If you’re like me, you’ve been put off from digging deeper into DeFi by the terrible signal-to-noise ratio of anything crypto-related on the interwebs. That’s why I found this DeFi primer (using Maker DAO as a specific example) by ET contributor and banking analyst Marc Rubinstein to be so fantastic.
So that’s where we are in our local real estate market – low demand, low supply, high price expectations – and my sense is that this is where we are in lots of markets … not just CT residential real estate. Maybe it’s just the summer doldrums, I dunno. Maybe I’m just taking my local experience as more meaningful than it is. I’d be really interested to hear if anyone is seeing or experiencing the same, either in RE or anywhere else.
Because this is how stagflation happens.
Seasonality is so tough to parse, especially against pandemic-affected seasonality, but it sure seems like inventory got legitimately bought down in Q4/Q1, after which brokers sold that experience and y-o-y % changes to drive a corresponding increase in supply.
Also no idea wtf is going on in multi-family / condo land around here, but definitely seems distinct from the single-family experience.
— Ben Hunt | July 28, 2021|
Epsilon Theory may have gotten its formal start in 2013, but the soft launch took place in 1991. That’s when my partner Ben finished his doctoral work at <lifts nose slightly> a school up in Cambridge. His work there (and his 1997 book, Getting to War) focused on how news could be used to predict the likelihood of war. It also analyzed how news was used by institutions and individuals to foment an appetite for and belief in the necessity of war, which is related to but not the same as the ability to use that news for predictions.
So yes, we were interested to read about Project Cassandra, a collaboration between German academics and military leaders to quantify the risk of conflicts using…literature. The Guardian covers it here in what I think is a very worthwhile read.
The project is really interesting. It confirms, or at least shares, many of the core principles of our Narrative Machine project. Not least among them is the recognition that oft-mined sentiment possesses a fraction of the influence of memes with subjective power that can only be identified objectively through words and phrases of meaning. Or the observation of identifiable, recurring story archetypes.
Leaving aside that we focus on different universes of creative output, our projects DO differ in one respect. The Cassandra Project appears to place great emphasis on the ability to quantify the popular and critical acclaim of a fictional literary work. For example, more popular, more viral, more well-regarded work would have different influence, which is a perfectly sensible hypothesis.
Because we focus on a larger and more frequent dataset of news, blogs, press releases and transcripts, we get to do two different things: first, instead of estimating how much of an audience has heard an idea and how much that idea has changed their minds, we can more easily observe how much a specific memetic idea has reproduced within the dataset over time.
Second, because our dataset includes items which are nominally news / non-fiction content, we can observe the extent to which explicit and implicit opinion language is being deployed, which also provides a window into the narrative-shaping efforts of common knowledge missionaries.
Two different approaches to a similar problem. I prefer ours, because I feel more confident saying that an idea has reproductive legs by observing how it changes the language other people use to discuss it, and because knowing some of the intentions of powerful institutions and influential individuals is an indispensable part of any effort to quantify the potential effects of narrative.
But there are absolutely features of the zeitgeist which will only manifest in the arts, in literature, and in the groanings and yearnings of those who make the songs. For that reason alone, we think the Germans have the right of it here in the way that the Scots did before. It’s a very cool project.
Let me make the songs of a nation, and I care not who makes its laws.Andrew Fletcher, Commissioner of the Old Parliament of Scotland (1703)
— Rusty Guinn | July 8, 2021 | 12:32 pm
The politicization of inflation into a partisan “There Is No Inflation!” TM narrative by the nudgers and mandarins on the left is really depressing.
The politicization of inflation into a partisan “Biden Inflation!” TM narrative by the clowns and raccoons on the right is really depressing.
It’s really depressing because it makes it impossible for me to say anything on inflation without getting lumped into an insane partisan box. It’s an entirely constructed and false framing of the issue, and I’m just so freakin’ weary of it.
It’s the go-to move of incumbents in a two-party system with high-peaked bimodal electorate preferences. THIS is why there are no successful centrist politicians. THIS is why there are no stable centrist policies. THIS is why we can’t have nice things.
THIS is why I believe that top-down societal change is impossible, but instead must emerge from the bottom-up through an authentic social movement of Make/Protect/Teach.
Watch from a distance if you like, but when you’re ready … join us.
— Ben Hunt | July 2, 2021 | 11:09 am
We make it no secret that our research program here is all about using natural language processing to identify and measure narratives in the world. But is narrative truly only shaped by verbal and written communication? Do missionary statements have to be made with the mouth?
Of course not.
Here’s narrative missionary Max Scherzer, pitcher for the Washington Nationals, providing an exaggerated form of protest against the revised MLB enforcement policy regarding the use of foreign substances. The umps have generally been inspecting hats gloves and belts for these substances. Max decided to give them a little, shall we say, extra on the belt removal.
Here’s Oakland Athletics pitcher Sergio Romo, picking up every nuance of Scherzer’s crystal clear communication to the commissioner’s office.
Scherzer and Sergio’s sticky substance strip show is memetic perfection in the form of malicious compliance. There is no press conference speech either pitcher – or the others who will no doubt mimic their displays in the coming days – could have made that would have more clearly shifted common knowledge to the belief that the foreign substances rule was being applied, interpreted and policed in an absurd, preposterous way.
Bold prediction: this narrative doesn’t peak until Joe West enrages Zach Greinke into an NC-17 display on national television.
— Rusty Guinn | June 23, 2021 | 9:21 pm
The average American news consumer is exposed to far more headline text on news websites, social media apps and content aggregation sites than they are to the prose of the articles themselves. It should be no surprise, then, that more fiat news and missionary behavior exists in headlines than almost anywhere else. It typically gets a pass because, well, the whole job of a headline writer is to summarize what an article is about. But that’s precisely the task that lends itself so perfectly to telling us how we should think about the article. What’s important? What should our conclusions be? How should we feel about it?
I’ll give a free subscription to our free newsletter if you can find the fiat news language in this gem of a headline to a CNN news article.
Aside from the general observation to take care in our content consumption habits, remember that it is the constant barrage of articles – and headlines – like this that reinforces our belief that the missionaries of the “Work From Home Forever!” narratives are dominating the field, at least in the narrative war.
— Rusty Guinn | June 22, 2021 | 9:58 am
The Time I Got A High School Paper Extension In A Bar: The Fourth Turning (But Not In The Way You Think)
Airbnb has reshaped how we travel and disrupted the hotel industry. But most of the stories from both guests and hosts reveal nothing but disasters. So what’s really going on? What’s the real story of Airbnb?
In this episode, we take a deep dive into the tactics and tools used by upstart political entrepreneurs. Our political system is setup to heavily favor incumbents and candidates that are part of the political establishment. This presents an exceptionally difficult challenge for candidates who come from outside of that system. But social media and technology have given upstart candidates more tools at their disposal than they have ever had in history. And they are using them to both gain our votes and influence our opinions. We discuss how they do that and how all of us can maintain clear eyes and full hearts in the midst of their influence.
The flow of dollars between the US and China is no longer circular, and that has enormous implications for how the US finances its budget deficits.
New from ET contributor Kevin Coldiron!
We live in a very safe world. And we’ve worked hard to make it safe. But sometimes we take that safety for granted. And sometimes we think that safety applies even when it really really doesn’t.
The Time I Got A High School Paper Extension In A Bar: The Fourth Turning (But Not In The Way You Think)
Wanna guess what book both Steve Bannon and Al Gore handed out to members of Congress?
ET contributor Matt Zeigler knows it was “The Fourth Turning”, and he’s got a thing or two to say about generational theory.
“My house in California sits within a short walk of the Hayward fault. Most of the time nothing happens, but occasionally we are jolted awake by an earthquake.”
New ET contributor Kevin Coldiron on the tectonic plates that are driving inflation (and its consequences) today!
Every virus needs carriers to spread. Even a narrative virus.
We can learn a lot from what they have in common.
Political entrepreneurs are all around us. They influence what we think. They influence how we think. But we often don’t recognize it. In this episode, we pull back the curtain on the world of political entrepreneurs. We explain who they are, what they do and why they do it. We also look at what we can all do to protect ourselves from their influence.
This is a story about a virus and the gain-of-function research that produced it.
It’s not what you think.
The Bone Wars. A decade long battle of ego between two dueling paleontologists. It’s a tale of obsession, sabotage, and academic backstabbing. This clash of titans brought new attention to the theory of evolution and helped make dinosaurs the cultural juggernauts we know them as now.
This note will make many readers anxious and angry, because you have been told by the political entrepreneurs of your tribe that neither Oliver Anthony nor Greta Thunberg is ‘political’ at all, and that anyone who says otherwise is a bad person.
The political entrepreneurs of your tribe are lying to you.
Awareness of narrative is a necessary tool for the politically engaged citizen.
Up to a point.
If obliviousness to narrative is the easiest way to shut off our brains, narrative derangement syndrome is a close second. The citizen must be vigilant against both.
The recession-is-coming narrative is dead and the inflation-is-over narrative is dominant, making the Fed’s job that much harder and making resurgent inflation that much more likely.
Now about those 10-yr Treasury yields …
This is not a note about Mike Pence.
This is a note about language.
This is a note about how viral words of *therapy* have infected blue tribe brains and viral words of *war and conflict* have infected red tribe brains, words that change the way we see the world and speak to the world. Words that change the way we THINK.
Harper and Ben finally get a chance to talk about the Wizard of Oz and the not so wonderful behind the scenes production. Of course this was par for the course in the Golden Age of Hollywood as the studio star making system controlled everything. And we do mean everything.
A beautiful note by musician/composer Scott Bradlee, of Postmodern Jukebox fame, on the permanence and power of art.
Mythology IS the song.
What will your verse be?
In our kick-off episode, Ben, Matt and Jack talk about why we’re here – to break open the news reported by mainstream media to reveal the nudging language of narrative and story that drives us.
We focus on the reporting of inflation as a perfect example of what we call Fiat News.
Recession – like beauty – is in the eye of the beholder. Unlike beauty, though, our economic perceptions are far more likely to fall into the self-imposed traps of cynicism and nihilism.
This is the Way.
Not just for the samurai but for the trader.
A revamped Cursed Knowledge is back! In this brand new episode, Ben joins Harper in the studio to talk about the all too common trope of killing off female characters to motivate male characters. Trust me, you’ve seen it. It’s everywhere and can tell us a lot about how hard it is to capture and maintain an audiences attention.