Skip to content

Good deals on treasuries. What you get for $13 billion! (sic) will the Emir offer me a job based on my new marketing skills?

You can earn 5.05% on a nine-month Treasury. Or 5.06% for one-year paper.

That’s a pretty good deal if your money is sitting unloved and unrewarded in a lonely savings account in a mean big bank somewhere.

There are two advantages to treasuries:

+ You don’t have to pay local tax on the interest. That means a lot in places like New York, California, Massachusetts and Oregon.

+ You can’t do anything stupid — like buy stocks that will fall in value.  All these stocks lost more than 5% today — ABNB, TWLO, NET and HAL. These are all on my Watch List. I don’t own any. But I do own Coterra Energy (CTRA) and it “only” lost 4.92% today.

The best news is that I won’t lose any money on Monday since no money-losing opportunities are available then.

Figure this reward for spending $13 billion

You made the front page of today’s $4 paper (up a dollar this week). In a burst of unthinking enthusiasm (the best kind), Microsoft plonked down $13 billion for the privilege of incorporating ChatGPT  — a chatbot — into its ailing Bing search engine. The move gave desperation a while new meaning.

A sneaky NYTimes reporter decided to engage with the Bing’s chatbot, now called Sydney. And the conclusion:

Last week, after testing the new, A.I.-powered Bing search engine from Microsoft, I wrote that, much to my shock, it had replaced Google as my favorite search engine.

But a week later, I’ve changed my mind. I’m still fascinated and impressed by the new Bing, and the artificial intelligence technology (created by OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT) that powers it. But I’m also deeply unsettled, even frightened, by this A.I.’s emergent abilities.

It’s now clear to me that in its current form, the A.I. that has been built into Bing — which I’m now calling Sydney, for reasons I’ll explain shortly — is not ready for human contact. Or maybe we humans are not ready for it.

This realization came to me on Tuesday night, when I spent a bewildering and enthralling two hours talking to Bing’s A.I. through its chat feature, which sits next to the main search box in Bing and is capable of having long, open-ended text conversations on virtually any topic.

If you’d like to read the full report (and you should) click here. Or you can read bits of it on the cover of today’s paper.

The article has not been kind to Microsoft’s stock (which I own). Here’s the last five days, including today:

The good news is that I actually am making few shekels with Microsoft, which I bought earlier this year.

Maybe the weekend will bring good news for Sydney?

Buying airline tickets

Be prepared for sticker shock. Years ago, one airline charged if you wanted to use the bathroom on the plane. I don’t know how many people pee-ed in the aisle. But that was the only charge the airlines have removed. Since then they have gotten seriously creative. I got hit for carrying a bag onto the plane. The airline had two women wheeling a huge scale and a wireless credit card machine around the waiting area. They weighed everything including the bananas I was planning on eating on the plane. I angled for a discount for eating them in the waiting lounge. The ladies politely pointed out there was no difference in weight between carrying them in my belly or my bag on their plane.

The “extra room” seats on JetBlue have gone from $60 to $163.

All JetBlue’s nickel and dimming has pushed their stock up a little. But not much. Here’s the last year:

Good idea to have limit buys at very low prices — $6.50. Sadly I missed JBLU. Maybe Sydney will help? Fortunately, she won’t fall in love with me, since I’m truly unlovable and happily married… (The wrong order?)

This man is truly wonderful

Watch the trailer. Then go watch the whole show.

Don’t frighten your kids with AI replacing them.

They’ll always find a job designing and building grotesque hotels like this one in Qatar.

“This St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island is the address where exquisite experiences, timeless rituals and sophisticated settings come together offering a glamorous lifestyle that combines the best of comfort and luxury.”

I did not write that crap. But I know I can do better. So I went to OpenAI Chatbot and asked it to help.

Here are my instructions and here’s what ChatGPT produced (in less than a minute):

This is great marketing. Can I sell it to the Emir of Qatar, who builds and owns things that only God could do –if only she had the money.

I’ll be back. Unless the Emir offers me a job.

He and his family have a net worth of $335 billion. So they can definitely afford me.

Please. I cannot afford the $2,000 it would cost me a night in the hotel — even one of the “cheaper” rooms. — Harry Newton