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Friday, March 18, 2016


Arse Technica - major sites serving ads spreading ransomware. Quote:

Mainstream websites, including those published by The New York Times, the BBC, MSN, and AOL, are falling victim to a new rash of malicious ads that attempt to surreptitiously install crypto ransomware and other malware on the computers of unsuspecting visitors, security firms warned.

The tainted ads may have exposed tens of thousands of people over the past 24 hours alone, according to a blog post published Monday by Trend Micro. The new campaign started last week when "Angler," a toolkit that sells exploits for Adobe Flash, Microsoft Silverlight, and other widely used Internet software, started pushing laced banner ads through a compromised ad network.

According to a separate blog post from Trustwave's SpiderLabs group, one JSON-based file being served in the ads has more than 12,000 lines of heavily obfuscated code. When researchers deciphered the code, they discovered it enumerated a long list of security products and tools it avoided in an attempt to remain undetected.

"If the code doesn't find any of these programs, it continues with the flow and appends an iframe to the body of the html that leads to Angler EK [exploit kit] landing page," SpiderLabs researchers Daniel Chechik, Simon Kenin, and Rami Kogan wrote. "Upon successful exploitation, Angler infects the poor victim with both the Bedep trojan and the TeslaCrypt ransomware–double the trouble."

This is why, if you love your computer, you

1) uninstall Java Runtime, it's useless.

2) install Ghostery, Adblock Plus, and NoScript.

It doesn't matter if you avoid all porn like the plague and only ever visit "trustworthy" "corporate" sites like the NYT; the ads on their webpage are still html coming from a third party, and all third-party html is potentially an attack.

And if you believe that corporations are completely trustworthy and know how to provide quality security, I have a story for you:

Years ago I used Norton for my AV. Then, when they bundled Norton AV into a major bloatware suite, I thought "hey, no big deal, I have a powerful enough computer, I'll put up with the bloat if it means added security."

Then one day I woke up and found the internet was missing.

What happened was, my Norton Bloatware would phone in to the mothership on boot-up, to check and make sure its license was still valid. Well, the license server was a major license corporation that also took care of the MS Office suite... and MS had programmed an entire edition of their suite to phone in to the mothership on the exact same day.

So, as you'd expect, the license server had crashed under the weight of all that traffic.

So because of this, Norton Bloatware couldn't validate its license on that site either, so it wouldn't start.

So I lose the bloatware proxy, and thus no internet.

Having no internet, I only managed to figure this out by starting up a packet analyzer, watching the failed connects, and sorting it out the hard way.

I had to basically remove Norton Bloatware from startup and surf without protection in order to use internet.

At which point I decided to go through the very tedious process of manually uninstalling Norton Bloatware (difficult because to uninstall it you'd usually have to have it running, but that would mean no internet because the license server was still kaput, so it had to be unstarted, which meant a manual uninstall, and you do not uninstall a registry-heavy piece of software by hand unless you really know what you're doing).

All because some major corporations who should have known better (Microsoft, the license server, and Norton) critically and fatally screwed up what should have been a very simple license-checking process.

So don't ever trust any corporation to know how to protect your computer. It's up to you.

Maybe if a few hundred NYT readers who got hit with ransomware decide to sue the NYT for damages, and win, then we might see changes. Til then, this is why we hate ads, internet.

Friday videos: gettin' wrecked with the Edmund Fitzgerald, yo

Here's Gordon Lightfoot with some Canadiana for you:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

More fun with Google autocomplete


Let me try these one at a time:

1. Probably brain parasites. You should get that checked out.

2. Probably too much coffee.

3. Not enough coffee.

4. Brain parasites. You should really get that checked out.

5. Too salty coffee.

6. Your tits are too big and/or small. You should get that checked out.

7. Why not?

8. You're probably not feeding him enough poop.

9. Because you're doing it right.

10. Probably because you're having sex with it.

You're welcome.

OMINOUS CLOUDS GATHER: hear's watt ewe knead two, no?

I was thinking.

Pi has apparently been computed to 13.3 trillion digits, using the Madhava-Leibniz series; so it's apparently one of the universe's "built in" numbers. However, pi is also the ratio of a circle's circumference to its radius: has there ever been an experimental verification?

It shouldn't be that hard to experimentally verify pi, at least to a few hundred digits: we've got lasers, and it should be easy to build a big enough circle somewhere.

It might lead to interesting results: what if you discovered that empirical pi is different from mathematical pi? It could happen: all you would need is for space to be non-euclidean, right? And we already know it's non-euclidean: that comes straight out of relativity theory. So gravity would distort pi, so a circle laying on the ground would have a different ratio of circumference to radius than a circle lying on edge; but time would also distort pi at large enough distances, right?

Why the hell haven't scientists studied this yet?

Anyway, here's a bit of news:

New Deal Demoncrat - ominous clouds gather. Well, true, the housing sector is a big component of investment and thus a major determinant of recessions. So is a recession really coming in 2017? And if it is coming, can we please blame it on lunatic Republican governors and those idiot Germans?

Calculated Risk - FOMC projections.

WaPo - Fed lowers economic forecasts.

Weather Network - Clearly Canadian: BC crime suspect attempts to flee RCMP on an ice floe. Then she builds a fire on the ice floe.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


Title for xkcd fans.

Today is Fed day. I'm not predicting a rate rise today, but I would be not at all surprised if it happens. This is at odds with the rest of the market, so it's one heck of a bitch to determine whether to sell this morning or to hold for the pop that would come if a rate rise doesn't happen. Oh well: I'm no longer leveraged-long, so I guess I have space to react to whatever happens.

And here's some news to muddy the waters:

Calculated Risk - retail sales decline 0.1% in February. Retail and food service ex-gas increased yoy by 4.8%, but New Deal Demoncrat says McBride is unjustified in looking at this metric because the mom changes introduce noise into the yoy series that can mislead you. So ymmv, iykwimaityd, ianalndipootv, ykinok.

New Deal Demoncrat - the USD has ceased being a drag on the US economy. TWUSDX looks topped, and that means the deflationary current of a rising USD is going away, which means Yellen has more reason to raise rates now than she did in December.

Tim Duy the science guy - the battle for Yellen's soul. I think people are grossly overestimating Brainerd's dovishness: she's going to have a much harder time identifying deflationary pressures this week than she did a few months ago. Oil, base metals and USD are no longer headwinds, they're going to become inflationary pressures that are ideal for a Fed tightening cycle to push against; and nobody's going to stay dovish just to help out a deflationary disaster like Germany because that would mean taking a domestic inflation bullet for a country that has a deflation fetish.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

WHAT KIND OF BOSS DOESN'T LIKE TO PROMOTE WOMEN?: the answer is easier than you think!

Well, that was nice. I am pretty sure I got perfect on my macro test last night. It was just on the silly Williamson "intro to microfoundations" 2-period model with collateral constraints and interest spreads, but nevertheless it was a test I had to get perfect on to keep my A+ average.

I literally don't know where I could lose even a single mark. It's not that the test was easy: it took me about 40 minutes to finish, and I was writing fast. I bet half the class failed to complete the test.

So anyway, now Wednesday I have my "intro to statistical methods" test (I've got 100% in that class right now so I'm not worried), and then nothing til final exams.

Nothing much in the way of news, except this:

WaPo - what kind of boss doesn't like to promote women? Answer: a Republican boss. It's really that simple.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Our Daniela also interviews PSDave's boycrush and Otto Rock

Here's Daniela, again with the blurple, and you think it's just a flannel shirt, which would be stylish enough in itself, but then you see it's actually a dress masquerading as a flannel shirt. Flattering, yet comfortable!

And what the heck is that on her wrist, an Apple iWatch? What next, Google Glass? A tumblr account? A column at Jezebel? What is she, a 20-something Youtube star?

Um, and btw she's interviewing the Cookie Monster, aka Otto Rock:

He thinks the precious metals have turned, and it's for real. And then Cookie bitch-slaps the silverbugs so well that he smacks the taste right out of their mouth, and don't you think I have to quote it in its entirety:

"I think the idea that silver isn't reacting tells me right now that the nutjobs and the wingnuts aren't really into the sector - they're all still at Trump rallies."

Wham! Well, I guess that's one good way to effectively manage the quality of your subscriber base. Now all we have to do is get Cookie to endorse Bernie Sanders.

And here she is with PSDave's boycrush, Rick Rule, also hinting at blurple with his ensemble, but a somewhat more manly and vibrant blurple, with no overtones, subtexts or multiple entendres whatsoever:

Rick says streamers are well-run, which means he's never met Nolan Watson or looked at a SAND chart. Perplexing. Perhaps we misheard him, and he was actually talking about a stream of urine?

Daniela Daniela Daniela! and Jeff Christian too but it's hard to get too worked up about him

It's PDAC season, and so here's Our Daniela interviewing about the only person with an ounce of common sense in the entire goldbug space, Jeff Christian:

He's certain the low is in for gold, and explains why gold went up, where he thinks it will base from here, and then when does the bull trend continue.

Daniela, meanwhile, has opted for a very flattering pink-centred colour scheme that is beautifully contrasted with a very fetching blurple dress. Probably looks even better when you can see the boots.

three bad gold charts... wait, what?

Gold's still over US$1240, which is still one hell of a lot better than what that clown Jeffypoo Currie has been predicting over the past year. Heck, it looks like the December 2014 poll participants are going to finally be right, though a year late.

Still, these non-USD charts are a bit concerning:

Gold's gone nowhere in CAD for a month. And it's ominously close to breaking CAD$1650 support.

The drop through EMA to the Bollinger Mean may simply mean gold's decided to take a short rest in Euros, but the MACD cross and RSI drop below 60 say it could be done this move and recouperating for the next one. Certainly it's spent too much time above the SMA(50), and a drop at least to €1060-€1080 is possible without any damage to the secular uptrend.

And gold also looks done in GBP. Again, RSI and MACD suggest the excitement is over, and exhaustion may see it fall to £820-£840.

Them's the charts, it is what it is, and if nobody believed in charts then people couldn't make $100k/yr writing TA newsletters, could they?

Let's check up on Liz Ann Sonders

I haven't been following her recently, but this morning I came across an article in BI putting words into her mouth and making her look like an idiot, so I thought I'd check out her recent commentary.

Liz Ann Sonders - quit piddling yourselves you sissies, and yes I hate BI too. Here's one very important point:
Remember the basic rule of economics—the cure for low prices is low prices, as it eventually cuts supply and increases demand. And don’t forget that historically a reduction in the price of oil has been a boost to the economy with about a year lag. We believe we will see that boost to a greater extent as we go through the year.
Now, two points:

1) That means we'll be seeing a boost to the US economy now-ish, since the real pooping began in December 2014. Which is quite a hell of a contrast from the recession doomery you've been reading all winter, no?

2) If it's true that a drop in the oil price boosts the economy with about a year lag, then do you think that the Federal Reserve Board knows this? E.g., is Janet Yellen not as intelligent as Liz Ann Sonders? Because I think Yellen is at least as intelligent as Liz Ann Sonders, and thus Yellen knows it's probably a bad idea to put off rate hikes, given she feels output is near capacity (else she wouldn't be considering tightening) and thus she would feel any economic boost from low oil would be inflationary.

(Parenthetically, this means that the idiots at Morgan Stanley who are calling for no hikes before December are significantly less intelligent than a hamster, and you should take all your money out of MS because they're going to be hilariously wrong again, and hopefully they haven't bet their own money on this stupid call.)

Hillary Clinton epic fail

Esquire - he was standing right behind you. If you want to see an epic Hillary fail, just click on that link. I won't bother to summarize or quote, because it's just too damn funny.

If you can't see the images, just google them.

And as for Sanders, it would be hilarious if we had a Sanders vs. Trump presidential contest: all of a sudden, all the beltway kleptocrats would be swept aside and it would be an election between two popular candidates. My God, the USA would start to resemble a democracy again.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday reading

New Deal Demoncrat - weekly indicators. Summary:
Once again the bifurcation of decent consumer economy, poor industrial economy (at least that portion tied to commodity extraction and exports) that began one year ago, is changing -- and generally for the better, as commodity production and transportation look like they have turned positive. The recent weakness in real money supply appears to have ended. The dollar is becoming less of a drag. The only new negative is the continued deterioration in tax withholding.
Which I guess you could have guessed if you assumed this winter's weakness was the same as last year's weakness.

Calculated Risk - Goldman FOMC preview. Quotes:
Although policymakers continue to express some caution about the outlook, financial conditions have eased considerably over the last month, and incoming data have held up reasonably well.
And you didn't see this coming, Jan?
We do not think the committee is ready to raise rates next week, but expect the statement to say that risks are “nearly balanced”. Guidance from the meeting in general should indicate that another rate hike is likely before too long—we expect an increase at the June 14-15 FOMC meeting, but action at the April 26-27 meeting is not inconceivable.
Have inflationary pressures eased, Jan? Or are they as strong as, or stronger than, they were back when the Fed brought in the first rate increase? Y'know, metals prices, oil prices, wages, unemployment and the US dollar? Think things are less inflationary now? Cos the Fed's reason for raising rates is to hold down inflation.

Sorry, bud; I think the intelligent bet is for a rate raise this week. I eagerly await my Goldman Sachs job offer when I'm proven right.

Washington Post - no, Social Security isn't going broke. We know the press gives right-wing wackaloons a free pass, because reasons. What I want to know is why the press gives Dana Bash a free pass for reporting patently false information.

And Gary Wordsalad still insists the market remains in a downward trend. Well, you can't teach a doom merchant new tricks.