“It’s a Funny Old World”

Sun, May 25, 2014 - 5:00pm

I went to the crèche to collect my young child. There was a play area in which playdough was there for the entertainment of the children. The playdough was all different colours. It was all different sizes and different shapes too. It looked random and disorganized.

I went to the biscuit factory and saw a big conveyor belt. On one side was a big container full of some kind of dough or pastry. It was like playdough, with no shape and this went into one end of the conveyor belt production line. There was a series of different machines in the middle and at the other end the conveyor belt brought out rows of nice tasty looking biscuits. The biscuits were all a different colour from the dough which started the journey through the production process. They were all the same shape. They were the same size, and equally spaced from each other. There were all identical colour as each other.

You might say that the production process had stamped a certain similarity upon the dough. Now after reading a Harry Potter I might have decided that little elves were operating unseen inside the machines manipulating the dough and organizing things to suit their hidden purpose. But I didn’t think that because … well … it didn’t even occur to me to consider it.

While I was walking home I looked up and in the sky a flight of geese passed by above me. The flock of geese was in a lovely Vee shaped formation. But geese are not intelligent, or so I have been led to believe. So what was going on? Those geese were definitely flying in a similar way to organized pilots. Who was organizing them and where was he hiding, and most of all, why? Ah but geese have been flying this since before man came along on this planet, so what about reversing my suspicions?

But those geese definitely looked organized. Something must be going on.

This is one theory: https://www.stanford.edu/group/stanfordbirds/text/essays/Flying_in_Vee.html

So as I walked down the road some more a whole lot of cars passed me all in a line, nose to tail. Then there was a gap. Then more cars came all together. There was definitely some organization about this. But they all had different drivers, and I am sure they were all from different places and going to other different places. But those cars sure looked like they might be organized they way they all travel in groups. Later I came to and crossed the road at the traffic lights. When I pushed the button the cars all stopped so I could cross the road, and a bit of a queue developed while the stop light was red. After I crossed I continued on towards my home, and didn’t bother looking back, but I heads lots of car engines revving up at the same time behind me for some reason.

A murmuration of starlings could be seen in the distance. It was fascinating to watch as I walked towards my destination. Wow! A highlight of mother nature right there to simply watch and enjoy! How do they do that?

Gretna Green Starling Murmurations

It is nice to get out for a walk during the spring time. The weather is so much nicer that it was several months ago. I don’t have to wear that bulky warm winter clothing to keep warm, and the sunshine is so much brighter and warmer on my face. I looked around and the other pedestrians who were out jogging, or walking, or with dogs on leashes had also noticed this and we were all dressed in suitable clothing for this pleasant day. I wondered who they were and where they were going for a fleeting moment but I didn’t have the foggiest idea. It didn’t seem to matter, though we were all enjoying the sunny day.

The newspaper shop seemed quite busy as I walked by. The Irish elections for local representatives and members of the Eu parliament was in the headlines of some papers. In the UK newspaper I could see pictures of Nigel Farage probably because his UKIP party did well in UK elections this same week. As I walked by the hairdressers and looked in the window the TV showed coverage of an election in Ukraine. So many elections this week ……

I crossed some free ground and the young rabbits could be seen. They look so cute! But somewhere close by I’m sure a vixen will be looking after her fox cubs and will need to feed them all summer. So many young rabbits here close to each other. I wonder will the fox decide to come here and catch a few for her young? I’d better appreciate seeing those little bunny rabbits today because I might not see so many together in one place until approximately this time next year. It crossed my mind that other folks might not appreciate the drawing effect of so much fresh meat would have on the foxes, but that’s how predator prey relationships go. It’s like the stock market in a kind of a way I thought. Too many newbies and there’s sure to be a surprise price change to cause them to lose their money! Ah those were painful lessons I had to learn back then. Expensive lessons! Wish I still didn’t get so many surprises today, but that’s the market, full of surprises you can never predict, and some you can.

Plotted without time, predator against prey, it looks a bit like one of those murmurations:

(Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotka%E2%80%93Volterra_equation)

I considered just for a moment – the idea sort of hit me out of the blue – what if a flock of birds flying along all flew from warm air into cold air, which would be invisible since it’s just air – would they all turn at the same time? As if they had some secret communication system, but you know, they actually all just went “Brrrr that’s too cold I’m getting back into some warmer air” at the same time! An invisible reason why they all decide the same action at about the same time …. dumb animals! Only people can think! Right?

And for some reason I thought about markets again. I don’t know exactly why.

I got home and my wife spoke to me about summer holidays. She said we had better book flights early because everybody will want to do the same and there might be few or no choices left. We don’t want to get forced into going somewhere we didn’t choose of our own free will. And we would like to have the best choice of flying times, so had better book early and let everyone else get crammed in the holiday traffic peak times.

Airport Time Lapse: Rush Hour

I switched on my computer and started to read about manipulations of the gold market, and big fines that banks will have to pay for doing bad stuff organizing price moves to suit their purposes. Some high earning dealers have lost their jobs, and some big banks are trying to sell their London Fix seats, but I heard they can’t find bidders. Those crafty Rothchilds! I smiled to myself. They got out well before all this fix manipulation enquiry began. They moved out early! The ones getting out now are late and are going to find their delay cost them!

I wondered about the manipulations the banks did. Maybe a manipulator made price move, and everybody else took their action based on the moving price. Ah that would be technical analysis, following price. The cars taking instructions from the traffic light system passed through my mind for a second (Did I manipulate the traffic when I pushed that button?For a while maybe.) and then the thought disappeared. The thought is gone except for these typed words, and I guess if everybody reacted the same way at the same time due to a manipulated, or even naturally moving price I suppose there would be no written communication of that either. Unless the original manipulator, the original mover and shaker happened to be really stupid.

Even political elections all arrive at similar times, traders arrive at their desks at similar times and commence to trade at similar times. Manipulation to kickstart things, others following the signal in a technically methodical sort of way, some natural sychronized timing thrown into the mix, and also some action-counter-reaction by one side to an abundant number on the other side added too. All these factors to consider and think about - markets are fascinating aren’t they?

How much price move was up to their actions and how much was periodic, or semi periodic due to external reasons? I guess I’ll never know.

So I went out to the garden and looked at the swing. It’s such a simple thing, a swing. But you better watch out. Try to push a child when they are coming back at speed and you could get a nasty bump in the face. Or push when they are at the far side and you hit thin air and might fall down! It’s not necessary to actually consider swings all that much. I just wait until it swings to an extreme at my end, and as it slows to a stop, give my child a mighty push. It’s necessary to keep a careful eye open or it’s surprisingly easy to get such a simple thing wrong! Done reasonably ok, this always seemed to put a big smile on his face.

On a foggy day without clear vision it would be more difficult I thought. I would have to watch the timing of that swing a lot closer to get it right and not receive a nasty smack from the backswing. Imagine how hard it would be if the length of the swing ropes was constantly being altered by someone who owned the swing and it was dark or foggy so you couldn’t see. That would be quite the challenge wouldn’t it? If I got hit too hard or too often it would be pretty difficult to stick at it! But accepting a certain number of knocks and bruises, and watching out for myself, and I reckon some determination too, it just might be sorta kinda possible with enough care and practise.

Organized vs random; natural vs artificial; independent vs reactive feedback; seasonally rhythmic vs random; symmetrical vs assymmetrical; manipulation vs independent – how much of each is in the mystery market mix? Reminds me of what Hamlet said: "To be or not to be. That is The Question!" They never really figured out which words to emphasize in that sentence, did they?

It’s all just so fascinating this gold market! You can keep football! I'm watching gold instead. It's got everything going on in it!

Argentus Maximus

The author posts daily commentary on the gold and silver markets in the TFMR forum: The Setup For The Big Trade. More information about the author & his work can be found here: RhythmNPrice.

About the Author


waxybilldupp · May 25, 2014 - 5:08pm

well would ya' look at that ...

A blank page. I'll get things started. Can't wait to see what the new week brings. Now that the S&P has finally hit the magic 1900, will reality start to sink in. Everywhere I look ... PMs, bonds, equities ... it's all perfectly managed. No connection to reality, but when has that mattered lately? One just has to wonder when the smoke will clear; when the mirrors will shatter? Can't remember when I've ever seen anything quite like it. Alternate universe? Damned if I know. I'm just a waxybilldupp.

wax off

· May 25, 2014 - 5:43pm

Thank you

A very nice read on this fine Sunday afternoon. 

Two days ago, we drove up to Cortez Colorado to drop my daughter off where she will work at a kids camp for the summer. I was struck by several things on the drive. first that we drove through the Navajo Nation in AZ and looked at all the homes and ranches in the middle of nowhere. Actually, wherever there was a water source, a spring, a creek, a wash with a stable underground flow is where the people had settled. Y built had pens for the sheep and barbed wire fences to keep the horses from wandering too far. These people living 40 miles from a town will hardly notice when the system falls apart. Very little in their lives will have to change. Their remote ranches provide all they need to live, trips into town only being necessary for modern conveniences. 

As a child, I recalled Cortez to be a small town in a dry, dusty corner of the state. I really didn't remember correctly. Nearby reservoirs provide an irrigation system that keeps the fields green with alfalfa. Native Americans had lived here as well. They seem to have the best locations throughout history--abundant water, sunshine to keep homes warm in the winter, but not too hot in the summer, close to good hunting areas. Cortez has it all. A high mountain range on the horizon to keep the rivers (good trout fishing) flowing, good farmland, mild climate, beauty, and it is remote from cities of any size--a good 8 hour drive to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Salt Lake City or Albuquerque.

The land was reasonably priced compared to where I am living now. That one is making me seriously rethink where we plan to build our vacation home.

Silver Danny · May 25, 2014 - 5:45pm

Interesting Silver Price and Timing Forecast Videos

Interesting Silver Price and Timing Forecast Videos

The Silver (Line)ing in The Price of Silver

Silver price: We've hit bottom!

2013 Silver Supply & Demand Video 

2013 Silver Supply & Demand
Silver Danny · May 25, 2014 - 5:47pm

Silver price: We've hit bottom!

Silver price: We've hit bottom! ( I hope so!)

Silver price: We've hit bottom!
imfd · May 25, 2014 - 6:13pm

Steady on Maximus !

I know the gold market has a lot going for it but better than football ! Next you`ll be comparing it unfavourably to beer, I`m a reasonable man but now you`ve taken it too far :)

Mr. Fix · May 25, 2014 - 7:56pm

A couple of these flew over my house very low, and very close

This afternoon, I looked up in the sky and saw a couple of these flying side-by-side.

 I am not an airplane aficionado, but the wings were quite unique, and they look exactly like this:


They didn't look very typical at all, so I Google searched them for the photos, these are made in Czechoslovakia, and are listed as both Russian and Chinese attack craft.

 I wonder what they're doing here?

 Does the United States Air Force fly anything that looks like this? I can't find it. 

· May 25, 2014 - 7:57pm


Many thanks. Well done!

woofwoof · May 25, 2014 - 8:37pm
atarangi · May 25, 2014 - 8:55pm

Ukranian pilots on a mission

If you look closely you can see one of the pilots reading a 'McDonalds' menu. Obviously they are hanging out for a Big Mac after Putin closed their local in retaliation for U.S. sanctions.AIR_L-159s_Profile_Wings_lg.jpg

flyinkel · May 25, 2014 - 9:05pm

Mr Fix

Before folks get worked up, there are several adversary units that fly foreign aircraft or aircraft painted to look like adversaries so they can practice what would commonly be called dog fighting skills. A whole area will be sectioned off to fairly high altitudes to allow real type maneuvering. And sometimes folks do a "fly by" of their home area even though they aren't supposed to; it certainly is not uncommon (or wasn't anyway, not sure about the "right now"). I don't know what this was, but I wouldn't assume it was some type of "invasion".

Also adversary units can pick up and move with relative ease to places forecasting better weather to accomplish the training needs.

On the deductive reasoning skills mentioned above:


Obama makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan. Heavy hitters usually have a "media reason" (visit troops on Memorial day) and the real reason for the visit. Makes me wonder if the opium trade is feeling a little disruption with the Russians destroying the labs (I linked last week) and the Chinese cutting off banking (a primary intermediary), which I linked several days ago. Perhaps the hose has a kink?

Also on AM's post is a sort of "one should never assume" theme. The geese cannot tell us why they fly in V formation (although I suspect it is to draft off the front man, which seems logical if you have ever watched them for any period of time). I have deduced that, but cannot verify that. With man you can always ask, that doesn't mean they won't lie, but you can always ask. For example several days ago I posted;

"You have tremendous knowledge in many areas, and share willingly. Other times I question the purity of your intent. Are you paid to be here? You put a huge "all about me" post out there that left out your job." 

For someone that loves to argue point by point and asked me to do the same in return, I found the silence positively deafening.

SteveW · May 25, 2014 - 9:40pm

Geese in flight

If you look at the trailing geese on the left side of the photograph you see an alternating pattern of upstroke and down stroke. Now that also could just be random chance or it might be how they manipulate the air patterns.

I've never noticed this live but I'll look for it in the fall when those pesky snow geese return. On migration flights the lead goose doesn't take first place for long before peeling off to the rear.

· May 25, 2014 - 9:51pm

No, they were probably F-18

No, they were probably F-18 super hornets. They are in town along with a host of other military and civilian jets for the Bethpage Air show and Fleetweek. The Blue Angels kick ass. 

More fly overs again tomorrow for memorial day so you can take a closer look. you can find a schedule of events in the local papers including the fly overs and all the planes in town over the tri-state area for the weekend. Bring your own popcorn.


Mr. Fix · May 25, 2014 - 10:40pm

The planes, the planes.

 The planes that I saw most definitely did not have Delta wings, and no markings, and I got a very, very close look at them. The pictures that I posted are by far the closest to what I saw, the wings were not swept back at all, they stuck absolutely perpendicular out from the fuselage, and tapered slightly at the ends, with the large tanks or whatever on the wing tips. I spent a long time looking at pictures of aircraft on Google, and the ones that I posted were by far the closest to what I saw. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's it. 

 I looked at the F-18s, nope!

at least there weren't any bombs or auxiliary tanks mounted underneath the wing as in the picture, but you could see mounting brackets. They were flying side-by-side, with what look like less than the width of an aircraft between them.

 And it might just be a result of their lack of altitude, but they were extremely loud.

The top plane in Ukranian pilots on a mission looks like an exact match to me.

tenacious · May 25, 2014 - 11:01pm
Hagarth · May 25, 2014 - 11:02pm

Farage: After tonights election anything's possible for UKIP



The Interviewer seems somewhat hostile to Nigel Farage, there was a time when News meant keeping emotions and views OUT of the News.

That just may have been the most stupid act ever taught to media students ever. In the past we read the news and it was OUR task to parse out what it all meant. When it comes to emotions, even in the markets, here in the Western world we're beaten over the head with "keep your emotions in check". Watching this video raised my own Ire against the Interviewer, never seen the man before but his attitude grated my own calm. This in turn has me wishing that all future elections should shake up this status quo. Therein lies the problem, I LIKE comfort, Change isn't my friend. Stirring up the pot too much and you loose track of the tasty nibbling part of the stew before it gets served.

The higher the shriek the more we tend to pay attention, what the Media servants haven't learned lately is that we know how they want to change OUR perceptions. Honestly I hate crying babies, especially the loud ones.

Congratulations UKIP, the nest General Elections in the UK will surely see this trend continue.

@Bollocks you want a job as an MP? Looks to me like there might be some seats opening up in the future.

flyinkel · May 25, 2014 - 11:03pm

Form flight

Form flight is not uncommon in the syllabi. 2 V 2 or 2 V 1 always start with a lead and wingman prior to the merge. Again the number can vary greatly based on what they are doing. We would not have the newer jets of adversary countries (or previously adversary countries), we do have some older jets.

DeaconBenjamin · May 25, 2014 - 11:20pm

Biscuits = cookies

I assume. So you saw several rows of cookie cutter cookies. Makes sense. Probably tastier than the local equivalent as well.

· May 25, 2014 - 11:48pm

I looked at the list of all

I looked at the list of all the military planes in the area for the holiday festivities. Pretty crowded airspace. And I think you are right. One snuck past the US Air Defense system. Most definitely Chinese.

Occasnltrvlr · May 25, 2014 - 11:50pm

Here's My Guess

1) Nat'l Guard sometimes flies Warthogs around, lotsa lift, they often fly low, and nobody flies alone... and

2) Some o' y'all are on dope.

woofwoof · May 25, 2014 - 11:55pm


We know that geese fly in in "V" . But do you know why one side of the "V" is always longer then the other side? 

Occasnltrvlr · May 26, 2014 - 12:09am

Uh...I'll Bite

Because geese can't count?

Bohemian atarangi · May 26, 2014 - 12:29am

RE: Ukranian pilots on a mission

Sorry, but this is the Czech Air Force.

flyinkel · May 26, 2014 - 1:34am

In that funny old world the SE Asia Side

Skip this if you don't give a rats patooty about the SE Asia area. Its to give folks that do care, a "quick look"

1) Over the weekend, US withdrew 3.5 million in military aid to Thailand, guess they don't like the new govt.

2) China urged all state entities to cut ties with all U.S. consulting firms (payback for being accused of spying)


3) An Australian Senator entered the Australian Parliament with a fake pipe bomb to prove his security concerns. (Do you hear the ching, ching, chinging, of garnering security funds to ramp up protections?)


4) China doesn't rely on US security "help/protection" and instead just rounds up all the terrorist groups.


5) US deploys quite the drone to Japan to spy on China (but article says SE region)


6) And China/Japan jets ostensibly come within 100 feet of each other in the air.


Conclusion: Things are heating up in the SE Asia region. The Thai king gave the nod to the junta leader in a ceremony (and arrested the opposition crushing any dissent). Vietnam stated China is a threat. Watch for North/South Korea to start having issues too as Obama just visited the south not too long ago and China has at multiple times withdrawn gas support from North Korea making it quite interesting. (I am thinking perhaps there is more to these Rare Earth minerals than meets the eye and China, having a great monopoly on some of them, doesn't want North Korea to share; but this last is all merely conjecture at this point, saved for another day)

bullion only · May 26, 2014 - 1:55am

Geese fly in a VEE formation

Geese fly in a VEE formation to maintain visual contact.

Their distance from each other is too great for air lift advantage.

Perhaps a drafting effect.

Uneven is when you happen to be looking and if the flock is an even or odd number.

Odd number to form a perfect vee.

Bollocks · May 26, 2014 - 2:02am


But do you know why one side of the "V" is always longer then the other side? 

Maybe it's because there are more geese there?

woofwoof · May 26, 2014 - 2:25am


We have a winner. 

climbthathill · May 26, 2014 - 5:48am

UK Council Elections + European Elections.

The results are mostly in and its pretty interesting...

In the UK council elections, UKIP did better then expected, winning 165 seats, an increase of 163 (the 2 seats already held by UKIP and up for re-election were held by 2 councilors who had defected from the traditional parties).

To give that some perspective, with the UK's first-past-the-post voting system, those 165 seats were out of around 4,000 contested, so UKIP still has a long way to go to win. On the other hand, UKIP received about 1 vote in 5 nationally, a 900% increase on when these seats were last contested. It was only forecast to win around 80 seats, so it outperformed expectations. And it now has a voice, is beginning to grow an organisation, and has momentum building.

The European Election results are mostly in and are even more interesting.

UKIP won in the UK. It got the most votes and the most seats. It will be the largest UK party in the European Parliament. And this is despite the dirty tricks. The Electoral Commission (a quango stuffed with Labour party aparatchiks) allowed a spoiler party with an almost identical name that captured 1.5% of the vote (which would have given UKIP more seats). Ballot papers were handed out carefully (machine?) folded to hide UKIP and to disguise the fact that there was even a fold. Don't know how many votes were lost to this. And we had day after day of all of the newspapers and television channels running a smear propaganda campaign against UKIP. And UKIP still won and picked up votes from across the political spectrum. The Labour party (the opposition head of the cartel party) came 2nd. The Conservatives (the ruling head of the cartel party) came third. Liberal Democrats (a misnomer) were most pro-EU and were almost wiped out - they now have 1 seat in the European Parliament.

In Denmark, another Euro-skeptic party also won.

In France, another Euro-skeptic party also won. But a word of warning. Since they don't have a moderate Euro-skeptic voice the French voted for the Front National, which can trace its antecedants to Nazi-lite Vichy France. Other parts of Europe also saw an increase in extremist parties, especially Austria, Hungary, and Greece. In France, Sarkozy's party came second (and he (having previously been pro-Europe) is no also seeking repatriation of rule-making powers back from the central bureaucracy to national government. The ruling socialists limped in third.

In Spain, the ruling Socialist party were humiliated.

Overall, 30% of the European Parliament is now Euroskeptic and campaigning against the centralisation of power by the EU.

atarangi · May 26, 2014 - 6:15am

Vee theory

It's not only all about aerodynamic slip streaming. When geese are in flight they are also "baking a loaf" and are keen to ditch any unwanted ballast. When a goose gets a whiff of what's in the oven of the goose in front it promptly shifts to the other side of the vee. This constant shuffling can result in vee's that are hardly ever symmetrical. This would also explain why you never see a goose with crap on it's face.

climbthathill · May 26, 2014 - 6:24am

A bit more about the structure of the European Union...

As an aside for those who don't know, the EU is very undemocratic in its form.

At the top level is the European commission. These are bureaucrats appointed by national government. Since most governments in Europe are corrupt, this is reflected in the appointments to the commission. Consequently the auditors have not signed off the EUs accounts for the last 19 years. This is a pretty good idea of the kind of corruption... https://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n10/perry-anderson/the-italian-disaster

Only the bureaucrats in the commission can propose laws

The next level down is the European Parliament elected democratically by proportional representation and in parallel the the Council of Ministers (representing the various national governments). They consider laws proposed by the commission and in co-decision can approve or reject these.

However, if the law is rejected, the commission can often bypass this by breaking it down into regulations. These are then implemented by the bureaucrats (also bypassing elected national government) in the various countries within the EU.

The underlying philosophy behind all this is that the people are not competent to choose the right leaders, so they should be encouraged to think they have a vote, but its just window dressing.

In some countries, changes can only be accepted when approved by a referendum, and in these countries, if the voters return the wrong answer, they are then required to vote again.

For example, it was proposed to adopt a European constitution (bearing in mind that in Europe, civil rights are the gift of the government, rather government being by consent of the governed and that was reflected in the constitution). Voters in several states rejected the constitution in referendums so it was withdrawn. It was then reintroduced as a new treaty between the national governments (bypassing the need for asking those pesky voters in some countries).

Ireland (and some others) still required a referendum. And the people voted no. So Europe made them hold a new refendum. Which was of course, thoroughly rigged. https://the-tap.blogspot.hk/2009/10/lisbon-referendum-in-ireland-was-rigged.html

In the UK, the current government was elected on a promise of holding a referendum on this treaty. But as soon as they were in power they did an about turn on the grounds that since the treaty had now been ratified, it was too late. But they knew when they made the promise that most likely the election would be after the ratification date. And they wonder why the voters no longer trust them.

ps - I know the plural of referendum is referenda but not every body here speaks English so well so its easier to just add s.

sierra skier · May 26, 2014 - 8:44am

Geese Mate for Life

In that case where the flock or flight of birds is made up of mated birds there will always be an even number. Some flight of birds may have unmated birds with them as well which could make for equal legs, but man flights will have more than a difference of just in the number of birds in each leg of the v formation.

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