Avon Products (AVP): May 14, 2015

Avon Products (AVP) stock today. Yep, fake reports and algo traders can do wonders.

Reuters:

Shares of Avon Products Inc soared as much as 20 percent after an apparently non-existent firm incorporated in a remote archipelago in the Indian Ocean offered to buy the cosmetics company for almost three times its market value.

Avon said it had not received any such offer.

The purported acquirer, which identified itself as PTG Capital Partners, said in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Thursday it would pay $18.75 per share for Avon.

Shares of Avon peaked at $8 and ended up 6 percent at $7.07 even after many traders doubted the veracity of the offer. About 69.5 million shares changed hands, mostly after news of the filing broke, on the stock’s busiest day since March 20.

Who’s calling Avon? Shares spike on mystery takeover bid [Reuters]

No position.

Why People Are Irrational About Politics

Michael Huemer:

The problem of political irrationality is the greatest social problem humanity faces. It is a greater problem than crime, drug addiction, or even world poverty, because it is a problem that prevents us from solving other problems. Before we can solve the problem of poverty, we must first have correct beliefs about poverty, about what causes it, what reduces it, and what the side effects of alternative policies are. If our beliefs about those things are guided by the social group we want to fit into, the self-image we want to maintain, the desire to avoid admitting to having been wrong in the past, and so on, then it would be pure accident if enough of us were to actually form correct beliefs to solve the problem.

[…]

Based on the level of disagreement, human beings are highly unreliable at identifying correct political claims. This is extremely unfortunate, since it means that we have little chance of solving social problems and a good chance of creating or exacerbating them. The best explanation lies in the theory of Rational Irrationality: individuals derive psychological rewards from holding certain political beliefs, and since each individual suffers almost none of the harm caused by his own false political beliefs, it often makes sense (it gives him what he wants) to adopt those beliefs regardless of whether they are true or well-supported.

The beliefs that people want to hold are often determined by their self-interest, the social group they want to fit into, the self-image they want to maintain, and the desire to remain coherent with their past beliefs. People can deploy various mechanisms to enable them to adopt and maintain their preferred beliefs, including giving a biased weighting of evidence; focusing their attention and energy on the arguments supporting their favored beliefs; collecting evidence only from sources they already agree with; and relying on subjective, speculative, and anecdotal claims as evidence for political theories.

Why People Are Irrational about Politics [UCO]

May 10, 2015  |  

City Layouts

Luis Dilger:

I didn’t only want to show these structures in the conventional way from above, but also including the exact three-dimensionality of topography and buildings – a real world visualisation. The OpenStreetMap data enabled me to visualize the satellite-based information using DEM Earth in Cinema 4D. The results are some extraordinary views of large capitals and small towns.

[Behance / Society6]

May 3, 2015  |  

DEA Approves Study of MDMA in Treatment of Seriously Ill Patients

The move suggests the DEA may be questioning its long-held position that the psychedelic compound, which can be a component in street drugs like Molly or Ecstasy, has no accepted medical use.

Brad Burge, communications director for MAPS:

In a psychotherapeutic context, MDMA has been reported to help subjects lower their psychological defenses and enhance their ability to process difficult emotions. It may also increase the sense of trust between subjects and the therapist.

DEA Approves Study Of Psychedelic Drug MDMA In Treatment Of Seriously Ill Patients [HuffPost]

April 30, 2015  |  

Bitcoin Is Disrupting Argentina’s Economy

Nathaniel Popper:

That mundane service – harnessing Bitcoin’s workaday utility – is what so excites some investors and entrepreneurs about Argentina. Banks everywhere hold money and move it around; they help make it possible for money to function as both a store of value and a medium of exchange. But thanks in large part to their country’s history of financial instability, a small yet growing number of Argentines are now using Bitcoin instead to fill those roles. They keep the currency in their Bitcoin “wallets,” digital accounts they access with a password, and use its network when they need to send or spend money, because even with Castiglione or one of his competitors serving as middlemen between the traditional economy and the Bitcoin marketplace, Bitcoin can be cheaper and more convenient than Argentina’s financial establishment. In effect, Argentines are conducting an ambitious experiment, one that threatens ultimately to spread to the United States and disrupt some of the most basic services its banks have to offer.

Can Bitcoin Conquer Argentina? [NYT]

End-of-Life Financial Situation in America

Sudipto Banerjee, Ph.D:

Significant findings include that among all those who died at ages 85 or above, 20.6 percent had no non-housing assets and 12.2 percent had no assets left. Among singles who died at or above age 85, 24.6 percent had no non-housing assets left and 16.7 percent had no assets left.

Data show those who died at earlier ages were generally worse off financially: 29.8 percent of households that lost a member between ages 50 and 64 had no assets left. Households with at least one member who died earlier also had significantly lower income than households with all surviving members.

The report shows that among singles who died at ages 85 or above, 9.1 percent had outstanding debt (other than mortgage debt) and the average debt amount for them was $6,368.

A Look at the End-of-Life Financial Situation in America [EBRI]

April 29, 2015  |