What my beloved countrymen think . . .

. . . about fellow Aussies being stranded overseas by extremely strict government caps on arrivals:

they can get back any time they like. They had opportunities when this whole thing went south, but stayed and are now crying foul. If they really want to get back they just have to stump up for a 1st or Business Class ticket. How much do they want to get back? Not that much obviously. 

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Why you must understand finance BEFORE seeing an advisor

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This is an extract from my book, The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.

            You might be wondering, why write a whole book about finance if you’re just going to tell me to see a financial advisor at the end anyway?  Couldn’t I have skipped the book and let the professional tell me what to do?

No.

You see, there are all sorts of problems with this industry.  Consider what happened the three times I’ve received professional financial advice in my life:

On the most recent occasion the advice was good.  The advisor explained how my investments would be taxed in my case, being a foreign resident, and this helped to confirm that the path I was pursuing was appropriate for my situation.  However, this advisor didn’t bother recommending his usual products to me as he realized from our conversation that I was canny enough to know that my existing investments Read More

3 Covid lessons

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I previously listed 12 questions about the Covid-19 outbreak.

This post examines three lessons we have learned so far.  It is not medical advice for dealing with the infection, but rather lessons learned from around the world regarding general policies and responses to China.

1.  Don’t trust China

Apparently Taiwan got the jump on Corona-chan in the very early days, back in December, when a bigwig happened to hear rumours about the outbreak on the Chinese equivalent of Read More

Don’t sniff the gift horse in the arse

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Sue Green is now so old that she gets money just for that, but she’s none too happy:

It’s official: I am a pensioner. On Monday, just three weeks after submitting my 15 – yes, really – forms and supporting documents, much-maligned Centrelink notified me that my age pension application was successful.

Perhaps that’s too many forms to fill out to get free money but still, its free money.

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Word from the Dark Side – felons shot, farewell Aussie China journos, future feelings and frisky Japanese bigwigs

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What are the odds that the three people Kyle shot were all felons? LET investigates.

What was it like during the Kenosha riots, aside from that one incident? Here is an eye-witness account:

At the lakefront… there was a small police presence again, where our courthouse and Pd is…. but the PD was nowhere else in the city. It was just us left to fend for ourselves, watching live feed again, Listening to the scanners … lights off, house alarm armed. Curtains drawn – guns ready as we listened to where the rioters were, which way they were headed. Despite the state of emergency curfew the city was flooded with cars driving around with no plates on, groups of people destroying our city. Not enough police to arrest or stop not ONE SINGLE PERSON.

Until the guard came to help… the entire city was left to its own defenses.

Two cops were shot in the head in Compton. Here’s a video of bystander reactions.

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Actively managed funds are rubbish

This is an extract from my book, The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.

Why Actively Managed Funds are Bad

Imagine this: your toilet is blocked and you can’t fix it yourself so you call a plumber.  The plumber has a look and says, “Hmm . . . I’ll have a go.  I can probably fix it.  My fee is $250, or $350 if I succeed.”  Are you happy with this deal?  Most people would expect to pay only once the plumber has fixed the problem, though if it requires more time, personnel or machinery than first thought, then the expense will necessarily be higher.  But one would not expect to pay a plumber who messes around with a plunger for a while, sighs, gives up and goes home.

Or how about a taxi driver who expects a $30 bonus if he actually finds your destination?  Or a dentist who wants extra if he manages to pull out the right tooth?  Or an air traffic controller who reckons he should get an extra fifty bucks for every plane that doesn’t crash?

That’s how it is with actively managed funds Read More

Fear

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As Machiavelli wrote, rulers can manage their people more effectively through emotion than reason, and fear is more motivating than love.

This is perhaps truest of democracies, where leaders can keep power by convincing the electorate that they alone are able to hold off the latest threat.

Once the wave of fear has passed (having served its purpose or lost its effectiveness), we look back and think, what was the all the fuss about?

In the early 20th century, wowsers were convinced that alcohol was a unique and terrible evil. Today we can agree on its harms, but was it ever really that bad? Worth turning society upside down for? How did anyone ever fall for that?

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Word from the Dark Side – walking to Sri Lanka, white allies scorned, watching Heaven’s Gate and world’s oldest AV star.

Look out for my post on Tuesday about how the world has succumbed to irrational fear.

A professor of Mandarin in the US was fired for teaching the Chinese term neige, which means ‘that’ or can be used as a filler word. It sounds a bit like the English ‘n-word’, an offensive term for a person of African origin:

Yup, fired. Don’t teach foreign languages, you bigot!

Educational outcomes for African Americans are still far behind the US average. If the cause is ‘systemic racism’, then you’ll need to look very hard indeed to find signs of it. This story shows you the straws being clutched in support of that theory.

In Japanese, the verb ‘nigeru‘ means ‘to flee’.

Trump sometimes blurts out the truth:

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Boiling point

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Everyone’s very angry at the moment, but why?

You’ve probably seen this photo before. Look at the dress and tell me what colour it is:

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The Dress

Some people see black and royal blue. Others see white and gold. Unlike other optical tricks like the vase vs two faces image, no matter what you do, you are unable to see what the other group sees.

This went mad on social media because it is a perfect example of what researchers have discovered makes an issue exquisitely controversial: the answer seems obvious to both sides, yet these answers differ completely. This leads each side to suspect bad faith and evil intentions on the other side. It is hard to believe that someone really does see colours you cannot see. It seems like a giant prank.

In the West, we have split into two groups like this on many, much more pressing issues. Our perceptions of reality are irreconcilable. Can you remember these proto-squabbles:

Was Trayvon Martin murdered, or did George Zimmerman kill him in self defence?

Even our idea of what the two look like, and whether Zimmerman was white or Hispanic, depends on our source:

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You are WEIRD

Map of nations covered by psychological studies

The trouble with people living in WEIRD countries is, we don’t know how WEIRD we are.

WEIRD stands for Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic.  Many countries have some of these characteristics, but only a few have them all, which makes them . . . weird.

The map above shows where 90% of psychological studies come from, adjusting country size by population.  These WEIRD countries account for only about 15% of the world’s population.  Some researchers are starting to think these studies must be culturally biased, and that broader studies are needed to understand human nature more fully.

This is because WEIRD countries are different.  They have certain Read More

Word from the Dark Side – dissenting scientists, disliked daughters and defending the looters.

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I’ve got a big article going up on Tuesday (Monday evening US time) about your WEIRD culture. Future articles will build on it.


Lots of interesting, Covid-related posts today:

WHO special envoy praises Sweden’s approach, then backtracks.

A top Israeli scientist piles on:

“If we had not been told that there was an epidemic in the country, you would not have known there was such an epidemic and you would not have done anything about it,” he said emphatically. “The fact that this issue runs all day in the media inflates it beyond its natural dimensions. If black death had raged here, as in the 14th century, you would not have had to follow the situation in the news, the bodies would have piled up in the streets. We were not and we are not in this situation today.”

Top UK scientist says lockdown was a ‘monumental mistake‘:

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We are all paperwork citizens now

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Vox Day likes to call immigrants without deep roots in a nation, ‘paperwork citizens’, as opposed to real citizens.  I always thought it was a bit mean to those who’d tried hard to fit in and make a life for themselves, but now I see the grain of truth in the sentiment.

As you know, I’m not presently allowed to return to my own country.  Subsequent rumination have helped me to make sense of this.

Almost 30% of Australians were born overseas.  Some of these, no doubt, are keen to assimilate and eventually become patriotic, dutiful, grouse Aussie shearers.  I’ve met Indians from Dubai who delight in our coarseness and have learnt to swear like troopers.  I’ve met game Vietnamese boys who play Aussie rules football.  I’ve met Kiwis who didn’t know they were Kiwis until they tried to apply for university.

I also know many migrants, especially from China and India, who move to Australia purely for Read More

What to do in a stock market crash

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This is an extract from my book, The Poor Man’s Guide to Financial Freedom: A Realistic, 10-Step Manual to Building Liberating Wealth on a Low to Medium Income.  This section seems relevant in light of recent turbulence.

In the case of a stock market crash, your actual losses will depend on what you do next.

Imagine Aida and Thad both invest $100,000 in the share market, in a broad and identical way.  There’s a terrible, 30% downturn across the board and the value of their investments declines to $70,000.  Oh, no!  What are they to do?

Foolish Aida says, Read More