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Is The U.S. Navy Being Truthful With Its Report On Recent Crash Incidents?

November 5, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

Authored by Duance Norman via Free Market Shooter blog,

Recently, Free Market Shooter (as well as the US Navy) questioned the cause of a string of crashes involving Navy destroyers and cruisers… all occurring this year:
Recently, the US military, un…

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Commuters & Computers: Mapping America’s Megaregions

November 5, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

From California’s Bay Area to the highly-integrated Great Lakes Economy, megaregions are a dominating aspect of human geography and commerce. It should be no surprise then, that 85% of corporate head offices in the US and Canada are overwhelmingly concentrated in the core cities of great megaregions.

We tend to think of cities as individual economic units, but as they expand outward and bleed together, defining them simply by official jurisdictions and borders becomes difficult. After all, as Visual Capitalist’s Nick Routley notes, many of the imaginary lines divvying up the country are remnants of decisions from centuries ago – and other county and state lines exist for more counterintuitive reasons such as gerrymandering.

What if there was a more data-driven approach to examine America’s urban networks?

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

COMPUTER, TAKE THE WHEEL

By ignoring borders and looking purely at commuter data, geographer Garrett Nelson and urban analyst Alasdair Rae looked to map the relationship between population centers in their paper, An Economic Geography of the United States: From Commutes to Mega-regions.

Researchers used visual and algorithmic approaches to build their map.

The study used network partitioning software to link together 4 million commutes between census tracts. This gives us a very granular look at the “gravitational pull” of America’s population centers, and helps us better understand the economic links that bind a region together.

By combining visual and mathematical approaches, and some creative place-naming, the researchers created a map that they hope reflects America’s true economic geography.

ALGORITHMIC INSIGHTS

The concept of megaregions is hardly new, and there are already definitions for global megacities that use everything from infrastructure systems to light patterns derived from satellite imagery.

That said, this research is fine example of using data and an algorithmic approach to look at systems in a new way, unburdened by our political and cultural preconceptions.

*  *  *

Interested in more infographics on human geography? There’s just a couple of days left to make the Visual Capitalist book a reality on Kickstarter.

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“It’s A Vicious Cycle”: Goldman Abandons Equity Options Market-Making As Vol Collapses

November 4, 2017 Tyler Durden 0

October is historically the most volatile month of the year, but in 2017 – the average volatility of US equity markets dropped to an all-time record low…

 

… And you know something’s wrong when, just like in early 2007 when the crash in vol killed the swaptions industry – just before all hell broke loose – Goldman Sachs is pulling back from U.S. options market-making on exchanges.

The Wall Street Journal reports an extraordinary calm in markets has choked the trades that typically funnel through banks’ derivatives desks.

Waning stock volatility is pressuring the equity derivatives business, suppressing revenue and driving traders out of what was once a key Wall Street moneymaker.

Goldman Sachs pulled back from U.S. options market-making on exchanges, a spokeswoman for the firm said Thursday.

It’s the latest to withdraw from the business of continuously buying and selling contracts on venues using automated programs.

Revenue in an equity derivatives business that focuses on listed options shrank by 41% in the U.S. and by 28% globally during the first half of 2017 from the same period a year ago, according to data firm Coalition, which tracked 12 of the biggest banks in the world.

The number of employees in equity derivatives at banks has contracted by about 10% since 2012, Coalition data also show.

“With lower volatility this year, we’re seeing less of those trades come through,” said Coalition’s research director Amrit Shahani.

 

“It’s a vicious cycle.”

OptionMetrics LLC founder David Hait said investors tend to think of options as insurance for stock bets.

With U.S. equities in an eight-year bull market, people are asking, “What do I need an option for?” he said.

After 16 years of trading options during which he ascended to managing director at Bank of America and Deutsche Bank, Zahid Biviji left Wall Street this year, citing fewer opportunities in the space, partly caused by regulations imposed after the financial crisis.

“I had a good run making money,” Mr. Biviji said, noting that “a lot of the derivatives business is in survival mode right now.”

But as equity market volatility has collapsed to record lows, another asset class has sprung up with record-breaking-high volatility: cryptocurrencies.

“For the most part, you’re not going to get wealthy like you could in the late ‘90s or early 2000s” in equity derivatives, said Arthur Hayes, the Hong Kong-based co-founder and chief of Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange, who traded derivatives at Citigroup and Deutsche Bank.

“In cryptos, you actually get to do what you like to do: trade.”

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