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Too many great stories this week. These are the ones you need to check out:

1. Calpers Sues Pretty Much Everyone on Wall Street (Sacramento Bee) - Thanks to the crap bonds Lehman sold to the nation's largest pension fund, a blockbuster lawsuit has been filed against pretty much everyone, including Dick Fuld personally, and Citigroup's Global Markets Unit.

2. When Irish Eyes Are Crying (Vanity Fair) - Another home run by Michael Lewis. Probably the best explanation of the Irish crisis I've read so far. And it's positively inspiring to read what happens in Ireland to bank CEOs who run their company into the ground. There's a few Wall Street welfare queens I'd like to see flat broke and unable to borrow more than $650 at a time.

3. Kinder Morgan Sells Full Shoe at IPO, Raises $2.86 Billion (Wall Street Journal) - Pipeline company Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI) is going public today in the largest energy-related IPO in over a decade. Originally slated to sell 80 million shares at $26-29, the offering has been increased to 95.5 million shares at $30 apiece on strong demand.

4. Is the Proposed NYSE-Deutsche Börse Merger All It's Cracked Up to Be? (Naked Capitalism) - Yves Smith says what we're all thinking in questioning the wisdom of the merger. In a nutshell? Competition between exchanges is good, and consolidation is bad. Never forget, an exchange can go out of business too (almost happened to the Chicago Merc on Black Monday in 1987).

5. Morgan Stanley Sticks It to Rich Clients (Fortune) - File this one under, "Let's see how long we can get away with this shit." It seems the PE division has not only been charging fees on the money they raise for portfolio companies (standard practice), but Morgan Stanley's Global Wealth Management unit has been charging individual investors a vig for the privilege of giving their money to the bank.

6. 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal (Time Magazine) - All you ever wanted to know about Singularity - the notion that at some point computers will become sentient and exponentially more intelligent than their human masters. It might sound like science fiction, but it's probably closer to reality than you think. And some big names are looking forward to it, because they think the computers will use their immeasurable brain power to cure our diseases and reverse aging so we can live forever. Now I ask you, is that more likely than sentient computers getting really pissed off that they have to work around idiot humans all day? I'm short humanity, long Skynet.

7. Bloggers Beat Pro Analysts (Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette) - Meet Horace Dediu. He's not an analyst for a big bank, and he doesn't work in ER. What he does do is blog from his home in Helsinki. Oh, and whip the shit out of professional analysts when it comes to Apple. Watch out Apple analysts at MS, Citi, and DB. He's beaten you guys the past four quarters.

8. The Biggest Mistake Women Make with Alimony (Huffington Post) - This one really made my day, because it's all about women who took their ex-husband for a shitload of money and then promptly went broke. Notable case: Michael Douglas's ex-wife, divorced more than 10 years, tried to sue him for the money he made on Wall Street 2 claiming that the movie was a spin-off and not a sequel, and that she was therefore entitled to her end because she was married to him in 1987 when the original came out. Have you no shame, woman?

9. Unremarkable Couple Who Amassed a Fortune from Insider Trading (Guardian UK) - A fascinating tale of a regular couple who just said screw it at some point and spent the next eight years trading on inside information. Best part? When the cops show up the husband freaks and runs out of the house in his boxers to destroy evidence with the cops chasing him. Classic. Weirdest thing? They made about $1.5 million from the scam, but the guy was already earning $300-500,000 a year in salary from the company they were trading on. Think it through next time, Nigel.

10. Is AOL Insane? (The Motley Fool) - The big news in the blogosphere this week was AOL's purchase of the Huffington Post for $315 million. Arianna's no fool, and wanted no part of AOL stock. I'm guessing the original deal was for $300 million cash total, and AOL came back at the last minute and said, "Hey, do you mind if we throw in another $15 mil in stock, just so it looks like you kinda have faith in the outcome of the merger?" To which Arianna no doubt replied, "It's your nickel."

I wanted to include the following two documentary trailers dealing with the Singularity. It's fascinating stuff, and you might be surprised at some of the people who are involved.

That's all I've got this week, monkeys. Let me know what you think of the links, especially if you care to opine on the likelihood or some of the moral/ethical issues with Singularity.

Have a great weekend, guys.

Comments (21)

  • Beef's picture

    great stuff again eddie, keep it up

    Wall Street leaders now understand that they made a mistake, one born of their innocent and trusting nature. They trusted ordinary Americans to behave more responsibly than they themselves ever would, and these ordinary Americans betrayed their trust.

  • TheKing's picture

    re: The Singularity

    Who is to say that we aren't already programs within a machine? After all, the world we see, feel, smell, interact with is really just interpretations of electrical signals within our mind.

    Full disclosure: I'm a cylon.

  • Inept Speculator's picture

    I like the MS Part!! Awesome and worthy emulating sometime along the line and not sticking it just to one particular group.

    Pfalzer Arianna´s HP is a revolutionary digital media which evolved to feeders(hf politics, tech, biz etc). If she can convince Aol to give most of the 315m in cash rather than stock in addition to running their own for them more power to that..... Super premier value sale!!!

  • In reply to TheKing
    ThaVanBurenBoyz's picture

    TheKing wrote:
    re: The Singularity

    Who is to say that we aren't already programs within a machine? After all, the world we see, feel, smell, interact with is really just interpretations of electrical signals within our mind.

    Full disclosure: I'm a cylon.


    Thought provoking. Assuming that we are actually in this artificial plane of reality, whose real presence is w/in a machine, how do you explain the fat Kelly Clarksons of the world? Is their presence simply to provide the productive programs a self-generated conclusion that we surely could not have come from some calculating being? Are they apart of the distracting illusion? Or, are our gods just shitty programmers?

    Hahaha

  • CaptK's picture

    I want to address the Singularity for a minute (great trailers btw). Over the past 25 years, nobody will argue that we have seen an incredible explosion in information and communications technology. Consider the iPhone that so many of us have in our pockets - more storage, more processing power, and exponentially faster connectivity than almost any computer that existed in 1985. Consider that the internet hardly existed outside the government in 1985. Consider all the ways that cheap, widely available microprocessors and wireless connectivity has changed business, politics (witness Twitter in Iran and Egypt), and our interpersonal lives. The rate of progress is mind boggling. Today's technological world was inconceivable just 25 years ago.

    It is my belief that over the next 25 years we will see the same type of transformative change in medicine, genetics, and biology. Synthetic organs, genetically tailored drugs, cognitive and physical enhancement through drugs and implanted technology, and more may be as widespread and seemingly "normal" as that iPhone in your pocket. Diseases like Alzheimers, cancer, heart disease and more may be cured. Life expectancy could increase by 25% or more. In 50 years, it's not totally inconcievable that some type of immortality or near-immortality may be within the grasp of the rich.

    On the surface, it sounds like a bright future. However, I think the concept of "immortality" or greatly increased life expectancy has the potential to radically restructure our society and break down a lot of things we take for granted. Consider how much about society is predicated on the fact that humans live approximately 80 years. When people stop dying, the world population will explode overnight. The birthrate will increase as people remain fertile longer. Where will we put all the people? Will our food supply be able to handle it? Our water? Our cities? Our hospitals? What happens to the traditional concept of retirement at 65 if you suddenly have to support yourself for another 65 years after that? Consider the implications for our social programs and our economy.

    This isn't speculation. The timeframe may be a guess, but I don't think anyone will deny that one day the science will arrive. It's not just about remaking your body - as our race begins to transcend biology, it's going to radically remake the world as we know it.

    - Capt K -
    "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham

  • ThaVanBurenBoyz's picture

    ^ We will see big things in the Genomics/Biotech/Nanotech space going forward (genetically tailored drugs, even infused in consumer products and foods). (btw, I recommend to you, the book "As the Future Catches You." )

    You're right about tech changing even politics. Imagine going back to WWII and explaining to a fellow soldier that, in the future, you will be able to watch a people topple it's government from your home over the course of a few weeks.

  • happypantsmcgee's picture

    My property (fiancee) is getting 2 masters in Genetics and Public health and applying to Pharmacy school so she can go into pharmacogenetics. That shit is fucking incredible.

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • Bruce Dickinson's picture

    Nobody points out that the reason computers are becoming “faster, faster” is that humans that make the hardware and software are becoming smarter faster. Humans ultimately hold the trump card here. That said, it only takes one human to add the creative pinch that "Skynet" needs to take over. That human is me. Bruce Dickinson. I am the resistance. The resistance against humans….

  • In reply to CaptK
    bankbank's picture

    CaptK wrote:
    I want to address the Singularity for a minute (great trailers btw). Over the past 25 years, nobody will argue that we have seen an incredible explosion in information and communications technology. Consider the iPhone that so many of us have in our pockets - more storage, more processing power, and exponentially faster connectivity than almost any computer that existed in 1985. Consider that the internet hardly existed outside the government in 1985. Consider all the ways that cheap, widely available microprocessors and wireless connectivity has changed business, politics (witness Twitter in Iran and Egypt), and our interpersonal lives. The rate of progress is mind boggling. Today's technological world was inconceivable just 25 years ago.

    It is my belief that over the next 25 years we will see the same type of transformative change in medicine, genetics, and biology. Synthetic organs, genetically tailored drugs, cognitive and physical enhancement through drugs and implanted technology, and more may be as widespread and seemingly "normal" as that iPhone in your pocket. Diseases like Alzheimers, cancer, heart disease and more may be cured. Life expectancy could increase by 25% or more. In 50 years, it's not totally inconcievable that some type of immortality or near-immortality may be within the grasp of the rich.

    On the surface, it sounds like a bright future. However, I think the concept of "immortality" or greatly increased life expectancy has the potential to radically restructure our society and break down a lot of things we take for granted. Consider how much about society is predicated on the fact that humans live approximately 80 years. When people stop dying, the world population will explode overnight. The birthrate will increase as people remain fertile longer. Where will we put all the people? Will our food supply be able to handle it? Our water? Our cities? Our hospitals? What happens to the traditional concept of retirement at 65 if you suddenly have to support yourself for another 65 years after that? Consider the implications for our social programs and our economy.

    This isn't speculation. The timeframe may be a guess, but I don't think anyone will deny that one day the science will arrive. It's not just about remaking your body - as our race begins to transcend biology, it's going to radically remake the world as we know it.

    Why so negative, Malthus?

    How do you figure the population is going to explode? How do you figure birthrate will increase as people start living longer and have longer lasting fertility? In much of the developed world, where life expectancy is continuously increasing, fertility rates are declining/have declined and in lots of cases are below replacement. It’s pretty well documented that fertility rates have historically declined as development has increased. At a time in the US, women had their first kids when they were 16 and then they had 4 more to work the farm. Now they're waiting until their mid-late twenties, and sometimes longer to start having kids and then they’re having fewer in total (Who knows. Maybe when they have options, homegirls want to be something other than barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen cooking for their kids/husband). Lifestyles and values change over time, and it isn’t a certainty that people will keep valuing parenthood or multiple children in the same way they’ve valued these things historically.

    I’m not disagreeing that bio-science and increasing life expectancy will dramatically alter the world and life as we know it. I agree with that. I’m just not lying awake at night worrying that overpopulation is going to be seriously detrimental to my health or the health of the world.

  • In reply to bankbank
    CaptK's picture

    bankbank wrote:
    CaptK wrote:
    On the surface, it sounds like a bright future. However, I think the concept of "immortality" or greatly increased life expectancy has the potential to radically restructure our society and break down a lot of things we take for granted. Consider how much about society is predicated on the fact that humans live approximately 80 years. When people stop dying, the world population will explode overnight. The birthrate will increase as people remain fertile longer. Where will we put all the people? Will our food supply be able to handle it? Our water? Our cities? Our hospitals? What happens to the traditional concept of retirement at 65 if you suddenly have to support yourself for another 65 years after that? Consider the implications for our social programs and our economy.

    This isn't speculation. The timeframe may be a guess, but I don't think anyone will deny that one day the science will arrive. It's not just about remaking your body - as our race begins to transcend biology, it's going to radically remake the world as we know it.

    Why so negative, Malthus?

    How do you figure the population is going to explode? How do you figure birthrate will increase as people start living longer and have longer lasting fertility? In much of the developed world, where life expectancy is continuously increasing, fertility rates are declining/have declined and in lots of cases are below replacement. It’s pretty well documented that fertility rates have historically declined as development has increased. At a time in the US, women had their first kids when they were 16 and then they had 4 more to work the farm. Now they're waiting until their mid-late twenties, and sometimes longer to start having kids and then they’re having fewer in total (Who knows. Maybe when they have options, homegirls want to be something other than barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen cooking for their kids/husband). Lifestyles and values change over time, and it isn’t a certainty that people will keep valuing parenthood or multiple children in the same way they’ve valued these things historically.

    I’m not disagreeing that bio-science and increasing life expectancy will dramatically alter the world and life as we know it. I agree with that. I’m just not lying awake at night worrying that overpopulation is going to be seriously detrimental to my health or the health of the world.


    OK fair enough. You make a good point about fertility that I hadn't considered - what if people are fertile but just don't want to reproduce? Cultural changes will definitely play a role here. I think my tone came across as overly negative. My point was not that advances in medical technology are a bad thing (not at all - truly wonderful), only that I think very people take the time to consider what increased longevity means beyond the surface layer of "oh that's great, I don't want to die." There are very radical ripple effects culturally and economically.

    - Capt K -
    "Prestige is like a powerful magnet that warps even your beliefs about what you enjoy. If you want to make ambitious people waste their time on errands, bait the hook with prestige." - Paul Graham