Monthly Archives: March 2012

PhilStock: Glitch on the High-Frequency BATS Exchange

As one who takes a certain pleasure in ironic reflexivities, and is none too fond of the current system of high frequency computerized trading (HFT), I am amused to hear that the high-speed exchange, Bats Global Markets (BATS), was compelled to cancel its initial public offering (IPO) today because of errors in its own computer system which, incidentally, forced a halt in trading Apple! I hope that this will encourage further scrutiny of the HFT enterprise–not only because of their ability to radically move the market, sometimes in out-of-control ways, but also because of the advantage they enjoy by placing (and canceling) stock orders thousands of times a second, capitalizing on information about (intended and realized) trades seconds before everyone outside the HFT loop. Stock valuations have little to do with it. It is said that these densely-packed trading systems maximize the speed of trading to something close to the speed of light—correctly determined, I assume. Continue reading

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Irksome phrases 3-19-12

Dear Reader: As soon as I saw this list, immediately, several of my own picks for (current) “annoying phrases” popped into my mind, but I have no interest in sharing them on a Reader’s Digest Facebook page ; so here they are, following the 10 given by Reader’s Digest.  Share yours, if you wish.

Reader’s Digest List of Most Annoying Phrases:

1. At the end of the day

2. Fairly unique

3. I personally

4. At this moment in time

5. With all due respect

6. Absolutely

7. It’s a nightmare

8. Shouldn’t of

9. 24-7

10. It’s not rocket science

Mayo’s (from most irksome to quite annoying)

1. Gotcha (when said repeatedly to mean, “I understand”)

2. Don’t worry about it.

3. We sure don’t.

4. (It’s a) no brainer.

5. Tell me about it.

6. No problem.

7. Running on all cylinders.

8. I hear you.

9. That’s just me.

10. Welcome to my world.

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OPERA Error Identified?

The hunt for  the  “OPERA error” now seems all but over. The solution to the (Duhemian) problem of where to lay the “blame” for the anomalous speed of light result appears to be at hand, after some months of sleuthing.  Note how the same, remodeled, and new data are used both to identify and warrant inferences to rule out and (finally) identify sources.  Searching does not penalize in such identifications of known effects. Had they inferred the experimental malfunction(s) Ai earlier (faulty fiber-optic cables), would you accord it greater, lesser, or identical weight? Why?* Continue reading

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MSC KVETCHING: (London) March 6, 2012

Dear Reader: I think the main reason I scurried out of my London “flat” late last night, was not so much because I saw a mouse walking just outside my bedroom, but because, instead of flashing by at lightening speed, as in the handful of other times I’ve seen mice in my life (twice in London), this one was leisurely sauntering by, not in any rush to go anywhere.  That seemed unnerving… .  Never mind, I moved out until the error could be corrected.  George Chatfield was right to suggest a few days ago that they should rent cats, or at least cat litter for visitors.  The experience didn’t really alter my Popper lecture today at the London School of Economics (“How Experiment Got a Life (of its own)”), except that I omitted some of the slides on transgenic mice.  (I will ask the blogsfolk to post the paper here, to be part of a book on philosophy of experiment.)

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