Victor Niederhoffer

Back up a bit. It must have been about 10 years ago -- '97 or so -- when I last walked the streets of New York City. Whenever I'm in a great city -- be it New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. -- it is my consistent habit to be out and about fairly early in the morning. Lots of reasons why, but I suppose it's primarily that I like seeing the things come alive as they do.

Back then, I recall grabbing a sausage, egg & cheese croissant, tater tots and coffee from a Burger King and then browsing the tables of a sidewalk book vendor. Fitting, I thought -- seeing as I was in NYC -- to pick up this book, The Education of a Speculator, by Victor Niederhoffer. But through some set of circumstances I no longer recall, I got sidetracked somewhere near the beginning of the book, put it down, and forgot about it. Then I saw it two weeks ago amongst my significant book collection that I keep up at the cabin. Seeing as I now trade virtually full time, I took it down, began reading, and began googling here and there about the man.

And he's a most interesting guy. On the heels of the book being published, he lost it all. Tens of millions -- his own money and clients'. Now he's back on top, taking the hedge fund he started in 2002 from $2 million to about $350 million now. That's of course both additional capital from new investors and capital gains. A $1 million investment in 2002 would be worth over $4 million today. Not bad. Of course, to invest in a hedge fund, you have to be an accredited investor -- a silly, depression-era law that appears to be growing new legs rather than being dumped as it ought to be. On the other hand, in practical terms, it's probably just as well. Nobody cares if a hedge fund loses billions for rich people. Indeed, most "working people" chortle with glee at the prospect. This affords hedge funds some measure of freedom in managing their own affairs and the affairs of their clients. "Too many" people are now reaching the $1 million watermark and it's a virtual certainty that you'll eventually have sob stories about moms & pops who invested their life savings in a hedge fund and lost it all, "not realizing" that the 50% annual returns imply sometimes huge risk.

Check out his reading list and note what comes first. What have I been telling you forever? Note also the Liberty Reading List at the bottom. Yea, I've read many of those myself. I know a few people who've read all of them.

He also maintains a blog, Daily Speculations that I have found quite interesting to have in my RSS. So bookmark accordingly, if it suits you.

Radley Roundup

Another victim of commonplace police and prosecutor criminality is set free after being held as the slave of Los Angeles County for 20 years. Meanwhile, other similar criminal behavior is exposed for the 200th time. [BalkoLink]

What do you think would happen to you if you got drunk, argued with a police officer about whether you were fit to drive, then pulled out a gun and shot him? Why not a paid vacation?

Two of the three cops who broke into 92-yr-old Kathryn Johnston's place in Atlanta last November, murdered her, planted drug evidence, and solicited the help of an informant to lie about a drug buy go down in a plea of manslaughter in exchange for testimony as to how the Atlanta Police Department is a band of thugs and criminals. One to go. Note: this is some justice being served on these two thugs. Kathryn Johnston can't get any justice. She's dead.

Patterico (Patrick Frey), the LA County assistant DA (criminal prosecutor) gets it wrong, as usual. He's not the only one. You can dig through the comments if you like, in search of a good argument as to why -- should your home ever be invaded by armed intruders -- the burden is upon you to correctly, unequivocally, and with utter precision determine whether you have a legal right to defend your life, on the basis of information you can't possibly know. You won't find one, and commenter "Sk" pretty cleanly cleans up here and here. Read both. Understand. Now I know why Frey isn't billing at $500 per hour at my cousin's LA firm.

The lives and freedoms of ordinary people (and extra-ordinary 92-yr-old ladies) aren't the only casualty of the criminal War on Drugs. Arguably worse, in an historical and cultural context, is the obliteration of reason. It's DOA. The whole thing ought to be renamed: War on Drugs, America, and Reason.


Looks like it's been about three weeks since I told you I was going to build a marine aquarium. Well, I've been telling everyone who has any idea of how difficult this is to get right that I'm embarrassed because it's just going so damn well. I've never had a tank go so perfectly, but I think I owe that to using 100% live sand (wet sea sand actually bagged and shipped out from Fiji and other tropical regions) and my live rock was well cured. Essentially, this gives you all the bacteria and other micro-organisms you need for a stable saltwater environment. Then, of course, you've got to keep it that way, unless you want to do water changes every week. A competent saltwater aquarist ought not have to do any more than a 20% water change once per month.

Alright, so here's where we are, so far. Ideally, that link takes you into a new tab or window and Quicktime will play the video in highly resolute 640x480.

All those corals and polyps are live, of course, and there'll eventually be a lot more. You have to add stuff slowly, so as to not overwhelm the creatures that take care of all the crap. Underneath what you see is a protein skimmer (the bubbling plexi tube) and a refugium where you grow macro-algae, so as to use up nutrients for same in order to keep the algae growth inside the tank to a minimum.

Alright then. Until the next update.

Pascal’s Folly

Would that Sam Harris laid it to the dustbin of history once and for all.

One Man’s Tale

A well written, very credible account of one man's experience with the exceedingly corrupt Dallas SWAT, Dallas Sheriff, Dallas Police, Dallas Code Enforcement and the Dallas District Attorney; along with their partners in crime at Granada Entertainment and A&E Broadcasting.

Make no mistake: all of the above are the criminals in this story.

The show of force and weaponry brought by the cops was simply outrageous and unjustified, given the circumstances, but, then again, are they enforcing the law or making a TV show?

You decide. How much of this do you suppose goes on against those unable to express themselves as well as this innocent man, the victim of legal predators.

A Friday Afternoon

Alright. What a week, what with the Va-Tech massacre and attendant gun-control lunacy in wake. Rather than another post about why there's no guarantee attached to "gun free zone," I thought I'd just go out and reaffirm my own disposition.

Those shots were aimed at the head on the left. Not too bad, I'd say, since it's been like 1988 since I shot one-handed (I'm holding the cam in the other hand and we're shooting at 10 yards). Yea, you don't need to let me know that it's a hostage target and I'm not supposed to shoot the guy on the right. I didn't want to buy another target, okay?

What you can't see in this version (it's reasonably clear in the native file) is the Colt .38 I show sitting on the bench. That was my grandmother's "snub-nose," and it sat on her bedside table (loaded) for as long as I can remember as a kid. My grandfather had a .38 as well, but with a long barrel.

I'll leave you with Ted.

Update: Oh, yea. It's a Sig-Sauer P-229; .40 S&W.

A Comment

I imagine that in those awful, brutal moments during the assault; with sounds of pop, pop, pop; with people screaming as the marauder rampaged from room to room... many must have been wishing, lamenting that the government had just done something more -- somehow -- to halt the proliferation of guns. Can you just imagine -- in their final moments of life or safety --  how they must have yearned and longed for guns to have just been banned altogether?

On the other hand, perhaps they all just wished they had one in hand.

What would you have wished for?

That was my comment to the morons, dinks and imbecils commenting here. Other than Brian Ross and Dana Hughes, the morons, dinks and imbecils are easily identified by their moronic, dinky, and imbecilic comments.

That's all.