More Apple technofascism

Lest you doubt my description of Apple’s design philosophy:

Apple has invested in research to develop what it calls an “enforcement routine” that makes people watch ads they may not want to watch. Its distinctive feature is a design that doesn’t simply invite a user to pay attention to an ad — it also compels attention. The technology can freeze the device until the user clicks a button or answers a test question to demonstrate that he or she has dutifully noticed the commercial message. Because this technology would be embedded in the innermost core of the device, the ads could appear on the screen at any time, no matter what one is doing.

I very much look forward to hearing the Macintossers’ rationalizations for how having their machines held hostage to Apple’s advertising revenue stream will provide an objectively superior lifestyle experience for the members of the cult. As I’ve said before, you don’t have to be a techno-retard to prefer Apple products. But nevertheless, that is exactly for whom they are specifically designed.

Forced ad viewing… it’s insanely great!

Now, a patent doesn’t prove that Apple will come out with products designed around the patented technology. But it certainly proves beyond any shadow of a doubt the fascistic elements inherent in Apple’s design philosophy.

Unreliable retail numbers

Karl Denninger explains why the “positive” retail numbers reported today are, in fact, nothing of the kind:

We start with one store in the world that has net sales of “100”.

Store #2 opens with sales of 10. Half of that is new activity, half comes from Store #1. First month shows a sales report of “95”, a decrease. But in the next month Store #2’s numbers come online, the “95” is revised to the (true) 105, and Store #2s numbers (which have climbed to 60, while Store #1 has lost share and now also has an amount of 60) are all reportable. Net activity is now accurate at 120 and the previous month is revised to the (true) net 105.

Store #1 and #2 both are operating with sales of 60. Store #2 fails, and half of its business goes to Store #1. In the month it fails Store #1 shows an increase and Store #2’s numbers are DROPPED ENTIRELY, since it did not report. This is not revised. We now report a “50% increase” in retail activity, which is total crap – we really had a 25% net decrease for the current month. But the revision to the previous month does get posted, and depresses the previous month’s numbers.

Did this just happen?

The August to September 2009 percent change was revised from -1.5 percent (±0.5%) to -2.3 percent (±0.3%).

Oh, it did! Now we know where the revision to the previous month came from – stores closed in the present month and their sales loss was intentionally dropped from the current month.

Of course, it’s relatively easy to tell if the retail sales numbers are cooked or not. If the state sales tax numbers are falling while “retail sales” are increasing, then it’s obvious that the model is an inherently unreliable one.

A smart call

I know Bill Belichick is getting ripped to shreds by the Monday Morning Quarterbacks, but I think his decision to go for it on 4th and 2 was a smart one. The intelligence of a decision isn’t based upon whether the fickle fortunes of Fate smiled upon it or not, but if it was the right way to bet in the circumstances.

Peyton Manning has proven that he can take this year’s Colts 80 yards for a TD in 28 seconds. Given how the Colts were moving the ball in the second half, with Manning taking them 79 yards to score in only six plays, there was no reason to believe that the New England defense was likely to shut them down if the Colts were given the ball on their own 30 with two minutes and three timeouts to spare. The fact that most coaches will mindlessly throw their defenses under the bus by taking the less probable option that conveniently lets them off the hook doesn’t mean that Belichick was wrong to take the responsibility and play the odds even though it didn’t work out for him. In fact, I would argue that his controversial decision demonstrates why he is a great coach for whom players want to play.

WND column

Fallacy of Recovery

A one-time skeptic of fiscal stimulus, [German chancellor] Ms Merkel plans what amounts to a third stimulus package worth about € 7 billion ($10.4 billion), starting on January 1st.
– The Economist, Oct. 31, 2009

The mainstream media is full of reports of economic recovery and an end to the recession of 2008, even though the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research has not yet spoken its official word on the matter. The significant rise in the stock markets and a single advance GDP report has been enough to convince nearly every economist and financial analyst that the worst is past, that 10.2 percent unemployment is a lagging indicator, and that the primary concern at hand is now too much monetary and fiscal stimulus leading to inflation.

Read the rest of the column at WND

Karl Denninger at the Market Ticker appears to have reached the same conclusion. Note that I wrote my column prior to reading his post To the Barkers: Answer This Question:

“The recession ended in June”: Dennis Kneale

“The recession was definitely over in September”: Any one of a number of people.

Ok. Let’s say that I accept all this at face value, even though while driving through my definitely-beach-oriented local town here this afternoon I noted even more closed-and-gone storefronts than there were a couple of weeks ago, and last night at the local open-air mall, although the evening was absolutely gorgeous, you could have fired a 155mm Howitzer down the “main drag” without killing anyone – because there was almost nobody there, and literally not one shopping bag was in evidence.

I simply have to ask the pundits and the carnival barkers, of which CNBC is the worst (but certainly not the only sinner) the following – why do we need any of these programs if in fact the economy is growing again:

Something clearly isn’t adding up. So, who is more likely to be correct? The skeptical economists looking at the evidence and seeing that nothing fundamental has changed or the mainstream economists utilizing the very same models that didn’t let them see a recession coming in the first place? And furthermore, if the models are known to be unreliable, then how does it make any sense to put faith in an estimate that is constructed on the bases of those models?