TLC Weekly Update July 2, 2021

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2021 2nd quarter finally ended. We just got our Canada Day on the first and this weekend July 4th for United States. It is a long weekend for people like me who work with the US stock markets. It is also my chance to take a break from my hectic schedule and hopefully get some rest.

Another young chess player just got his grandmaster title this week. His name is Abhimanyu Mishra from United States. He breaks the record of being the youngest grandmaster that held for 19 years. Here is a video of him talking about his experience.

Master Lock has outdone itself again with this combination lock – it is so bad you don’t need to pick the lock to have it opened. LockPickingLawyer has done it again!

I have learned something very fascinating about smell and how that affects animals. Dr. Huberman takes it a step further with interesting studies on how you breath and smell can affect your ability to learn and and remember things. For those of you like to learn more about this, check out his podcast #25.

For some mysterious reason the hardware problems that gave me so much headache is now gone. Everything has been working fine since Mercury retrograde ended. Could that be me and my team who finally fixed the technical problems or is that something unexplainable happened? I will let you decide.

I was told that this coming week or two are very significant because of the astrological setup in the sky. Well, so far this year nothing much really happened even though many people claiming more bad things should be happening. Hopefully these predictions will be proven wrong and that our lives can go back to normal soon.

Time for me to take a break this long weekend!

To my U.S readers, Happy Independence Day!

TLC Weekly Update June 25, 2021

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Another week of the stock market squeezing the shorts hard. Next week is end of quarter and the long weekend. I wonder if any bears will be left by the end of next week.

An interesting read about Peter Thiel’s Roth IRA. After reading the whole article, I get a sense of hatred from the author against Mr. Thiel as if he has done something wrong. But what he did is perfectly legal and in fact more people should have done the same. You may not have bought a future unicorn startup but that your relative’s venture of opening a bar may offer you a very decent return still.

Lately many people asked about the upcoming market crash. Well, if that many people are concerned about it, especially from those who are not active investors, it is a sign that even if there is a crash coming, it will take a long time before it happens. How long? Until these people no longer think that the market crash is going to happen …

Ray Dalio has a talk lately whether the stock market is in a bubble. He did a good job explaining the dilemma of the concept and what he thinks the current market level represents. It is a short video worth watching.

Lately there are many “fake” experts posting videos about COVID and the vaccines. These fake experts are usually medical doctors trying to jump on the bandwagon of this trending topic to get more views. However, you must understand that someone with MD is not a scientist. Many of them do not have the proper training to think scientifically. One telltale sign to look for with these fake experts is that they try to explain technical details that they barely understand themselves …

It is hard for normal people to judge who can be trusted on YouTube. It is even more difficult to tell if an “expert” is really an expert at all on the subject they talk about. Adding potential evil intentions and human ignorance to the equation, my suggestion is to stop binge watching COVID related videos. It is better go outside to have a walk and do some exercise. I am sure that will do you more good.

I am very glad that Mercury retrograde is finally over. I experienced so many BSOD within past few weeks that I already lost count. And communication problems also flare up as expected from paperwork missing to outright misunderstanding of some simple terms. Hopefully things get back to normal soon.

I am happy that my self imposed deadline helps me unleash my potential in productivity so much that I think I will have time to spare before end of June. That also means I may be able to give myself a holiday break during next week’s Canada Day / US Independence Day long long weekend. It feels great when I get things done with time to spare.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update June 4, 2021

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Non-Farm Payroll report today helps sending the stock market higher so far this morning. Looks like we are back to the bad data is good for the stock market regime. How long would it last though given so much money has been pumped into the system yet we are not seeing what the politicians promised …

I found this pair of videos very amusing. First, an attempt to make an unpickable lock. And then how this lock was picked. The way these two guys interact may lead to some real improvements in making locks, finally.

Lately I find an explosion of horoscope videos on YouTube. Many are jumping onto this new era of superstition to see if they can make a career out of it. Well, being an astrologer is not for everyone. Circular argument, ignorance of obvious common sense and choose to creatively interpret the astrology classics would not turn one into an expert of astrology overnight.

I found this video a great snapshot of at least a part of the crypto crowd’s mentality. The theme is really nothing new. Going all-in for instant gratification and when things not going their way just lie to themselves that they are in this for the long term.

I am not against playing with cryptos. I made very decent profit from it myself and have no complain. What I like to point out is that new technology of every generation always led to extreme speculations and crashes. Right now we are going through the process of elimination of those things that should not exist in the first place. Think for a moment, how many of those 9000+ coins are really worth anything at all?

This process usually takes several years to complete. I will take the sign that when these 9000+ coins are reduced down to like fewer than 300, the crypto space will be ready for its next phase.

I was asked a very interesting question the other day about automated strategy generation. My take is very simple, the current quant approach to strategy development, including AI based and genetic programming, will only yield models that are bounded by their framework. As long as the framework they use stays the same, which is serial data analysis, they will not be able to discover anything useful or consistent over time. I collect these platforms since the 1990s and never stop testing out these stuff. Nothing impress me at all so far …

This month I have to focus on polishing our prop trading models. I work best alone when serious research work is required. It feels great to get things done this way.

Have a good weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update May 28, 2021

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Today is last trading day for the month of May, It is also the lowest volume week so far for the year. I don’t know what the implication is. Maybe just that the weather is getting so nice that people prefer to go outside to get some fresh air instead of staring at their screens all day.

Next Monday is Memorial Day, a US holiday. As a Canadian, I rarely have a break on Canadian holidays if US markets are open. My holiday schedule actually follows the US ones. So next Monday I will be able to carry out some long overdue chores finally.

This is a very good video on Robinhood IPO Access. Mr. Boyle goes in-depth explaining how IPO works and the historical statistics on IPOs. I could not have done it better myself. So if you want to understand IPOs better, or that you want to invest in IPOs, watch the entire video.

Another process disrupted by internet connectivity – startup funding, has led to some interesting change in the makeup of startup investors. I am not sure what will happen to startup funding with a down trend in economy that almost everyone is expecting that to happen “soon”. The enabling of young people to easily invest into startups is a double-edged sword. Young people often lacks the knowledge and life experience to make smart investment decisions. On the other hand, they have time on their side. With just one good bet on a startup, it can be life changing for them in the future.

For this Memorial Day long weekend, enjoy this video of scotch and puzzle. I like watching this youtube channel during my lunch hour because the videos are pretty short and can distract my mind from my work. A form of ASMR maybe?

For those of you who are into astrology, tomorrow is the start of Mercury retrograde until June 22. I assume astrology fans already know about its general implications. But there is one unique feature of the pattern that people rarely talks about. the 10 days around the start of the retrograde is also a time of inspiration for those who conduct research and deep learning. So take your time to reflect and dive deep in coming few days can help you discover new understanding in things you are stuck at.

I just completed a round of hardware upgrade on my servers to make sure they are battle ready for my prop trading launch. Now that the hardware are mostly ready, I will go back to fine tune the software side. So much work, and as usual, so little time.

Have a great long weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update February 12, 2021

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Today is the official lunar new year. Well, technically it was Feb 11th 2:03 pm Eastern Time for the new moon to take effect. However, lunar calendar is limited by human ability to call a day two different ways (i.e. too complex for normal people) so the next closest day has to do it.

There is absolutely no celebration of any kind visible in various areas in the city where Asians having stronger presence. The lockdown is not over. Restaurants can only sell take outs or do deliveries. Even family members not living in the same household is technically not allowed to visit each other unless “absolutely necessary”.

Psychologically, lockdown is taking a toll on many people. If you are one of those who got depressed by lockdown, please try to do some exercise and learn to do meditation to counter the effect. Even simple breathing exercise can help. Don’t let the world crumble around you just because of the dumb decisions by the government officials.

For Bitcoin fans, here is an interesting story about a bitcoin billionaire. The rise of bitcoin’s status from not recognized by the banks to the point that the banks stating that they must be involved now means a lot to the BTC crowd. What holds in the future though is anyone’s guess.

Lately Goldman Sachs did an interview on Stanley Druckenmiller. He is one of the best minds in the investment world. His take on the current market environment is useful for anyone having investments in the markets.

I came across this video of a 12-year-old kid who built a nuclear fusion machine. This makes me wonder … all these hypes on electric cars that ignore the fact that making an electric car has a front load of environment pollution equal to the amount of pollution generated by a normal car over 20 years time span. Serious research effort should be made to power cars by nuclear fusion, not electricity.

Another week just fly by so quickly I find it hard to believe it is already mid February. I have so many things I need to get done yesterday. I guess I will be busy as usual in foreseeable future.

Have a great weekend all!

Oh …

Happy Lunar New Year!

TLC Weekly Update February 5, 2021

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Another wild ride in the stock market this Non-Farm Payroll week. Majority of the bears must be questioning their existence due to the melt up style rally all week giving us yet another all time high in S&P500 and Nasdaq 100.

Well, this deal or no deal dynamics of the stimulus package has been affecting the stock market ever since last quarter. Whenever a bigger deal is promised, stock market jumps higher. Whenever there is rumor of no deal, the stock market jumps even higher because a deal is imminent.

Now that today US Senate approved the package and US Congress has the ability to pass it easily … it will be interesting to see if we get “buy the rumor, sell the news” effect.

I am not sure about you, but I did indeed dropped my cellphone into water more than once. This article provides some good tips on how to deal with the unfortunate event.

For the sake of fun, I watched this video on machines peeling eggs … very interesting. I was searching for automation related videos and this one shows up … maybe I should be more specific with my search.

And this video show up when I search for building things manually … it is a long documentary video that you do not need to watch it from the beginning to the very end. This kid is just amazing. He is probably one of those who can survive WW3.

This weekend I have to reorganize my computers and doing some hardware upgrades. Given my luck lately, things probably will not work out as expected. I will take it slow so that I will not mess things up. After all, it is Mercury retrograde from Jan 30 to Feb 21, for those of you who are into astrology stuff.

After taking care of the hardware, there are tons of paperwork waiting for me. I guess there is no break this weekend.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update November 13, 2020

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Today is Friday the 13th. Famous for handing out chaos and troubles. Well, the whole week was a mess for the financial markets thanks to Pfizer’s vaccine announcement spiked the stock markets much higher. And then everyone learnt that its CEO filed to unload most of his holdings of the company. Talking about sarcasms …

With the hanging issue of US election, everyone I talked to are as confused as I am about the near term outlook of the financial markets. A weekend break is much needed to reflect on all these latest developments. Some friends of mind are talking about using psychedelics this weekend to clear their minds. For those of you interested in New Age stuff, here is a piece on DMT trip … interesting I must say.

And for astrology fans, or just astronomy enthusiasts, the last Jupiter Pluto conjunction in this year just happened on Nov 12th. It will not happen again until Feb 4, 2033. That’s 13 years away. I am not sure what this signify. I hope, though, that it implies COVID-19 is over.

Someone sent this video to me on making a simple toy. This can be a fun project for kids and adults alike. Enjoy!

I am kind of re-reading a book I have. “Kind of” because it is a different edition. The book is The Most Important Thing Illuminated by Howard Marks. This edition has additional comments from other people and the author himself. It is a great book for anyone interested in longer term investing.

So much work to get done before the year end. I guess no holiday break for me this year.

Have a nice weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update August 28, 2020

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A very productive week coming to an end while leaving me quite happy and exhausted. For one, finally closed a deal that has a marathon run of six months of negotiation. On trading side, I am making great progress with MultiCharts automated trading. Persistency and being patient have again proven to be useful when you want to accomplish something that worth the effort.

I am learning how to take night sky pictures lately. It is very different from taking regular photos due to the need of long exposure and other complicated settings. Will post some of the results here when they are reasonably enjoyable. Since I don’t have anything good yet, I have to use a stock photo this time.

Here is an interesting story on why the Sistine Chapel does not allow people taking pictures. I have been to Rome many times and stayed there for quite a bit in the past. Never thought of the reasons behind the no picture rule are so obscure.

For those of you who are trying to do intermittent fasting, you should read this good research paper on fasting from Japan. It will add to your understanding and help you stay the course.

I found a good video on YouTube with Jeff Gundlach talking about the problem of finance illiteracy. There is a link to the complete interview in the description as well. The fully interview is long but it is a very enjoyable one covering many aspects of his life. It is like reading his biography uncensored. I found the part on astrology about him very fascinating. As someone like myself who have a similar scientific background and beliefs, yet accepting the fact that astrology can be useful and helpful to people.

Have a great weekend all!

TLC Weekly Update May 8, 2020

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A busy week of catching up with emails, closing deals and writing scripts for my video lessons. Been a productive week except that I can’t exercise much due to shoulder pain. The pain had finally subsided so I guess I can get back to training slowly.

We are looking at potential re-opening soon in US and Canada. However, I doubt that after weeks of programming, the old normal may not return for a long time. One factor that affects people much is being cash strapped due to being layoff. Many businesses are not coming back. How to address this issue should be of highest priority for the governments worldwide.

A very disturbing article on an innocent man who spent most of his live in jail for a crime he never committed. Read it and you will be in awe too. How can all these people with the proper authority, knowing this man is innocent, yet did nothing to get him out?

The complete disconnect of the US stock market from reality drives many readers email me with questions like did they missed the bottom already or that should they short this rally, etc. Well, I suggest watching this video with Sam Zell talking about the post-virus economy. You will gain some insight about the new world we are going to face post COVID-19.

For all of you mothers out there, Happy Mother’s Day!

Mercury Retrograde: Blessing in Disguise

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Everyone talks about Mercury retrograde as if it is a time of trouble. This year (2020) Mercury retrograde from February 16 to March 9, then in June 18 to July 12 and once more in October 13 to November 3. We are about to see the end of the first retrograde period. Let’s sum up my experience so far with this retrograde.

The famous electronic device failing issue:

  • my cell phone used up all its battery once
  • one of my UPS (uninterruptable power supply) battery suddenly died
  • my laptop suddenly dropped its speed to 0.4G
  • my remote trading server works fine, but Tradestation crashed like an hour before market close

The famous communication issue:

  • I ask for one document, people give me something else all together, several times
  • Some deals just stuck on unimportant points

Is it a time that we are supposed to experience more hiccups? Sure.

But should we be afraid of it? Hell no.

Learn to make use of the positive side of Mercury retrograde is what matter most.

Instead of pushing hard on getting deals done, I know it is a time to take things slow and review documents carefully. So things may not progress as fast as I like, at the same time I get to hammer out all the details with time to spare.

This is also the best time to push hard on conducting research projects. As someone who spend a lot of time studying the financial markets. This is the best time for me to review what I have done in the past and see if I can improve on what I have accomplished before. Even past research that ended up not useful can become inspiration of a new research direction.

During this retrograde, I found one significant flaw in one of my trading models that leads to the large drawdown that I do not feel comfortable trading. This particular problem is there for 12 long years since I started trading the model. Some of you may recognize that 12 years is also an important cycle.

The breakthrough to this issue helps me drop the drawdown on this model by half. And in turn, the new research helps me applying similar ideas to a number of other models to improve their trading stability. I never thought I can improve these trading models any further until now.

I am very happy with the results.

The key to utilize Mercury retrograde is to first dive deep into research / study something important to you before the retrograde at least several weeks prior. Then revisit the subject again during the retrograde to see if you can gain new insights. Incorporate the new insights to further your understanding of the subject. It’s effectively a hack to gain expertise quickly.

I am looking forward to the next Mercury retrograde already.

Mercury retrograde is really a blessing in disguise for traders and anyone who conduct serious research.