Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rage, rage against the dying of the light

I'm a contrarian investor, meaning that when in doubt, I try to bet against the masses. However, the stock market isn't the only place where I apply this philosophy.

Global warming alarmists have established an Earth Hour this weekend as an opportunity for people to "vote" for saving the planet. They're asking people to turn off their lights from 8:30 to 9:30pm to demonstrate that they want to save energy and make the planet cooler.

The irony is that Earth Hour has it completely backwards. The Sun is just beginning a multi-decade quiet period which will probably cool the Earth substantially. If carbon dioxide really does have any effect on the Earth's climate, then we should work to increase it to maintain the relatively mild temperatures that we've been enjoying for the past several decades. The last time that solar activity waned (1600's-1800's) was no picnic - in fact, that period is now known as the "Little Ice Age."

There are also economic considerations. Corporate profits have been falling for some time, the economy has been shrinking, and unemployment is on the rise. It strikes me that using electricity helps anyone associated with coal mining, coal transportation, or nuclear power. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd like to help the economy recover as soon as possible.

At 8:30 pm this Saturday, I'm going to turn on every light bulb, television, computer, fan, air filter, air conditioner and heater in my home. It should be pretty cheap electricity anyways if everyone else is in the dark.


Tim said...

While I respect your opinions on all things astronomical I take issue with your theory on the economics of energy. Coal mining irrelevant of CO2 is bad for the land and bad for the air (smog). Using more electricity is good if you generate power and charge for it but it is simply a living expense for most people. Utilities will love you.

Tim said...

One more thing I don't mix politics with money but many businesses save money and are able to retain employees by cutting down on their energy use. While your electricity use may help the power industry you'll understand if other industries are inclined to cut back.
I am planning to buy GRZZX for the first time today. Thanks

Anonymous said...

Long time reader, first time poster. Love reading the blog, etc...

I would rather have the economy recover with long term, real, productive increase in demand rather than short term, artificial, counter-productive increases in demand.

Your point about the sun is interesting. I would think (and hope) known cycles like that are accounted for in global warming calculations and predictions.

Anonymous said...

I have hesitated to buy GRZZX -I was not comfortable with the fee structure among other things. I did take a bite into SDS for the first time today. I figure that it is time to start scaling into a position - awaiting the market's rally to turn to the downside at some point.

Your take on the environmental question is based on Science, which is very refreshing.
Some experts believe that The Little Ice Age may have contributed to the extensive spread of various plagues of that period - and to the decline of European culture and civilization.
Scientists are smarter and better informed than politicians - but, unfortunately, have less visibility to the public.

Thank you for continuing your posts - I alway learn something from them.

Anonymous from Oregon

Anonymous said...

This is too funny. I'd already made a mental note to tell my husband that we'll be lit up like a Christmas tree on Saturday night. We'll be cranking up the thermostat, too -even if it means we have to open the windows.

I hope none of our neighbors complain. I'd hate to have to get out my gun ;-D

Catherine W.

Anonymous said...

Your extensive research into the overall market has given you an incredible over-view and understanding that most stock-focused brokers and people in general lack. Your record speaks for itself.

However, as an astronomer studying planetary science, your knowledge of our solar system is even more in depth.
As you point out, the lack of sunspots, reflecting decreasing sun activity, and the change in the Pacific decadal oscillation all very clearly show the earth is cooling - in spite of Gore's ridiculous tirade.
I too, will turn on every glowing object around me - mostly in protest to those who ignore true science in favor of a false crusade.
I recommend this blog that addresses the climate controversy.
It won the best science blog award of 2008 - and it does NOT believe the earth is warming!

Jody Wilson said...

Anonymous #1:

Global climate models are painfully incomplete. This solar "downturn" has surprised even the solar physicists who specialize in solar activity, so climate modelers certainly haven't accounted for it up to this point.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jody...

I continue to follow your blog with interest and applause, but....

I can't believe any predictive model can be as accurate as you seem to think...for the simple reason that analysis of the past can never accurately be used to predict the future (except for death, taxes and Haley's comet).

Whether this a variant of the Heisenberg principle or chaos theory, I don't know, but, for example, as you recently correctly stated, you could not have predicted the recent Treasury and Obama decisions. But they helped precipitate a major up-move in the mkts that obviously was expensive to miss, whether it ultimately proves to be a sucker rally or not. Unforeseeable events will continue to outweigh what went before (including what market sentiment was "yesterday").

I am fascinated to see what changes you make to your model over time. Ultimately, I suppose if you are right 51% of the time, you will probably do well. But I still feel that it is a bit of hubris to state that the market is more predictable than most people think.

Hoping I am wrong, Jeff

Jody Wilson said...

I don't mind having skeptics in the ranks - it keeps me honest!

Babak said...

Did Stephen Colbert guest post this?


Jody Wilson said...

Thanks for getting the point of the post, Babak, and for the flattering comparison with the incomparable Colbert!