Good Manners Around the World Open Thread

Swissotel has put together this handy dandy infographtastic guide to basic etiquette around the world (tipping, greeting, table manners).


Have they overlooked anything from your neck of the woods?


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Where I turn pessimistic on immigration reform


I guess everybody is bullish about immigration reform these days. I had been reasonably optimistic myself... 60-40 in favor, I said.


Now I'm starting to think I might have been too optimistic. Why? Well, I always figured that the House would be driven by the tea party, as they usually are. It wouldn't matter to them that the Latino vote would make GOP Presidential victories difficult or impossible... all they cared about was avoiding a primary challenge.


But I figured that as long as the conventional wisdom (led by Hannity, Scarborough, and some other usual suspects) was that Republicans needed to get this off the dock to be politically viable as a Presidential party, then maybe the House leadership would allow a bill to pass mainly with Democratic support.


But now some of the sensible centrists... Douhat and Green and probably others... are peeling away to sensibly (and cynically) point out that allowing a lot of Latino voters into the voting pool probably won't help Republicans long-term. I don't think a deal gets done without citizenship, and if these writers are the bellwhethers I think they are, I don't think elite opinion is going to be strongly enough in favor of immigration reform to force the House to vote against the majority of the majority.


I'm switching to 60-40 against.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

How long term?


Douthat's claim has a major flaw.  His argument is that by supporting immigration,  Republicans might increase their share of the Hispanic vote,  but not to a majority, while at the same time they would be increasing the overall numbers of Hispanics voting, so the "long-term" trend is negative.


What he's missing is that in 10-20 years it won't matter.  The non-voting non-citizen population is having kids and will continue to do so,  and all of those kids will be citizens regardless of what Republicans do.  In the long run getting a bigger share of the vote is always going to be a smarter strategy than manipulating who gets to vote,  even if you're completely amoral and cynical.

Good point


I think you're right, the question is whether the Republican establishment will.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

The longterm electoral strategy of Republicans


is to gerrymander their way into office.

Stan Musial: 1920-2013

M Scott Eiland's picture

A sad day for MLB and the nation as a whole.

Here stands baseball's perfect warrior. Here stands baseball's perfect knight.--inscription at the base of the statue of Stan Musial outside of Busch Stadium (quote attributed to former baseball commissioner Ford Frick)

He didn't hit a homer in his last at-bat; he hit a single. He didn't hit in 56 straight games. He married his high school sweetheart and stayed married to her. ... All Musial represents is more than two decades of sustained excellence and complete decency as a human being.--Bob Costas

Goodbye, Mr. Musial. You will be missed.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

"Stan brought the sun. He always does."

M Scott Eiland's picture

Another tribute to Mr. Musial--this one from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The quotes from Joe Black and Willie Mays are recommended to anyone who might find Musial's image a little too good to be true.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

MSE, not that it matters but a small world it is


My mother-in-law grew up across the street from his sister.  The family has all sorts of pictures with him at cookouts and regular life sort of stuff.  I'm not saying anything else, the way sports greats have been biting the bullet we might learn that he was cross-dressing serial killer.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

If So, He Hid It Very Well

M Scott Eiland's picture

There's a certain retired baseball writer and blogger in denial by the name of Murray Chass who, if he has the slightest level of common sense, will vanish for a few weeks while the mourning process for Mr. Musial runs its course--it would be bad for Mr. Chass (and for the future possibility of urine free status for his grave) if too many people were reminded of his despicable defamation of Mr. Musial a couple of years back at this time.

Donora, PA also produced the Griffeys--heck of a baseball town.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Musial did not oppose non-whites in MLB in the 40's?

brutusettu's picture

or the "defamation" something more esoteric?

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Not According To Those Who Were There

M Scott Eiland's picture

On the other hand, some of his teammates--to their dishonor--*were* rather vocal about their opposition, including Hall of Famer Enos Slaughter, and were grumbling about refusing to go onto the field against the Dodgers (though Musial himself stated that any grumbling never reached the level of a team meeting on the subject). National League President Ford Frick caught wind of the grumbling and issued this statement directed at the Cardinals involved and any others thinking to emulate them:

If you do this, you will be suspended from the league. You will be outcasts. I don't care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson, no matter the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intentions that you will have been guilty of complete madness.

No boycotts took place.

In any event, Chass was peddling a recycled version of an event that Curt Flood--the black center fielder of the Cardinals in the 1960's who later became famous for challenging the reserve clause in MLB--told of in his autobiography about being refused service in a restaurant owned (but not operated) by Musial. Flood recounted telling Musial about the incident and seeing the mild-mannered Musial become livid over it and promising to deal with the situation (and noting that the next time he showed up at the restaurant, he received immediate and exemplary service). Chass ignored Flood's own account and apparently relied on a third hand version via then 93 year old Marvin Miller, which portrayed Musial in a far darker light. Along with the general outrage that the vile piece generated in the public, Flood's own son came forward and noted pointedly that his father had told him that story directly, and that Chass' version did not accord with it. It's also worth noting that black players who were contemporaries of Musial's are rather vocal about Musial's character in this area.

In short, Chass is scum.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

You don't understand. I am cursed.


Armstrong is the latest but as it gets closer to home it goes t*ts up. I'm a PSU alumni, and there went Paterno. Floyd Landis is from my county. And Weir, the skater is from my town of about 3k. So I just don't say positive stuff about athletes anymore.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

What Happened With Johnny Weir?

M Scott Eiland's picture

Other than the really completely expected drama queen tendencies for male skaters that go all the way back to Dick Button at the very least?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Some people are too stupid to own guns



Three accidental shootings at gun shows in one day.


Raleigh NC.


Medina Ohio


Indianapolis, Indiana.


Edit: Making this particularly ironic it was National Gun Appreciation Day.


I prefer to think of this


As the forces of natural selection at work.

"I've been on food stamps and welfare.  Anybody help me out?  No!" Craig T. Nelson (6/2/2009)

And that's three fools who shouldn't be allowed


near a firearm for a good long time, if ever.  Then again here's another and this one was trained.


In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

I blame Obama.     The gun


I blame Obama.  


The gun fetishists again show they are their own worst enemy.

"you'll grab my gun from my cold, dead hand."



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
-George Bernard Shaw

You got to hand it to them

HankP's picture

they found a way to attack the problem without federal intervention.


I blame it all on the Internet

If you criminalize guns


only criminals will shoot themselves with their guns.


M Scott Eiland's picture

Looks like those "greenies" that MLB players were (illegally) using back in the "good old days" were probably, well, enhancing their performances. Go figure.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.


M Scott Eiland's picture

7th Circuit upholds entire Wisconsin collective bargaining law.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.


brutusettu's picture

frack the workers111

"Jazz, the music of unemployment."


Frank Zappa

Obama's 2nd term priorities - Guns, Immigration, Climate Change.


I'm really glad to see the pivot away from deficit reduction, and also very happy that climate change might get some air time. 


But is anyone else surprised the economy doesn't even make the list?

Well, Let's See

M Scott Eiland's picture

--he'll get slapped down on guns regarding anything requiring legislation, and possibly sued for the ones he's trying to sneak in via executive order (and a Republican president will gut any that survive with great glee upon entering office);

--he won't get his version of immigration reform in (Senator Rubio's stock is looking bullish there--his version is basically what I've been advocating for years, and should shake loose plenty of Republican votes);

--he won't get d**k done on climate change if it involves limiting domestic oil production further. He might get some things through that don't involve that.

Other than that, no problems.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

All just a matter of time


Before Republicans get serious about impeachment. 


They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist...
-- General John B. Sedgwick, 1864

There is already moves to


There is already moves to lower expectations on the gun front so I won't expect much there.  All this talk about background checks indicates they don't expect to get much done past that.  Part of me thinks they are using it as a distraction, maybe as a favor to the GOP so there can be movement on the financial issues.

In order...


- A half-victory on guns... possibly by design. No assault weapons ban, but background checks which are probably more important. As for the executive orders, a lot of that is giving the NRA what it says it wants... enforcement of current laws.

- Rubio is offering citizenship to illegals, exactly the opposite of what you like to advocate. It's really pretty much the same as the Obama plan, just with some well-placed grunts here and there. The big departure is he wants a piecemeal approach which would be easier for the GOP to stomach, but which just won't happen because we have a Democratic Senate. (It would probably also be a death knell for the bill because things like visas for highly-qualified professionals are sweeteners for the hard-to-vote-for stuff.) I should add that the only chance Immigration Reform has is if the Hastert rule is abandoned for it... I don't think you'll have a majority of the majority in the House for pretty much any Immigration bill. Having said that, I think the common (and probably correct) wisdom in the GOP is that this is an issue that will keep them from winning the WH until it is put to sleep, so the leadership could well bring it to vote. I'm more optimistic about this than I was a year ago, but it's still only a 60% shot in my view.

- The only thing he'll get done is the EPA stuff, which is significant.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Re: Obama's goals


Guns is a very minor issue to me, so I haven't been following. A casual glance at the polling trends suggests any backlash to executive orders simply isn't coming, especially if mass shootings also continue at their current pace. Calling for an assault rifle ban looks like a way to beat up on the GOP vs. an actual legislative goal.


As for Rubio's version of immigration, I'm also not very up-to-speed on the different plans, but I think the main contention is whether 11 million will get a viable path to citizenship (Obama) vs. be put in limbo (Rubio). Obama seems as likely as not to win that one to me. This may depend on filibuster reform. 


I haven't read anyone and don't know anyone personally who expects Obama to do anything meaningful on climate change. But moving the issue into mainstream Democratic goals and political rhetoric is progress in itself. Remember, we just had an election in which this issue was almost entirely invisible. It wasn't a component of any question in any of the 3 presidential debates.



We are clearly in a denial phase with climate change. I don't know how long it will last.


Consider that there is a historic drought that still continues, there was Sandy, Australia practically (and in some places literally) on fire, the lowest area of Arctic ice cover ever measured, and of course 2012 was a US record for average high temperature by a full degree F, simply unheard of.


Yet... nothing. At least nothing outside green circles or deep blue states. The fossil fuel industry has really done a heck of a job. Even though the confusion they sold is no longer holding (a clear majority once again believes that climate change is real), the fear they put into democratic politicians definitely is.


What is interesting to me is that we have also reached a point where the math does not work to hold at an additional two degrees C in any currently plausible scenario. This means we really need to talk about geo engineering, which in a rational world would be welcome by fossil fuel interests as it would permit them to keep selling their product.


Yet nobody is looking at this at the Federal level. It's not even on the radar.


And finally, the Republican party has gone criminally insane on the issue. This is not an immediate danger, but it could quickly become one if they recover the White House.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Fighting the Good Fight is Always Worth Fighting...Sometimes...

(#299287) win.


I am pleasantly surprised that Mr. Obama is off to such a fine start to his Second Term, and so successfully is B!tch Slapping the Republicans on everything...


With a little luck and the way things are going, he just might surprise you!


(it gives me almost pee in my pants pleasure to see that Mittens is not getting credit for this recovering economy...which he surely would have shamelessly claimed for himself).


Best Wishes, Traveller

He's not bitch slapping the GOP

HankP's picture

he's sounding reasonable and letting them bitchslap themselves. Which is remarkably easy to do.


I blame it all on the Internet

That's accurate


But it's also true that Obama is taking a harder line in negotiations - not negotiating with himself, and in the case of the debt ceiling refusing to negotiate. If he sticks with that it will be a significant change. 


I still worry we have the worst spending cuts coming, but don't pretend to know what'll happen.

He's taking a line

HankP's picture

which is an improvement as you say.


I know Obama is a deficit fetishist, or at least that's what he says. But I don't think he'll make any drastic immediate changes because he doesn't want a recession on his watch.


I blame it all on the Internet

I don't have a sense of where we are on growth


A central question is whether the same methods and low multipliers that were used to underestimate austerity's contractionary effects in Europe are being used for growth estimates in the US.


I haven't seen anyone like Krugman or DeLong weigh in on the damage to growth that's already been done.



I found this site

HankP's picture



looking at it over the last 10 years or so it looks like the economy is doing ... ok. Not great but not horrible either, and comparable to Bush's second term before the crash.


I blame it all on the Internet

Sorry, my question was pretty open-ended


but I had a more specific question in mind.


What I don't have a sense of is what growth people who haven't underestimated the effects of austerity are expecting from the US given the recent austerity.


The Obama admin is projecting over 2% growth in 2013, but I wonder what others are saying. My rough sense is that we might already be flirting with under 1% growth in the US, but I haven't read what macroeconomists with good predictive records have been saying.

Seems Like We're All Following


Japan. Aging populations and institutions unwilling or unable to put forward policies that might put accumulated capital at risk.


M Scott Eiland's picture

IOC asks for Lance Armstrong's 2000 Olympic bronze medal.

It was my understanding that there was an eight year limit on asking for medals to be returned, said limit being the reason for not going back and stripping the medals from now proven to have been cheating for many years East Germany. You want Armstrong's medal? Fine--he's guilty as hell. But there's no damned excuse any more for you arrogant SOBs not to pick Erich Honecker's trophy case clean if you're going after Armstrong. Start doing your damned jobs.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Forget the medals, what about the athletes themselves?

mmghosh's picture

Many of them were doped without their knowledge, as children, and this has in many cases adversely affected their adult health.  


No one has given compensation - not the Government of unified Germany which presumably took over the liabilities of East Germany, nor Schering who made the drugs after the court cases proved indecisive.  The courts gave suspended sentences to the perpetrators and planners.


The IOC is very small beer in this imbroglio.

It Should Go Without Saying. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .that the athletes of East Germany were prominent among the victims of a monstrous totalitarian state and deserve compensatory (and punitive, to the degree that it can be taken out of the hides of surviving communist SOBs) damages, but that's rather outside the jurisdiction of the IOC to handle. The matter of medals is not, and the failure of the IOC to do its job in this matter is notorious and long-standing.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Get your hankies ready for this one. This is a heartbreaker


The WSJ's graphic on tax rates rising for sad rich parents and their sad kids:


That is hilarious!


No one's mentioned that the only moochers getting off without a hike are the "retired" Kenyan couple top right.


I'm pretty sure there is a Marxist mole in the WSJ somewhere.

Stunning that they don't include anyone


With an income lower than the 90th percentile. Especially since working class people are going to get their taxes hiked up by a hell of a lot more, percentage-wise, than these people.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Yes, catchy: where's a link?

Jay C's picture

Like TXG, I believe that this is real (I have heard mention of this oh-so-sad graphic circulating on the Web for a day or so): it would just be nice to have some confirmation.


And really: that "single parent" at the upper left with her woebegone kids pulls down $260,000/yr? From what? Dumpster-diving, from their expressions.....

Or A Professional Working A 90 Hour Week

M Scott Eiland's picture

The kids do look a bit bedraggled--maybe a new daycare provider is in order.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The girl in green looks


old enough to push a broom.

The Feds Want 39% Of Her Minimum Wage?

M Scott Eiland's picture

Another strike for the Chosen One!

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Another person who doesn't understand how tax brackets work nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

Posting Rules

M Scott Eiland's picture

And I understand just fine--I just didn't want to add the absurdity of a pre-pubescent child filing her own tax return for her illegal, union busting janitor job that she apparently gets to offset the extra being added to an already substantial household tax burden.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Every time you quote 39% for all income

HankP's picture

you show that you don't. Also, earnings by minors do not contribute to their parents tax returns or get taxed at the same rate. So complete fail on every level.


I blame it all on the Internet

Eight Year Olds Don't Work As Janitors, Either

M Scott Eiland's picture

And--as usual--your comments regarding my prior postings are in error. Sadly, I'm used to it by now.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

In your rush to score points

HankP's picture

perhaps you should write more clearly.


I blame it all on the Internet

Comments That Fail To Display. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .a comprehension of clear English are not my problem.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Look, you got it wrong

HankP's picture

The Feds Want 39% Of Her Minimum Wage? Another strike for the Chosen One!


Wrong on every level. But Republicans love to repeat the lie about tax rates whenever they can. It's just part of the whole lying thing. If you don't like getting called on it, don't keep repeating it.


I blame it all on the Internet

Posting Rules -nt-

M Scott Eiland's picture


The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Ha ha ha!  Which part was the


Ha ha ha!  Which part was the posting rules violation?  Was it a joke or a lie?  We can't mind read.  Good grief.

Ummm, Scott... (and Hank) ?

Jay C's picture

about that "comprehension" thing...?


I'm pretty sure catchy's comments at Nos. 299255 and 299262 were meant to be snark.


But Scott, you are correct that putting the pathetic waifish pauper girl-in-green from the WSJ's graphic to work as a school janitor would go against most Democratic policy choices: IIRC, it was Newt Gingrich who came up with that gem of a suggestion during last year's Republican debate cycle: he can own it, AFAIC....

It was a Gingrich reference


He did an excellent job reminding us that these children don't have to sit idly by while their parents get a 1.5% tax increase.

Who Cares?

M Scott Eiland's picture

To find someone less relevant to the Republican Party right now than Gingrich, you'd have to cite. . .Chuck Hagel. Or maybe Ambassador Randolph Twitterpatter the Eighth. Or David Frum.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

I understand you'd prefer Gingrich not be representative


of conservatism.


But Gingrich didn't get laughed out of the GOP primary for proposing the idea that kids should work as school janitors -- he came in 3rd in the primary, won a couple states, and lead in the polling more than once.


I was mostly making a joke of course, but I wasn't trying to just pick on some irrelevant wacko idea by Laura Ingraham.

I just think she could serve as a janitor at her school


and learn the dignity of work while offsetting a small tax increase on her mother.

I'm Sure The Janitor's Union Would Love That

M Scott Eiland's picture

Sorry, Catchy--Democratic sacred cows seem to be tripping over each other regarding the noble goal of having young children work to offset tax increases. So sad.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

WT actual F!?

TXG1112's picture

Do you have a link for this? It's not that I don't believe you, it's just that I'm having trouble internalizing the possibility that there are folks out there this unaware.


On some levels, I guess I'm hoping that this is really from the Onion, not the WSJ. Otherwise may as well bring on the meteor.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

Yes, lots of unawareness


First, that single mom should've stayed married and her children would be happier and better provided for. 


Second, if that couple making 4x the national average on investments alone couldn't afford it, the leeches shouldn't have had four children.

Sure. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .because paying $175,000 in federal taxes (along with who knows how much in state and local taxes) is equivalent to moving to Monaco with a middle finger extended to the starving homeless as they depart.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Anyone making $650k should thank their GD lucky stars...

TXG1112's picture

I confess to not feeling any sympathy for our theoretical taxpayers. Each and every one of them should be grateful that they have the opportunity to make as much as they do with as much personal security they have.


My gross household income is lower than all of the ones listed in that graphic however, I manage to afford a big house in a nice suburb of NYC and I drive a Porsche. My payroll taxes also went up this year, but you'll never hear me complain. Unawareness abounds indeed.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

Oh, you'd be surprised

HankP's picture

I knew an accountant who dissolved his (highly lucrative) practice that catered to wealthy individuals. He told me that he just couldn't take people making $600K constantly whining about how a friend made $700K. Or how someone at the marina just got a bigger boat than his but he can't afford to get a new one until next year. He now does accounting for churches, at much lower pay but he's a lot happier.


I blame it all on the Internet

Surprised? Not really, more like depressed.

TXG1112's picture

One of my best friends is a Republican (No really, I'm not a liberal elitist!) and I used to break his chops when he told me how hard it can be to get by in NYC on less than $250k. Over the years his views have evolved and he has obtained some measure of self awareness. I've read too many Megan McArdle posts to think such people don't exist. Sometimes I just pretend it were otherwise.

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

That is very sad, TXG1112


As a member of our abused upper incomes, you're a victim but don't even know it. Tragically, denial is all too common among victims of abuse. Owning a Porsche and a big house in the suburbs is but a superficial cover on this wound.


I encourage you to read the Wall Street Journal every day and discover how to recover from the masses who are leeching off your talent and labor.

TXG1112, You Will Also Need a Willingness to Force Unhappiness


...on yourself and anyone around you. So your wife and children will have to get on board of this continuing resentment...I don't want to see any smiles or joy over anything.


Remember always that you are being oppressed.


I know you and your whole family can do this!


Best Wishes, Traveller

unfortuneatly snark fails me at the moment

TXG1112's picture

Help, help! I'm being repressed....

--- I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered. My life is my own.

Important Etiquette Tip


If you are in Nigeria and you see a trough in the men's bathrooms with taps on it... it is not a urinal so you should not urinate in it. It is the place where muslims wash their hands and feet before prayers.

"I don't want us to descend into a nation of bloggers." - Steve Jobs

Risk analysis in the world of high finance


They've nearly refined risk analysis, using sophisticated mathematical tools, into a genuine science.


JP Morgan's Whale Trade bears this out:


Ina Drew, the person in charge of the portfolio, sent an email to JP Morgan’s CEO and CFO, in which she observed that the move was “an eight-standard-deviation event”.

The report doesn’t say how many eight-sigma events the CIO has ever seen ... But under a normal distribution, they’re meant to happen with a probability of roughly one in 800 trillion. The universe, by contrast, is roughly 5 trillion days old: you could run the universe a hundred times, under a normal distribution, and still never see an eight-sigma event.


Your math is off

HankP's picture

with high frequency trading  executing trades in a microsecond, an eight sigma event happens once every 25 years. But my guess is that it wasn't really an eight sigma event.


I blame it all on the Internet



I don't think high frequency trading has reached the microsecond level. I don't think that's even possible due to to network latencies, even with the boxes in the same rack.


My understanding is that even the lowest latency high frequency trading maxes out at the 0.1 millisecond level, or 100 times slower than that, hence an eight sigma event happens every 2,500 years. And if you calculated over 24 hours, note that in any particular market HFT can only happen in market open hours, so that's 1/3 the time minus weekends, hence we are talking about 10,000 years.


I any case, like you, I am sure, that this was not an eight sigma event at all, or even seven, or six for that matter. It was probably just a standard issue rare event, but not super rare by any means.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Sure, I was just spitballing

HankP's picture

however you're assuming a serial process and my guess is that there are multiple processes happening in parallel. But my point was that these risk specialists don't seem to properly calculate risk, because we've been getting flash crashes in individual stocks and other aberrations every few weeks or so, not every few decades.


I blame it all on the Internet

But they use complex probabilistic models


run on sophisticated computers and have certificates from the most renowned financial wizarding consortiums in the galaxy.

I'm Sure That They'll. . .

M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .work out all the kinks in 12 parsecs or so. :-P

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

With commodity ethernet no


The networking technologies used in HPC have microsecond or better latencies though. No idea if those are being employed in HFT.

Yeah, but...


That's the latency for a single packet. HFT requires an entire transaction. You receive quote information, you process it and based on that send a trade request and that gets processed and then you receive an acknowledgement of the trade. All of these have overhead; you need to log each step and so on. I just don't see it happening in one microsecond.


The machine can decide to execute a trade in about one microsecond, where the trading algorithm can run within say 2,000 CPU clock cycles, or about 500 lines of C code, but that's not the same thing.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Not Good Manners to Bill a Client for Sex....

(#299230) of the best lawyer-has-cajones stories I've ever seen.


An Eagan lawyer is suspended indefinitely after having an affair with a client whom he represented in a divorce, then billing her for time they spent having sex.

Thomas P. Lowe, 58, won't have a chance for reinstatement for at least a year and three months after the decision, filed Thursday, Jan. 10, by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Lowe, an attorney since 1985, had known the client for many years. Both are from Valley City, N.D. The woman met with Lowe in August 2011 to discuss pursuing a divorce from her husband.

He agreed to represent her. During a phone call days later, Lowe asked about her sexual relationship with her husband, commented on her appearance and asked if she was interested in sex with him.

The following month, they began an affair that lasted until March. At various points, Lowe billed the woman for legal services on the dates of their sexual encounters, coding the time as meetings or drafting memos.

In March, after several arguments with the woman about the affair and his own marriage, Lowe said he was breaking things off. Two days later, he said he was withdrawing as her attorney.

That day, the woman, who was considered vulnerable because of past abuse and mental health treatment, tried to kill herself. While hospitalized, she disclosed the affair.


In addition to a few previous citations for issues of decorum, Lowe was placed on probation in 1997 for using cocaine and being involved in purchasing the drug from a client.


Well, I guess I ain't got no problems at all!


Best Wishes, Traveller


Royal veto resurrected?


I thought the last royal veto in Britain was back in the time of Queen Anne,  but the Daily Mail claims Queen Elizabeth has quietly vetoed several pieces of major legislation.

Bertrand Russell in a Bollywood film


This Is Sure To Brighten Catchy's Day*


When Congress struck a deal to avert the fiscal cliff, it also dealt a quiet blow to President Obama’s health overhaul: The new law killed a multibillion-dollar program meant to boost health insurance competition by funding nonprofit health plans.


The decision to end funding for the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans has left as many as 40 start-ups vying for federal dollars in limbo. Some are considering legal action against the Obama administration, after many spent upwards of $100,000 preparing their applications.
“Currently there are some things in motion,” said Robert Raasch, who had requested a multimillion-dollar loan to set up a nonprofit health plan in Oklahoma. “There may be some legal challenges or some legislative mechanisms we could use. All of that is in discussion.”

The Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan, or CO-OP, program was aimed at spending as much as $6 billion to help launch nonprofit health insurance carriers. It came into favor with Democrats when it became clear that a government-run plan, known as the public option, could not gain enough political support.

In theory, nonprofit health plans could offer lower premiums, which would put pressure on private insurance companies to cut their rates. But over the past three years, the program has come under congressional investigation as Republicans questioned whether the nonprofit plans would make good on their loans, or go belly-up like the solar panel company Solyndra. That manufacturer borrowed more than a half-billion in federal loans, only to go bankrupt in 2011.












Republicans of course share the blame, but Obama has been prioritizing deficit reduction over everything lately, including apparently his signature legislation from last term. 


This is another example of how health care reform lead by the current Democratic leadership isn't serious about asking any of the pwoerful interests making health care costs unsustainable to take a haircut.

20% is the tipping norm in the USA at restaurants and bars


I noticed they list 5 - 10% tip for a taxi. 


5% is definitely an insult. I consider 10% the minimum for old people, and usually tip 20%.

20% is too much.

mmghosh's picture

Only if it gets shared out - and even then.  Come on - there's all the preparation , the actual cooking, presentation - and the fetch and carry gets 20%?  We have a restaurant here where all tips go into a pot shared out, supposedly, at the end of the month, but I have a suspicion the management takes a cut too.


I didn't tip at McDonalds last year, should I have?  I suppose keeping salary bills low means a lower tax payout, but 20% is far more than most countries.


In South Italy I noted most of the waiters were South Asian, which helped.

Manish, are you aware


that the US minimum wage law has an exception for waiters?   Regular minimum wage is $7.25/hr,  but for waiters it is $2.13/hr.



I waited tables around 20 years ago, and my hourly was 2-something. Tips are nearly everything to a waiter. It's a deeply stupid system.

Waiters are low paid all round the world.

mmghosh's picture

Cooks chefs look down on them, naturally the management does too.


And they have to take all the abuse.  I once worked with someone who waited tables as a student (she was a post PhD when I met her); apparently 90% of her take-home was tips.  No wonder Belle de Jours exist.

So haven't you answered your own question?


It's not the fetch and carry, it's the capacity to respond with grace to the abuse. They are not short distance shippers, they are the UI to the restaurant. That's an important role.

I am not a pessimist. I am an incompetent optimist.

Yes, I agree.

mmghosh's picture

That's why I think they should be paid a decent salary, rather than have to live off tips.

Servers Generally Get Paid Considerably Less

M Scott Eiland's picture

And an extra 5% isn't really worth quibbling about. And no, tipping isn't expected at fast food places unless actual table service is involved beyond the "order at the counter, then go to a table and wait" variety.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.



Don't know why but a grandmother over 60 is allowed to do 10% but any working age male that goes under 20% is considered a d-bag.

Probably b/c tip % has been increasing


And grandma may be unawares. 


Plus even most young waiters and waitresses dimly sense that old people in this country are very often on a tight fixed income.


That's why cutting everyone's social security is so popular.

But there's a sexist aspect to it also


A woman,  even a young one,  is allowed to precisely calculate 15% (maybe even pulling out a little calculator)  and then get coins out of her purse and precisely dole out the tip and not one penny more.


A man, on the other hand, is expected to guess the 20% and then round up to the nearest dollar,  and if you give the waiter a twenty and the bills' anything over $15 you're supposed to not ask for the change.

Must be a Texas thing

HankP's picture

because I've never seen that.


I blame it all on the Internet

I don't know about you


but when I see a woman being stingy with her tip, I silently judge her as self-centered and morally corrupt.

Unlike you (perhaps)


I'm not attractive enough to have the luxury of judging women harshly.  I have to accept the penny pinching as just one of those adorable things they do.


EDIT:  In theory of course...Mrs. Eeyn might be reading.

Eeyn, it's all about keeping the pseudonym pseudo


The wife pokes in every now and again but she doesn't know I am Darth Cuddly.  I told her I was HankP.  Her latest comments were "I'll bet that Darth Cuddly's wife is a miserable person."  I told her I bet she's right.  Than she said "Oh, by the way, you write like an old man".

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

She should be so lucky nt

HankP's picture


I blame it all on the Internet

The liberating thing about being married


is being able to judge women as harshly as I'd judge men. (Also liberating: the ability to talk to women without hearing "Blah blah blah my boyfriend blah blah blah...")


Huzzah for long-term monogamous pair-bonding!

"Beckon Palm Upward"

M Scott Eiland's picture

For some reason, this reminds me of this clip (18-19 second mark):

So, friends from elsewhere, if an American makes this gesture at you--be afraid. Be very, very afraid. ]:-)

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Put downknife before taking a bite?


Typical of an effete civilisation that insists on eating only dead prey. Round these parts your don't put the knife down until there's nothing but the hoofs and horns left and all the relatives have left the room.

Where's The Bat'leth Chef When We Need Him?

M Scott Eiland's picture

He'd set all those non-live food eating sissies straight with a nice squirming plate of gagh.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

They left a few off. For instance, in the US it is


completely unacceptable to extend then insert one's index finger into one's nostril in plain few of others unless one is behind the wheel of a car.  However, there is a gray area when it concerns other fingers, most notably inserting the tip of the thumb does appear to have wide social acceptance.

Anybody have anything on spitting?  I don't mean mostly saliva sort of spits, but the full throated barking out lung batter sort of spits.  I've generally noticed in the US that it's considered uncouth to drop one of those on a sidewalk or stairway but noticed when in S.Korea and Iraq it seemed like any horizontal surface was fair game.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Darth, you're wrong


The thumb is OK,  and maybe the pinky, but the middle or ring fingers are just as bad as the index finger. I travel in polite society and know these things.

The ring finger? I figure if someone could do the deed


with their ring finger I'd be more curious than offended.  It's like if someone was kissing their own behind.  It's not that I'd make any effort to observe such a thing but if 'there it was' I'd watch if for no other reason than morbid fascination.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Spring Training Begins Next Month

M Scott Eiland's picture

You'll see plenty of that then, even in the "post- chewing tobacco" era.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.