Developing sigma

Although it would not be unreasonable to suspect me of snowflaking in developing the concept of the sigma, this was not the case. Its development came about as a direct result of the observation that there was a significant distinction between the attributes and behavior of Roissy’s sexual alpha and the socially dominant alpha male, and it was the contemplation of the various distinctions and similarities involved that inspired me to come up with the concept of a socio-sexual hierarchy.

The orange and the blue

Bucknell is back to the Big Dance:

The ultimate bracket buster is back in the NCAA tournament: Bucknell. Yes, Bucknell – the team that stunned Kansas six years ago in the first round of the NCAAs. Mike Muscala scored 18 points and the Bison shut down Lafayette in the second half of a 72-57 victory Friday to win the Patriot League championship and the conference’s automatic bid.

Bring on the #1 seeds! The funny thing is that I ran into a Georgetown player who played in the 1987 NCAA tournament a few years ago in Italy. He described the Bucknell team they had beaten in the first round as “little white guys, but tough little white guys” who hung with them longer than the Hoyas had expected. So, here is to hoping for a third first-round upset this spring.

Debt outstanding 2005 – 2010

The Z1 report released earlier this week looks superficially positive from a mainstream perspective.  Total credit increased from $52.3 trillion to $52.6 trillion, which is nearly back to the pre-bust level of $52.9 trillion in Q1 2009.  This is in keeping with the theme of a fragile, but real economic recovery.  However, a closer look at the debt by sector reveals that it is merely more of the same pretend-and-extend at work, with public debt filling in the gap created by deflating private debt.  Whereas the financial sector debt has contracted $2.9 trillion (16.7%) and the household sector has contracted $500 billion (3.7%), the federal government sector debt has nearly doubled with an increase of $4.1 trillion (78%).   This means that the government debt (federal, state, and local), has now increased from 16% of the total debt market in 2005 to 22.5% now.

Notice that state and local government debt has been increasing even as their ability to service their debt has dramatically declined.  This increase cannot continue, which is why more political conflicts like the one in Wisconsin can be expected and why more state and local governments will be expected to default on their debts.  Moreover, we can expect the decline in household debt to pick up speed in the near future, since many defaults are not being registered yet and the only area of growth has been student loans.  As more home defaults enter into the system and more prospective students begin to understand the declining value of university credentials, we can be confident that the household sector will begin to contract at a rate approximately 5x faster than before.

This will put more pressure on the federal government to increase its rate of debt expansion beyond the 5.5 percent per quarter growth that it has been averaging since the crisis began in Q3 2008.  I estimate that in 2011, the federal government will have to continue expanding its debt at a rate of at least 6% per quarter in order to prevent total credit from contracting.


The NFLPA turns down the proffered deal:

Unfortunately, the players’ union has notified our office that at 4pm ET it had “decertified” and is walking away from mediation and collective bargaining, presumably to initiate the antitrust litigation it has been threatening to file. In an effort to get a fair agreement now, the clubs offered a deal that would have had no adverse financial impact upon veteran players in the early years and would meet the players’ financial demands in the latter years.

The union left a very good deal on the table. It included an offer to narrow the player compensation gap that existed in the negotiations by splitting the difference; guarantee reallocation of savings from first-round rookies to veterans and retirees without negatively affecting compensation for rounds 2-7; ensure no compensation reduction for veterans; implement new year-round health and safety rules; retain the current 16-4 season format for at least two years with any subsequent changes subject to the approval of the league and union; and establish a new legacy fund for retired players ($82 million contributed by the owners over the next two years).

I’m mostly with the owners on this one, for all that I hate their greedy, parasitical dependence on public stadiums. About the only shareholders with a worse deal than NFL owners are the banks, who pay out more in salaries and bonuses than they make in profits. While I don’t think that going to an 18-game season makes any sense at all, I am completely against the NFLPA’s attempt to turn the NFL into Premier League Football where Manchester United, Chelsea, and Arsenal are able to spend 3x more on players than their opponents.

UPDATE: As expected, the NFL has responded by locking out the players.