On the Merits of Being a Financial Historian
This well written piece explains why it's important to examine the history of past investment returns, even though they don't predict the future. The author argues that a probabilistic point of view is still better than nothing, and I don't disagree with that observation. But the real insight of this article is the observation that the main reward of investment learning and research is probably not optimization, but emotional control. As the author puts it: "At the end of the day the asset allocation you choose isn't nearly as important as your ability to follow it through the ups and downs in the markets".
Greg Speicher: My Investing Blueprint
This is Greg Speicher's value investing framework. He has 10 main points, with subpoints being links to previous articles he's written on the topic. It's nicely organized and fairly comprehensive, so it's like getting a free investing book.
Why We're Happy Being Sad: Pop's Emotional Evolution
This article describes in statistics what I've long suspected: there's been a dramatic increase over the last 50 years in the use of minor keys in pop music. A couple of years ago I began to notice how many songs on the radio were in a minor key, which seemed kind of strange to me because I didn't remember any such songs growing up. It turns out my memory was largely correct. Pop music used to be totally dominated by major keys. For example, in 1965, every single top 40 hit was in a major key. But the use of minor keys steadily increased throughout the 1990's and 2000's, so that now the majority of pop songs are actually in a minor key.
Unlocking the Scrolls of Herculaneum
You may have heard that 90% of the major works of classical literature have been lost. The article details the attempts to unlock the treasures of the Villa of the Papyri, which housed a library of at least 2,000 scrolls that were unfortunately carbonized by a volcanic eruption in 79AD. Modern techniques such as multi-spectral imaging and CT scanning have shown great promise for unlocking the ancient texts. Some of the earlier attempts at opening these scrolls were mind numbingly slow. An 18th century conservator for the Vatican devised a machine to open them, but it took four years to open one scroll! (One can only imagine the conservator at a hypothetical high school reunion. "Ah, yes...well, I've spent the last 20 years slowly unrolling 5 scrolls.")
VLF Waves, The Ionosphere, and Earthquakes
This is a jump page to a variety of research on using changes in the ionosphere to possibly predict major earthquakes. It is early stage research, with a lot of potential and a lot of challenges. Some of the links are quite technical; others are not. It's a fascinating concept, but it's not clear at this point whether it will lead to any major prediction breakthroughs.