce – a sweet and tangy onion sauce that will positively get you charged (disclaimer: it’ll actually likely negatively charge you)
  •  

    Or, ask for your sandwich EXTRA BOHRING and we’ll not put any sauce on it at all. It’ll just be meat and bread.

    Each sandwich comes with our Paschenfruit smoothie. It’s so good, you’d have to see it to believe (and you’d have to wear infrared goggles to see it)!

    So next time you’re at a deli, demand Bohr’s Head Sandwiches!

    (For those of you who completely don’t get the joke, uh… here)

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    My opinions on Occupy Wall Street

    classic_occupy_wall_street_protest_signs_09So this Occupy Wall Street thing has started to become kind of a big deal, and recently, a lot of people have been expressing their strong opinions on what’s been going on. I’ve largely stayed quiet for two reasons:

    1. I didn’t have anything intelligent to say about it, probably because I didn’t really know anything about it.
    2. I don’t like getting into political discussions with people because I always end up raging all over the place.

    But now that it’s had some time to mature, I thought I’d share my thoughts. What’s Occupy Wall Street to me? Well, for starters, it’s a bunch of people… standing around. Why? I’m not sure… and I don’t think they really understand why either… but I get that!

    I totally get standing around and not understanding why. I grew up with 3 older sisters. Do you know what three older sisters liked to do on weekends? They liked to go to the mall and shop for clothes. I’d have to come along with them, and I’d just be standing around while they were in these stores, shopping for what seemed like hours, and I’d have no idea why I was there. And I’d be angry. Just like the Occupy Wall Streeters!

    In fact, just a few years ago, when I visited San Francisco, my sisters thought it’d be a great idea to spend the last few hours they had in San Francisco with me shopping in the Marina district. For women’s clothing. So I stood there on the sidewalk, not really knowing why, and just kinda being angry!

    I feel like this is the story of my life. Did you know that I played the violin for 9 years? I had private lessons, practiced daily, auditioned for regional orchestras, and you know what? I had no idea why I was doing it. After my parents stopped making me play the violin, I stopped playing altogether (it’s been 9 years!). I still have no idea why I was doing that. It was awful. And I’m still kinda angry.

    So you know what, OWSers? Sometimes, I hear you guys saying crazy shit, and I’m like, “oh no, rly?” but sometimes, I get it! Rock on!

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    Liveblogging the Western Republican Presidential Debate

    OK – so in conclusion, sorry everyone, this has been awful. I’ll go back to what I do best: posting about profound things. For example, people keep having trouble opening the door at work. I’ll figure out why! Is it because they’re pushing instead of pulling? Or are they not turning the door knob enough? We’ll find out! ‘til next time!

    9:53 Woot! It’s over! I hope CNN now gets a bunch of people whose opinions don’t really mean anything to bicker over how great/awful Republicans are.

    9:50 +5pts to Newt Gingrich for accusing Anderson Cooper of having a debate format that maximizes back-and-forth bickering.

    9:44 When’s the evening gown portion of the debate?

    9:41 Commercial/protein break!

    9:39 –5pts to Rick Santorum. Iran Contra wasn’t a real problem? Come on now. Come on. 4realz.

    9:36 +5pts to Ron Paul for using a clever hand gesture to get Anderson Cooper’s attention.

    9:34 Question from the audience: “White people are having a hard time in the US. Why do we send foreign aid abroad?”

    9:30 Oooh hostage negotiation question. I’d like to hear how they get out of this one!

    My summary of what Hermain Cain’s saying:

    “I would have a policy of not negotiating with terrorists. Then I’d look on a terrorist by terrorist basis to decide whether to negotiate with them.”

    9:27 Bachmann seems to want to search for the WMDs in Iran.

    9:23 Long meandering comment by Rick Perry that reveals that he doesn’t know what “repudiate” means.

    9:16 SO – I regret that I’m just kinda commenting on the theatrics of the debate instead of adding any real insight to it, but uh… ionno. Is there anything to say? Does anyone really want to hear me making fun of Republicans? I feel like the best thing I could actually do is teach an online economics course. Anyway, commercial’s over. A question from Mike Richards? KRAMER???

    9:04 +5pts to me if someone says “gold standard” in their response to how they’d fix housing problems.

    9:02 Free market should decide where nuclear waste goes! Because everyone knows that corporations are in the best position to decide where nuclear waste goes.

    8:56 –5pts to Rick Perry for blatantly disregarding Anderson Cooper’s control. +5pts to Rick Perry for blatantly disregarding Anderson Cooper’s control.

    8:49 +10pts to Bachmann for politely raising her hand to get speaking time!

    8:45 +5pts to Anderson for quoting Hermain Cain on the electrified fence.

    8:42 +5pts to Mitt Romney for lecturing Rick Perry on the rules.

    8:36 This thing seriously goes until 10? I’m running out of arbitrary reasons for giving Rick Santorum points.

    8:33 +1pt to Bachmann for yelling “Anderson!” repeatedly trying to get speaking time.

    8:31 +5pts to Newt Gingrich for telling everyone to “focus.”

    8:27 +5pts to Rick Santorum for “income mobility.” –5pts for criticizing Mitt Romney on Obamacare. Isn’t that the one question that you think he’s had the most time to prep on?

    8:21 Why was Mitt Romney allowed to make that long speech? Why isn’t Rick Santorum making a speech? This is biased.

    8:16 Rick Perry – “I’ve got a great plan. But I’m not sharing it with you yet, but I’m going to have it, and it’ll be great!”

    8:14 People stop having kids when taxes are high. +5pts to Rick Santorum.

    8:13 I feel like Herman Cain always sounds like he’s lecturing me when he talks.

    8:08 Everyone seems to be writing something while Anderson Cooper is explaining the rules. What can they possibly be writing? Did you not learn the rules ahead of time?

    8:06 National Anthem. 5pts to Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney for mouthing the words to it. Or lip synching?

    8:03 Oh nice, they’re taking attendance.

    8:01 Wow CNN makes the presidential campaigning a year before the actual elections look pretty exciting. I bet they could do wonders for pre-season football!

    8:01 Oh yay!

    8:00 Oh snap it’s starting. I hope they have a video montage telling me what the West is all about.

    7:36 About ‘alf an ‘our ago, Jessi told me to Liveblog tonight’s debate, so I’m going to do it. I’m pretty excited about finding out who’s the best candidate to become the next President of the Western Republican.

    Warning: I’ve never liveblogged anything before, and I can’t guarantee that this will be anything more than half-assed. I may get distracted and go play StarCraft midsentence or something. No promises!

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    Setting goals with GOAL!

    5296_647406879262_108741_37788637_2284760_nAre you trying to get your life in order but not sure how to set proper goals? If so, I hear where you’re coming from! Setting goals is not easy, but fortunately, I’ve put together this little acronym to make setting goals easier for you. Just follow GOAL!

    G – Gender-specific

    Specificity in your goal reflects how seriously you take them. Having vague goals is an indication that you’re not serious about your goals. Make your goals specific. In fact, make your goals gender-specific. This will help you hone in on what you really want to accomplish. For example:

    1. Meet 5 girls at a bar.
    2. Perform 25 modified (girl) push-ups

    O – Original

    Do you want to reduce your credit card debt by 25% Yes? Well, so does everyone else, and someone is likely to beat you to it. It’s not enough to just say you want to do something. You have to set out to do something that you’ll be the first to accomplish. Original goals would be more like:

    1. Reduce my debt by exactly pi%
    2. Reduce your carbon footprint. Literally!

    A – Attitude

    Lethargy is dangerous – especially when setting goals. Make sure you set your goals with attitude, largely by adding punctuation to them. Punctuation can be added almost anywhere in your goal. For example:

    1. Lose 10lbs of weight in a month!
    2. Join! a? book. club;

    L – Lower your goals

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’re here reading a blog article about setting goals, which means that we’re probably not the overachieving. Let’s not go overboard and set goals that we can’t accomplish. When you think you’ve set the right goal, dial it back by maybe 10%. Some examples of goals that have been dialed back a bit include:

    1. Run a 4.5K
    2. Put more money into your 360.9K retirement plan.

    So there you have it. Just try to follow these guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to setting great goals!

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    I do it because it’s fun… and it has anti-oxidants

    WARNING: Ranty post!

    Every notice that often when you ask someone why they have some hobby, they rattle off 5 or so answers that generally have nothing to do with the actual reason why they do things? One day, my sister was telling me about how she wanted to buy some more gems, and I asked her why she liked buying gems so much, and she said “because I like having pretty things.” What a refreshingly honest answer! The following post parses through common answers I hear to “why” to provide what I think are the real answers.

    Why do you go to the gym?

    Official answer: It reduces health risk factors, helps me better regulate my energy levels during the work day, makes me feel better afterward, and helps me perform better in my co-rec sports league.

    Actual answer: It makes me less unappealing to the opposite sex.

    Why do you like guns?

    Official answer: It helps with hand-eye coordination, builds confidence, and studies show that areas where more people are proficient in guns have lower crime rate as it increases the risk of committing crime for criminals.

    Actual answer: It makes a cool BANG noise when I pull the trigger!

    Why are you on the Paleo diet?

    Official answer: The modern diet is so polluted by refining processes and the all mighty corn industry that the only way to truly be healthful is to eat that cavemen did (plus or minus a few arbitrary decisions and add a workout routine that would make cavemen go “wtf?”)

    Actual answer: I haven’t really thought about correlation vs causation, but some people that are in better shape than I am are on this diet, so I figured I’d give it a try.

    Why do you pirate music/software?

    Official answer: It’s my way of balancing out the unfair distribution of wealth. Big software companies and the recording industry don’t NEED my money, and meanwhile they’re just making record profits (pun intended!)

    Actual answer: I’m cheap, fairly confident that I won’t get caught, and morally bankrupt.

    Why do you have a StarCraft table in your apartment?

    Official answer: So people can come over and play StarCraft, obviously?

    Actual answer: So people can come over and play StarCraft. I think once a StarCraft player reveals that they play StarCraft, the big secret’s out, and they’re pretty open about it.

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    My StarCraft 2 Playlist

    Back where I used to train in Krav Maga, my instructors would blast hard rock while we worked out. It’d be loud music with a good bit of yelling, and this was supposed to motivate us while we did drills like “get choked from behind while the lights are off, your eyes are closed, and you’re disoriented.”

    To be honest though, that music never really did it for me. As I’m now a starving student, I no longer formally train in Krav, but I do play StarCraft2, which is roughly the same thing, and what really gets me going is:

    1. Colbie Caillat – All of You

    220px-ColbieallofyouThough the album “All of You” sounds like the aural manifestation of falling in love when you first listen to it, it’s actually the official training music for the Russian Spetsnaz counter-terrorism unit. They also blast it aloud on speakers before action, striking fear in the heart of Chechens.

    In StarCraft2, Colbie Caillat is best suited for those that play Protoss as the rhythms contain queues useful for warpgate rushing.

    2. Avril Lavigne – Goodbye Lullaby

    220px-Avril_Lavigne_Goodbye_Lullaby_album_coverOne often wonders when listening to Avril Lavigne, “what is this music actually about?” The first track, entitled Black Star, is actually about rogue scientific experiments done in Italy circa the early 90s to clone Silvio Berlusconi. This went on to become the basis of the storyline for Star Trek: The Attack of Evil Reman Picard (or better known as its production title Star Trek: Nemesis).

    Goodbye Lullaby is best paired with players playing Terran as the atonal chords destructively interfere with the SC2 soundtrack, leaving only a series of beeps that reminds you when to build SCVs. Though the beeps would also be useful for those playing Protoss, the music actually constructively interferes with the Protoss soundtrack, causing players to oversaturate their mineral lines while under-producing army units.

    3. Sara Bareilles – Kaleidoscope Heart

    220px-SarabareilleskaleidoscopeheartcoverSeal team six listened to Kaleidoscope Heart when they killed Bin Laden.

    The soulfulness of the music counteracts the gross squishy sounds of the Zerg soundtrack.

    But mostly the Seal team 6 part.

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