Google


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Strictly Come Dancing error

The BBC claims that it couldn’t foresee that a tie could occur in the semi-final of SCD. But if we simulate 10,000 draws for three couples with two scores between 33 and 40 (assuming that high scores are likely) then there is a 26% chance that there will be a tie for the total. There is a 1% chance there will be a 3 way tie even. It is actually odd that in six series this didn't occur before.

Here is the SAS program used to simulate the draws:


data scd;

do i=1 to 10000;

c1_1=33+round(7*uniform(23213));

c1_2=33+round(7*uniform(234234));

c2_1=33+round(7*uniform(5));

c2_2=33+round(7*uniform(423432));

c3_1=33+round(7*uniform(8778));

c3_2=33+round(7*uniform(765756));

if sum(of c1:)=sum(of c2:) or sum(of c1:)=sum(of c3:) or sum(of c2:)=sum(of c3:) then tie=1;

else tie=0;

if sum(of c1:)=sum(of c2:) and sum(of c1:)=sum(of c3:) then tie2=1;

else tie2=0;

output;

end;

run;



proc means data=scd;

run;

Monday, December 08, 2008

Riots in Greece

Things are pretty bad in Greece. Riots on the street and the
government is close to collapse due to the unveiling of a scandal
involving the church. However this is not the time to stop progress in
Greece. It needs to reform the public sector, bring the finances under
control and heal a diverging society. Some of the unrest is the
symptom of a youth without any perspectives - youth unemployment is
among the highest in the EU. In Greece you don't have any chances if
you don't know the right people. Corruption needs to be curtailed.
Karamanlis needs to unite the country to further the progress which
has been made. Now is not the time to go back to the old state
socialism.


Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Authentic cooking

Authentic cooking means being true in your flavours and that means in
your ingredients. Putting fishpaste in a fish soup or putting too much
butter or cream into everything is not authenic. The same is true for
garlic as well. These flavours cover the natural flavour of your large
items.


Sent from my iPhone

Thursday, November 27, 2008

2.5=2.1

Almost noone seems to notice that a drop of VAT from 17.5 to 15% is
not a 2.5% drop in the sales price but actually only 2.1%. You need to
divide 1.15 by 1.175 because VAT is on top of the seller's price.

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

BRIC - ICBR


The graph shows the BRIC countries in the order their GDP per head in PPP terms relative to the EU average (left scale). An Indian has only 9% of the income of an average EU citizen compared to a 51% for a Russian. China has the fastest growth among this group. Growth rates for 2009 are projected to be much lower as the world is going into full recession.

Source: Economist, CIA Facts

War in the retail sector

There is a lot of talk about a war in the retail sector. I think this
kind of language is unneccesary and tireful. There are more important
things in the world than if market share drops by a tenth of a
percentage point. If conditions are so severe what will come next?
Apocalypse?


Sent from my iPhone

Friday, November 21, 2008

Conservative's economic policy.

The Tories get a lot of opposition against their economic stance. But they have a point, if on Monday a spending spree is announced then it won't be effective because people will have to prepare for hard times in the future, when we will have to pack back all that borrowed money. Furthermore, why should the phenomenon which brought us into trouble - too much spending - help us out of it?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Recession

It's official Germany is in recession as well. The whole talk about recession as being two consecutive quarters in negative clouds the whole picture. I think looking at annual growth is still more indicative of the strength of an economy. The Economist stats reveal that 2009 will be much worse than 2008 for most countries. UK is at the very bottom with -1%. Eastern Europe seems a safe bet next year.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Credit crunch modelling

Mathematician Shaw from King's College London presents a model for the
post crunch world with extreme events

http://arxiv.org/pdf/0811.0182


Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Income inequality

The BBC refers to a OECD publication which claims that income inequality has become better over the last years. The data is from 2005. This in contrast with more recent news which claim that inequality has actually increased under Labour.



It’s not clear which data set the OECD is using but if you compare to the IFS Poverty and Inequality Report 2008 report than the picture looks different. The IFS report’s last year is 2006/7, so it’s more up to date – and it shows that over the whole Blair era inequality has increased.



The OECD chart is way too fluctuating – hinting at flaws in the data.

























http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications.php?publication_id=4258

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7681361.stm

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Waitrose ad

The new Waitrose featuring "Golden Brown" by the Stranglers is quite
extraordinary. It juxtaposes poetry, romantically blurred pictures,
and music by a pre punk band. Many claim the music is about heroin.
Yet it seems PC to put in the ad. The poem describes the colours and
flavours of autumn. It's truly postmodern.

Sent from my iPhone

Monday, October 13, 2008

Op-Ed Contributor - The Rise of the Machines - NYTimes.com

This is an enlightened view at the financial crisis and a possible
explanation

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/12/opinion/12dooling.html


Sent from my iPhone

Nobel prize for Krugman

The Nobel economics prize for Krugman is really wrong. He is more of a
columnist than an economist. You have to go far back to find a highly
cited paper by him. This year's prize should have gone to an
instituional or regulatory economist.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Brown's contribution

Gordon Brown suffers from a big illusion, that he is repsonsible for
the economic growth in the last decade and that he will also be our
saviour in the current crisis. When will he learn that politicians
don't run the economy?He was even claiming that is was due to him that
the oil price has fallen. When does he learn that people are not
stupid? Rather than being on messge he should tell people the truth.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, October 11, 2008

new choice modelling journal

Click here for a free issue of the new Journal of Choice Modelling. Editors are Hess and Rose.

Friday, October 10, 2008

London Bus strike

When will our useless mayor do something about the bus strike? All he
has done is banning drinks on buses which is being ignored, waving a
flag in Beijing, and firing London's most senior policeman. What is he
actually good for?

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

End of capitalism

So this is the end of financial capitalism in Britain. As taxpayers we
will pay more than in the US. With the difference that we might see a
return. But who is to trust the government as fund manager? £50bn for
the banks puts any expenditure except for the NHS in the shadow.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, October 04, 2008

DECC

Brown has created the new Department for energy and climate change
(DECC). It will have to be seen if that is a lucky combination.

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, September 26, 2008

Golden ratio

Here is a simple quick SAS program to calculate the golden ratio, after 70 steps it reaches 1.6180339885, which is pretty close to the true solution.

 

data phi;

phi1=1;

phi2=(phi1+1)/phi1;

incr=.1;

output;

do i=2 to 70;

    if phi1<phi2 then phi1+incr;

    else do;

        phi1+(-incr);

        incr=incr/10;

    end;

    phi2=(phi1+1)/phi1;

    output;

end;

run;

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Kelly leaving

Ruth Kelly's explanation to leave because of her four children sounds
really stupid because why she didn't quit politics much earlier?
Surely she didn't realize suddenly she had children.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Google G1

T-Mobile will announce the new iPhone rival today: the G1 phone running on Google's android operating system

http://announcement.t-mobileg1.com/

It's said to launch in the UK in December. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Oil

The oil market is one of the most discussed themes and yet there are more things we don't know than thing things we do know. Let's look at some features which describe this market
  • Resource constraint, supply is limited
  • Huge initial investment required with high risk of failure
  • Self-regulated oligopoly on the seller side and buyer side (oligopsony?)
  • Huge exogenous effects (crises etc)
  • Unpredictability of future price
  • Low price elasticity

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Brown needs to wake up

Just watching Brown on Sunday AM, he seems delusional about reality.
He is refering to the US all the time. Nothing is his fault but he
brought the success of the last decade. He doesn't realise people
don't care about the US, China, but about paying their bills, which he
is not helping them with.

Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Test for multi-modality

Do you know of a simple test for multi modality? Do you use the Silverman test? 

Gauss 9

Aptech have released version 9 of GAUSS, it features multi threading to make code run quicker. 

Saturday, August 16, 2008

HMG on youtube

The UK government is increasingly using sites like flickr and youtube to promote a good picture. Why, however, do they switch off any democratic means by which users can interact with this content? As for instance on youtube you cannot leave any comments, eg.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Europe should stand by Georgia's side

The military conflict around Ossetia seems to have come out of the blue, but it is known for long that Russia sees Georgia as inferior and is constantly trying to intimidate its neighbour. European leaders should not shy away and stand next to Georgia which is trying to save its own country. Russia's protection of South Ossetia is hypocritical as Moscow's leader don't care what happens to the people of the Caucasus region.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Goodbye science

Chris Anderson of Wired has written an article on the end of the scientific method. He claims that the range of 100% data we hold today renders models and testing obsolete. He claims data can be analysed straight away with a bit of mathematics.

I think the notion of science in this article is a bit blurred, surely mathematics is science as well. And even large data sets need science to be analysed. In fact the speed of computing cannot cope with the size of data available, so the models need to cope with more data simply. Many new scientific developments today are about reducing the size of the data.

Also his article rests on the assumption that all data can be collected - surely not true.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Andrew Marr

I like him and usually watch his Sunday show and listen to his Start the Week broadcast, but I am getting increasingly annoyed by his appearing intellectualism. While he is very bland as a political interviewer he is trying to compensate this is by his interest in almost everything. I think he is sitting on the fence and should make his mind up. I concede that history is a bit of of his pet since he studied that at university. A hack who thinks he knows everything - annoying.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Euro 08

We have the four semi-finalists: two expected and two unexptected. Russia and Turkey are doing a Greece, though with different routes. Turkey prove themselves as a passionate team whereas Russia succeeds with its speed and technique. The lesson is that it is anyone's game today. There is no dominance of one nation as Italy and France struggled awfully. This again brings into question whether money is the best driver of sports success?

300th post: Eight jobs for the future

Here are eight jobs which I think will become more prevalent in the future and if you start studying today you might want to check some of these routes. Many are not new but they will grow in number and scope.

  1. Designer: design is taking over and is becoming a key fetaure of many products and services. This reaches from web to interior design.
  2. Engineer: Engineering will stay a key role in today's world, from electronics via robotics to hybrid design of fusing new technologies.
  3. Web developper: Web 2.0 is the new hype and what will be web 3.0, no one knows but it certainly will need people to come up with new ideas. The programming won't be the key issue but how to design it (see 1).
  4. User content manager: the i generation is taking over, media corps have to fuse user content into thier output, how to manage this is somehting for a new kind of marketing.
  5. Data security officer: The government certainly needs one, as collecting data becomes cheaper, somebody needs to take care of the details.
  6. AI developper: the notion of articifical intelligence has been around for a while, but only our new gadgets come close to the AI paradigm. again it is about design and development, rather than the execution.
  7. Climatologist: Going green is the new fashion, the climate is a constant theme and scientist receive huge funding for stuyding the climate.
  8. BPO consultant: business process outsourcing is nowhere near its capacity, as the West struggles the East will catch up, and someone needs to sort it out.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Siemens corruption in Greece

Siemens' questionable practices reach beyond Germany, as it has been revealed that their executives paid PASOK officials when the party was in power. Read more here.

The allegation is that former high ranking socialist party executive, Theodoros Tsoukatos, a close confidant of former prime minister Kostas Simitis, was sent 420,000 euros (1 million Deutsche Marks) offshore to a friend's private bank account in 1999 which was later transferred to party coffers.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Child poverty

The IFS reports the the reason for the increase in child poverty is mainly among couples with only one worker.

However, there has been a large rise in the risk of poverty for children living
in couple families, driven by those households where one adult worked
full-time and the other did not work and by those households with no
full-time workers. This may well be related to the slow or negative real
growth in entitlements to benefits and tax credits between 2005–
06 and 2006–07

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Child poverty rises again

Finally DWP has published its annual HBAI report. It shows that between 05/06 and 06/07 100,000 more children have ended up in poverty. The total is now at 2.9 million, far off from the 2010 goal. The reason is not quite clear but will be revealed at tomorrow's IFS seminar.

It is quite clear however that the ca 4bn pounds proposed will not be enough to reach the 2010 target, something more like 6 or 7 bn pounds, anticipating the reverse effects of recession, will be needed.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Rühmkorf is dead

The 78 year old lyricist died on Sunday in Hamburg. He was one of the best poets of postwar Germany.

„Schaut nur nicht so bedeppert in diese Grube. / Nur immer rein in die gute Stube. / Paar Schaufeln Erde, und wir haben / ein Jammertal hinter uns zugegraben.“

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Kirsty does political On Location^3

Kirsty Allsopp makes political statements on her flagship property show. She wants stamp duty abolished. While that might make sense, the programme is not the right place to make such statements. Especially when she is so close to Cameron. TV entertainment should stay politically neutral.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Segments

Many semi-marketers speak of young professionals and I always ask myself what are the other segments then. If you have three dimensions - age, household size and affluence (which is correlated with education) - then you can find 36 segments. Now young professionals can cover four of those segments - rich, middle income young singles and couples. That is 1 out of 9, so not really such a big segment.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hilary misspeaks again

Hilary compared the Obama campaign to Bobby Kennedy's - who got killed - campaign giving this a reason to stay in the race. Pretty outrageous and her apology to the Kennedys doesn't do any justice.

Monday, April 28, 2008

New Manski book

Manski has published a new book on Identification and treating data in general.

This book is a full-scale exposition of Charles Manski's new methodology for analyzing empirical questions in the social sciences. He recommends that researchers first ask what can be learned from data alone, and then ask what can be learned when data are combined with credible weak assumptions. Inferences predicated on weak assumptions, he argues, can achieve wide consensus, while ones that require strong assumptions almost inevitably are subject to sharp disagreements.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

TED and choice

TED is a new website for videos from conferences. Here is a talk on consumer choice:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Sleeping for a year

Why did all the Labour backbenchers not revolt a year ago against the 10p rate abolishment when it was announced? Did they forget? Most probably they are just opportunistic.

Lang Lang in Albert Hall

Lang Lang's performance at the classic fm event was fabulous. His Rachmaninov seemed refreshing. The rest of the program was boring, and the reason to combine LL with this bunch of wannabes is questionable. It seemed like a marketing event from classic fm for the masses.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

BBC satire


There is no satire on BBC. Why? Too serious times?

Athens Beijing medals

Many anticipate that in Beijing the Chinese will take the throne of sports and top the medal table - maybe they will not win most medals but more gold than the US, as it seems likely from the Athens table. Only four out of the top 10 were EU countries. How will all the doping scandals affect the overall performance?


Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 United States United States (USA) 36 39 27 102
2 China China (CHN) 32 17 14 63
3 Russia Russia (RUS) 27 27 38 92
4 Australia Australia (AUS) 17 16 16 49
5 Japan Japan (JPN) 16 9 12 37
6 Germany Germany (GER) 13 16 20 49
7 France France (FRA) 11 9 13 33
8 Italy Italy (ITA) 10 11 11 32
9 South Korea South Korea (KOR) 9 12 9 30
10 Great Britain Great Britain (GBR) 9 9 12 30
Source: Wikipedia

WPS instead of SAS

There is an alternative to expensive SAS in the from of an interpreter WPS http://www.teamwpc.co.uk/products/wps/features/language. The big question is if the support is as good and how they keep it up to date.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

New Cadbury ad

Here is the Cadbury TV ad with trucks on a runway, it's on the same line with the gorilla ad - joy and cool music - and even slightly funny.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Applegarth's next job

The Telegraph is asking what former CEO of Northern Rock Applegarth's next job should be? How about helping all those families on a tight budget to cope with the difficult economic situation.

He currently receives 760k for doing nothing.

Liberal fascism

I am currently reading Liberal Fascism by Goldberg. I agree with him on the militancy of environmentalists but a lot of what he says about fascism I find less persuasive, still a good read. I am just afraid fascism is so overused that it actually doesn't mean anything.

Friday, March 28, 2008

credit


Here is an advert from vanquis, I don't know if this is meant to be funny/cynical. How can someone deserve 40% interest on 250 pounds, this is ridiculous.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

T5 cock up

BA and BAA have messed up big time on the opening of terminal 5. The big investment seems to be blown in the wind given this further loss of confidence and reputation for the two companies. If they knew it would be a challenge, why they didn't test the system sufficiently? It's a disgrace how poorly they manage customers.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Indians buy Jaguar

Car giant Ford will sell its luxury UK-based car marques Jaguar and Land Rover to Indian company Tata. Tata, India's biggest vehicle maker, is likely to pay about $2bn (£1bn) in the deal, BBC reports
Tata is the maker of the Nano

SAS STAT

SAS has released a new version of its STAT module. You can do Bayesian models in SAS now.

Also SAS stat studio allows to use functions from OOP languages.
The programming language in Stat Studio, which is called IMLPlus, is an enhanced version of the IML programming language. IMLPlus extends IML to provide new language features, including the ability to create and manipulate customized dynamic graphics, call SAS procedures as functions, and call computational programs written in C, C++, Java, and Fortran.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why is Donald Trump selling cigarettes



The BBC writes about the proposed ban of cigarettes displays, but how is Donald Trump related? Did he start a shop in Britain?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Plastic rubbish

BBC says that reducing plastic bag usage by 25% would take 18000 cars off the road. That is nothing considering that there are 27m cars in the UK. I am in favour of reducing plastic bag use, but there are more effectve ways to reduce waste.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

IJF

The International Journal of Forecasting has a free issue on many forecasting problems: Discussion by D Hendry.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Prediction of customer defection

A paper by Buckinx and van den Poel Customer Base Analysis: Partial Defection of Behaviorally-Loyal Clients in a Non-Contractual FMCG Retail Setting tries to explain the probability to defect. The best predictor is frequency which should come as no surprise, as it's just past loyalty. The value of this observation is questionable.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bear Stearns

JP Morgan Chase's offer of $2bn for Bear Stearns drops the company's valuations by 3/7 of its current market capitalisation. From the high of $150 BSC's stock price has dropped to $30, a loss of 80%. Has the Fed ultimately made it easier for JP Morgan to acquire?

Cooking

This is a really cool website for Greek cooking inspirations, with lost of pictures which makes it easier.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Child poverty in Darling budget

Darling's new budget claims to raise 250k children out of poverty. The measures are shown below, of those only the second and third one actually make a difference. The increase in child tax credit is actually less than £1 per week. Bigger increases in child tax credit are needed to achieve the 2010 target. Overall the commitments are tiny and disappointing.

Budget 2008 sets out the next steps, including measures to make significant
further progress towards the target of halving child poverty by 2010:
- increasing the first child rate of Child Benefit to £20 a week from April
2009, reinforcing the Government’s commitment to Child Benefit as the
foundation of financial support for all families;
- increasing the child element of the Child Tax Credit by £50 a year above
indexation from April 2009 to further help low to middle income families;
and
- disregarding Child Benefit in calculating income for Housing and Council
Tax Benefit from October 2009, improving work incentives for many of the
lowest paid families and boosting their incomes. A working family with one
child on the lowest incomes will gain up to £17 a week from this change.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cameron in Telegraph

David Cameron has been uttering some populist nonsense in the Telegraph. He claims poverty rates are not publicly available for IB recipients, that's wrong they have been there for years, see here. In fact a child of a IB recipient has 37% poverty risk.

He also claims Labour hasn't done anything for the poor. Well it hasn't done enough but surely more than the Tories who have thrown generations into poverty.

Then he says they don't do anything over IB. He surely hasn't listened to the Freud proposals and the many pilots discussed.

Monday, March 03, 2008

From BOGOF to TFTPOO

According to MarketingWeek the Buy One Get One Free could be prohibited by the EU, because of the word free.

An Institute of Sales Promotions note adds that: "This does not stop any existing promotional mechanics. It simply means that the word free cannot be used in relation to them. For example, it would appear that 'buy one get one free' will not be acceptable, but the mechanic will remain perfectly legal and will have to be described as something like 'Two for the price of one'."

Saturday, March 01, 2008

What has happened to democracy?

Putin handing over to Medvedev, Clinton pushing Clinton, Brown moving out Blair, Sarkozy becoming drunken with celebrity. Have we lost the focus, do we have the cracy without the demos? Sucking up to the party dictatorship in China! Uninspired rules from Brussels.

The democratic evolution has lost steam, and image and populism have taken over.

The desparation of the CXO

Leaders have to be inspirers. Inspiration is a creative art. Many top tier managers show off their creative talents to impress ... mostly their peers. The technocrat has been transformed into the talkmaster who knows a few jokes, has seen many parts of the world and is eager to tell the story of success. A David Brentian happening. But probably better than before.

New World Bank Chief economist

The Chinese Justin Lin will be the new World Bank Chief Economist. His most cited paper is in the AER from 98: Competition, Policy Burdens, and State-Owned Enterprise Reform. He is a specialist in transition economics and was once an exhibit soldier who then deserted. Is the appointment of a transition economist coming a bit late?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

RSS Journal

The RSS has a free issue of its Journal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A (Statistics in Society) here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Bradford and Bingley


What has ahppened to BB? Over the last year it has lost two thirds of its value? JPMorgan Cazenove said Bradford & Bingley Plc's financial results were ``unnerving''.

Is it the next Rock?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Child poverty 06/07

In March DWP will publish the new child poverty figures for 2006/7. In the previous year they had to report a 100k increase in the poverty count. This is hugely disappointing since the government is committed to halve child poverty by 2010 from the 98/99 level.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

BRIC countries catching up

Goldman Sachs has singled out BRIC countries as the GDP leaders of the future. A look at the forecasts reveals China will be number 3 overtaking Germany in 2008. Furthermore, India will overtake Korea and be closer to Russia with its vast natural resource wealth. Russia will also overtake Brazil.

Country ↓ 2006 ↓ 2007 ↓ 2008 ↓ Estimate as of ↓
World 48,144.466 53,431,490 57,267,090 2007
European Union 14,609.836 16,574.443 17,607.657 2006
United States 13,194.70 13,794.22 14,305.70 2007
Japan 4366.46 4,345.948 4,552.204 2007
Germany 2,915.87 3,259.212 3,414.629 2007
People's Republic of China 2,644.64 3,248.52 3,713.30 2007
United Kingdom 2,398.95 2,755.92 2,933.24 2007
France 2,252.21 2,515.24 2,656.53 2007
Italy 1,852.58 2,067.68 2,174.82 2007
Canada 1,275.28 1,406.43 1,527.76 2007
Spain 1,231.73 1,414.65 1,524.90 2007
Brazil 1,067.71 1,295.35 1,450.01 2007
Russia 984.92 1,223.73 1,480.18 2007
South Korea 888.27 949.70 1,006.13 2007
India 873.66 1,089.94 1,249.44 2007

Source: Wikipedia, IMF

Friday, February 01, 2008

Microsoft buying Yahoo

This is a quite interesting chart - Microsoft and Yahoo over the last year. Both have finished were they started off, mainly thanks to Microsoft's offer which has knocked MSFT and lifted YHOO. The premium Microsoft offers for Yahoo seems massive, but the position will be strategic mainly vs Google.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The end of GLE


The fraud case by a single trade is a heavy blow for Societe Generale. It is of course quetionable how he could conceal his actions.

It's share price has already dropped by half from May 07 to now. Will more equity be destroyed? Will it be overtaken?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pay to become Mayor

Why do we have to pay 10 grand to stand in the London Mayor election? How undemocratic. You only get them back if you get above 5% of the vote, so big parties with donors are favoured.

Picking the unripe cherries

Germany has seen some acceleration in its growth recently, after some hard reforms. Now we see the groups who had to hold back for some years reemerging from their trenches and holding the hands open. Trade unions and SPD are asking for more money. Beck is telling people not to buy Nokia mobiles because they leave Germany - ridiculous. They undo the hard won success of their predecessors.

Germany might still be Exportweltmeister, but still they will be overtaken by the Chinese and then the Germans won't be top at anything.

Data loss

The frequency of known data loss by the government is astonishing and shocking. What about all the cases we don't know. One problem is that many civil servants work from home and the IT is exposed. Another problem is the lack of security systems or better the lack of usage of these systems. It is pretty easy to decode something, and people have to be trained and reminded of the importance of data security.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

LSTAR

Here is a SAS macro to estimate a logistic STAR(1) model, the first part initialises the parameters by using the OLS coefficients, this avoids the optimisation going off in the wrong direction.

options mprint mlogic;

%macro star(data=,var=,gamma=10,c=);

%if &c= %then %do;
proc summary data=&data;
var &var;
output out=temp;
run;

data _null_;
set temp;
if _stat_='MEAN' then call symput('c',&var);
run;
%end;

data temp2;
set &data;
l&var=lag(&var);
ll&var=lag(l&var);
run;

proc reg data=temp2 outest=temp3;
model &var = l&var ll&var;
run;

data _null_;
set temp3;
call symput('a',intercept);
call symput('b',l&var);
call symput('d',ll&var);
run;

* y_t = phi00+phi01*y_t-1 + (phi10+phi11*y_t-1)*(1/(1+exp(-gamma*(y_{t-1}-c))));
proc nlin data=temp2 maxiter=500 convergence=0.000001;
parms a0=&a b0=&b c0=&d a1=&a b1=&b c1=&d gam=&gamma c=&c;
model &var = a0+b0*l&var +c0*ll&var+ (a1+b1*l&var+c1*ll&var)*(1/(1+exp(-gam*(l&var-c))));
output out=temp4 predicted=&var.f;
quit;
%mend;

* Usage;
%star(data=unemp,var=gmgsx,gamma=30);

Monday, January 07, 2008

Davos 2008

From 23 to 27 January the World Economic Forum takes place in Davos. Co-chairs will be among others Tony Blair and Henry Kissinger. One of the main questions will be if the global economic slowdown can be halted or reversed.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Fuel consumption


When environmentalists talk about energy consumption they often talk in absolute terms. From 1971 to 2005 world fuel consumption increased by 88% from 4.2 billion tons of oil equivalent to 7.9. In the same time world population increased by 76%. This implies that fuel consumption per head only increased by 7% over 34 years.