More on Society & Culture
1 month ago
What happens when those without morals enter the economic world?
I apologize if this sounds basic, but throughout my career, I've always been clear that a company's activities are shaped by its founder(s)' morality.
I consider Palantir, owned by PayPal founder Peter Thiel, evil. He got $5 billion tax-free by hacking a statute to help middle-class savings. That may appear clever, but I think it demonstrates a shocking lack of solidarity with society. As a result of this and other things he has said and done, I early on dismissed Peter Thiel as someone who could contribute anything positive to society, and events soon proved me right: we are talking about someone who clearly considers himself above everyone else and who does not hesitate to set up a company, Palantir, to exploit the data of the little people and sell it to the highest bidder, whoever that is and whatever the consequences.
The German courts have confirmed my warnings concerning Palantir. The problem is that politicians love its surveillance tools because they think knowing more about their constituents gives them power. These are ideal for dictatorships who want to snoop on their populace. Hence, Silicon Valley's triumphalist dialectic has seduced many governments at many levels and collected massive volumes of data to hold forever.
Dangerous company. There are many more. My analysis of the moral principles that disclose company management changed my opinion of Facebook, now Meta, and anyone with a modicum of interest might deduce when that happened, a discovery that leaves you dumbfounded. TikTok was easy because its lack of morality was revealed early when I saw the videos it encouraged minors to post and the repercussions of sharing them through its content recommendation algorithm. When you see something like this, nothing can convince you that the firm can change its morals and become good. Nothing. You know the company is awful and will fail. Speak it, announce it, and change it. It's like a fingerprint—unchangeable.
Some of you who read me frequently make its Facebook today jokes when I write about these firms, and that's fine: they're my moral standards, those of an elderly professor with thirty-five years of experience studying corporations and discussing their cases in class, but you don't have to share them. Since I'm writing this and don't have to submit to any editorial review, that's what it is: when you continuously read a person, you have to assume that they have moral standards and that sometimes you'll agree with them and sometimes you won't. Morality accepts hierarchies, nuances, and even obsessions. I know not everyone shares my opinions, but at least I can voice them. One day, one of those firms may sue me (as record companies did some years ago).
Palantir is incredibly harmful. Limit its operations. Like Meta and TikTok, its business strategy is shaped by its founders' immorality. Such a procedure can never be beneficial.
7 months ago
My friend worked in a startup scam that preys on slothful individuals.
He explained everything.
A drinking buddy confessed. Alexander. He says he works at a startup based on a scam, which appears too clever to be a lie.
Alexander (assuming he developed the story) or the startup's creator must have been a genius.
This is the story of an Internet scam that targets older individuals and generates tens of millions of dollars annually.
The business sells authentic things at 10% of their market value. This firm cannot be lucrative, but the entrepreneur has a plan: monthly subscriptions to a worthless service.
The firm can then charge the customer's credit card to settle the gap. The buyer must subscribe without knowing it. What's their strategy?
How does the con operate?
Imagine a website with a split homepage. On one page, the site offers an attractive goods at a ridiculous price (from 1 euro to 10% of the product's market worth).
Same product, but with a stupid monthly subscription. Business is unsustainable. They buy overpriced products and resell them too cheaply, hoping customers will subscribe to a useless service.
No customer will want this service. So they create another illegal homepage that hides the monthly subscription offer. After an endless scroll, a box says Yes, I want to subscribe to a service that costs x dollars per month.
Unchecking the checkbox bugs. When a customer buys a product on this page, he's enrolled in a monthly subscription. Not everyone should see it because it's illegal. So what does the startup do?
A page that varies based on the sort of website visitor, a possible consumer or someone who might be watching the startup's business
Startup technicians make sure the legal page is displayed when the site is accessed normally. Typing the web address in the browser, using Google, etc. The page crashes when buying a goods, preventing the purchase.
This avoids the startup from selling a product at a loss because the buyer won't subscribe to the worthless service and charge their credit card each month.
The illegal page only appears if a customer clicks on a Google ad, indicating interest in the offer.
Alexander says that a banker, police officer, or anyone else who visits the site (maybe for control) will only see a valid and buggy site as purchases won't be possible.
The latter will go to the site in the regular method (by typing the address in the browser, using Google, etc.) and not via an online ad.
Those who visit from ads are likely already lured by the site's price. They'll be sent to an illegal page that requires a subscription.
Laziness is humanity's secret weapon. The ordinary person ignores tiny monthly credit card charges. The subscription lasts around a year before the customer sees an unexpected deduction.
After-sales service (ASS) is useful in this situation.
After-sales assistance begins when a customer notices slight changes on his credit card, usually a year later.
The customer will search Google for the direct debit reference. How he'll complain to after-sales service.
It's crucial that ASS appears in the top 4/5 Google search results. This site must be clear, and offer chat, phone, etc., he argues.
The pigeon must be comforted after waking up. The customer learns via after-sales service that he subscribed to a service while buying the product, which justifies the debits on his card.
The customer will then clarify that he didn't intend to make the direct debits. The after-sales care professional will pretend to listen to the customer's arguments and complaints, then offer to unsubscribe him for free because his predicament has affected him.
In 99% of cases, the consumer is satisfied since the after-sales support unsubscribed him for free, and he forgets the debited amounts.
The remaining 1% is split between 0.99% who are delighted to be reimbursed and 0.01%. We'll pay until they're done. The customer should be delighted, not object or complain, and keep us beneath the radar (their situation is resolved, the rest, they don’t care).
It works, so we expand our thinking.
Startup has considered industrialization. Since this fraud is working, try another. Automate! So they used a site generator (only for product modifications), underpaid phone operators for after-sales service, and interns for fresh product ideas.
The company employed a data scientist. This has allowed the startup to recognize that specific customer profiles can be re-registered in the database and that it will take X months before they realize they're subscribing to a worthless service. Customers are re-subscribed to another service, then unsubscribed before realizing it.
Alexander took months to realize the deception and leave. Lawyers and others apparently threatened him and former colleagues who tried to talk about it.
The startup would have earned prizes and competed in contests. He adds they can provide evidence to any consumer group, media, police/gendarmerie, or relevant body. When I submitted my information to the FBI, I was told, "We know, we can't do much.", he says.
9 months ago
The chronicles of monkeypox.
or, how I spread monkeypox and got it myself.
This story contains nsfw (not safe for wife) stuff and shouldn't be read if you're under 18 or think I'm a newborn angel. After the opening, it's broken into three sections: a chronological explanation of my disease course, my ideas, and what I plan to do next.
Your journey awaits.
As early as mid-may, I was waltzing around the lab talking about monkeypox, a rare tropical disease with an inaccurate name. Monkeys are not its primary animal reservoir. It caused an outbreak among men who have sex with men across Europe, with unprecedented levels of person-to-person transmission. European health authorities speculated that the virus spread at raves and parties and was easily transferred through intimate, mainly sexual, contact. I had already read the nejm article about the first confirmed monkeypox patient in the u.s. and shared the photos on social media so people knew what to look for. The cdc information page only included 4 photographs of monkeypox lesions that looked like they were captured on a motorola razr.
I warned my ex-boyfriend about monkeypox. Monkeypox? responded.
Mom, I'm afraid about monkeypox. What's monkeypox?
My therapist is scared about monkeypox. What's monkeypox?
Was I alone? A few science gays on Twitter didn't make me feel overreacting.
This information got my gay head turning. The incubation period for the sickness is weeks. Many of my social media contacts are traveling to Europe this summer. What is pride? Travel, parties, and sex. Many people may become infected before attending these activities. Monkeypox will affect the lgbtq+ community.
Being right always stinks. My young scientist brain was right, though. Someone who saw this coming is one of the early victims. I'll talk about my feelings publicly, and trust me, I have many concerning what's occurring.
Part 1 is the specifics.
Wednesday nights are never smart but always entertaining. I didn't wake up until noon on june 23 and saw gay twitter blazing. Without warning, the nyc department of health announced a pop-up monkeypox immunization station in chelsea. Some days would be 11am-7pm. Walk-ins were welcome, however appointments were preferred. I tried to arrange an appointment after rubbing my eyes, but they were all taken. I got out of bed, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and put on short shorts because I wanted to get a walk-in dose and show off my legs. I got a 20-oz. cold brew on the way to the train and texted a chelsea-based acquaintance for help.
Clinic closed at 2pm. No more doses. Hundreds queued up. The government initially gave them only 1,000 dosages. For a city with 500,000 LGBT people, c'mon. What more could I do? I was upset by how things were handled. The evidence speaks for itself.
I decided to seek an appointment when additional doses were available and continued my weekend. I was celebrating nyc pride with pals. Fun! sex! *
On tuesday after that, I felt a little burn. This wasn't surprising because I'd been sexually active throughout the weekend, so I got a sti panel the next day. I expected to get results in a few days, take antibiotics, and move on.
Emerging germs had other intentions. Wednesday night, I felt sore, and thursday morning, I had a blazing temperature and had sweat through my bedding. I had fever, chills, and body-wide aches and pains for three days. I reached 102 degrees. I believed I had covid over pride weekend, but I tested negative for three days straight.
STDs don't induce fevers or other systemic symptoms. If lymphogranuloma venereum advances, it can cause flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes. I was suspicious and desperate for answers, so I researched monkeypox on the cdc website (for healthcare professionals). Much of what I saw on screen about monkeypox prodrome matched my symptoms. Multiple-day fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, tiredness, enlarged lymph nodes. Pox were lacking.
I told my doctor my concerns pre-medically. I'm occasionally annoying.
On saturday night, my fever broke and I felt better. Still burning, I was optimistic till sunday, when I woke up with five red splotches on my arms and fingertips.
As spots formed, burning became pain. I observed as spots developed on my body throughout the day. I had more than a dozen by the end of the day, and the early spots were pustular. I had monkeypox, as feared.
Fourth of July weekend limited my options. I'm well-connected in my school's infectious disease academic community, so I texted a coworker for advice. He agreed it was likely monkeypox and scheduled me for testing on tuesday.
nyc health could only perform 10 monkeypox tests every day. Before doctors could take swabs and send them in, each test had to be approved by the department. Some commercial labs can now perform monkeypox testing, but the backlog is huge. I still don't have a positive orthopoxvirus test five days after my test. *My 12-day-old case may not be included in the official monkeypox tally. This outbreak is far wider than we first thought, therefore I'm attempting to spread the information and help contain it.
*Update, 7/11: I have orthopoxvirus.
I spent all day in the bathtub because of the agony. Warm lavender epsom salts helped me feel better. I can't stand lavender anymore. I brought my laptop into the bathroom and viewed everything everywhere at once (2022). If my ex and I hadn't recently broken up, I wouldn't have monkeypox. All of these things made me cry, and I sat in the bathtub on the 4th of July sobbing. I thought, Is this it? I felt like Bridesmaids' Kristen Wiig (2011). I'm a flop. From here, things can only improve.
Later that night, I wore a mask and went to my roof to see the fireworks. Even though I don't like fireworks, there was something wonderful about them this year: the colors, how they illuminated the black surfaces around me, and their transient beauty. Joyful moments rarely linger long in our life. We must enjoy them now.
Several roofs away, my neighbors gathered. Happy 4th! I heard a woman yell. Why is this godforsaken country so happy? Instead of being rude, I replied. I didn't tell them I had monkeypox. I thought that would kill the mood.
By the time I went to the hospital the next day to get my lesions swabbed, wearing long sleeves, pants, and a mask, they looked like this:
I had 30 lesions on my arms, hands, stomach, back, legs, buttcheeks, face, scalp, and right eyebrow. I had some in my mouth, gums, and throat. Current medical thought is that lesions on mucous membranes cause discomfort in sensitive places. Internal lesions are a new feature of this outbreak of monkeypox. Despite being unattractive, the other sores weren't unpleasant or bothersome.
I had a bacterial sti with the pox. Who knows if that would've created symptoms (often it doesn't), but different infections can happen at once. My care team remembered that having a sti doesn't exclude out monkeypox. doxycycline rocks!
The coworker who introduced me to testing also offered me his home. We share a restroom, and monkeypox can be spread through surfaces. (Being a dna virus gives it environmental hardiness that rna viruses like sars-cov-2 lack.) I disinfected our bathroom after every usage, but I was apprehensive. My friend's place has a guest room and second bathroom, so no cross-contamination. It was the ideal monkeypox isolation environment, so I accepted his offer and am writing this piece there. I don't know what I would have done without his hospitality and attention.
The next day, I started tecovirimat, or tpoxx, for 14 days. Smallpox has been eradicated worldwide since the 1980s but remains a bioterrorism concern. Tecovirimat has a unique, orthopoxvirus-specific method of action, which reduces side effects to headache and nausea. It hasn't been used in many people, therefore the cdc is encouraging patients who take it for monkeypox to track their disease and symptoms.
Tpoxx's oral absorption requires a fatty meal. The hospital ordered me to take the medication after a 600-calorie, 25-gram-fat meal every 12 hours. The coordinator joked, "Don't diet for the next two weeks." I wanted to get peanut butter delivered, but jif is recalling their supply due to salmonella. Please give pathogens a break. I got almond butter.
Tpoxx study enrollment was documented. After signing consent documents, my lesions were photographed and measured during a complete physical exam. I got bloodwork to assess my health. My medication delivery was precise; every step must be accounted for. I got a two-week supply and started taking it that night. I rewarded myself with McDonald's. I'd been hungry for a week. I was also prescribed ketorolac (aka toradol), a stronger ibuprofen, for my discomfort.
I thought tpoxx was a wonder medicine by day two of treatment. Early lesions looked like this.
however, They vanished. The three largest lesions on my back flattened and practically disappeared into my skin. Some pustular lesions were diminishing. Tpoxx+toradol has helped me sleep, focus, and feel human again. I'm down to twice-daily baths and feeling hungrier than ever in this illness. On day five of tpoxx, some of the lesions look like this:
I have a ways to go. We must believe I'll be contagious until the last of my patches scabs over, falls off, and sprouts new skin. There's no way to tell. After a week and a half of tremendous pain and psychological stress, any news is good news. I'm grateful for my slow but steady development.
Part 2 of the rant.
Being close to yet not in the medical world is interesting. It lets me know a lot about it without being persuaded by my involvement. Doctors identify and treat patients using a tool called differential diagnosis.
A doctor interviews a patient to learn about them and their symptoms. More is better. Doctors may ask, "Have you traveled recently?" sex life? Have pets? preferred streaming service? (No, really. (Hbomax is right.) After the inquisition, the doctor will complete a body exam ranging from looking in your eyes, ears, and throat to a thorough physical.
After collecting data, the doctor makes a mental (or physical) inventory of all the conceivable illnesses that could cause or explain the patient's symptoms. Differential diagnosis list. After establishing the differential, the clinician can eliminate options. The doctor will usually conduct nucleic acid tests on swab samples or bloodwork to learn more. This helps eliminate conditions from the differential or boosts a condition's likelihood. In an ideal circumstance, the doctor can eliminate all but one reason of your symptoms, leaving your formal diagnosis. Once diagnosed, treatment can begin. yay! Love medicine.
My symptoms two weeks ago did not suggest monkeypox. Fever, pains, weariness, and swollen lymph nodes are caused by several things. My scandalous symptoms weren't linked to common ones. My instance shows the importance of diversity and representation in healthcare. My doctor isn't gay, but he provides culturally sensitive care. I'd heard about monkeypox as a gay man in New York. I was hyper-aware of it and had heard of friends of friends who had contracted it the week before, even though the official case count in the US was 40. My physicians weren't concerned, but I was. How would it appear on his mental differential if it wasn't on his radar? Mental differential rhymes! I'll trademark it to prevent theft. differential!
I was in a rare position to recognize my condition and advocate for myself. I study infections. I'd spent months researching monkeypox. I work at a university where I rub shoulders with some of the country's greatest doctors. I'm a gay dude who follows nyc queer social networks online. All of these variables positioned me to think, "Maybe this is monkeypox," and to explain why.
This outbreak is another example of privilege at work. The brokenness of our healthcare system is once again exposed by the inequities produced by the vaccination rollout and the existence of people like myself who can pull strings owing to their line of work. I can't cure this situation on my own, but I can be a strong voice demanding the government do a better job addressing the outbreak and giving resources and advice to everyone I can.
lgbtqia+ community members' support has always impressed me in new york. The queer community has watched out for me and supported me in ways I never dreamed were possible.
Queer individuals are there for each other when societal structures fail. People went to the internet on the first day of the vaccine rollout to share appointment information and the vaccine clinic's message. Twitter timelines were more effective than marketing campaigns. Contrary to widespread anti-vaccine sentiment, the LGBT community was eager to protect themselves. Smallpox vaccination? sure. gimme. whether I'm safe. I credit the community's sex positivity. Many people are used to talking about STDs, so there's a reduced barrier to saying, "I think I have something, you should be on the watch too," and taking steps to protect our health.
Once I got monkeypox, I posted on Twitter and Instagram. Besides fueling my main character syndrome, I felt like I wasn't alone. My dc-based friend had monkeypox within hours. He told me about his experience and gave me ideas for managing the discomfort. I can't imagine life without him.
My buddy and colleague organized my medical care and let me remain in his home. His and his husband's friendliness and attention made a world of difference in my recovery. All of my friends and family who helped me, whether by venmo, doordash, or moral support, made me feel cared about. I don't deserve the amazing people in my life.
Finally, I think of everyone who commented on my social media posts regarding my trip. Friends from all sectors of my life and all sexualities have written me well wishes and complimented me for my vulnerability, but I feel the most gravitas from fellow lgbtq+ persons. They're learning to spot. They're learning where to go ill. They're learning self-advocacy. I'm another link in our network of caretaking. I've been cared for, therefore I want to do the same. Community and knowledge are powerful.
You're probably wondering where the diatribe is. You may believe he's gushing about his loved ones, and you'd be right. I say that just because the queer community can take care of itself doesn't mean we should.
Even when caused by the same pathogen, comparing health crises is risky. Aids is unlike covid-19 or monkeypox, yet all were caused by poorly understood viruses. The lgbtq+ community has a history of self-medicating. Queer people (and their supporters) have led the charge to protect themselves throughout history when the government refused. Surreal to experience this in real time.
First, vaccination access is a government failure. The strategic national stockpile contains tens of thousands of doses of jynneos, the newest fda-approved smallpox vaccine, and millions of doses of acam2000, an older vaccine for immunocompetent populations. Despite being a monkeypox hotspot and international crossroads, new york has only received 7,000 doses of the jynneos vaccine. Vaccine appointments are booked within minutes. It's showing Hunger Games, which bothers me.
Second, I think the government failed to recognize the severity of the european monkeypox outbreak. We saw abroad reports in may, but the first vaccines weren't available until june. Why was I a 26-year-old pharmacology grad student, able to see a monkeypox problem in europe but not the u.s. public health agency? Or was there too much bureaucracy and politicking, delaying action?
Lack of testing infrastructure for a known virus with vaccinations and therapies is appalling. More testing would have helped understand the problem's breadth. Many homosexual guys, including myself, didn't behave like monkeypox was a significant threat because there were only a dozen instances across the country. Our underestimating of the issue, spurred by a story of few infections, was huge.
Public health officials' response to infectious diseases frustrates me. A wait-and-see approach to infectious diseases is unsatisfactory. Before a sick person is recognized, they've exposed and maybe contaminated numerous others. Vaccinating susceptible populations before a disease becomes entrenched prevents disease. CDC might operate this way. When it was easier, they didn't control or prevent monkeypox. We'll learn when. Sometimes I fear never. Emerging viral infections are a menace in the era of climate change and globalization, and I fear our government will repeat the same mistakes. I don't work at the cdc, thus I have no idea what they do. As a scientist, a homosexual guy, and a citizen of this country, I feel confident declaring that the cdc has not done enough about monkeypox. Will they do enough about monkeypox? The strategic national stockpile can respond to a bioterrorism disaster in 12 hours. I'm skeptical following this outbreak.
It's simple to criticize the cdc, but they're not to blame. Underfunding public health services, especially the cdc, is another way our government fails to safeguard its citizens. I may gripe about the vaccination rollout all I want, but local health departments are doing their best with limited resources. They may not have enough workers to keep up with demand and run a contact-tracing program. Since my orthopoxvirus test is still negative, the doh hasn't asked about my close contacts. By then, my illness will be two weeks old, too long to do anything productive. Not their fault. They're functioning in a broken system that's underfunded for the work it does.
*Update, 7/11: I have orthopoxvirus.
Monkeypox is slow, so i've had time to contemplate. Now that I'm better, I'm angry. furious and sad I want to help. I wish to spare others my pain. This was preventable and solvable, I hope. HOW?
Third, the duty.
Family, especially selected family, helps each other. So many people have helped me throughout this difficult time. How can I give back? I have ideas.
1. Education. I've already started doing this by writing incredibly detailed posts on Instagram about my physical sickness and my thoughts on the entire scandal. via tweets. by producing this essay. I'll keep doing it even if people start to resent me! It's crucial! On my Instagram profile (@kyleplanckton), you may discover a story highlight with links to all of my bizarre yet educational posts.
2. Resources. I've forwarded the contact information for my institution's infectious diseases clinic to several folks who will hopefully be able to get tpoxx under the expanded use policy. Through my social networks, I've learned of similar institutions. I've also shared crowdsourced resources about symptom relief and vaccine appointment availability on social media. DM me or see my Instagram highlight for more.
3. Community action. During my illness, my friends' willingness to aid me has meant the most. It was nice to know I had folks on my side. One of my pals (thanks, kenny) snagged me a mcgriddle this morning when seamless canceled my order. This scenario has me thinking about methods to help people with monkeypox isolation. A two-week isolation period is financially damaging for many hourly workers. Certain governments required paid sick leave for covid-19 to allow employees to recover and prevent spread. No comparable program exists for monkeypox, and none seems to be planned shortly.
I want to aid monkeypox patients in severe financial conditions. I'm willing to pick up and bring groceries or fund meals/expenses for sick neighbors. I've seen several GoFundMe accounts, but I wish there was a centralized mechanism to link those in need with those who can help. Please contact me if you have expertise with mutual aid organizations. I hope we can start this shortly.
4. lobbying. Personal narratives are powerful. My narrative is only one, but I think it's compelling. Over the next day or so, i'll write to local, state, and federal officials about monkeypox. I wanted a vaccine but couldn't acquire one, and I feel tpoxx helped my disease. As a pharmacologist-in-training, I believe collecting data on a novel medicine is important, and there are ethical problems when making a drug with limited patient data broadly available. Many folks I know can't receive tpoxx due of red tape and a lack of contacts. People shouldn't have to go to an ivy league hospital to obtain the greatest care. Based on my experience and other people's tales, I believe tpoxx can drastically lessen monkeypox patients' pain and potentially curb transmission chains if administered early enough. This outbreak is manageable. It's not too late if we use all the instruments we have (diagnostic, vaccine, treatment).
*UPDATE 7/15: I submitted the following letter to Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. I've addressed identical letters to local, state, and federal officials, including the CDC and HHS.
I hope to join RESPND-MI, an LGBTQ+ community-led assessment of monkeypox symptoms and networks in NYC. Visit their website to learn more and give to this community-based charity.
How I got monkeypox is a mystery. I received it through a pride physical interaction, but i'm not sure which one. This outbreak will expand unless leaders act quickly. Until then, I'll keep educating and connecting people to care in my neighborhood.
Despite my misgivings, I see some optimism. Health department social media efforts are underway. During the outbreak, the CDC provided nonjudgmental suggestions for safer social and sexual activity. There's additional information regarding the disease course online, including how to request tpoxx for sufferers. These materials can help people advocate for themselves if they're sick. Importantly, homosexual guys are listening when they discuss about monkeypox online and irl. Learners They're serious.
The government has a terrible track record with lgtbq+ health issues, and they're not off to a good start this time. I hope this time will be better. If I can aid even one individual, I'll do so.
Thanks for reading, supporting me, and spreading awareness about the 2022 monkeypox outbreak. My dms are accessible if you want info, resources, queries, or to chat.
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10 months ago
Bear market duration and how to invest during one
Bear markets don't last forever, but that's hard to remember. Jamie Cullen's illustration
A bear market is a 20% decline from peak to trough in stock prices.
The S&P 500 was down 24% from its January highs at its low point this year. Bear market.
The U.S. stock market has had 13 bear markets since WWII (including the current one). Previous 12 bear markets averaged –32.7% losses. From peak to trough, the stock market averaged 12 months. The average time from bottom to peak was 21 months.
In the past seven decades, a bear market roundtrip to breakeven has averaged less than three years.
Long-term averages can vary widely, as with all historical market data. Investors can learn from past market crashes.
Historical bear markets offer lessons.
Bear market duration
A bear market can cost investors money and time. Most of the pain comes from stock market declines, but bear markets can be long.
Here are the longest U.S. stock bear markets since World war 2:
Stock market crashes can make it difficult to break even. After the 2008 financial crisis, the stock market took 4.5 years to recover. After the dotcom bubble burst, it took seven years to break even.
The longer you're underwater in the market, the more suffering you'll experience, according to research. Suffering can lead to selling at the wrong time.
Bear markets require patience because stocks can take a long time to recover.
Stock crash recovery
Bear markets can end quickly. The Corona Crash in early 2020 is an example.
The S&P 500 fell 34% in 23 trading sessions, the fastest bear market from a high in 90 years. The entire crash lasted one month. Stocks broke even six months after bottoming. Stocks rose 100% from those lows in 15 months.
Seven bear markets have lasted two years or less since 1945.
The 2020 recovery was an outlier, but four other bear markets have made investors whole within 18 months.
During a bear market, you don't know if it will end quickly or feel like death by a thousand cuts.
Recessions vs. bear markets
Many people believe the U.S. economy is in or heading for a recession.
I agree. Four-decade high inflation. Since 1945, inflation has exceeded 5% nine times. Each inflationary spike caused a recession. Only slowing economic demand seems to stop price spikes.
This could happen again. Stocks seem to be pricing in a recession.
Recessions almost always cause a bear market, but a bear market doesn't always equal a recession. In 1946, the stock market fell 27% without a recession in sight. Without an economic slowdown, the stock market fell 22% in 1966. Black Monday in 1987 was the most famous stock market crash without a recession. Stocks fell 30% in less than a week. Many believed the stock market signaled a depression. The crash caused no slowdown.
Economic cycles are hard to predict. Even Wall Street makes mistakes.
Bears vs. bulls
Bear markets for U.S. stocks always end. Every stock market crash in U.S. history has been followed by new all-time highs.
How should investors view the recession? Investing risk is subjective.
You don't have as long to wait out a bear market if you're retired or nearing retirement. Diversification and liquidity help investors with limited time or income. Cash and short-term bonds drag down long-term returns but can ensure short-term spending.
Young people with years or decades ahead of them should view this bear market as an opportunity. Stock market crashes are good for net savers in the future. They let you buy cheap stocks with high dividend yields.
You need discipline, patience, and planning to buy stocks when it doesn't feel right.
Bear markets aren't fun because no one likes seeing their portfolio fall. But stock market downturns are a feature, not a bug. If stocks never crashed, they wouldn't offer such great long-term returns.
10 months ago
5 Tips for Concise Writing
Here's how to be clear.
“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” — French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and writer Blaise Pascal
People want this. We tend to repeat ourselves and use unnecessary words.
Being vague frustrates readers. It focuses their limited attention span on figuring out what you're saying rather than your message.
“Examine every word you put on paper. You’ll find a surprising number that don’t serve any purpose.” — American writer, editor, literary critic, and teacher William Zinsser
How do you write succinctly?
Here are three ways to polish your writing.
Your readers will appreciate it if you delete unnecessary words. If a word or phrase is essential, keep it. Don't force it.
Many readers dislike bloated sentences. Ask yourself if cutting a word or phrase will change the meaning or dilute your message.
For example, you could say, “It’s absolutely essential that I attend this meeting today, so I know the final outcome.” It’s better to say, “It’s critical I attend the meeting today, so I know the results.”
Delete actually, completely, just, full, kind of, really, and totally. Keep the necessary words, cut the rest.
2. Just Do It
Don't tell readers your plans. Your readers don't need to know your plans. Who are you?
Don't say, "I want to highlight our marketing's problems." Our marketing issues are A, B, and C. This cuts 5–7 words per sentence.
Keep your reader's attention on the essentials, not the fluff. What are you doing? You won't lose readers because you get to the point quickly and don't build up.
Delete words that don't add to your message. Do something, don't tell readers you will.
3. Cut Overlap
You probably repeat yourself unintentionally. You may add redundant sentences when brainstorming. Read aloud to detect overlap.
Remove repetition from your writing. It's important to edit our writing and thinking to avoid repetition.
If you're repeating yourself, combine sentences to avoid overlap.
Write as you would to family or friends. Communicate clearly. Don't use jargon. These words confuse readers.
Readers want specifics, not jargon. Write simply. Done.
Most adults read at 8th-grade level. Jargon and buzzwords make speech fluffy. This confuses readers who want simple language.
Ensure all audiences can understand you. USA Today's 5th-grade reading level is intentional. They want everyone to understand.
5. Active voice
Subjects perform actions in active voice. When you write in passive voice, the subject receives the action.
For example, “the board of directors decided to vote on the topic” is an active voice, while “a decision to vote on the topic was made by the board of directors” is a passive voice.
Active voice clarifies sentences. Active voice is simple and concise.
Bringing It All Together
Five tips help you write clearly. Delete, just do it, cut overlap, use simple language, and write in an active voice.
Clear writing is effective. It's okay to occasionally use unnecessary words or phrases. Realizing it is key. Check your writing.
Adding words costs.
Write more concisely. People will appreciate it and read your future articles, emails, and messages. Spending extra time will increase trust and influence.
“Not that the story need be long, but it will take a long while to make it short.” — Naturalist, essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau
1 year ago
Day Trading Introduction
Historically, only large financial institutions, brokerages, and trading houses could actively trade in the stock market. With instant global news dissemination and low commissions, developments such as discount brokerages and online trading have leveled the playing—or should we say trading—field. It's never been easier for retail investors to trade like pros thanks to trading platforms like Robinhood and zero commissions.
Day trading is a lucrative career (as long as you do it properly). But it can be difficult for newbies, especially if they aren't fully prepared with a strategy. Even the most experienced day traders can lose money.
So, how does day trading work?
Day Trading Basics
Day trading is the practice of buying and selling a security on the same trading day. It occurs in all markets, but is most common in forex and stock markets. Day traders are typically well educated and well funded. For small price movements in highly liquid stocks or currencies, they use leverage and short-term trading strategies.
Day traders are tuned into short-term market events. News trading is a popular strategy. Scheduled announcements like economic data, corporate earnings, or interest rates are influenced by market psychology. Markets react when expectations are not met or exceeded, usually with large moves, which can help day traders.
Intraday trading strategies abound. Among these are:
- Scalping: This strategy seeks to profit from minor price changes throughout the day.
- Range trading: To determine buy and sell levels, range traders use support and resistance levels.
- News-based trading exploits the increased volatility around news events.
- High-frequency trading (HFT): The use of sophisticated algorithms to exploit small or short-term market inefficiencies.
A Disputed Practice
Day trading's profit potential is often debated on Wall Street. Scammers have enticed novices by promising huge returns in a short time. Sadly, the notion that trading is a get-rich-quick scheme persists. Some daytrade without knowledge. But some day traders succeed despite—or perhaps because of—the risks.
Day trading is frowned upon by many professional money managers. They claim that the reward rarely outweighs the risk. Those who day trade, however, claim there are profits to be made. Profitable day trading is possible, but it is risky and requires considerable skill. Moreover, economists and financial professionals agree that active trading strategies tend to underperform passive index strategies over time, especially when fees and taxes are factored in.
Day trading is not for everyone and is risky. It also requires a thorough understanding of how markets work and various short-term profit strategies. Though day traders' success stories often get a lot of media attention, keep in mind that most day traders are not wealthy: Many will fail, while others will barely survive. Also, while skill is important, bad luck can sink even the most experienced day trader.
Characteristics of a Day Trader
Experts in the field are typically well-established professional day traders.
They usually have extensive market knowledge. Here are some prerequisites for successful day trading.
Market knowledge and experience
Those who try to day-trade without understanding market fundamentals frequently lose. Day traders should be able to perform technical analysis and read charts. Charts can be misleading if not fully understood. Do your homework and know the ins and outs of the products you trade.
Day traders only use risk capital they can lose. This not only saves them money but also helps them trade without emotion. To profit from intraday price movements, a lot of capital is often required. Most day traders use high levels of leverage in margin accounts, and volatile market swings can trigger large margin calls on short notice.
A trader needs a competitive advantage. Swing trading, arbitrage, and trading news are all common day trading strategies. They tweak these strategies until they consistently profit and limit losses.
Type | Risk | Reward
Swing Trading | High | High
Arbitrage | Low | Medium
Trading News | Medium | Medium
Mergers/Acquisitions | Medium | High
A profitable strategy is useless without discipline. Many day traders lose money because they don't meet their own criteria. “Plan the trade and trade the plan,” they say. Success requires discipline.
Day traders profit from market volatility. For a day trader, a stock's daily movement is appealing. This could be due to an earnings report, investor sentiment, or even general economic or company news.
Day traders also prefer highly liquid stocks because they can change positions without affecting the stock's price. Traders may buy a stock if the price rises. If the price falls, a trader may decide to sell short to profit.
A day trader wants to trade a stock that moves (a lot).
Day Trading for a Living
Professional day traders can be self-employed or employed by a larger institution.
Most day traders work for large firms like hedge funds and banks' proprietary trading desks. These traders benefit from direct counterparty lines, a trading desk, large capital and leverage, and expensive analytical software (among other advantages). By taking advantage of arbitrage and news events, these traders can profit from less risky day trades before individual traders react.
Individual traders often manage other people’s money or simply trade with their own. They rarely have access to a trading desk, but they frequently have strong ties to a brokerage (due to high commissions) and other resources. However, their limited scope prevents them from directly competing with institutional day traders. Not to mention more risks. Individuals typically day trade highly liquid stocks using technical analysis and swing trades, with some leverage.
Day trading necessitates access to some of the most complex financial products and services. Day traders usually need:
Access to a trading desk
Traders who work for large institutions or manage large sums of money usually use this. The trading or dealing desk provides these traders with immediate order execution, which is critical during volatile market conditions. For example, when an acquisition is announced, day traders interested in merger arbitrage can place orders before the rest of the market.
The majority of day trading opportunities come from news, so being the first to know when something significant happens is critical. It has access to multiple leading newswires, constant news coverage, and software that continuously analyzes news sources for important stories.
Most day traders rely on expensive trading software. Technical traders and swing traders rely on software more than news. This software's features include:
Automatic pattern recognition: It can identify technical indicators like flags and channels, or more complex indicators like Elliott Wave patterns.
Genetic and neural applications: These programs use neural networks and genetic algorithms to improve trading systems and make more accurate price predictions.
Broker integration: Some of these apps even connect directly to the brokerage, allowing for instant and even automatic trade execution. This reduces trading emotion and improves execution times.
Backtesting: This allows traders to look at past performance of a strategy to predict future performance. Remember that past results do not always predict future results.
Together, these tools give traders a competitive advantage. It's easy to see why inexperienced traders lose money without them. A day trader's earnings potential is also affected by the market in which they trade, their capital, and their time commitment.
Day Trading Risks
Day trading can be intimidating for the average investor due to the numerous risks involved. The SEC highlights the following risks of day trading:
Because day traders typically lose money in their first months of trading and many never make profits, they should only risk money they can afford to lose.
Trading is a full-time job that is stressful and costly: Observing dozens of ticker quotes and price fluctuations to spot market trends requires intense concentration. Day traders also spend a lot on commissions, training, and computers.
Day traders heavily rely on borrowing: Day-trading strategies rely on borrowed funds to make profits, which is why many day traders lose everything and end up in debt.
Avoid easy profit promises: Avoid “hot tips” and “expert advice” from day trading newsletters and websites, and be wary of day trading educational seminars and classes.
Should You Day Trade?
As stated previously, day trading as a career can be difficult and demanding.
- First, you must be familiar with the trading world and know your risk tolerance, capital, and goals.
- Day trading also takes a lot of time. You'll need to put in a lot of time if you want to perfect your strategies and make money. Part-time or whenever isn't going to cut it. You must be fully committed.
- If you decide trading is for you, remember to start small. Concentrate on a few stocks rather than jumping into the market blindly. Enlarging your trading strategy can result in big losses.
- Finally, keep your cool and avoid trading emotionally. The more you can do that, the better. Keeping a level head allows you to stay focused and on track.
If you follow these simple rules, you may be on your way to a successful day trading career.
Is Day Trading Illegal?
Day trading is not illegal or unethical, but it is risky. Because most day-trading strategies use margin accounts, day traders risk losing more than they invest and becoming heavily in debt.
How Can Arbitrage Be Used in Day Trading?
Arbitrage is the simultaneous purchase and sale of a security in multiple markets to profit from small price differences. Because arbitrage ensures that any deviation in an asset's price from its fair value is quickly corrected, arbitrage opportunities are rare.
Why Don’t Day Traders Hold Positions Overnight?
Day traders rarely hold overnight positions for several reasons: Overnight trades require more capital because most brokers require higher margin; stocks can gap up or down on overnight news, causing big trading losses; and holding a losing position overnight in the hope of recovering some or all of the losses may be against the trader's core day-trading philosophy.
What Are Day Trader Margin Requirements?
Regulation D requires that a pattern day trader client of a broker-dealer maintain at all times $25,000 in equity in their account.
How Much Buying Power Does Day Trading Have?
Buying power is the total amount of funds an investor has available to trade securities. FINRA rules allow a pattern day trader to trade up to four times their maintenance margin excess as of the previous day's close.
Although controversial, day trading can be a profitable strategy. Day traders, both institutional and retail, keep the markets efficient and liquid. Though day trading is still popular among novice traders, it should be left to those with the necessary skills and resources.