Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pub Quiz - 04/19/10

Here are pub quiz questions from last Monday. With 14 correct out of 20, we tied with one other team for 4th out of 24. There was a sole winning team that got 16 correct, and there were two teams with 15/20.


1) What group originally released 'Wild Thing' in 1966?
2) Disgraced US football star, OJ Simpson, starred in what movie spoof series in the 80's and 90's?
3) In which part of body would you find the jugular vein?
4) In which part of body would you find the ulna bone?
5) Which superhero resides beneath the sea and can command all marine life with telepathic abilities?
6) How many women did Ross marry in the TV series, Friends?
7) True or False. Armadillos can be housebroken.
8) What is the name of the car part that recharges your battery after it starts your car?
9) What country would you be in after landing at the Freeport International Airport?
10) What is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been ruled by a European nation?
11) What is the name of the bartender in Love Boat?
12) What American city is the soap opera, Days of Our Lives, set in?
13) Which tourist attraction can be seen from outer space and is the largest single structure made by living organisms?
14) Who directed the 2005 movie version of the classic story, King Kong?
15) Which band released the album, August and Everything After, in 1993?
16) Who wrote the classic tale, The Hare and the Tortoise?
17) What Elvis Presley song was the first record to reach No. 1 on Billboard's Country and Western, Rhythm and Blues, and Pop charts in one week?
18) How many players take part in a game of pachisi, the national game of India?
19) What country does the rice and shellfish dish, Paella, originate from?
20) The Matterhorn straddles the border of Switzerland and which other country?

Answers and brief comments, as usual, please use ROT13 to decode...

1) Jr tbg guvf jebat. Gur nafjre vf gur Gebttf.
2) Jr nyy xarj guvf bar... gur Anxrq Tha frevrf.
3) Rnfl bar -- guebng.
4) Nabgure rnfl bar -- sbernez.
5) Guvf bar, bayl Oneore xarj... Ndhnzna.
6) Oneore naq V qrongrq guvf n ovg naq jr bevtvanyyl fnvq guerr, juvpu jr gura punatrq gb gjb nsgre pbaivapvat bhefryirf gung ur arire ernyyl zneevrq bar bs gurz ba gur fubj. Hasbeghangryl, gur nafjre jnf guerr.
7) Jr svtherq guvf unq gb or gehr, bgurejvfr vg jbhyqa'g or erznexnoyr rabhtu gb or gevivn-jbegul. Naq, vg'f gehr.
8) Nabgure gung jr nyy xarj... nygreangbe.
9) Jr nyy qrongrq n ovg, naq jr jrer guvaxvat vg jnf rvgure va gur Pnevoorna be va Nsevpn. Jr jrag jvgu Yvorevn, naq gur nafjre jnf gur Onunznf. V qba'g guvax jr'q unir fnvq gung pbhagel rira vs jr pubfr gur cebcre ertvba.
10) WP naq V xarj guvf bar... gur nafjre vf Gunvynaq.
11) Oneore pnzr guebhtu jvgu Vfnnp. WP naq V unq ab pyhr.
12) Abar bs hf unq n pyhr. Gur nafjre vf n znqr-hc pvgl pnyyrq Fnyrz.
13) Jr vavgvnyyl jrer guvaxvat Terng Jnyy bs Puvan, ohg gura V zragvbarq gung V gubhtug gung Terng Oneevre Errs znqr zber frafr. Jr nyy gnyxrq nobhg vg, naq jr nyy unq n inthryl erzrzorerq gung gur Terng Jnyy bs Puvan vfa'g npghnyyl ivfvoyr sebz fcnpr. Fb, jr jrag jvgu gur errs, naq vg jnf, va snpg, pbeerpg.
14) Sbe gur yvsr bs zr, V pbhyqa'g erzrzore guvf qrfcvgr bjavat gur K360 Xvat Xbat tnzr. Ohg, sbeghangryl, Oneore pnzr hc jvgu gur pbeerpg nafjre... Crgre Wnpxfba.
15) Oneore naq WP xarj gur nafjre... Pbhagvat Pebjf.
16) Nabgure tvzzr... Nrfbc.
17) Jr jrag jvgu Ryivf' Ubhaq Qbt, ohg gur pbeerpg nafjre jnf Urnegoernx Ubgry.
18) Jr gbbx na rqhpngrq thrff gung cnpuvfv jnf gur fnzr nf cnepurrfv. Vg gheaf bhg gung cnepurrfv vf na Nzrevpna irefvba bs cnpuvfv. Nf n erfhyg, jr tbg guvf evtug jvgu gur nafjre: sbhe.
19) V'z na vqvbg naq gubhtug Creh. Sbe fbzr ernfba, vg frrzf gung V'ir nyjnlf rngra Cnryyn ng Crehivna erfgnhenagf. WP lryyrq ng zr sbe orvat qhzo, naq pbeerpgrq gur nafjre gb Fcnva. Bs pbhefr, fur jnf evtug naq V jnf jebat.
20) Jr nyy qrpvqrq ba Nhfgevn, ohg gur pbeerpg nafjre jnf Vgnyl.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

So Much For Brain Games

Nature published a study on brain training via computerized tests, such as those found in Brain Age or Brain Challenge, this week. Unfortunately, their conclusion was not what I would have hoped for; these games do not increase cognitive function. It's a shame, because I actually find those types of games entertaining.

The study shows that any skills obtained from training on one particular task does not transfer to other tasks even when the tasks are cognitively closely related! That's surprising to me.

Anyway, read the actual paper here: Putting brain training to the test.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pub Quiz - 04/12/10

These are late, but better late than never. This time, we had help from a third team member (Barber, for those who know him). He complements us really well, as we were able to get 15 correct this time (would have been 11 without him), which was good for a 3-way tie out of 28 teams. And, we were also one word away from 16, but this is pub quiz and neither horseshoes nor hand grenades.

As for the 3-way tie... we were not eligible for the tiebreak round. The first tiebreak is based on number of team members, and the other two teams consisted of only two. The tiebreaker question for the two of them was about the number of words in the English language, excluding scientific words. The answer was surprisingly large... something in the neighborhood of 600K.

Here are the questions from last Monday.

1) Who sang the hit song, Bette Davis Eyes, in 1981?
2) A commonly studied and diagnosed psychiatric disorder in children, what does ADHD stand for?
3) What is the name of Hilary Duff's singing sister?
4) Which artist released Brave in 2007 and Love in 2010?
5) What territory is in North-Western Canada and East of Alaska?
6) What creature can detect one part blood in 100 million parts water?
7) What is Jennifer Grey's unfortunate nickname in the 1987 movie, Dirty Dancing?
8) On what side of the road do they drive in Japan?
9) Name the 2004 movie, starring Julia Stiles, about an American girl who falls in love with the Prince of Denmark?
10) What 1988 movie is the following quote from: "I have a brain for business and a body for sin."
11) In what town is the British BBC comedy series, The Office, set?
12) What color shirts did the Secret Service Nazi troops wear in the 1940's?
13) Who wrote the opera, The Marriage of Figaro?
14) What word describes the study and tracing of family pedigrees?
15) Which director was famous for most of the 'Brat Pack' movies?
16) What disease is defined as a permanent intolerance to gluten that results in the damage of the mucosa of the small intestine?
17) What Hawaiian acknowledgement can be used to say both Hello and Good-bye?
18) What side did the group, Musical Youth, ask people to 'Pass the dutchie from' in 1983?
19) What is the surname of the royal family in the principality of Monaco?
20) In what year was Arnold Schwarzenegger voted Governor of California?

Answers and some comments in ROT13 (copy and paste to this link for translation):

1. WP unq ab vqrn, naq V ernyyl fubhyq unir orra noyr gb pbzr hc jvgu vg evtug njnl fvapr V npghnyyl yvxr gur fbat naq vg'f ba bar bs zl ZC3 cynlyvfgf. Ohg, vg jnf nyy bxnl... Oneore erpnyyrq gur pbeerpg nafjre nsgre n srj zvahgrf. Vg jnf Xvz Pnearf.

2. Rnfl bar... Nggragvba-Qrsvpvg Ulcrenpgvivgl Qvfbeqre.

3. Ntnva, V'z ab uryc. Obgu Oneore naq WP xarj gur nafjre gb or Unlyvr Qhss.

4. N gevcyr fghzcre sbe hf... gur nafjre vf Wraavsre Ybcrm.

5. Fhecevfvatyl, V jnf gur bayl bar gung tbg guvf bar. Vg'f gur Lhxba.

6. Gur guerr bs hf jrag jvgu Terng Juvgr Funex, juvpu jnf npprcgnoyr. Gurl jrer ybbxvat sbe gur trarevp nafjre bs funex, fb nyy inevnagf jrer qrrzrq tbbq.

7. Bayl Oneore xarj guvf bar. Onol vf gur nafjre.

8. WP tbg guvf bar evtug njnl, ohg V guvax jr nyy xarj. Vg'f gur yrsg unaq fvqr.

9. Abj, guvf bar jr nyzbfg unq pbeerpg gunaxf gb Oneore. Gur nafjre vf Cevapr naq Zr. Bhe nafjre jnf Cevapr naq V. WP naq V unq ab pyhr, fb jr jrag jvgu Oneore'f nafjre. V fhccbfr, jr fubhyq unir tbar jvgu gur tenzzngvpnyyl pbeerpg Cevapr naq Zr. [Ba n fvqr abgr, n crg crrir bs zvar vf jura crbcyr hfr V vapbeerpgyl... vg vf ABG "Tvir gur zbarl gb Wbua naq V." Vg vf "Tvir gur zbarl gb Wbua naq zr." -- V fubhyqa'g or hfrq nf na bowrpg... gurer ner n srj rkprcgvbaf bs pbhefr.]

10. Bapr ntnva, WP naq V jrer pyhryrff, naq Oneore pnzr guebhtu jvgu Jbexvat Tvey.

11. Abar bs hf unq nal vqrn. V guvax jr chg qbja Oevtugba. Gur pbeerpg nafjre vf Fybhtu.

12. Jr nyy svtherq guvf bar jnf tenl. Gbb onq sbe hf. Gur pbeerpg nafjre vf oynpx.

13. WP chg qbja gur pbeerpg nafjre bs Zbmneg vzzrqvngryl.

14. Nabgure cerggl rnfl bar... trarnybtl.

15. Bayl Oneore xarj gur nafjre, juvpu jnf Wbua Uhturf.

16. WP naq V obgu xarj Pbryvnp Qvfrnfr gb or gur nafjre.

17. Gur nafjre sbe guvf bar vf Nybun, juvpu WP nafjrerq orsber Oneore naq V rira tbg n punapr gb ernq gur dhrfgvba.

18. Oneore naq WP xarj guvf bar jnf "gur yrsg unaq fvqr."

19. Abar bs hf unq n pyhr. Gur pbeerpg nafjre vf Tevznyqv.

20. Nsgre fbzr guvaxvat nobhg vg, Oneore naq V unq n fgebat vapyvangvba. Jr chg qbja 2003, juvpu jnf pbeerpg.

As you can see, I'm really kind of a useless team member. My knowledge overlaps too much with JC and Barber. A winning strategy would be to oust me and find someone else. Ha ha.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Options Expiration Day: The River

Forgive the poker analogy, but it looks as if I got rivered with the Goldman Sachs (GS) puts I sold last month. Looks like I'm going to be the proud(?) owner of GS shares at an effective cost basis of $169.90 after today.

In case you haven't checked the news, the SEC charged Goldman with fraud today sending shares down to the $160-165 level.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Quick Update

My Apple (AAPL) bear spread will be worth zero after tomorrow's expiration... so I'm chalking up a small loss on that.

Today: Sold 4.8% of the Wet Seal (WTSLA) position at $5.05. Used the proceeds to purchase more Cameco (CCJ) at $26.86. This roughly doubles the position size in CCJ, which now has an average cost basis of $27.47.

Still holding a crap ton of the Seal, so don't take this portfolio adjustment the wrong way.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

World's Hardest Game

This is an older Flash game, but it's still damn hard. After 375 deaths, I am only on Level 15 out of 30. I'm now beat and will continue at a later time.

The World's Hardest Game

Give it a try, rub it in when you beat it.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Easter Formula

I know Easter Sunday has already come and gone this year, but there's something about Easter that I only learned recently that I wanted to throw out there.

So, I have never really understood how the Sunday for Easter is chosen, and it never did occur to me to look it up. Well, this year, I did. To my surprise, it's a bit complicated as far as holidays go. Is this something that most people just know? Or, do most just refer to a calendar for the magic date?

Anyway, here's how you figure out which Sunday of the year is going to be Easter...

Easter is determined to lie on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the vernal (spring) equinox. Note that the vernal equinox date used for the Easter formula is March 21, which means no adjustment is made based on astronomical truth (sometimes the true vernal equinox falls on March 20). It follows that there's a fairly wide range that Easter Sunday can occur (March 22 through April 25). Also, one thing to note, vernal equinox will be a bit of a misnomer for those in the Southern hemisphere, so keep that in mind before you offend the Aussies.

Seriously? If you didn't know this Easter Sunday formula before and someone told you of a religious holiday that is selected based on the above rules, wouldn't you think it was some spooky pagan event? I mean, really? Anyway, I just find it a bit humorous. Maybe you will too. Silly rules for a moving holiday.

Quick Update

I established a very small bear spread on Apple (AAPL) with April $230/$240 puts.

To be specifc:

Sold AAPL April $230 puts at 0.89.
Bought AAPL April $240 puts at 3.77.

The net cost for the position is therefore, 2.88. It's a very short-term trade, as everything expires next Friday. I'd call this a small gamble. Break-even is achieved at $237.12. I guess we'll see by end of next week how this one pans out.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Pub Quiz - 04/05/10

We didn't make it to Pub Quiz last week since we were too tired after driving to SoCal for a wedding and then driving back late on Sunday night. But, it's a new week, and we made our way over to Trials. Not unexpectedly, we sucked, but at least we were in the top third. We tied with a few others for 8th out of 25 teams. We managed to get 11 out of 20, but I have to say that two of the answers to the Monty Python questions were bullshit in that they wanted very specific answers. The winning team got a whopping 17!!! That's just sick. Seriously sick.

Well, here's what you're all waiting for... the questions:

1. In the classic ditty, what costs "one a penny, two a penny?"
2. In Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life," what is Mr. Creosole's final morsel at dinner?
3. From 1943 onwards, NFL players were required to wear what in all their games?
4. In the 90s TV drama, which "Beverly Hills 90210" lead actress left the show early after a row with the producers?
5. What artist painted "Marilyn" in 1962?
6. What was the only thing that remained in Pandora's box after it was opened?
7. What Latin term meaning "Nourishing Mother" is often used by American universities?
8. What is the name of Dr. Evil's cat in Austin Powers movies?
9. How many Olympic gold medals did Michael Phelps win making him the most successful Olympian ever?
10. In the military, what is the first bugle call at sunrise known as?
11. What 1980 Richard Gere movie used Blondie's "Call Me" as its theme song?
12. Which country has the most radio stations?
13. What is Bono's real name?
14. What is the world's number one shoe care company?
15. What word for clergymen comes from a Latin word meaning "worthy of respect?"
16. John F. Kennedy was one of how many children?
17. What is the first Van Halen album after David Lee Roth left?
18. What is the capital of Poland?
19. In Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life," being a protestant is all about wearing what?
20. Whose heart does Robin Hood pursue in the classic tale?

And, now the answers along with some brief commentary. Everything is encoded in Rot13, so please copy and paste what's below into:

1. Gur nafjre gurl jnagrq jnf fcrpvsvpnyyl ubg pebff ohaf. Nalguvat ryfr jnf abg npprcgrq. Sbeghangryl, WP xarj vg. Ab jnl V erzrzore guvf bar.

2. Gur nafjre jr chg, ntnva sebz WP'f gevivn gebir, jnf qvaare zvag. Ubjrire, gur bayl npprcgnoyr nafjre jnf n jnsre guva zvag. Ynzr. Bguref nyfb rkcerffrq gurve qvfznl jura vg jnf znqr irel pyrne gung qvaare zvag jnf gb or znexrq vapbeerpg.

3. Guvf bar V tbg... uryzrgf.

4. Guvf bar V nyfb xarj, gur nafjre vf Funaaba Qburegl.

5. Jr obgu xarj guvf bar. Gur nafjre vf Naql Jneuby.

6. Guvf bar V tbg, ohg V guvax WP nyfb xarj gur nafjre, juvpu jnf Ubcr.

7. Guvf bar WP xarj evtug njnl. V jbhyq yvxr gb guvax gung tvira zber gvzr V, gbb, pbhyq pbzr hc jvgu Nyzn Zngre.

8. Guvf dhrfgvba vf gur frpbaq Nhfgva Cbjref' dhrfgvba va 3 dhvmmrf. Zrguvaxf jr fubhyq er-jngpu gur zbivrf. Gur nafjre, juvpu arvgure bs hf xarj, jnf Zvfgre Ovttyrfjbegu.

9. Nccneragyl, gung Curycf thl jba sbhegrra tbyq zrqnyf... fvk va Nguraf naq rvtug va Orvwvat.

10. Guvf bar jr obgu xarj. Erirvyyr vf gur pbeerpg nafjre.

11. Jr jrer obgu fghzcrq, naq nyy jr pnzr hc jvgu jnf Cerggl Jbzna, juvpu jr obgu xarj pnzr bhg zhpu yngre guna 1980. Gur pbeerpg nafjre vf Nzrevpna Tvtbyb.

12. Gur nafjre nf lbh zvtug unir thrffrq vf gur Havgrq Fgngrf, juvpu jr obgu thrffrq pbeerpgyl.

13. Jr unq nofbyhgryl ab vqrn gung Obab'f erny anzr vf Cnhy Urjfba.

14. Jr xarj jung gur evtug nafjre jnf... gur fubr cbyvfu pbzcnal. Hasbeghangryl, arvgure bs hf pbhyq pbzr hc jvgu Xvjv.

15. Nsgre fgehttyvat jvgu guvf fbzr, WP pnzr hc jvgu erireraq, juvpu jnf pbeerpg. Tvira zber gvzr, V guvax V trg vg nf jryy.

16. Jr gbbx n thrff, naq jr jrer bss ol n gba. Ur jnf bar bs avar puvyqera.

17. Jr unq ab vqrn. Gur nafjre vf svsgl-bar-svsgl (jevggra nf qvtvgf). V qba'g guvax ebg13 qbrf ahzoref jryy.

18. Guvf jnf na rnfl bar. Nafjre vf Jnefnj va pnfr lbh qvqa'g xabj.

19. Guvf jnf gur bgure ohyyfuvg bar. WP pnzr hc jvgu pbaqbz, juvpu ernyyl fubhyq or pbeerpg, ohg gurl jnagrq irel fcrpvsvpnyyl "Serapu Gvpxyref." V zrna, pbzr ba.

20. Guvf bar jr obgu xarj. Gur nafjre vf Znvq Znevna.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fools' Day Office Prank

Today, I walked into my cube to find a Initech TPS Report Cover Sheet on my desk and also to find that my secondary monitor, an LCD, was replaced with an ancient Viewsonic CRT. I still have no idea where my co-worker found that relic. There must be some secret stockpile of old computer crap somewhere.

The good thing was that it was completely functional, so I could actually go about my business. Unfortunately, I couldn't work with it for that long due to refresh rate issues. Anyway, it was a well done prank.