Dec. 10th, 2016

birdwatcher: (Mr. Twister)
A committee of Congress heard remarkable testimony last week about a long-running programme by the Drug Enforcement Administration. For years, officials from the Department of Justice testified, the DEA has paid millions of dollars to a variety of confidential sources to provide tips on travellers who may be transporting drugs or large sums of money. Those sources include staff at airlines, Amtrak, parcel services and even the Transportation Safety Administration.

The testimony follows a report by the Justice Department that uncovered the DEA programme and detailed its many potential violations. According to that report, airline employees and other informers had an incentive to search more travellers’ bags, since they received payment whenever their actions resulted in DEA seizures of cash or contraband. The best-compensated of these appears to have been a parcel company employee who received more than $1m from the DEA over five years. One airline worker, meanwhile, received $617,676 from 2012 to 2015 for tips that led to confiscations. But the DEA itself profited much more from the programme. That well-paid informant got only about 12% of the amount the agency seized as a result of the his tips.
http://www.economist.com/blogs/gulliver/2016/12/snoop-case

Скажут - надо легализовать наркотики, и все наладится само собой. По всему видать, что это ложная цель. Происходит от чрезмерного внимания к законам, совершенно бессодержательной и ни на что не влияющей вещи. Наркотики при желании вполне можно держать запрещенными, если твердо следить за тем, чтобы запрет не энфорсировался. Вот как в Амстердаме сейчас запрещена марихуана. Формальная легализация наркотиков - это теоретически приятно, но совершенно не обязательно, тогда как на практике обязательно совсем другое - уничтожение DEA и TSA, вне связи с легальностью наркотиков.
birdwatcher: (belgium fries)
Оказывается, уже два года как написана книга "Flash Boys: Not So Fast", где подробно разбирается весь токсичный бред, который написал Льюис. Примерно как "Капитал и проценты" Бем-Баверка против "Капитала" Маркса, ну и сравнительная известность тоже соответствует.



Там всё хорошо, но выпишу этот кусок:
The illogic of predictability. Lastly, one has to ask the most obvious question of all: if you know exactly what these front-runners are doing, why can't you beat them? Or at least avoid them? If you want to buy 100,000 shares of XYZ, why not play the opposite game of the high-frequency traders: quietly place resting bids to purchase the shares on these ten exchanges first, and then wait for somebody to sell 100 shares of XYZ on BATS, causing your 100,000 resting shares to be the ones that "vanish into the paws of high-frequency traders?" As a bonus, you even collect a rebate from the exchange on the 100,000 shares.
    Reading the book alternate between the victimization of Katsuyama's traders and their explanation of exactly how they are being victimized, I feel like I'm hearing somebody complain that they always lose playing rock-paper-scissors: they always choose rock and the other guy always chooses paper. Why not choose scissors?
    More broadly, if these front-runners are running the scam all the time, not only should Katsuyama be able to avoid it, other predators would likely front-run the front-runners, putting them out of business. Lewis tells us that Brad describes the front-running plague to everyone on Wall Street, including a number of sharp hedge fund managers. Did all of these hedge funds decide to play nice with the high-frequency front-runners? Have all the other high-frequency traders, whom he claims make money picking off predictable models, decided not to pick off these guys who predictably front-run? It just doesn't seem plausible.
birdwatcher: (Leif Gram: Mr. Fix)
Администрация Трампа про ЦРУ и русских хакеров: “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.” Trump’s transition team said in an unsigned statement.

Это и правда те же люди, ну, по крайней мере, та же организация. Семантически отсюда должно следовать, что поэтому их, патологических лгунов, и слушать не надо: опять наврут с три короба. Но ведь команда Трампа подобного не говорила! Просто сделала тривиальное наблюдение, что это те же самые люди. По-моему, здорово и раньше никто не придумал так делать.