Sunday, April 30, 2017
  False discoveries

I'm noticing that a LOT of our conversations lately deal with 'false discoveries', for lack of a better name. I'm having trouble parsing WHY and WHEN a discovery is false, or WHEN the falseness shades over into fraud.

Example 1: Many conversations among young nerd types are about 'discovering' bits and pieces in various game structures. These bits and pieces were obviously placed there for the sole purpose of being hard to discover. The conversations don't seem to account for the intentional placement.

Example 2: The callers on money-talk radio are constantly 'discovering' new ways to manipulate ETF products. A caller will describe his method of doing a put on a call on a future on an ETF. These schemers don't seem to realize that the ETF is not a real object or even a real stock based on a company's earnings. The ETF is simply a number that is intentionally manipulated to profit from the people who buy and sell and put and option and call and future and long and short it. The ETF is no different from a rigged roulette wheel.

I'm inclined to place these two examples in opposite categories, but I can't quite pin it down.

Closest approach to valid thought:

Easter eggs in games belong to a long tradition among artists and authors. Creators often include hidden codes or steganographic images, sometimes for pure joy, sometimes for empathetic joy when imagining the viewer's pleasure. When I 'build' a Poser model, I add moving parts or internal features that aren't immediately obvious. I don't care if anyone ever finds the part; I got my jollies from making it, and that's enough. I've added order to the universe.

The ETF is not produced with joy or for joy. It is painstakingly designed to withstand all permissible combinations of puts and futures and whatnot. No matter how you twist and turn the knobs, the house always wins.

I think that's the difference, but I'm not convinced yet.

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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