Coming Soon: TBTF ETF

I am putting together a new ETF that consists entirely of companies that have become so large and systemically important that they are guaranteed survival regardless of their own incompetency.

It is a market cap weighted index (naturally) so that those names that represent the greatest threat to the overall economy have the highest weighting. Full universe of potential holdings are here:

Ticker symbol: TBTF

Top 10 Holdings
Bank of America
Morgan Stanley
Goldman Sachs
Wells Fargo
Fannie Mae
US Bancorp

…We expect trading to begin May 1. Full disclosures and documentation available on request…**

We will be following the domestic ETF with an international version: TBTFi (not to be confused with the BlackRock’s offering, iTBTF). It will be filled with ECB notes, Japanese banks, Sovereign debt from Greece and Cyprus, etc. For diversification purposes, it is important to own TBTF banks in various geographic regions in case of local central bank collapse or nuclear accident.

* AIG is really in there as a sentimental favorite, but they are no longer truly TBTF.

** No, not really, as this is sarcasm.

Barry Ritholtz has a background in math & sciences and a law school degree…He left Law for Finance, working as a trader, researcher and strategist before graduating to asset management…and sarcastic blogging.

He considers himself an independent voter and describes himself as a recovering Republican.

Sarcasm Can Detect Dementia, Researchers Believe

Sarcasm might be the lowest form of wit but something’s amiss if you can’t detect it, according to UNSW researchers.

Patients with a particular type of dementia often can’t pick up when someone is being sarcastic, according to a paper which has been published in the journal Brain.

The study’s result could be used to help provide an early diagnosis for the behavioural form of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) and to help manage the condition. It may be particularly useful in determining which patients will deteriorate rapidly.

I always knew my talents would have scientific applicability, someday.

The science of sarcasm (not that you care)

There was nothing very interesting in Katherine Rankin’s study of sarcasm — at least, nothing worth your important time. All she did was use an M.R.I. to find the place in the brain where the ability to detect sarcasm resides. But then, you probably already knew it was in the right parahippocampal gyrus.

What you may not have realized is that perceiving sarcasm, the smirking put-down that buries its barb by stating the opposite, requires a nifty mental trick that lies at the heart of social relations: figuring out what others are thinking. Those who lose the ability, whether through a head injury or the frontotemporal dementias afflicting the patients in Rankin’s study, just do not get it when someone says during a hurricane, “Nice weather we’re having…”

So is it possible that Jon Stewart, who wields sarcasm like a machete on “The Daily Show,” has an unusually large right parahippocampal gyrus?

“His is probably just normal,” Rankin said. “The right parahippocampal gyrus is involved in detecting sarcasm, not being sarcastic.”

But, she quickly added, “I bet Jon Stewart has a huge right frontal lobe; that’s where the sense of humor is detected on M.R.I.”

A spokesman for Stewart said he would have no comment — not that a big-shot television star like Jon Stewart would care about the size of his neuroanatomy.

Good thing my readers always click through to each and every article to read and understand the details of what I post instead of blurting out the first nutball hack remark that comes to mind.