The Bed-Couch

Most guys knows that the most comfortable bed in the house isn’t even a bed. It’s the couch. Naps are more effective. When I can’t sleep at night, I head off the the couch to get some Zs. That’s one of the great guy secrets: If you’re mad at us, we don’t mind sleeping on the couch. It’s fun. So I brought up the obvious big questions with Mrs. Muttrox.

Why don’t they make a whole bed that’s made out of couch?

Me: Hey, why don’t they make a whole bed that’s made out of couch?
Her: What?
Me: You know, just make it official. I already use it as a bed, and I get a better sleep than on our fancy mattress upstairs.
Her: No. That doesn’t make any sense.
Me: What doesn’t make sense about it?
Her: I’ll tell you what doesn’t make sense about it. What doesn’t make sense about it is that- What does that even mean, a couch that’s a bed?
Me: I dunno, I guess take a couch, make it wider so two people can fit- sort of like two couches facing each other- something like that. I’m not an engineer.
Her (getting increasingly annoyed and incredulous that she’s taking the time to even have this conversation): That is the stupidest thing you’ve ever said.
Me: We could make millions.
Her: How are you going to put sheets on it?
Me: You don’t need sheets.
Her: You don’t need — what are you talking about, or course you need sheets!
Me: When you sleep on a couch, you sleep in your clothes.
Her: You have to have sheets! That’s disgusting!
Me: No, it’s not! You don’t say it’s disgusting when we take naps on the couch!
Her: You are gross. And you better not have taped over Desperate Housewives for some dumb cartoon again!

How to Legally Win with Stock Manipulation

Many of my readers know the drill by now. Criminals buy a bunch of some random penny stock. They send out spam email to hundred of millions of people, touting the stock. Almost all those people are just annoyed, but there are always a few suckers. They buy the stock. Stock goes up. Within a day or two, the criminals sell out, taking their profit with them, leaving the suckers to hold the bag. Recent research (Frieder, Laura and Zittrain, Jonathan, “Spam Works: Evidence from Stock Touts and Corresponding Market Activity”) has shown this is suprisingly effect, netting over 5% on average. Not bad for a few days work.

I always wonder whether you can’t make money even as a sucker. As long as you’re one of the first suckers in, and one of the first suckers out, maybe you’re not a sucker.

Let’s say you respond to the email, and you’re one of the first people who does. Then the stock price will not have risen much. Shortly after you bought, there will be a flood of new suckers who will push the price up. Now you sell, one of the first people to do so. You get out with profit.

In essence, you let someone else do the manipulation and the spamming, you just ride their coattails. You won’t make quite as much as they did, but you ought to be able to get some profit.

The trick in this is – how do you ensure that you are one of the first people to get in on it? You don’t know when it was sent out, you don’t know when other people received the email, all you know is when you got it. But what you can reasonably assume is that most people would think about it for a while. Your advantage is to act instantly. The sooner you act, the better your odds are of being one of the first buyers. You won’t always be right, but overall you should beat the system.

I haven’t done this. I never would, not my thing. But I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. My wife (per usual) thinks it’s one my stupider ideas, but I don’t see any real objection to it.

Update: On further review there is a simulator based on the data the authors used. Fun to use, but the time detail isn’t fine enough. Everything is at a daily level in their research, whereas I would suggest a strategy that lasts at most one day.

They also add an interesting corrolary (on page 24): “Overall, our results imply that, in theory, a spammee could profit by forming a zero-cost portfolio that entails buying non-tout stocks and shorting tout stocks each time he or she recieves a spam touting stock. This strategy would have a high expected return (7.92%)…”

An Office Prank

I love thinking about good pranks. I never do any of them, but I like making them up, and I talk a good game. Anyhow, here’s one for ya — the auto-replace feature in Microsoft Word. It’s just begging to be abused.

One day, when your co-worker is out for a few minutes, slip over to their desk. Go to Tools, Autocorrect, and start adding a few entries. For example, change “proactive” to “practice”, or “tone” to “stoned”. Next time your co-worker happens to type those words, they’ll be automatically changed. This all happens very quickly, it’s very easy to miss. If you make the autocorrect subtle enough, odds are good it will slip right past. Even if it noticed, most users don’t know this feature exists, and will have no idea what on earth could be doing it. Since it probably won’t be noticed until weeks or months until after you made the change, it will be hard to connect it to you.

It’s like being evil Letterman.

Evil Letterman

Have fun!

How Long Before You Can Take On Ahnold?

Last weekend, I was about 20 feet from the Guvanator, Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was odd… he isn’t a very big man anymore, and as the photo below shows, his glory days are way way behind him. But he still projects power and solidity, even at 59. Which brings us to today’s question.


How old does he have to get before you can kick his ass?

So far, informal poll results are:
* 65
* 75
* 82
* Never
* Right now, I’ll take you down any time, any place old man! (said after a couple drinks)