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I turn 81. More black swan events: How to profit from them. Useful tips.

It’s been a week. I turned 81 and freaked out.

People die in their eighties. I could, too.

Two things are freaking me:

First, the speed of change. Everything is changing. It’s really fast. Time seems shorter. Days go more quickly. You don’t get time to mull. It’s weird.

Second, the increasing frequency of what we used to call Black Swan Events, also called the total unpredictable unprecedenteds.

I’m overwhelmed with Black Swan events avalanching us. One morning I wake up to this:

That day, New York City had the worst air of any major city anywhere. I cancelled an afternoon meeting and holed up all day in my pokey home office. This was the view from my New York City office.

Put my N95 mask on. Close the windows. Turn on the AC. Clean the filters. Stay Home.

I googled “Why Do They Call It a Black Swan Event?”

“A black swan is considered to be rare, since most swans are white. Black swans were thought once to not at all exist, until one was discovered. The lesson is that what we think are very rare events may be more common than previously thought.”


I wondered about making money with misery. The Wall Street Journal beat me to it:

They adapted their article from a new book:


The strategy worked like this: Every day, Empirica would buy so-called put options that pay off when stocks decline. The bets weren’t on small declines—they were on huge crashes. Normally, the options expired worthless and Empirica took a small loss. But when the market did crash, the options became wildly valuable, providing massive gains while other investors’ portfolios went up in smoke.

Market crashes. Pandemics. Terrorist attacks. Riots. Megafires. Superstorms. Extreme, destructive, often deadly events seem to be happening across the planet with greater frequency—and greater harm. They happen suddenly and strike widely. The smallest event can cause them, the proverbial flapping of a butterfly’s wings whipping up tornadoes across continents.

I’m reading the book..

We’re meant to be having a recession. But meantime our favorite tech stocks — GOOGL, META, MSFT, SMCI, TSLA, TSM, TTD,  and of course NVDA — continue to explode.

The Economist did a leader on Nvidia and concluded:

Still, for now the future looks bright. Even if ai mania cools, the technology is bound to be more useful than crypto, another craze that Nvidia cashed in on. Regulation may crimp growth, but is unlikely to kill it. And none of Nvidia’s rivals is yet offering ai products that bundle together software, chips and networking. Nvidia’s chief advantage lies in its ability to package these up and create an attractive ecosystem. That sounds a lot like Microsoft and Apple.

The Economist’s leader was “Artificial Intelligence: Nvincible?” Click here

I continue to mull AI. It’s weird – overblown hype, but generative AI is amazingly real and amazingly useful if intelligently thought out. Salesforce’s Marc Benioff talked about AI last night. He said that it worked for customer service if:

First, Generative AI had access to all the data.

Second, you keep a human in the loop. This way you don’t get what’s known as hallucinations — term for AI made-up “facts.”

Excellent articles to read

+ I lost 40 pounds on Ozempic. But I’m left with even more questions. From The Washington Post.

The explosion in weight loss pills blows me away. The chart is from the Wash Post article:

These pills really work to help you lose weight. Who knows (or cares) what the long-term effects are. Click here.

The Cheapest Nicest Hotels in Paris. Our favorite chic Parisian stays from $94 a night. from Conde Nast Traveler.

For the entire article on cheap, fun Paris hotels, click here.

My friend who lives in Paris writes me “My current favorite for being overdone and overpriced is Cheval Blanc.”

My favorite Paris hotel is Hôtel de Crillon. I first discovered ironed sheets at the de Crillon. Nothing does it for romance more than ironed sheets. this is the de Crillon:

The fancy Paris hotels article is here.

Useful Stuff

+ My air conditioner is still busted. But I have discovered Vornado fans:

Click here.

+ The “introductory” offer to the magazine or the software is cheap. Then it’s renewed at a much higher price. For example Norton is offering me $14.99 for one year, then $94.99 automatically. Maybe you want to test the offer? Sign up using a one-time credit card from X1. But don’t sign using your normal credit card.

+ Your urine is meant to be clear. If it’s yellow, you’re dehydrated. You need to drink more water. I got dehydrated playing tennis in the sun. I got painful cramps.

Then I drank oodles of water and I recovered almost instantly.

+ Ctrl P will save the article you’re reading on the Internet. It will save the article as a PDF. Super useful.

+ Wired Internet is much, much faster than Wi-Fi. If you need speed, hook up with Cat 6 Ethernet wire.

+ Often the “unsubscribe” button doesn’t work on my Outlook. I forward the email to my gmail account. Then the link works. I don’t know why.

Apple introduced the Vision Pro at $3499

I haven’t tried it. I’m not important enough for Apple to lend me one. I did watch Apple’s presentation. I’ve read all the reviews and tried Facebook’s $500 Oculus.

Vision Pro is heavy, very expensive and crammed with technology that lets you see projected video in it and .impress that video on the outside world, i.e. see through it. That’s unique. And probably useful .

Meantime, The Vision Pro, in my opinion, will be useful for gaming, for learning how to fix things, for health care, for education, etc. But it needs a lot of developers to work their magic. That’s why Apple introduced the Vision Pro at a conference for developers, not for end-users like me.

From something I read:

The headset tracks a tremendous amount of data using lidar, a TrueDepth camera, and many other cameras to track hand movement. The Vision Pro has an M2 chip inside, as the latest Macs do, but it’s also powered by a new chip called the R1, which processes the data from 12 cameras, five sensors, and six microphones in real time. The Vision Pro also has a 3D camera, which can record 3D-format video that you can rewatch on the headset.

Apple is adding a new feature to AirDrop called NameDrop, which is a new way of sharing contact information with others. You’ll be able to customize the Contact Poster and contact information you share. In a huge update, AirDrop will also be able to continue over the internet if your phones or devices leave range.

Those are the stakes here. Apple, Meta, Snap, Microsoft and other companies working on face computers want you to believe that those devices will usher in a transformative combination of the reality around you and the digital world that is today confined to screens. (Mark Zuckerberg calls this blend of your life and digital life the “metaverse.” I’ll skip that term.)

Meanwhile Apple keeps enhancing its laptops and iPads. I got so excited by what I heard I went to my local Apple store and bought a new iPad Air with 256 gigs of memory for just over $800. It’s a nice way to read a book — somewhat easier than a Kindle. It’s a nice way to red the New York Times and the Washington Post, etc. It’s a super nice way to read PDFs.  But there are many apps that are sized for the iPhone and not upsized for the iPad — the worst being my favorite Instagram. It’s the same size on my large, new 10.9 inch iPad as it is on my 6.9 inch iPhone 13 pro max. Bummer!

I’m hanging in there. Apple remains one of my largest equity holdings. Apple has a remarkable ability to keep sucking you in — the biggest examples being family stuff  — sharing of photos, videos, Facetime, etc.

This Thursday, the first of my big treasuries comes due. I’ll put the proceeds into tech stocks (see above for list), and some specs — e.g. BIRD. Need yield? Check out JEPI — yielding 11%.

Now you know why I love Instagram

I will watch Mark Smith’s brilliant bird photography until I die.

This is a still of our friend catching his (her?) dinner. Mark’s specialty is  videos of the swoop, the drench, the catch and the fly-away. I’ll never see this in real like. I’m eternally grateful to Mark for the imagery.

Fun cartoons

Want to live forever? Eat three apples a day.

Apparently it works. The nutritionist who advised it is still alive.

I played tennis this morning and feel great — though no apples.

Meantime, this is granddaughter Zoe and Rosie, Susan’s pet Havanese.

Neat photo? Thank you Apple.

See you soon — Harry Newton