Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Exponential Trend Failure of the Day

Let's start with a chart of corporate dividends divided by corporate profits.


Click to enlarge.

We almost made it to 100% during the great recession. Hurray!

Contrary to the general opinion of the financial media and so-called financial experts, is it any wonder why some companies might hoard some extra corporate cash in case it happens again?

Now let's look at the 10-year moving average to eliminate much of the short-term cyclical noise.


Click to enlarge.

Companies are no longer willing to exponentially grow their dividends relative to their corporate profits? I know. It's all very shocking! Congress must make companies pay more! Pass a law or something!

Perhaps I should summarize without the sarcasm. Stick a fork in it. The unsustainable exponential growth party's over. We may still grow some but in my opinion we will never grow like we once did. Not even close. There are just too many headwinds and at least some of the ponzi-style tailwinds aren't holding up all that well either (as seen in the charts above).

And lastly, my posting frequency has been greatly diminished lately. Sorry about that! I do not believe it is permanent. My latest obsession is learning to play the guitar. I played from 5:30am to 8:00am last night. I was just running scales. I'm definitely not a morning person and man, oh man, are my left hand's fingers sore. :)

See Also:
Sarcasm Disclaimer

Source Data:
St. Louis Fed: Custom Chart

25 comments:

Stagflationary Mark said...

For those interested, I unlocked the "Scales Owned" trophy in Rocksmith last week. That's not my video by the way.

You have to run 11 different scales and your score is the total of all of them. You can redo any given scale as many times as you like. Your last score on the given scale is the one that is used though, so if you screw one up you have to keep doing it over and over again to undo the damage, lol.

A total score of 50 million is needed. I started playing this mini-game in earnest on or around February 1st. I was getting about 4-5 million then. A week ago I broke the 50 million barrier. A few days later I broke 60 million. The day before yesterday I broke 64 million. Last night I hit 68 million. I'm totally addicted.

This exponential growth curve will fail too at some point, no doubt very soon, lol.

The best anyone has done is just over 160 million if memory serves. I have very little hope of hitting that within the next year.

In any event, I can really feel that mini-game's impact on my playing ability. Two thumbs up on Rocksmith! And 4 very numb left hand fingers, lol.

Stagflationary Mark said...

I should mention that you have to start over from scratch on that mini-game each time you play the game. If you scored really well on one particular scale the previous day it won't help you unless you can actually manage to redo it.

That means that if I sit down and get a really good score on a particular scale then I am seriously motivated to play until I get great scores on all the scales. Last night I started with a 7.5 million score on my first scale and that kept me glued to the guitar for the next 2+ hours, lol. It was a great motivator!

Mr Slippery said...

11 scales is good, but that is less than half if you include the minor scales, right?

Let's see, for major scales, we have
C D E F G A B C# D# F# G# A#
plus the minor variation of each with a diminished 3rd and 7th. That makes 24 I think.

This is one of my favorite guitar pieces.

jeremiah81 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Stagflationary Mark said...

Mr Slippery,

Your scale knowledge greatly exceeds that of my own. I can't even remember half of the names I've been playing.

Review: Rocksmith (360/PS3)

You’ll know what the differences in sound are between a Major Pentatonic, Mixolydian, Phrygian, Dorian, Blues, Major or Minor scales thanks to Scale Runner.

Eventually! ;)

Blues is my favorite scale for what it is worth.

Mr Slippery said...

Mark,

Rocksmith looks awesome. My music theory is incomplete and based around piano, not guitar.

I had to look up Mixolydian:

The Mixolydian scale, or mode, is the fifth of the seven musical modes. It is similar to the major scale except for the lowered seventh. The Mixolydian scale is the scale that appears when a major scale is played with the fifth note (fifth scale-degree) as the root. Thus, a C major scale played from "G" is a G Mixolydian scale. This is why the term "mode" is more appropriate than "scale".

The G Mixolydian mode is the same as a C major. So what's the difference? There is no difference; it's the chords that create the magic. Playing a G Mixolydian scale over a C major chord will sound exactly like playing a C major scale (because they are identical). However, playing a G Mixolydian scale over a G major chord will sound "Mixolydian".


Really interesting and this kind of knowledge is how great solos are created.

dearieme said...

Try the clarinet. Your fingers will thank you. Also it removes all temptation to sing along.

Fritz_O said...

Mark,

What brand/model guitar are you using?

I have an Epiphone Les Paul Special II that I picked up some time back and my practice is primarily based on lesson DVDs acquired from the local library system and a couple that I bought.

I like Fender's "Getting Started on Electric Guitar" with Keith Wyatt and MJS's "Easy Metal Guitar". I have two Troy Stetina DVDs from the library but for now those are way, way out in the future on my learning curve.

Troy said...

Some years back I paid X-hundred for a nice Spanish-made classical guitar (I was expecting the dollar to weaken more and wanted to get my order in . . . while I was wrong about the Euro I do see prices have risen $500 since I bought, LOL).

But I do wonder if I had been better off going with a rock guitar. I just want to noodle around with it, and was thinking the nylon strings would be easier on my tender programmer's fingers.

Fatboy said...

Per shadowstats, if inflation was calculated before the changes made in the 90's inflation would be 5%, changes made before the '80's inflation at 10%. Much more Exponential Trend Failures than we know

Fritz_O said...

Initial Claims up 20K this week...

Time for EICD v.36

Stagflationary Mark said...

Mr Slippery,

My music theory involves attempting to play the notes as written and that's about it, lol.

Stagflationary Mark said...

dearieme,

I played the saxophone in junior high. It's just a bent clarinet. ;)

Stagflationary Mark said...

Fritz_O,

I'm using a Les Paul as well but I don't know much about it other than that. Bought it at a music store. I guess I was just drawn to something that had some weight to it.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Troy,

The best part about an electric guitar is that I can practice scales while watching a movie (amplifier off) or while my girlfriend is sleeping.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Fatboy,

I'm not a fan of shadowstats, especially regarding their inflation claims.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Fritz_O,

Time for EICD v.36

I strongly suspect we've hit perma-EICD, and we'll still be talking about lousy employment reports a decade from now. Sigh.

Stagflationary Mark said...

As a side note, I'm still not on a good sleep schedule. I got up at 10pm last night and I'm still up. Insomnia for the win(ce)!

Fritz_O said...

"The best part about an electric guitar is that I can practice scales while watching a movie (amplifier off) or while my girlfriend is sleeping."

When I was shopping for an amp I wanted one that would allow me to plug in headphones just for this reason.

I found that the Fender Mustang I had this feature and it was relatively cheap at $99.00. What I've found is that when I want it quiet, rather than using headphones, I plug in a pair of old, small PC speakers instead. I adjust the volume so it's just a little louder than the strings themselves and it works out perfectly.

And when I want the volume turned up that amp is as loud as I'd ever want to go (and my neighbors too)!

Stagflationary Mark said...

Fritz_O,

I have found that using no amp works fairly well when practicing the scales at my level of play.

I can mostly tune it out (pun intended) when watching movies but can still hear it well enough to know if there's excess string rattle. I say excess because, well, I'm still a beginner. Rattle happens from time to time!

I've made vast improvements in the last week or so. The scale running game requires 50 million points to "own" it. I'm up to 92 million now. My best individual scale is now 239 consecutive notes in a row.

The game gives you 99 seconds per scale (11 scales in all) so although it is hardly professional speed, it's a fairly good clip.

The game first has you run the scale up and then back down. That's the fastest part. From there, you get notes randomly either one up or one down from the current note. It's amazingly effective at working my fingers.

From what I can tell, the high score by anyone on the Playstation 3 is just over 270 notes in a row, so I'm actually starting to approach strike range. A year maybe? It's so hard to say when my exponential learning trend will begin to fall apart. I don't see anything on the horizon though. I was not overwhelmed at the 239 note point. Although the notes were coming much faster, my bigger problem was that I was simply out of time.

As a side note, the game has a great hint for those times when things really fall apart (fingers not behaving, struggling to hit the right note). I think it would also apply to improving my overall score.

Play Faster!

D'oh! Why didn't I think of that? Genius! Hahaha! ;)

Stagflationary Mark said...

There were 50+ emails waiting for me in my inbox. Perhaps I should turn my computer on a bit more often, lol.

Fritz_O said...

"I have found that using no amp works fairly well when practicing the scales at my level of play."

Here's a quote from Eddie Van Halen:

"...you really don't need an amp at first, unless you're in a band. When I'm noodling around the house, I rarely plug in."

You run with the big dogs!


"...hear it well enough to know if there's excess string rattle. I say excess because, well, I'm still a beginner. Rattle happens from time to time!"

I'm assuming what you refer to as "rattle" is synonymous with what I've learned is "fret buzz". I have a chronic fret buzz or rattle problem with my A (5th) string. An exaggerated pluck of the open A will occasionaly yield the rattle, but rarely. OTOH, fretting the string anywhere up and down the neck results in rattle, in all cases except when I apply the most severe downward pressure at the very end of the fret.

I don't think it's a lack of finger pressure that's the problem. I might need to take the instrument into a shop for some "expert" analysis. I say this because if additional finger pressure is needed over and above what I'm currently supplying, I can't imagine ever being able to appreciably increase my speed.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Fritz_O,

Your Eddie Van Halen quote made my day! :)

The buzz is due to improper finger placement for me I think. The thicker strings are more likely to get it since I can't yet feel my way to the correct spot to stop it.

For what it is worth, I adjusted the strings further away from the frets when I first bought it. That helped a lot. If you are getting buzz on open notes (I haven't) then perhaps that might help you.

Plucking an open note and getting buzz might mean you aren't plucking perfectly parallel to the guitar. If the string vibrates parallel to the guitar then it shouldn't ever reach the frets no matter how hard you pluck, assuming I understand the physics here.

I've noticed that in my last few days my buzz has also dropped off as the practice continues. My plucks, as you say, are generally becoming less exaggerated. Part of it might also be stronger finger strength on my left hand (hours per day!). I'm definitely applying a lot more pressure than I was even two weeks ago. My speed continues to improve though.

Obsessive practice makes OCD perfect! ;)

It's also possible that some of your frets have been worn down due to play. You might want to look closely where the frets meet the strings. You don't want to see wear there. I've heard it can be fixed though (assuming it hasn't been fixed too many times, much like sharpening the edges on a pair of skiis.

Just the opinions of a beginner!

Fritz_O said...

"For what it is worth, I adjusted the strings further away from the frets when I first bought it."

Well, since you said you have a Les Paul...I'm guessing you have the "Tune-o-matic" bridge same as mine. Is that how you raised the strings?

I thought about doing that myself but since that adjustment is meant to be used for intonation I stayed away. But if it worked for you that'll be my first step.


"Plucking an open note and getting buzz might mean you aren't plucking perfectly parallel to the guitar. If the string vibrates parallel to the guitar then it shouldn't ever reach the frets no matter how hard you pluck, assuming I understand the physics here."

This statement makes perfect since however it isn't working that way for me. Quite the opposite. If I fret the A string at the second fret and pick the string parallel I get the buzz. If I pick the string from underneath, moving away from the guitar, I get no buzz. I know, it sounds counter-intuitive to the problem but that's what I'm finding. Likewise, if I place the pick on top of the string and pluck downward, toward the guitar body, again no buzz. shrug


"It's also possible that some of your frets have been worn down due to play."

It has less than a year of playing on it and I didn't really start to pick up my current practice pace until I started using the lesson DVDs that I referred to upstream.

Those really gave me something to practice and off I went. It's probably analogous to your approach with the video game. Without that you might not have had the same interest, maybe.

I got that EVH quote from a book called "Rock Guitar" that I borrowed from the library. It was published in 1989 and has several articles from Guitar Player magazine. The EVH one came from July 1984. I'm currently using two DVDs and two books for practice. I spend about a half-hour on each one each day and if I feel like additional practice on any given day I just start the cycle over.

It's amazing the mileage you can get out of a two or three hour lesson DVD. I have one with 61 "chapters". Each chapter takes me a good week or two to master enough that I feel like moving on. These tools are good but I found that I really wanted to learn some music theory alongside the lessons so that's what the books are for. The first time I saw a "note chart" all laid out with 6 strings times 24 frets it was sort of an "ah-ha" moment. My understanding of the instrument and music reading skyrocketed.

Stagflationary Mark said...

Fritz_O,

"I thought about doing that myself but since that adjustment is meant to be used for intonation I stayed away."

I just figured that it couldn't hurt to try. It was certainly easy to do. On the other hand, once you go down that path it might require an expert to put it back where it truly belongs. It was liberating to do it though. No regrets. It's kind of like getting that first car door ding on a new car. It frees the soul, lol.

"Those really gave me something to practice and off I went. It's probably analogous to your approach with the video game. Without that you might not have had the same interest, maybe."

The video game got me to memorize a handful of scales. Now I'm finding it quite enjoyable to just endlessly repeat those scales kicking back on the couch watching TV shows.

There was a time when I was playing a lot of Hanon on the piano, so I think that's just part of my personality. Hanon is basically just glorified scale running by design. Playing scales on the couch more closely matches my laid back lifestyle though.

We'll see how long I keep it up. I can say I'm extremely motivated to speed up my scale running.

I feel the need, the need for speed. ;)