There are mirror websites at http://hiqnews.megafoundation.org,
November 17, 2013:
November 6, 2013:
October 28, 2013:
American Income Gap
October 23, 2013:
October 17, 2013:
about characterizations of the U.
S. Federal debt.
Here's a link
to a previous discussion of this topic.
October 15, 2013:
with U. S. Federal programs (updated)..
Friday, October 4, 2013:
couple of articles about the government shutdown.
October 3, 2013:
living in interesting times.
October 1, 2013:
may be light at the end of the tunnel.
September 30, 2013:
Saturday, September 28, 2013:
More of the same.
September 26, 2013:
Another day at the hospital. My wife is doing well, but isn't
enjoying it much.
September 24, 2013:
"Tomorrow", now "today", has been what you'd
expect: a day spent at the hospital. Although the operation went
as well as operations can, my wife may feel worse before she
feels better as the spinal block wears off and soreness sets in.
We'll see what the morrow brings.
September 23, 2013: I'm still not done with
my latest update (an answer to David Moenning's question,
"Are we entering a new secular bull market?) The answer is,
I believe, that we're more apt to enter a secular bear market
than we are a secular bull market. The price-to-earnings ratio
on the S&P 500 is at a level typical of market tops. But
there's more to it than that, and that's what my lengthy
write-up will be about.
I mentioned last Tuesday that my wife was
having knee surgery that day. But she took a generous bite of
ham before she remembered that she wasn't supposed to eat
anything before surgery. Later, after she was on the
operating-room gurney, she told the staff what she's done. They
immediately released for another day, and that day will be
tomorrow. So I don't know what my schedule will be tomorrow and
the rest of the week.
The model portfolio fell further on Monday
along with the rest of the markets, (It's up 2.47% tonight.)
19, 2013: My apologies for last night's
missing updates. My web-hosting service decided to take a break
at midnight last night. In addition to that, I wasn't happy with
what I had prepared to post. I was having a brainstorm, and it
took until tonight to finish up the material.
17, 2013: I've
added a model portfolio and some fantasies about secular bull
markets and about where the markets might possibly go from here
(or maybe not (:-)) under Today's
Investment Commentary (see below).
Monday, September 16, 2013: Beginning
tonight, I'm going to make a sea change in this website.
Over the past few years, my attention has, in
self-defense, turned toward anti-aging strategies. As a
consequence, my investing activities have been put on autopilot.
I've harvested and posted daily investment news headlines in
lieu of investment ideas, strategies, and results. This
news-gathering function has taken so much time each day that
there hasn't been time left for more creative activities. Like
what? Well, several times over the past few years, I've set up
model stock portfolios that have done phenomenally well.
Unfortunately, I've never had the courage of my convictions to
actually invest money in them, but if I had, I
(and you) could have profited handsomely.
In the arena of anti-aging strategies,
there's also interesting news.
This website desperately needs updating and
repairs. I also hope to have time for this.
Sunday, September 15, 2013: The
trailing P/E ratio on the S&P 500 is still only 18-to-1, so
the S&P 500 is no more overpriced now than it was last
Sunday, April 7, 2013: As
an update to what I wrote last November, the trailing P/E ratio on
the S&P 500 is around 18. (It's long-term average has been
Its normal upper limit is 20-to-25, so it's fully priced but not
yet overpriced. It would have to drop to 10 or below to constitute
a secular (super-) bear market bottom. Here's a chart
that gives a decent picture of the S&P 500's history from four
years after its inception in 1871 until the chart's 2005 closing
I'm working on an update to this topic of
secular bull markets and secular bear markets, but I'm not quite
through with it yet.
November 27, 2012: Here's
in a discussion of some investment options.
November 25, 2012: On
the basis of new information, I'm going to have to change some
of the material I posted on Friday (below). I'm going to change
the peak P/E (Price-to-Earnings) ratio in 1999 from 38:1
to 34:1. Further, the S&P 500 index has only now
deflated to the top of its normal range. If the past can
be used to guide the present, we could be typically looking at another
16 years--2028--before the S&P 500 falls to a
secular bear market bottom, and then begins to re-inflate!
During this entire period,
"buy-and-hold" is a money-losing strategy.
There's one domestic mutual fund that has
returned more than 15% a year over the past 10 years: the Fidelity
Leveraged Company Stock Fund. This was a favorite of mine in
2007, and I had some money invested in it, but it was hit so
hard by the 2008 downturn that I cashed out of it. It's a wild
ride (it's a Morningstar three-star fund), but it's done better
than most domestic funds. However...(1) most of its gains were
made during its early years when the markets were rebounding
from the 2002-2003 bear market, and (2) U. S. market indices are
now near the seasonably favorable tops of their ranges, poised
to decline sometime in the next six months. A better measure of
their prowess is their five-year history which is measure from
the top of the 2007 bull market.
On the other hand, our previous four-year
market cycles have been predicated upon the Fed's manipulation
of credit markets in order to fight either inflation or
unemployment, and this time, the Fed's hands are tied, so maybe
we won't have typical post-election market declines.
Fortunately, there are alternative strategies
that ought to work... emerging market mutual funds, commodity
funds, real estate funds, the AAII stock screen portfolios, and
the TopStock market timing service, to name a few. These have
their pros and cons.
November 23, 2012: I'm
getting ready to revamp this website in ways that I hope will
offer more personal benefit than what I've been posting in the
past. Like what? Well, over the past year-and-a-half, I've been
investigating exotic, "bleeding-edge" anti-aging
therapies. Some examples are Life Code's "Stem Cell
100", TA Sciences' TA (Telomerase Activator)-65, buckyballs
in olive oil, the Life Extension Foundation's "Calorie
Restriction Mimetic", modest calorie restriction, PQQ (PyroloQuinoline
Quinone) and other esoterica. Are they working? That's hard to
tell, but maybe so.
A related topic is health maintenance.
Another is investment and the economy. Right
now, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are lower than
they were 13 years ago in 1999. But in 1999, the S&P 500 hit
a P/E ratio of 38:1... quite a bit higher than it had ever been
throughout its previous history. Similarly, the Nasdaq topped
out at 5,500 compared to its current readings of around 3000.
Over the past 13 years, the markets have been working off this
once-in-two-centuries excess. The P/E ratio for the S&P 500
is currently around 16:1... reasonable but not cheap. In the
meantime, we're ostensibly in a secular bear market that's due
to end in the 2016-2018 time frame at P/E ratios substantially
lower than they are now.
I'm working on writing this up, but it may take a
In a lighter note, with Christmas vacation
only four weeks away, here's a site that offers vacation
packages for Disneyworld: Flying Elephant Vacations.
The American Association of Individual
Investors (AAII) has stock screens (portfolios) that promise
extraordinary long-term returns. I had thought about recommending
this as a viable investment strategy, but the markets have been so
chaotic that I haven't followed up on this. Here's a discussion
of some of the AAII stock screen performance claims.
Wednesday, I wrote this discussion
of two current views of intelligence.
probed others' experiences with the dual n-back program, as
well as running it for myself.
There have been three
major announcements in the field of aging remediation in the
past couple of days. Switching now to more frivolous topics, this
business of "brain boosting" seems to me to have
repercussions well beyond "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's
the smartest one of all?" This would seem to me to be of
importance to everyone who plans to grow old--to age-related
cognitive decline, and to the avoidance of Alzheimer's Disease,
not only for ourselves but also for those we love.
This is game-changing. (1) My
own personal story (Updated)
impressions in re my personal "brain-boosting"
experiment (Sunday Update)
Flynn Effect and Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Boosting: Quo Vadis, Dominie?
(5) The first example of one of these lists is
a set of 153 cancer prevention news articles dealing with the
relationship between food, herbs, etc., and cancer. It may be
(6) A general listing and discussion of some
putatively beneficial nutritional foods, spices, and supplements
is given here.
Entire books have been written regarding each of the items set
forth in this list. I plan to expand upon this material, but this
gives a skeletal outline of foods, and food-derived extracts that
I try to consume. (What's needed most is a presentation of what
these "nutriceuticals" have done for some of us and
might do for you.)
There should be a lot happening on this website
over the next few days and weeks, given time to report on these
Links to Daily
Investments Interpretations (Individual Dates) - (Corrected)
1, 2011 to July 30, 2011
1, 2011 to December 31, 2011
1, 2011 to July 30, 2011
July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010
1, 2010 to July 30, 2010
1, 2009 to December 31, 2009
1, 2009 to June 30, 2009
1, 2008, to December 31, 2008
7, 2008, to June 30, 2008
Given the traumatic market losses of the past three months coupled
with the threat of a deflationary spiral leading us into another
Great Depression, should we still realistically be thinking about
recouping losses in the stock market?
I don't have a good answer to that question for
either of us yet. This current stock market bounce may be just
another bull market rally within an ongoing bear market. There are
certainly plenty who think so. My Cabot China and Emerging Markets
Newsletter's China indicator, after flashing a cautious, limited
"Buy" signal, has turned negative again, leaving its
investors with 10% "Hold" positions in two stocks. (After
buying FXI per the newsletter's advice, I sold it at a
loss.) China might decouple from other
world markets as the country refocuses its attention upon its internal
consumers. But that's still an open question. Caution is still the
still hopeful that we can double our money or better from here (or
from a little above where we are now) over the next two or three
years. On the other hand, I don't want to lead anyone down the
primrose path to further losses. Cash is still king.
Given the grave concerns about our current
economic crisis, I'm going to try to address, as best I can, some
problems and concerns that we might be sharing about this subject.
I want to reiterate: even if you've lost half
your retirement nest-egg, don't despair. There are (I think)
reasonably conservative ways to recoup your losses within two or
three years even if the markets don't fully recover for a decade
or more (see the sidebar in
The stunning implications of the fact that we're, perhaps, in a
super-bear market are only now penetrating my skull.
A Buy-and-Hold Strategy Applied from
the Start to the Finish of a Super-Bear Market (e. g. 2000 to
2018, Assuming That This Concept Is Valid) Would Typically Lead to
60% to 65% Losses Over the 17-18-Year Period After Correcting for
Inflation and Adding in Dividends!
Over the course of a (typical?) 17-to-18-year
super-bear market, the value of an S&P 500 index fund, after
correcting for inflation and adding in dividends, typically
drops to 1/3rd of its value from the
beginning to the end of the 16-year secular (super-) bear
market period. In talking about a "typical" super-cycle,
I need to mention that these super-cycles are inferred from the
chart pattern of the S&P 500 from 1871 to the present. Over
that time span, there have been 3 super-cycles and, it would
appear, part of a fourth, from 2000 to the present time... if, in
fact, these super-cycles are real enough to have predictive value.
But no two of these super-cycles have been just alike.
("History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."?) You
might take a look at the above-linked chart
displaying the S&P 500 from 1871 to 1997 and see what you
Where We Stand Right Now, and Where We
Might Go from Here:
So far, money invested in an
S&P500 index fund in March, 2000, has fallen
by now, after correcting for inflation and adding in dividends, to about ½ of what it was worth in March, 2000.
However, because the S&P 500 was overpriced by... 65%?... in
March, 2000 (by far the most overpriced it's ever been), then if
we are in a super-bear market, this money in 2018 should be worth
about 40% what it is now. In other words, money
invested in a buy-and-hold S&P 500 index fund in March, 2000,
should be worth, in 2018, only about 1/5th what it was when it was
invested in 2000!
A Buy-and-Hold Strategy During a
Super-Bull Market Yields Dramatic Gains
(b) All of the long-term gains registered
by buy-and-hold investors occur within super-bull markets, and
they're sufficient to overpower the fall of the price of equities,
in real value, to 1/3rd of their previous highs, plus the average
6.8% a year that Dr. Jeremy Siegel has found for the long term
average rate of return of the U. S. stock market from 1802 through
But... We're in Uncharted Territory
Because we're in uncharted territory,
experiencing the first deflation since the Great Depression, the
markets could go lower than usual, although we might expect them
to return to their hypothetical trend lines by 2018 (no
guarantees, of course).
These Speculative Predictions and
Interpretations Apply Only the the U. S. Stock Market
These predictions, if they unfold as
they have in the past, apply only to the U. S. stock market. I
have no data concerning non-U. S. markets (although non-U. S.
markets have a habit of moving more-or-less in lock-step with the
U. S. stock market). I'm particularly hopeful that the Chinese and
Indian stock markets may decouple from the U. S. market over
the coming years.
Over the weekend, I've re-examined the subject of super-bull
markets and super-bear markets, and I don't like what I've
found. Of course, there's nothing that says things have to work
out this way, but the numbers are suggesting a super-bear market
bottom in 2018 that would be 55% to 65% below where the popular
indices stand today even if our current malaise turns out to be a
standard, garden-variety recession, with a cyclical bull market
starting up again in 2009 or 2010.
A buy-and-hold strategy in most mutual funds in
such a scenario would be a disaster, although there may be a few
funds that can outperform the market sufficiently that you'd come
out well ahead even if the blue-chip index funds lose 2/3rds of
their purchasing power. The above-linked write-up will explain.
11/2/2008 Important (Second) Update: This "recession" is
categorically different in cause
and consequences than any of the normal recessions we've
experienced over the past 60 years.
Unlike all the other recessions since World War II, this recession
(Depression?) is deflationary, driven by a credit crisis, rather
than a result of the Federal Reserve Board's overshooting its mark
in its efforts to slow the economy in order to rein in inflation.
This may be "The Perfect Storm".
6/7/2008: As many of us are probably aware, there are
now techniques that seem to subtract 15 or more years off our
biological ages. It will be decades before such results can be
verified through large-scale, long-term studies, but some of us
are availing ourselves of these "bleeding edge"
stratagems, with dramatic improvements in such ponderable
parameters as blood lipid profiles, fasting glucose, insulin
sensitivity levels, and related health measures. Along
with living longer (and, in fact, these disease reductions are
prerequisites to living better longer) are techniques for
putatively reducing the risks of cancer, cardiovascular
disease, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Type 2
diabetes. Again, there are no guarantees. It will take decades of
large-scale, long-term, placebo-controlled studies to validate the
various pilot studies that have been conducted to date... studies
that are concerned with special nutritional and supplement
interventions that don't involve patentable drugs. Still there's
compelling evidence that some of these maneuvers really do work.
For example, four years ago, I was going to my
dermatologist every three months to have actinic keratoses--sunlight-induced,
pre-cancerous lesions--frozen off the top of my head. After I began
drinking green tea four years ago, these lesions disappeared and
have never returned--in keeping with numerous studies showing that
green tea fights skin cancer. Other members of the Calorie
Restriction Society have had a similar experience. This is
certainly anecdotal, but nevertheless, this is what's
Another example of startling discoveries that,
to my knowledge, haven't made it into widespread public
Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. Norman Hollenberg's
discovery that the Kuna Indians, who live on a relatively isolated
group of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama, have 1/10th
(that's 10%!) the age-adjusted rates of heart attacks,
strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer as their
North American counterparts. (See this
for diabetes.) The key to this seems to lie in their drinking 3 to
5 cups a day of "raw"
hot chocolate (chocolate that hasn't been roasted, or
extracted with alkali). (The crucial ingredient seems to be epicatechin.).
These dramatic reductions in degenerative diseases aren't
attributable to genetic inbreeding, because Kuna Indians who move
to the mainland and adopt mainland diets suffer the same ills that
plague the rest of us. (You can buy this unprocessed cocoa at
outlets like iHerb.)
Because this is more potent than resveratrol,
I'm wondering what effect this would has upon aging and life
In the meantime, here's an article
about aging interventions that I wrote in 2006 but never
5/6/2008: I Goof Up: Last
fall, on the 21st of September (see below), I declaimed that
"My personal guess is that the stock market is going to
recover from its deep, steep dip and climb higher (with some ups
and downs) for the remainder of the year. I'm also
speculating", quoth I, "that we won't go into a
recession before 2009, after the 2008 presidential election."
Boy, was I wrong! Actually, the stock market
continued to rise to new heights, peaking on October 11th. But
then it did the unthinkable: it immediately plummeted to new
lows--like two tornadoes howling down the same path.
Having lost all of my own August-to-October
ill-gotten gains and a bit more besides, I'm going to try prognosticating
again, along with some ideas about investments. (This will be
changing rapidly over the next few days, so you may want to check
Amber is now 20 months old and turning into a
We bought her an outdoor playhouse, and have turned the cardboard
box in which it was packed into an indoor playhouse. Here's Amber
sitting on her throne, with two of her dolls in attendance.
Tommie and I have been busy almost beyond
description. We spend several hours a day playing with her. We're
spoiling Amber wonderfully. Amber has caught every virus that has
found its way into Huntsville, and after years of freedom from
colds and other viruses, Tommie and I are now catching everything
Amber gets. But we're gradually, gradually getting more time. And
Amber will only be these ages once.
Day the Earth Stood Still
For the past few days, the media have been
saturated ad nauseum with Barack Obama and the Reverend Jeremiah
Wright, feeding the crowds bread and circuses. In the meantime,
what may be one of the most important happenings in human history
has passed as unnoticed by the world as the birth of the Son of
Man in the hills of Judea two millennia ago.
There have been several momentous milestones in
human development... the taming of fire, the evolution of
language, the development of writing, the appearance of craftsman
and specialization in the early river-valley city-states... that
have transformed what it means to be human. Today, came
announcements of what I believe may possibly lead to the next
millennial-class transformation in human development. Two
psychologists, Susanne Jäggi and Martin Buschkuehl in the
Department of Psychology at the University of Bern, have
discovered a training
technique that appears to significantly
elevate fluid intelligence. Further, the technique shows a
dose-response relationship over a period of 8 12, 17, and 19
days (with 25 minutes of training per day). More...
As you can see, there's been a slight change
in our title page--a hyacinth in our December.
The last few months have been hectic, to put it mildly. Someone
has to be with Amber around the clock, for four 44-hour shifts a
week. Most of the time, Tommie and I are both engaged with her.
Although we've tried to baby-proof our kitchen-family room,
someone needs to be in attendance whenever she's awake, to make
sure that she doesn't chew through lamp cords or climb up on the
coffee table. During her all-too-brief naps, we either catch up on
sleep ourselves, or service the infrastructure that supports her.
She had her first birthday on August 28th, and is taking steps by
herself and saying a few words. It has its rewards, though. I sing
to Amber and walk her to sleep most nights, since that seems to
work well. I'll forever cherish that little head snuggling into my
shoulder as she heaves sighs and drifts off to sleep. It's rare
and precious in this life that, as adults, we get this kind of
unconditional closeness with another human being. We perform
double handsprings in this life to earn others' approval. With a
baby or a small child, it comes copiously and with no strings
attached. It doesn't last forever, although the closeness of
parent and child can remain for a lifetime.
We've enrolled Amber in a playschool, which she
seems to relish. This is giving us some discretionary time for the
first time since last December. In the meantime, I've found myself
drifting back to posting the science news on a daily basis. My
plans to update the archives have come to naught, as I race from
pillar to post, scrambling to keep up with all my obligations.
One other time-consuming activity that has
eaten whatever bits and pieces of time I've been able to muster is
investment in the stock market. I'm not interested in making money
to buy anything for myself. I'd like to make enough money quickly
enough that I could give some away in ways that I think might be
particularly effective. Of course, optimizing one's investment
strategy is always beneficial. There's a lot I'd like to write
about this that I think might be of interest. Maybe I'll have time
in the next few weeks to present this. In the meantime, here are a
My personal guess is that the stock market is
going to recover from its deep, steep dip and climb higher (with
some ups and downs) for the remainder of the year. I'm also
speculating that we won't go into a recession before 2009, after
the 2008 presidential election. According to the Stock Trader's
Almanac 2007 which analyzes 173 years of data stretching back
to Andrew Jackson's presidency, the third year (e. g., 2007) after
a presidential election is the best year for the stock market (up
10.6% on average), followed by the fourth year (2008) which is
still upward-trending (up 6.7%). The first year (2009) is often a
flat or down year (up 1.6% on average), bottoming during the
second year (2010) and then starting up again (up 3.7% on
Some investments that look good to me right now
may found here.
On Monday, August 28th, 2006, our oldest daughter, Lisa, delivered
her first and last child: a baby girl. On the morning of Sunday,
December 3rd, 2006, Lisa died quietly in her sleep, leaving Tommie
Jean and me to rear her three-month-old infant. Since then, it's
been a wildly busy time. Because of this development, I've to
modified the website, changing it to provide news archives in
various areas of interest rather than a daily posting of 120-130
science news items. I'll still be scanning the same news, but I'll
be saving only items that seem worthy of archiving. Also, as time
permits, I'll generate lists of links to specific archives, such
as "Cancer: Food and Herbs". There is a wealth of
potentially life-saving information in these Science News
articles, and archiving it in specific lists should make this
information much more accessible than it is now.
The first example of these new lists is the
list for "Alzheimers
Michael McKay has written to say, "In
your page http://www.geocities.com/rnseitz/Definition_of_IQ.html
you start analyzing a Wal-Mart crowd. Your results are already
skewed. The lower IQ people are less likely to be able to get to
Wal-Mart in the first place."
I think that's a good point. I hadn't thought
of that. Offhand, I'd imagine that it might not make too much
difference until the IQ gets well below average, but I don't know.
I'd also think that in an adult population, IQ
may not be that good a measure of someone's practical ability to
cope. IQ tests purport to measure certain kinds of mental
abilities having to do with pattern recognition and the potential
to learn.. On the other hand, I would imagine that age-related
cognitive decline (for example) could lead to serious degradation
in the ability to do well on an IQ test without necessarily
impairing someone's ability to drive, or to negotiate a shopping
mall. Lack of sleep could slow someone down on IQ-testing-type
activities without implying a lack of innate capabilities under
more favorable circumstances. It's always possible to get an
uncharacteristically low score on an IQ test. And there certainly
are mental gifts that don't show up well in school or on timed IQ
tests. (For example, untreated ADHD can probably interfere with IQ
It seems to me that we all do amazingly well
driving every day. Driving under the influence can lead to
accidents as can reckless or emotional driving and errors in
judgment, but otherwise, I think we drive exceedingly reliably.
Here's a 2006
Computer Technology Update.
Beginning today, June 19th,
I'm cutting back somewhat on the content of the daily web pages.
New panels of "Calvin and Hobbes" are no longer
available for download, and I'll have to drop
them. Also, I'm closing the "Words-of-the-Day" in order
to save time that I urgently need for other purposes. In return,
I'll be posting a number of what I think might be important
"essays", that I think you might want to catch. I've
written these and published them in "Gift of Fire" but
haven't gotten around to posting them here.
Reducing the amount of material in the Science
News pages hasn't reduced the amount of time it takes to prepare
the website. I either have to cut back or shut down the science
news service altogether. It takes too much time. I'm going to try
retrenching like this and see if that solves the problem.
Here is an article
I published in the March issue of "Gift of Fire"
reviewing recent articles and books that discuss psychopaths.