All indexing calls for, Solli explains, is the selection of a particular stock market indexathe Dow Jones Industrial Average, Standard and Poor's (S&P) 500, the Russell 1000, or the broader Wilshire 5000aand the purchase of all its stocks and bonds in the exact proportions in which they exist in that index. In an actively managed fund, managers pick stocks they think will outperform a particular index. But the premise of indexing is that stock prices are generally an accurate reflection of a company's worth at any given time, so there's no point in trying to beat that price. The worth of a client's investment goes up or down with the ebb and flow of the market, but the idea is that the market naturally tends to increase over time.
This column is about the pop stars shining down from Osaka’s building-sized TV screens. It’s about the nervous teenagers performing for the first time at some obscure Shimokitazawa livehouse. It’s also about everything imbetween: the guys busking on the streets for change, or the punks spitting bile on grimy basement stages. In short, it’s about everything that comes out of Japan’s stereo.
November’s best music news was the announcement of All Tomorrow’s Parties’ first Tokyo concert. If you happen to be a British music nerd then you already know who they are - a company named after an old Velvet Underground single that consistently books the bands you thought you’d never get to see.
Their Japanese debut is named "I’ll Be Your Mirror", after the B-side from that same Velvet Underground single. The line-up includes a handful of typically cool-as-hell western groups; Fuck Buttons are bringing their multi-coloured noise/trance, and post-rock luminaries Godspeed You! Black Emperor have been tempted out of retirement. What’s more interesting, however, is the selection of native Japanese bands that have been chosen.
They’re not interesting because they’re surprising - everyone appearing at I’ll Be Your Mirror has performed at an ATP event before. They’re interesting because they offer a western perspective on what good Japanese music is. In my own (foreign) opinion, the concert assembles some incredible talent.
It’s all utterly unique; an extraordinary treat for the audience. But who will that audience be? Tourists and ex-pats, or Japanese music fans? The acts on show are veteran globe-trotters; perhaps more famous abroad than on home soil. Their names would be mere small-print on the posters for any Japanese music festival. Does Japan care which of its performers have done well in America, Britain and Europe? Or will this event simply cater to the well-travelled portion of ATP’s fans, who just happen to be in Tokyo?
I’ll Be Your Mirror reflects opinions on February 27th, at Studio Coast.
No-one sensible would staff a company by simply applying an IQ test and employing whoever scored highest (c.f., though,Aref). And yet there are some in the scientific community who seem to want to move toward staffing scientific institutions by whoever scores highest according to the metrical flavour-of-the-month. If there is one point to take away from this essay it is this:Abeware of anyone advocating or working toward the one "correct" metric for science. It's certainly a good thing to work toward a better understanding of how to evaluate science, but it's easy for enthusiasts of scientometrics to believe that they've found (or will soon find) the answer, the one metric to rule them all, and that that metric should henceforth be broadly used to assess scientific work. I believe we should strongly resist this approach, and aim instead to both improve our understanding of how to assess science, and also to ensure considerable heterogeneity in how decisions are made.
One tentative idea I have whichAmight help address this problem is to democratize the creation of new metrics. This can happen ifAopen science becomes the norm, so scientific results are openly accessible, online, making it possible, at least in principle, for anyone to develop new metrics. That sort of development will lead to a healthy proliferation of different ideas about what constitutes "good science". Of course, if this happens then I expect it will lead to a certain amount of "metric fatigue" as people develop many different ways of measuring science, and there will be calls to just settle down on one standard metric. I hope those calls aren't heeded. If science is to be anything more than lots of people following the comet head, we need to encourage people to move in different directions, and that means valuing many different ways of doing science.
One of my favorite personal blogs, KissingSuzyKolber, has a feature on last week’s double "Manning-face" spectacular.A Two game ending interceptions in the same week? Priceless.
Algorithmic search is sinking. AThe only way to combat this and return trust and quality to search is by taking an editorial stand and having humans identify the best sites for every category. The algorithm can’t find its way through the web’s growing hall of mirrors anymore.
Connection keeps us sane when faced with the aspects of our experience that are difficult to understand. "Where the hell did we come from?" ANo idea…this started to freak people out, and then religion comes along and institutionalizes a connection to others who are grappling with the same issue. AIt is not so much the answer that religion provided, as evidenced by the multitude of beliefs to which people subscribe, but rather, religion provided a recognition of the question that reminded people that they were not alone in this common human challenge. AImagine if I walked through life believing that I was the only one who was asking the question of human creation, or that I, alone, was grappling with the concept of God. AThat would be maddening, alienating, and potentially debilitating
The Singularity has happened; we call it "the industrial revolution" or "the long nineteenth century". It was over by theAclose of 1918.
Exponential yet basically unpredictable growth of technology, rendering long-term extrapolation impossible (even whenAattempted by geniuses)? Check.
Massive, profoundly dis-orienting transformation in the life of humanity, extending to our ecology,Amentality and social organization?ACheck.
Annihilation of the age-old constraints of space and time?ACheck.
Embrace of the fusion of humanity and machines?ACheck.
Creation of vast, inhuman distributed systems of information-processing,Acommunication andAcontrol, "the coldest of all cold monsters"? Check; we call themA"the self-regulating market system" andA"modern bureaucracies" (public orAprivate), and they treat men and women, even those whose minds and bodies instantiate them,Alike straw dogs.
An implacable drive on the part of those networks to expand, to entrain more and more of the world within their own sphere? Check. ("Drive" is the best I can do; words like "agenda" or "purpose" are too anthropomorphic, and fail to acknowledge the radical novely and strangeness of these assemblages, which areAnot even intelligent, as we experience intelligence, yet ceaselessly calculating.)
Why, then, since the Singularity is so plainly, even intrusively, visible in our past, does science fiction persist in placing a pale mirage of it in our future? Perhaps: the owl of Minerva flies at dusk; and we are in the late afternoon, fitfully dreaming of the half-glimpsed events of the day, waiting for the stars to come out.
Ideas are wonderful things. They can inspire us to work harder, dream harder, live harder. The ideas we have, these are free. Servers cost money. Health insurance costs money. Employees, computers, conference rooms, software licenses, these things cost money. Big time. So when you’re looking to nurture an idea into a business, these costs can seem daunting. For those not interested in (or who have no opportunity for) traditional funding methods such as angel investing and bank loans, how do you actually accumulate the funds necessary to really free your idea?