Friday, May 7, 2010

Glitch Baby Glitch?

Yesterday we had an Open Thread session concerning Deepwater Horizon and Greece's finances.

Shortly after Dredd Blog blogger "disaffected" indicated concern over the financial situation in Greece, along with the effect it could have on world markets, the stock market plunged 1000 points in less time than it takes to drink a cup of Java.

Many analysts could not figure out what was happening as millions suffered loss on 401k accounts and the like.

There was rumor of a suspicion that a broker did a typo causing a sale of 10 billion Proctor & Gamble stocks instead of 10 million, which then triggered a panic.

It reminded me of a Dylan song lyric which explains many of our financial woes:
The pump don’t work
’Cause the vandals took the handles
(Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bob Dylan). As I began to wonder how that 1000 point drop could possibly happen, I began to think about another lyric in that same song:
You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows
(ibid). It is the Deepwater Horizon syndrome that caused a recent disaster in the Gulf, the one on Wall Street, and the one on Main Street.

The Wall Street gang members are so smug about how well their system works, using their rear view mirror technique of driving (belief that the past axiomatically dictates the future) they can't see the dangers ahead of them that are only visible when looking out the front wind shield.

One would think that software on their computers would catch and flag an entry that was orders of magnitude out of whack.

I mean the free software of this blog, and most others, immediately catches and flags misspelled words and alerts the typist to that, then to better even that, offers the correct spelling.

Are we to believe that zillion dollar software of Wall Street can't detect the difference between 10 billion and 10 million, then alert the typist?

Something like "are you sure you want to sell 1000 times more stock than what you have to sell?" might do the trick.

We don't need a weatherman to know that the Deepwater Horizon syndrome is a danger to our civilization, or that it is also avoidable.

Mad men, mad women, good men, and good women alike make mistakes, but we can do better than allowing those mistakes to cause unnecessary disasters.

The Saga of Deepwater Horizon and the graft of the Plunder Barons goes on.

It is difficult to know what really happened, but we don't need a weather man to know that neither scenario is good enough for prime time.

It is not good enough that the market recovered eventually, to limit the loss to the three hundred range, nor is it good enough that "only" a million birds and other wildlife may die if they fix Deepwater Horizon soon.

The glitchy, drilly, warster way of doing things must cease to be the standard, so meanwhile let Bob Dylan finish this thread:
I’m on the pavement
Thinking about the government
(ibid) ... with the Subterranean Homesick Blues, and like many of us, I have "gone to look for America" (Simon & Garfunkle).


  1. Dredd,

    They're lieing about the glitch. On all of the chat bopards I visited, no one was familiar with any software where the number would be spelled in (1 million vs. 1 billion). I suppose it's possible that someone out there has software that uses abbreviated inputs (1.0M vs. 1.0B), but even that sounds a tad too convenient to pass the smell test. The blog sites are lit up, and the sense that I get is that few are buying this transparent line of shit. I think it was just plain momentary panic where a large trader(s) sensed they were about to be locked out of a cratering market and went into a frenzy. We'll see soon enough.

    Regardless, when Jim Cramer goes on TV to assure us that "everything's fine," I know for sure that the coverup's already begun.

  2. disaffected,

    It is quite incredulous for sure.

    Some of my JPL and other scientist pals have told me about disasters caused by stupid mistakes in software.

    One "landing" on Mars was at full speed because one programmer thought all relevant numbers were in kilometers while another though they were in miles.

    Thus, the craft hit the planet at several thousand miles an hour because the retros fired too late.

    A missile once headed in exactly the opposite direction it was supposed to because a '0' was where a '1' should have been, indicating an opposite direction. They had to destroy it before it reached populated areas.

    It can happen, but like you say, the issue is did it happen.

  3. A secondary issue that the MSM barely touched on was that, regardless of volume, when the mystery trader(s) switched to their alternative OTC buying site, the sell price was a fraction of the actual trading price of the stock (PG). That clearly indicates either panic, stupidity of an enormous magnitude, or criminal fraud. Frankly, I'm surprised the MSM/authorities didn't seize on this fact and try to make a case for electronic/financial terrorism, although, that too would be complete bullshit IMO.

    The "glitch" aspect is being overplayed for a significant reason. Markets are increasingly skittish about Greece, the PIIGS, and the Euro, ALL for what they indicate about what's coming to the US as well all too soon. The financial house of cards is so interconnected now, that what happens anywhere in the "first world" INSTANTLY reverberates throughout, and sovereign default is the main course for a whole host of countries very soon.

  4. I think the "consensus" in all that I read today is that the 15 minute meltdown yesterday was some combination of programmed trading, one exchange's attempt at suspending trading in the midst of suspicious/confusing trading activity, and legitimate panic. No one actually knows for sure, including government or MSM sources - their premature assertions to the contrary - which perhaps should be the one overriding concern in all of this. This was indeed a legitimate market meltdown of some indeterminant but significant magnitude fueled at least in part by panic, and further fueled by as yet definitively undetermined techical problems.

    In spite of those facts, our government and the MSM have elected yet again to feed us a feelgood, for the most part outright lie so that we don't get our collective panties in a bunch. When oh when dear Dreddster, will these weaselly cocksuckers ever realize that such feel good pronouncements are EXACTLY what such bunches are about in the first place? As a corallary, at exactly what point do politicians, business people, and other like-minded public figures succumb to terminal head up the ass disease? Questions for academic study include (but are not limited to): is it genetic or otherwise predictable by family history, what are the early indicators in childhood, is it contagious, and if so, for how long, is it treatable after onset, and of course, what are its wider effects on the masses and are they reversible? These are all important questions for which there are currently no answers. Academia, where are you when we need you most?

  5. Could be time to modify the lyrics:

    "Oh no, must be the season of the glitch,
    Must be the season of the glitch, yeah,
    Must be the season of the glitch."

    (apologies to Donovan, "Season of the Witch"). Witch or glitch, it is a problem.