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Anchor: freedom

The freedom to learn

The internet and the world wide web have brought the possibility to learn to all people with access to this network. There is no faster way to educate people without paper books and teachers, than first teaching them reading, learning how to use a computer and give them access to the internet. With this access, some students and fast learners will learn faster than in their traditional class room. And the developement goes so fast in some areas, that the fastest way to upgrade the companies personell is to place them in front of a screen with internet access. There is no time to make publication and documentation. And why should you make it, when it is already online. Especially regaring digital branding and advertising, the evolution is so fast that when a book is published, it is already outdated.

We would not be reading from paper any more. The computer screen, with its istant access, would make paper distribution of text absued. Best of all, no longer would we be stuck with linear text, but we could create whole new gardens of interconnected text and graphics for the user to explore! (It would be several years before I would choose the word "hypertext" for this vision.) Users would sit holding a light-pen to the screen, making choices, browsing, exploring, making decisions. This would free education from the tyranny of teachers! It would free authors and artists from the tyranny of publishersd! A new world of art! knowledge! populism! freedom!. The very opposite of what everyone thought computers were about!

Source: Theodor Holm Nelson (1993) "World Enough". Mindfull Press, California, 1993.

That was written in 1993 in the very childhood of the world wide web. Now, in october 2007, nearly 15 years later, we have witnessed a media revolution. There is no lack of information on the internet. The problem is to find the best sources.

While that ultimate goal imagined by Wales for Wikipedia has not yet come to fruition, there is no questioning the breadth and usefulness of Wikipedia. Those who refused to believe that a user-generated encyclopedia could compete with the monolithic, traditional encyclopedia written by experts and organized by professional editors, were no doubt shocked when Nature magazine published a 2006 article comparing Wikipedia to the well-known Encyclopedia Britannica. The article concluded that Wikipedia articles were comparable in accuracy and thoroughness to those of the older, paper encyclopedia.

Source: Dick Clark (2007) "Wikipedia: What Is It Good For?"


The main advantage of webdocuments is that citation becomes easier. You can link to a document or even a book and by clicking the link you can read from the original source or a digital copy. This is known as transclusion. Google's inverted link matrix model of the web is based on the the wisdom of the crowd or human opinion. Problems:

The crowd tends to make its best decisions if it is made up of diverse opinions and ideologies. A crowd of like-minded individuals may contain bias, which can cloud their judgment and cause a less useful response to a given question. Crowds tend to work best when there is a correct answer to the question being posed, such as a question about geography or mathematics.

The reliability of the crowd can be somewhat altered by the internet. While many articles on Wikipedia may be of a high quality and edited by multiple people (therefore taking advantage of the crowd's collective wisdom), other articles may be maintained by a single editor, whose ethics and opinions may be questionable. In the anonymous domain of the internet it can be difficult to detect a difference between the two articles, but the same amount of reliability and correctness may incorrectly be expected from both.

The other issue with the wisdom of the crowd is that while the crowd's opinion may be valid, individuals within the crowd may have vastly differing opinions. In the case of Yahoo! Answers, some answers given may be ill informed or biased, while others may be of high quality. The average opinion may be the more valid one, but getting it out of the crowd may be challenging. Related wikipedia articles:

Enough about Wikipedia. Here are some additional resources:

Competition will drive this developement. Competition about delivering the best information. As an example, take the ad driven Norwegian site W3 Schools that delivers free online web tutorials. There, a webmaster can, with access to the internet, learn all the basic skills of web developement. For many people, that is all they need to get started with their online business.. In a sense the sky is the limit. The resources are there for you. Nelsons above statement of "users would sit holding a light-pen to the screen, making choices, browsing, exploring, making decisions" and Bill Gates concept of "information at your fingertips" is definitely a reality. Wikipedia, Google and Google suggest are dynamite. You can implement your own Google suggest feature using remote scripting.

Free trade is in the long run the best aid the industrial countries can offer the developing countries. By competing on price and quality simultaneously, the consumer may prefer a beef from Botswana to a much more expensive from Norway. Free consumer choice is still an illusion. Poor people in the industrialized countries are not always able to buy a beef and a bootle of red wine, because it is too expensive. That implies, that the current international trade structure is in a sense bad for both poor people in industrial countries and people in the developing countries. Free trade will equalize factor prices between different regions of the world. In the end, that will also prevent or reduce global inflation.

Studies indicates that there is a negative (and plausible) association between (excessive) inflation and economic growth, so free trade should in that respect stimulate global growth and global welfare. Ceteris paribus, there is also a positive relation between economic growth, stable population and economic welfare. That is still valid, even if inflation is first and foremost a monetary phenomenon and should as such not be mixed with relative prices. Inflation is defined as a rise in the general price level, often measuered by a wighted average of a subset of individual consumer prices, the consumer price index. But when most of these prices are depressed by global competition via free trade, there is a connection.

The same is relevant to learning. As more and more computers in developing countries are connected to the internet, more and more people will get acces to the fastest growing global source of information. Then, the opportunity to advertise your products and services online, and educate yourself, independant of a teacher or a school, is a reality.

This is the start. The second generation of the internet will be much faster and with increased connection and broadband capacity. It will then be possible to sit by a piano in Norway, playing music and educate people all over the world in real time. Let us dream, let us imagine. In 2100 people are living on the moon and mars. It is estimated that human beings will set their foot on mars around 2035. In 2100 our global internet is extended to the universe so we can talk of a universal or a space net. There is no lack of room and energy. The biggest challenge is technology. If you build a house formed as a qube, with side 10 km (10 000) meter in Sahara, every person on the earth will get a fairly large enough flat. If you doubt it, let us assume that there is 10 billion people on the earth today. Then the following calculus should be enough to convince you.

(10 000 x 10 000 x 10 000) / 10 000 000 000 = A flat of 100 square meters with one meter from floor to roof.

There is not 10 billion people on the earth to day. That building will be a little higher than Mount Everest. If you think it is too high, too low under the roof, too few corridors, too little place for entertainment etc, double the the length of the square on the ground. A square buiding in Sahara 20 km broad and long is enough to house all people on the earth fairly well.

What is over population? Over popoulation is lack of technology to produce green energy and enough food. Will there be problems for human beings to conquer space and carry with them organice material to grow their own food? There is no lack of space, room, energy and materials. There is another desert, (a region that has less than 254 mm (10 in) of annual rainfall or precipitation) Antartica, that should have enough fresh water for a period until the technology to desalt water is better. Did you say that it is too cold there? What about solar and wind energy? The challenge is technology.

Anchor: economist

What is a good economist?

Somebody say that a good economist is a sting person. My personal definition is that it is an avaricious person doing the right investments.

My teacher, Nobel price winner Trygve Haavelmo, former professor in economics at University of Oslo, once said at a lecture, that one of the most important things an economist could do, was to sew together.

John Maynard Keynes, doubtlessly one the most important figures in the entire history of economics did not invent new theories, but he combined the writings of classical and neo-classical economists in an original way that resulted in the Keynesian Revolution.

If you read the last chapter of Keynes General Theory, you will note that Keynes was for a free market economy. Only in special situations, should the government intervene. The Austrian economist, Professor Ludwig von Mises who died in 1973, was a leading spokesman of the subjective value, marginal utility, "Austrian" school of economics. He was also a great spokesman of Economic Freedom and minimal Government intervention. Another great Austrian economist, Böhm-Bawerk is mostly reckognized for his great works on capital and interest theory.

Anchor: advisor

What is a good financial analyst or a financial advisor?

I prefer the writings of Benjamin Graham, the famous American value investor on the valutaion of companies and intelligent investments. On chart patterns and market psychology, I prefer Ralph Nelson Elliott. In "Natures Law - The secret of the universe", and in earlier writings he explained his great principle, now kown as the "Elliott Wave Fractal". If it had been possible, he should have been a candidate to the Nobel Price, post mortem. Some reduce his great findings to bookkeeping. Bookkeeping is important enough for an economist, but his findings go far beyond bookkeeping. We may say, as a bookkeeper, he used bookkeeping to identify the 5-3 fractal. This is only the top of the iceberg of his great findings. Robert R. Prechter has brought his theory a step furthther to "the new science of socionomics." It must be clear for everybody that has studied finacial markets, that an education in mass psychology should be an advantage to understand the seemingly irregular or random patterns in financial time series. As Louis Bachelier anticipated much of what was to become standard fare in financial theory: random walk of financial market prices, Brownian motion and martingales all before both Einstein and Wiener, Elliott anticipated the fractal structure in nature before Mandelbrot. If a dynamic system live on a strange attractor, a set with a fractal structure, it has set equilibrium instead of point(s) equilibrium. It is more general than economic models based on equilibrium under uncertainty.

Financial time series are produced by greed and fear, hope and speculation. There is no room for hope in financial markets. If you want to succeed in the long run, there is no alternative to taking calculated risks where the odds are on your side. Benjamin Graham would have said, you need not be intelligent to make intelligent investments, but you must be able to calculate the price and underlying value of a company. And that may be all you need to know.

Anchor: defending

Success at defending bad ideas

"But one thing I did learn after years of studying advanced logic theory is that proficiency in argument can easily be used to overpower others, even when you are dead wrong. If you learn a few tricks of logic and debate, you can refute the obvious, and defend the ridiculous. If the people you're arguing with aren't as comfortable in the tactics of argument, or aren't as arrogant as you are, they may even give in and agree with you"
Source: Scott Berkun, april 2005.

"A 100-year bear market?"

Prechter's "New Socionomics" model focuses on mass behavior that has a life of its own, creating rather than reacting to world events. In Prechter's model, individual investors may be controlled by "subjective, unconscious, pre-rational impulses to herd determine financial values," but markets are still "patterned and probabilistically predictable." Last Update: 9:17 PM ET Oct. 13, 2004

Roughly, that means that the market should increase about 40 % of the time and decrease 60 % of the time according to the golden ratio that has been identified among time durations of waves in bear markets. You should be very clever to find undervalued companies that does not follow the market down to the bottom of the final correction. For an elliottician, there is an alternative, namely to invest with the preferred wave count. Or perheaps invest with the preferred wave count in direct or inverse index funds if you want to diversify your portfolio. But stock market forecasting is not an easy task. Are stock prices pridictable? Read this paper by J. Scott Amstrong. Sornette proposes a radically different view: the underlying cause can be sought months and even years before the abrupt, catastrophic event in the build-up of cooperative speculation, which often translates into an accelerating rise of the market price, otherwise known as a "bubble." That is compatible with the Elliott Wave principle, that is based on mass psychology as reflected in prices of various financial instruments.

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