Reader Mail – 07/08/2012 To 07/14/2012

Ed Porter commented on PHYS/PSLV Underwriters Steal $3M+ From Shareholders.

Thanks for the article. Just interested in one thing – you mention that the GLD fund manager can lend gold to short sellers, but when I read the Prospectus it specifically said it didn’t do that :

“Gold held in the Trust’s allocated account is the property of the Trust and is not traded, leased or loaned under any circumstances”

So I wonder if you have seen something else which is contrary to this?



Not all of the trust’s assets are held in the allocated account. Read the bit on subcustodians. You have to read it carefully.

Do I have to spell it out for you? This link, page 11.

Besides, even if there was no “subcustodians” clause in the prospectus, the fund manager can run off with customer money like Corzine (MF Global) or Peregrine.

The clause you cited does not exclude the possibility of rehypothecation. “Rehypothetication” is when the gold in the bank’s vault is pledged as collateral for other trades, or if the same gold bar is promised to multiple customers. You won’t find out about that fraud until the bank declares bankruptcy.

If the bank that manages GLD goes bankrupt, one of the first things they will probably do is raid the GLD fund, leaving shareholders holding the bag. If you believe “Wait a minute, the CEO can’t flagrantly rob customers and shareholders!”, then you haven’t been paying attention.

Glonim commented on Common Hiring Myth – “Better To Reject A Good Candidate Than Hire A Bad Candidate”.
One day there will be a start-up which hires mostly kick-ass outliers then takes just about every out of business, or at least changes business as we know it now. That day may be coming sooner than we think since it’s only a matter of matching the right groups of people with the right organizations. On the other hand, though the internet speeds up the ability to do this substantially, it also makes choosing talent more complicated.

That isn’t as easy as it sounds. Most existing businesses are protected by the State.

Google claims to hire mostly kick-ass outliers, but that wasn’t my experience when I interviewed there.

That isn’t worth it for $20/month. I’d rather investigate Google alternatives.

Besides, if I did get another AdSense account, I could get banned again just before I earn $100.

Yohan commented on FSK Asks – Advertising Options?.

At a few $ a month I wouldn’t bother either you will just pollute the blog with ads that the kind of readers of this blog don’t care about anyway ;) So unless you are getting a high CPM, then you may not get enough clicks to reach your 20$/mnth target.

That’s my biggest complaint with the ads, both from AdSense and AdBrite. They were mostly spammy/scammy, and not serious ads.

Anonymous Coward commented on FSK Asks – Advertising Options?.

I’m sure FSK would choke on the LLC idea as he/she believes they promote irresponsibility by protecting the owners from the effects of their actions!

Anyway LLCs do require State filings at some level and they will take up time and cost money. Even at the cheapest level they will consume hundreds of dollars a year either in time and money.

Also, an LLC does not protect a small business owner. When there’s a lawsuit involving a small business, the owners are usually also named as defendants.

Justin commented on FSK Asks – Advertising Options?.

FSK instead of ads write a book. Advertise it on your blog and turn your readers into a market. I think $10 is a good target for price imo.

Selling 100 copies for $10 each still isn’t that much money.

Do you advise 100% self-publishing? Do you advise using Kindle or one of the other e-book services?

I agree that it’s better to use my blog to leverage other business opportunities, rather than profiting via ads. That isn’t easy.

commented on FSK Asks – Advertising Options?.

Yeah, and it would be a miracle if you could sell 100 copies of any book, especially for ten bucks a piece. The publishing industry has been taken over by self-publishers, which is good, but now everyone thinks they are an author and the self-publishing market is flooded with junk and it would be a miracle if anyone ever even noticed your book was there, let alone bought one.

The idea was that, if each of my regular readers bought one copy, that would be 100+ sure sales.

I’m not interested in hiding my content behind paywalls. Equivalently, I could just upload a PDF and solicit donations. If I use Kindle, I pay a fee to a middleman. If I directly sell or solicit donations, I keep 100% (minus taxes).

That would be really offensive. For each $10 sold, the State gets $5+ via taxes!

commented on FSK Asks – Advertising Options?.

Since you already have an audience, your best bet is to keep plugging away at this and add a Paypal Donation button. Also, you can write PDF books and email them to anyone who donates a certain amount or higher.

Penny Arcade is switching from ads back to donations. They’re having a Kickstarter campaign.

Why use Kickstarter and pay a fee, rather than solicit donations directly yourself? If you’re famous enough to successfully raise money via Kickstarter, why not ask fans to pay you directly?

Penny Arcade has some advantages. They were one of the first webcomics, which gives them an advantage. They’ve been doing it for a long time, which is an advantage.

Here’s an interesting link on self-publishing options. That post recommended Hyperink, specifically aimed at someone trying to turn a blog into a book. However, that site was ugly. The modern trend is to stuff a website with too much whitespace. I didn’t see how Hyperink is better than me using Open Office to write a pdf. If they take a cut of 50%, I don’t see the benefit compared to just putting up the pdf up my website, or dealing directly with Amazon or iTunes.

Amazon Createspace seems to be the best option. That minimizes 3rd party fees. Createspace also offers a non-exclusive contract.

Justin commented on American Greed – Phuong Truong.
I guess its a good thing that most engineers are good people in my experience. Since their job is grounded in reality. However a small conspiracy can cause large damage.

In the financial area, the parasitic/psychopathic personality type is more dominant. Even if you’re evil, you still can have some programming ability, such as Mark Zuckerberg.

Superficially, you might think that financial software is awesome. Overall, it’s very lousy. I’ve been working on some key financial software infrastructure, and was disappointed with the lousy quality.

At my last financial job, there were lots of exploitable bugs in their software. Was it lousy software? Was it defective on purpose? I suspected several people were in on the scam. They had all sorts of excuses for why those bugs were acceptable.

The majority of people are good. The 1% really evil people can do a lot of damage, in the right situation. In the right environment, 10-20 criminals working together can steal a lot of money, both in casinos and with intentionally-defective financial software.

Anonymous Coward commented on Banksters Rob Cities Via Interest Rate Swaps And LIBOR Rate Manipulation.
Talking about corruption:

1) David Laws technically cheated on his Member of Parliament expenses and was forgiven because he was too shy to admit his partnership arrangements.

2) The Head of Ethics at the UK’s tax collection department is avoiding tax!!!!


3) Woman who sold sex to pay for her university education is given 16 month prison sentence for not paying the right tax.


So if a civil servant does not pay tax or a Member of Parliament fiddles his expenses, it is OK. If a woman sells sex to pay for her university education is a crime worthy of a 16 month prison sentence.

This is very wrong. The government has no moral authority to kidnap, assault and steal from women when its own members fiddle expenses and avoid tax.

The government only has the authority of a violent thug.

anthony commented on Peregrine Financial – Another MF Global.
i don’t understand you sometimes fsk ! on one hand , you’re an anarchist ( like myself ) but on the other , you blame bank failures on the lack of government regulations ! what gives ?

Currently, the government has a monopoly for regulating banks, and failed miserably. It’s an argument against government.

Maybe I was unclear. “The CFTC said they audited all commodity brokers after MF Global. They either lied or was incompetent. Therefore, the government regulatory monopoly is evil. The CFTC regulators should have personal responsibility, when they either lied or were negligent. However, the State protects police and regulators via sovereign immunity. The Peregrine customers can’t directly sue the CFTC regulators personally to collect damages.”

Do I have to add “Therefore, the government police/justice/regulatory monopoly is evil!” after each paragraph? It gets redundant when I say it in every post. I feel like I’m whining, when I say that too often.

This may lead to an insurance on commodity accounts, similar to FDIC/SIPC insurance. That just shifts the costs from dishonest brokers to honest brokers, via a tax.

In a really free market, if you invest in a bank that commits fraud, you do deserve to lose your investment. In a really free market, you would be able to directly sue all bank employees and auditors, which would encourage responsibility by everyone.

For example, a teller in a dishonest bank doesn’t deserve a crippling liability of $1M+. However, there should be some payment and liability. The teller’s salary should be considered stolen property, and subject to forfeiture/clawback.

In a really free market, if I worked as a free-market bank auditor, and I say “Bank XYZ is sound!”, then I’m personally liable if I’m wrong. All the bank executives and employees would also be liable for a loss due to fraud. State regulators get a perk of immunity, when they’re negligent.

Justin commented on Peregrine Financial – Another MF Global.

Being an anarchist doesn’t imply no state, it implies no involuntary state. You can have a voluntary state and not violate morality. I would not submit to our current state voluntarily therefore its a mafia.

The State refers to the evil use of the government monopoly, all the people who directly or indirectly benefit from corruption, and all the people who are pro-State brainwashed to believe this is desirable or a necessary evil.

The CEO of a big bank counts as part of the State, even though he is not directly employed by the government. Due to State subsidies, bank CEOs are very dependent on the State and Federal Reserve.

For example, Ron Paul works for the government, but he isn’t necessarily part of the State. When Ron Paul pushes the limits of the debate ceiling, he isn’t part of the State. When Ron Paul provides a distraction for people who want more freedom, he is part of the State.

If a CFTC regulator was smart enough to do a proper audit, then he might not be considered part of the State. Due to increasing corruption, such people tend to get weeded out.

Even without a government monopoly, criminals would be caught and forced to pay restitution plus punitive damages. If caught criminals don’t owe punitive damages but merely restitution, then you’re actually encouraging crime. Without punitive damages, if the criminal is caught, he merely repays what he stole; otherwise, he gets to keep it.

Fraud would still be caught in a free market. In a really free market, there would be greater incentive to not commit fraud. Every person who profits from the scam, directly or indirectly, is partially liable. There is no “limited liability incorporation” in a really free market.

Here’s another interesting link. Here’s how the CEO tricked regulators with forged statements.

He falsely listed the bank’s address, instead listing a mailbox or PO Box he controlled. He mailed his forged statements from this fake address.

The regulators are so incompetent and lazy, that they didn’t check the bank’s address.

According to Piwik, a lot of people are finding this post via a Google search of “Who audited Peregrine?”

This link has the answer. It was the National Futures Association (NFA), a self-regulatory organization (SRO). “Self regulatory organization” means that the bank gets to audit themselves. That leads to the obvious problems.

That’s the model for banking regulation, you get to regulate yourself, and when there’s a problem too bad. If you’re a true insider (Corzine), you get away with it or get a bailout. Small fry like Wasendorf go to prison.

Here’s another interesting link.

Justin commented on “Best Of FSK” – v2.0 Implemented.
How about year on year% or mom :) Just wanna keep you busy fsk.

What? You mean daily/monthly/yearly visitor count and % growth?

I’d just been doing that myself in MySQL. I didn’t think it merited a page.

I also get that information in piwik. It’s interesting to compare the piwik stats with the raw Apache logs. The raw Apache logs show 200% more visitors than piwik!

Robert Ferguson commented on “Best Of FSK” – v2.0 Implemented.

Long time blog follower and friend, I think you know that. So I support your efforts! Off topic from this post but I wanted to make an observation about what I have seen with this “Dr. Drew” on tv. First off all, the show is on the State-postured more “respectable, adult” networks like CNN Headline News Network. So funny they have all these different names to suit different favors while all of which come from the same three or four State backed media companies. Anyway, I have watched the Dr. Drew program probably because I liked the “Loveline” show he did with Adam Corolla on the radio years ago. Flatly put, I have noticed that he ALWAYS supports a position which emasculates men. He rushes to support gay rights and heterosexual man abuse at every turn. Female guests and callers are always given a lot of latitude to talk negatively about men and also make a case for a woman who wants the beta male. Meanwhile, any male guest or caller or exhibits even the slightest shade of alpha is quickly shot down for being “un-evolved”, and so forth. I could go on, but I am convinced that the State, actively and on a daily basis, and has for years, seeks to destroy families and weaken men because a strong man and strong family among the masses is a threat!

There’s a lot of pro-State brainwashing on this issue.

The mainstream media promotes homosexuality a lot, often in hidden ways.

The mainstream media also promotes beta/loser values.

Many “romantic comedies” encourage men to think like a beta/loser. In a romantic comedy, the man meets a woman, the woman initially rejects him, he is persistent, and eventually she accepts him. That’s not the healthy way to do it. If a woman isn’t interested, you should find someone else. However, that doesn’t make for an interesting movie.

Justin commented on Test Driven Development – How Stupidity Spreads.
If you do work there, get paid daily in cash :) Don’t work for a company that you don’t believe in.

I’d work for a company I didn’t believe in, if the pay was right. When I was writing financial software, I knew it had no real economic value, but it paid well and I didn’t have to worry about my paycheck bouncing.

It’d be silly to work for a startup you though was doomed, if the equity was party of the paycheck. I haven’t been earning that much, so the cash-only component of a startup job might be worth it.

Also, it’s lousy to work for a startup that doesn’t offer health insurance. COBRA is a ripoff.

Actually, now that I think about it, getting paid in cash isn’t so stupid. If he’s paying me out of his own pocket, cash is better, because it cuts out the State middleman. If I avoid taxes, it’s like getting paid 60% more! He didn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d go for that.

Anonymous Coward commented on Test Driven Development – How Stupidity Spreads.

>However, many people would say that about me, because I switched jobs too many times.

>It becomes a sort of career death spiral. I’ve switched jobs too many times,


>employers reject me. Many employers would reject me for superficial reasons,


>I’m forced to take sketchy jobs. My most recent job counts as a sketchy employer.

I had three sets of interviews at a bank in London on three separate days. One interview consisted of an hour long written test. I was told I scored 100%.

The last interview was about an hour long and consisted of a stream of technical questions. I got all of them correct, except maybe for the last one which was a trivial question about a specific proprietary development environment name for a config file. A stupid question to ask.

Despite an almost perfect performance in their written and oral questions, the most likely reason I didn’t get the job is because the non-technical interviewer pointed out in had 5 different jobs in almost 10 years.

It is a pity they didn’t spot that before I had to waste 3 different trips to their offices.

A friend of mine says pretty much the same as you. He had a series of contractor jobs on crappy death-spiral projects. In the end the recruitment agencies only put him forward for rubbish jobs and some of them were very brazen about it.

In one job he couldn’t put up with the dishonesty and rubbish strategy anymore and left. The recruitment agency berided him for not sticking it out for a bit longer, even though they both knew the project wasn’t going anywhere and the staff turnover was very high.

I had one headhunter that only sent me on sleazy interviews. It actually was amazing. I met with a bunch of different clients, all of which were nearly complete twits. I was surprised both by the volume of interviews, and how clueless/sleazy most of the clients were.

At one interview, after 6+ hours, they rejected me for “not having enough Java experience” along with “FSK is overqualified”. I never pretended to have much Java experience, so why waste my time? They may have had another reason for rejecting me, but gave that as the superficial reason. According to the headhunter a month later, the position was still open.

Anonymous Coward commented on Test Driven Development – How Stupidity Spreads.

Testing is important. I always test the code continuously as I develop it.

However I’m sure going overboard with formalized testing and code to test code can cause problems.

Testing is good. But anything good that involves clowns gets wrecked.

Instead of realizing the cleverness is in writing code and solving problems, clowns think the cleverness is in repeating mantras. Unless you say exactly what the clowns say, then you are stupid. Stupid clowns can’t write good code. Clowns can’t solve problems.

I once worked for a famous tech company. Another group pushed out some code that didn’t work. The bug got sent to our group to fix. The buggy source code was under version control and only the other group had permissions to change the responsible source file. I told them repeatedly their code was buggy and they should fix it. They repeatedly tried to shift responsibility even when evidence was emailed to them.

One of their interns said as their automatic overnight testing had passed the code it couldn’t be buggy!!!!!!

Of course code to test code doesn’t find all the bugs.

Eventually the clowns fixed their code.

There’s a big difference between testing your own code as you write it, and setting up automated tests, and writing the tests before you write your code.

Automated tests only matter when you have more users. It’s a waste at an early-stage startup.

“Test Driven Development” is particularly stupid. How can you write the tests before you write the code? If you do have automated testing, see what problems come up, and then add test for it.

Anonymous Coward commented on Test Driven Development – How Stupidity Spreads.

I guess another piece of stupidity that spreads is having programming tests that last from 10am to 5:30pm on a day of interviews.

I went to a day of interviews at Microsoft and each interviewer asked two whiteboard programming questions. As I had to wake up at 5am to get to their offices it was a bit too much.

After the first few interviews any more technical questions becomes increasingly pointless. It is an exercise in endurance rather than off real long-range intellectual skills.

The trouble is a lot of other companies copy this style.

Anonymous Coward commented on Test Driven Development – How Stupidity Spreads.

Forgot to mention I had 4 programming questions before the interviews (3 by email and 1 via Internet whiteboard).

My favorite are the multiple-choice programming questions on a computerized pre-screening. Why did I get a CS degree from a top university, if every interviewer is asking a multiple-choice pre-screening test? Is their 15 minute test going to measure more than my CS degree?

I like it when the multiple-choice tests have errors. Then, I have to guess the intelligence of the question-writer. One question assumed that C++ had closures, but “Hey! C++ doesn’t have closures!” wasn’t one of the choices. (A closure is when local variables are preserved after a function returns, usually local variables that are used in anonymous functions declared locally. One example is the callback function style in node.js, where variables must be preserved for when the callback is called.)[/rawr]

2 Responses to Reader Mail – 07/08/2012 To 07/14/2012

  1. I think self publishing is a good idea, but everyone needs a good editor to make a quality book. I think the time it takes to get a book on the kindle or amazon website is much greater than it takes on lulu. Obviously the market on amazon is much bigger, so you could sell a book on lulu and try to market it yourself and use that seed money to try to get through the amazon process.

    • Based on what I read for Amazon Createspace, there’s a very low barrier to getting on Amazon. You only have to give them a .doc/.pdf file.

      Another advantage of Amazon Createspace is that you can simultaneously submit your book for print-on-demand and also Kindle. For Kindle, I can make the price $2 or $5 or something very low.

      I’m going to edit it myself. There’s no point paying $$ for another editor, unless someone wants to volunteer.

      My goal is not “Make #1 on the bestseller list!” or even “Make enough that it can be my full-time job!” My goal would be “Earn enough to cover blog hosting costs, $20/month.” That could be more viable than putting up ads.

      Also on Kindle, I’d be available to people who search the Kindle store, but don’t already read my blog.

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