Technical and Quantitative Equivalence…& Myopia

… consider the following statement that might be found in a typical technician’s newsletter:

The presence of clearly identified support and resistance levels, coupled with a one-third retracement parameter when prices lie between them, suggests the presence of strong buying and selling opportunities in the near-term.

… Contrast the above with the following statement which might be found in an academic finance journal publication:

The magnitudes and decay pattern of the first twelve autocorrelations and the statistical significance of the Box-Pierce Q-statistic suggest the presence of a high-frequency predictable component in stock returns.

Both statements are, in fact, saying the same thing: using historical prices, one can predict future prices to some extent in the short run. But because the two statements are so laden with jargon, the type of response they elicit depends very much on the individual reading them. […] because the semantic differences are so great, the authors of the two statements will probably never see how they might both have benefited from each other’s insights.

-Andrew Lo, “The Heretics of Finance”

Andrew Lo is such a hoot.

[Lo have used these hypothetical statements before in earlier papers to illustrate linguistic gaps and cognitive capture.


Perturbed Identities & a Love Letter

Nina Power recently wrote of receiving intriguing “dispatches from another world” in her post — yet another identity crisis. Bemusingly, my emailed comment was added to the original post.

My comment reads:

Your last post, wondering about the unsolicited yet fascinating “dispatches from another world”, reminds me of Shunji Iwai’s 1995 film “Love Letter”. A tale of perturbed identities, a little pseudo-Gettier, time-conjoined doppelgangers, hope and grief, and of course, love.

This would be a good chance to sneak in one of my favourite films from the 90’s (part of the indelible impressions from the growing years), which features doubles within doubles (a pair of look-alikes plus a pair of same-names).

In Love Letter, Miho Nakayama plays two roles in the film, where as the petite and kooky Itsuki Fujii with her short-cropped hair and laidback/bookish/artistic je ne sais quoi, she was so endearing…



Difficult not to like this film, with its doubly star-crossed twists of fate in names and likenesses, muted yearnings translated into enduring puzzles hidden within books and libraries, silent photographs joining with unknowing memories to finally reveal the most precious and tender of emotions…

A very well-done music video of the film:
Love Letter MV

The synopsis:

Film Trailer:
Love Letter Trailer

A Perfect Deep Blue Day

It was a Perfect Deep Blue Day today.

Not a single cloud in the azure sky. Hot, yes; but the October tropical sun has already lost some of its edge and the heat was bearable and actually welcomed, to help melt away some of the mind’s fogginess as you walk along.

And walk along quickly I did today, surprised by a larger than normal weekend crowd at the coastal parks, only realizing later that it was a holiday. An ethnic holiday, which explained the large groups of non-local workers thronging the beach on their rare day off. Had to walk a good 8 or 10 klicks due east before I left the raucous crowds behind.

As I walked, I passed under the remnants of the half-eaten carcasses of once-carefree and high-flying kites, now lying broken and lifeless within the gnarly branching jaws of the always hungry kite-eating trees.
The heart feels for their dashed daedalus dreams; but it’s a darwinian world and the natural food-chain has little pity for pretty but playful kites dancing too close to the fatal treeline, and goes on remorselessly.
After all, trees have to eat.

Walking along, I was soon joined by my faithful companions of many walks — a pair of gulls.
Without fail, they come out in the late afternoons to surf the late-day sea-to-land winds. They almost never work their wings, simply spreading them wide to glide effortlessly through the sky, or sometimes catching a thermal to circle lazily higher and higher before breaking and sliding away silently, with the occasional taunting call.
Teasers these two, playing and putting on such a show when they know full well that landlubbers down below are going green with envy at their unfettered freedom.

But their most amazing trick is when a good even wind comes in, they turn to face it, spread their wings and simply hang almost motionless in mid-air. I have watched them hold this position for minutes, with only slight adjustments; looking for all the world like a couple of black and white kites flying-hanging serenely in the air.
A case of birds imitating kites, or kites imitating birds…

Anyway, enough rambling.
The song-in-the-head of the day:
2 actually — Deep Blue Day and Perfect Day.

Deep Blue Day
[-Brian Eno, composer of ambient music]

Perfect Day
[-Lou Reed, of The Velvet Underground]

Perfect Day
Just a perfect day
Drink sangria in the park
And then later, when it gets dark, we’ll go home
Just a perfect day
Feed animals in the zoo
Then later a movie too, and head home

Oh it’s such a perfect day
I’m glad I spent it with you
Oh such a perfect day
You just keep me hanging on x2

Just a perfect day
Problems all left alone
Weekenders on our own
It’s such fun

Just a perfect day
You make me forget myself
I thought I was someone else
Someone good

These songs are also from the soundtrack of the movie Trainspotting. This soundtrack is…very good; with some of the best Brit-rock and punk rock tunes.

And this is the blue(toilet)water scene from the movie which probably sparked my Deep Blue Day song of the day…

Blue – Trainspotting

(Yeah, I’ve had one of those down-in-the-dumps day too, Ewan.)

And of course the psychedelic drug-induced Trainspotting movie itself.

Trainspotting UK Trailer

Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life . . .

Magic Stone Artists 魔岩歌手

After my prior reminiscing into memorable songs, decided to continue and indulge in some of my favourite tunes and musicians, from when they were still at the now-defunct alternative rock record label 魔岩/Magic Stone, especially their collaborative works.

Here is a song from one of 楊乃文-Faith Yang’s early albums, with music and lyrics composed by 张震岳-Ah Yue.

我給的愛-The Love I Gave

The simple tune and lyrics, with the 10×4 even lines and repetitive refrain, actually makes this song a good choice for learning mandarin; and it is simply breath-taking.
This song is like a test of Faith Yang’s mesmerizing alto voice and she seems to be singing the song in only a single breath. You can feel how the even cadence of the guitar undertone and beat (played by 张震岳-Ah Yue; and he also ghost-voices in the middle hauntingly) first measures against Faith Yang’s singing in even pace, but towards the end almost seems to be struggling to contain Faith Yang’s rising (but always controlled) emotionality.
Faith has some good lungs.


And here is a rare and treasured clip. 陈绮贞-Cheer Chen and 杨乃文-Faith Yang sharing a stage and a song for the first time.
This was during 陈绮贞’s concert where Faith Yang makes her appearance as the mystery guest.

Cheer Chen & Faith Yang – Concert 2006

In the intro leading up to Faith’s entrance, 陈绮贞 was singing one of the songs that she wrote for Faith, 漂著/Floating. You can really see how different their delivery styles are, yet both are very compelling singers in their own ways.
The above clip also has a bonus 30secs at the end where you get to see them singing and bopping to a hippy Faith Yang song, 靜止/Stilled.

And here are the music videos of the songs:

[composed by Cheer Chen, performed by Faith Yang]

[composed by Flowers, performed by Faith Yang]

(which suspiciously sounds like a sampling of The Cure’s Friday I’m In Love; but its all good)


And this is quite possibly the music video with the most number of Taiwanese musical artistes together: 张震岳-Ah Yue’s 雙手插口袋-Sticking Both Hands In My Pockets.

雙手插口袋-Sticking Both Hands In My Pockets

张震岳-Ah Yue here caricatures the state of the music industry, as a low-level gofer (errand-boy) on the set of a music studio. Joining him in guest roles are various other artistes of the 魔石/Magic Stone record company. Wu Bai, of the rock band China Blue and big brother of Taiwanese rock, weighs in as a short-tempered and cigar-chomping producer behind the instrumentation and controls. Faith Yang, true to form, stars as a haughty and imperious big-name star. And Cheer Chen comes in as a dorky and clueless props-girl !

While funny, the video is also a sad and rather prophetic foretelling of 魔石/Magic Stone’s impending doom (it closed in that same year), with this line from Ah Yue in the song:
“Nowadays anyway, no matter how its done, only a few records are sold”


Of course, I’m saving my poet-fairy 陈绮贞-Cheer Chen’s songs for later…

(Cannot Like) Too Much


喜欢一个人孤独的时刻 但不能喜欢太多
在地铁站或美术馆 孤独像睡眠一样餵养我
以永无止尽的坠落 需要音乐取暖
喜欢一个人孤独的时刻 但不能喜欢太多

喜欢一个喝着红酒的女孩 在下雨音乐奏起的时候
像一只鸟在最高的地方 歌声嘹亮
喜欢一个喝着红酒的女孩 但不能喜欢太多

喜欢一个阳光照射的角落 但不能喜欢太多
是幼稚园的小朋友 笑声像睡眠一样打扰我
我们轻轻的挥一挥手 凝结照片的伤口
我喜欢一个阳光照射的角落 但不能喜欢太多
喜欢一个人孤独的时刻 但不能喜欢 太多

Too Much

I like the moments when I am alone
but I cannot like it too much
At the train station or the art museum
aloneness like sleep, feeds and preserves us
With a neverending falleness
needing music, for its sustaining warmth
I like the moments when I am alone
but I cannot like it too much

I like a girl, she was drinking red wine
and as the rain falls, the music starts
Send her up the (Eiffel) tower
let her write postcards to the world
As a bird perched at the highest reaches
with a pristine and melodious voice
I like a girl, she was drinking red wine
but I cannot like (her) too much

I like a little sun-splashed corner
but I cannot like it too much
Twas the laughter from the children at play-school
distracting me, like sleep
As we wave our hands lightly
healing the scarred photographs
I like a little sun-splashed corner
but I cannot like it too much

I like the moments when I am alone
but I cannot like it too much

Music by 陈绮贞 (Chen QiZhen/Cheer Chen).
Lyrics adapted from the poem 《太多》 by 鴻鴻.
Bad translation by dustysojourner.

[Belying that frail frame and angelic voice, is the quiet but steely resolve of the indie rock musician, 陈绮贞 (Chen QiZhen), with her years of simple dedication and passion.
A true virtuoso with the guitar, with the heart and soul of a poet-philosopher.

I really like 陈绮贞, but I cannot like her too much]

Pink Martini

Prodded by a couple of posts here and there with musical offerings, here’s some music from a most enjoyable and fun band, Pink Martini.
From their debut album, Sympathique.


La Soledad

Starting here with a little tongue-in-cheek nod to prior musings here on loneliness, with some mellow latin sounds — the dramatic La Soledad (The Loneliness or The Solitude, again depending on your perspective).

La Soledad
El sol se fue
y yo cantando tu cancion
la soledad se aduena de toda emocion
perdoname si el miedo robo mi ilusion
viniste a mi
No supe amar
y solo queda esta cancion.

The sun has gone
and now I sing of you
this solitude consumes me
forgive me if I was stolen away by fear
you came to me
I did not know how to love
all that is left is this song.



And here’s the whimsical Sympathique, the namesake of the album itself.
(this funny official music video is set up as a multi-language instructional tape {including sign-language!}, no doubt reflecting the band’s own multi-ethnicity)

Sympathique (or Je Ne Veux Pas Travailler/I don’t want to work)

Je ne veux pas travailler
Je ne veux pas déjeuner
Je veux seulement oublier
Et puis je fume

I don’t want to work
I don’t want to lunch
I want only to forget
and so I smoke



When I have the refrain of this tune in my head, it always have me pick up my step on long walks, especially when cresting over hills (okay, more like slopes), to survey my next adventure, a la Don Quixote.



Staying true to its titular reference, this tune starts slow and measured and only picks up in the middle before rousing to a crescendo finish.
(I don’t know why but I always have camels and images from Lawrence of Arabia playing in my mind when I hear this one)

(The pictures of past silver-screen leading ladies used in the clip is a mystery, but certainly not unwelcomed)


Song of the black lizard

Lets slow down and catch our breath with this cold aloof ethereal Japanese blow-off.

Song of the black lizard

Dare mo hairenu
Daiya no kokoro
Tsumetai watashi no
Kokoro no naka ni wa

Donna tenshi mo
Akogare sasayaki mo
Otoko no ainado
Todoki wa shinai
Todoki wa shinai

No one can enter
This precious cold
Diamond heart
Of mine

Not an angel
Nor whispers of desire
Nor the love of any man
Can ever reach my heart
Can ever reach my heart


No hay problema

Here’s a tune that admittably goes down very well with a cocktail. Not too sure about pink martinis here though…think I’ll stick to mojitos or throw back a few of the best cordials, tequila neats.


I left out a big song “Brazil”, from this album, because I think better versions of this song can be found elsewhere.

Sevens and other Numbers

Within this interesting article speaking of the mystery and gravitas of the number Seven, is a fascinating comment by L. Glazier.
Mr. G extends the discussion on Sevens with a reference to the 7-levels of the common heptatonic musical scale, represented by the solfege instruction syllables: Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, and Ti.

The remark that “the fourth level has a natural tendency to fall back to the third, if there is insufficient energy to take it further in the octave. At eight it starts again.”,
is most revealing, and probably points to the tradition in the musical theory of diatonic functions, where modulation into the fourth tone (Fa) or subdominant tone, is thought to involve a release of tension or energy. And if there is “insufficient energy to take it further”, it falls back to the third, in a natural return (musical recapitulation) back to the lower-level (greater/absolute/stable) energies of the root triad (1st to 3rd notes).
This is repeated again at the seventh tone (Ti) or subtonic tone, as the passing tone to lead to the all-important tonic level (eighth or first of the higher octave).

[Interestingly, a comparison with the pentatonic scale (five notes per octave), especially as prescribed in traditional Chinese music, appears to match the cadence of the heptatonic scale described above but seems to be underpinned by a musicology which is the inverse of the above “release of tension or energy”.
Traditional Chinese music for the most part is based on the five tones – Do, Re, Mi, Sol, La; where the Fa (fourth) and Ti (seventh) tones corresponding to the heptatonic scale are omitted, because they are considered to be ‘unnatural’ or stressed tones filled with anxiety/tension, which are not complementary with the basic harmonious/relational five tones.

But beyond Seven, Five, or even One, and before attributing significance to any number, the foremost query poses itself: Just what are numbers; and how did they come about ?

Reaching past archaeological findings of ancient tally marks; Franz Boas’s anthropological abstractions of prehistoric languages with their simple and yet all-encompassing “one, two and many”; side-stepping at this point the concomitant conceptualization of Number(as sequence-label-measure) with the conjoined entities of Time/Space/Being; and even beyond the idealized logic and geometrics of the Pythagorean mathematicians;
it is Mythology which may provide hints to the wellspring of this most fundamental concept in human thinking, that is Number.

Prometheus, in addition to his bequeathing of fire, has also been called the ‘Father of Number’ [Aeschylus, “Prometheus Bound”];
where the Promethean gift of numbers to Man is a gift of order and stability.
Stability from what? From the chaos of the indeterminate, that ancient tug-of-war between Order and Chaos, One and Many; where number or arithmos is seen as a pause or point of mediation between the opposing forces of Limit and Unlimited.

Here then is familiar ground, the Unlimited or apeiron of the Pre-Socratics (Anaximander, Anaxagoras and Pythagoras) and following them, elucidated further in the teachings of the multitude of Pythagoreans, and especially of Philolaus, extending number as the ordering system of the universe.*

[As for the mythology of chaos, this is truly variegated with multiple but probably not independent sources. Older than the Greek/Olympian Chaos is the Babylonian/Mesopotamian dark goddess of primordial chaos herself, Tiamat; there is the Indian Mrtyu; and the Chinese progenitor Pangu, born when the cosmic chaos-egg finally balanced/resolved itself into separate yin and yang.

Mr. G alludes tantalizingly to the ‘transcendental’ numbers, and while a counting of “ever newer numbers” may or may not lead to Cantor’s cardinality of the continuum, some aspects of the transcendence of numbers have already been laid out centuries earlier:

But mode, species and order seem to belong to the nature of being, for it is written: “Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight” (Wis. 11:21). And to these three can be reduced species, mode and order, as Augustine says, “Measure fixes the mode of everything, number gives it its species, and weight gives it rest and stability.”

…multitude in nature is created; and everything created is comprehended under some clear intention of the Creator; for no agent acts aimlessly. Hence everything created must be comprehended in a certain number.

-Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica

{*The dynamics and many-faceted conception of limit and unlimited or peras and apeiron, are mind-bending, or rather mind-circling/resonating indeed}

Stranger in a Strange Land

Valentine Michael Smith, a human raised by sagely martians under the canyons of the bone-dry red planet who returns to planet Earth to find himself a Stranger in a Strange Land; and even more strangely, heralded and feted by hippie-mobs intent on proclaiming him as a Messiah possessing otherworldly and more-than-natural abilities.

Regrettably, I never had the benefit of instruction from sage-like alien mentors, and am quite sure my bearing(s) is more jurassic than messianic, and possess (of dubious-world-origins but decidedly) less-than-the-next-man capabilities; but like V.M. Smith, I find myself a bewildered stranger in my own strange homeland.

I have not ventured into the heart of this city-state of Spore for a number of years now; to me, a new shopping & entertainment mall is the sprawling waterside complex, VivoCity at HarbourFront, which I visited after its opening in 2006. In the ensuing years hence, there have apparently been many more scintillating and electrifying parthenons and edifices built in worship of our modern shiny elusive gods and goddesses (ION Orchard, Iluma, The Flyer…).

I think the tourists and foreigners who fly in once a year just for the fast and furious exhilaration of the F1 races and who partake most heartily of the dazzling delights this bejeweled city has to offer, probably feel more at home in this glittering glazed gotham, than a born-and-bred but clueless rustic misanthrope.

my water-brother Michael Smith, what is one to do… I don’t think I grok anymore…
So very parched…

Gettier-type problem & 2 cakes of soap

Epistemology (from Greek ἐπιστήμη – episteme-, “knowledge, science” + λόγος, “logos”) or theory of knowledge is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. It addresses the questions:

* What is knowledge?
* How is knowledge acquired?
* What do people know?
* How do we know what we know?


Classical accounts of epistemology (probably following a direct tracing back to Plato’s Theatetus) have generally rested upon the analytical framework structuring knowledge as justified true belief (or JTB), where a set of necessary and jointly sufficient conditions are fulfilled.

The JTB Analysis of Knowledge:
S knows that p iff

1. p is true;
2. S believes that p;
3. S is justified in believing that p.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Then in 1963, along came Edmund Gettier and in an admirably short paper, demonstrating his now famous Gettier-type counterexamples, which fulfills the 3 JTB conditions and yet refutes the JTB tests on claims to knowledge, essentially on arguments of an unknown false premise.

[A cottage industry then sprang up offering different types and genres of Gettier-problems, and some interestingly on Jimmy Connors and tennis matches;
but thus far, none on ‘suchness’ and the Tathāgata.]

I have been revisiting a fair amount of old childhood readings lately, mostly anthologies of short stories and novellas, having been seized by several amusing intertwining threads of intertextual references (mostly tending towards the literary edges of weird fiction/epic horror).

But while trudging along old familiar tracks within the weird fictional wastelands, I rediscovered this seemingly sedate (but with a trace of the macabre) short story which may be offered up as an example of a Gettier-type problem:
Dusk, by Hector Hugh Munro@Saki
[link to full text of short-story]

Munro’s gray and sombre description of dusk-time at Hyde Park impressed upon me deeply when I read this many years ago, and probably never left me and indeed, must have unconsciously accompanied many of my own evening-time excursions.
Here are some memorable lines:

Dusk, to his mind, was the hour of the defeated. Men and women, who had fought and lost, who hid their fallen fortunes and dead hopes as far as possible from the scrutiny of the curious, came forth in this hour of gloaming, when their shabby clothes and bowed shoulders and unhappy eyes might pass unnoticed, or, at any rate, unrecognised.

A king that is conquered must see strange looks,
So bitter a thing is the heart of man.

The wanderers in the dusk did not choose to have strange looks fasten on them, therefore they came out in this bat-fashion, taking their pleasure sadly in a pleasure-ground that had emptied of its rightful occupants. […] He was in the mood to count himself among the defeated. Money troubles did not press on him; had he so wished he could have strolled into the thoroughfares of light and noise, and taken his place among the jostling ranks of those who enjoyed prosperity or struggled for it. He had failed in a more subtle ambition, and for the moment he was heartsore and disillusionised, and not disinclined to take a certain cynical pleasure in observing and labelling his fellow wanderers as they went their ways in the dark stretches between the lamp-lights.

Dusk, by Hector Hugh Munro@Saki

Wonderful lines…but back to the Gettier problem.
A reading of the story (scarcely more than 2 pages, really!), along with a careful inspection of the JTB framework above, suggests that the Dusk story (with the cake of soap as a pivotal “witness to genuineness”), fails in its JTB claim to knowledge in regards to condition 1 (p is not true, in this case), and therefore should not rightly be termed as a Gettier problem.

But what if, just what if, by some quirk of time and space, the unnamed young (and suspected con-)man in Munro’s Dusk turned out to be a younger Leopold Bloom from James Joyce’s Ulysses, odyssey-ing away from his Dublin to London, and already having a penchant for purchasing a cake of soap early in the day and wandering about town with it tucked away under the arm or in a pocket…

Then, with all three conditions fulfilled (p is now true, the young man as a Leopold Bloom doppelganger* did lose a cake of soap, and there lies a second piece of soap hidden under the bench!), we have a Gettier problem; and Munro’s protaganist at the end of the story is left facing the elderly gentleman and an unknown non sequitur, as long as the second cake of soap remains unfound.

Do texts speak to each other…?

{*Interestingly, Borges also sets up a meeting with a younger Borges-doppelganger or double on a park bench in a story, El Otro/The Other, written late in his life.