META Serves up the Biggest Wipeout in Market History


Meta Platforms Inc.’s one-day crash now ranks as the worst in stock-market history.

The Facebook parent plunged 26% Thursday on the back of woeful earnings results, and erased about $251.3 billion in market value. That’s the biggest wipeout in market value for any U.S. company ever.

And while the stock could certainly bounce back in coming days, especially given the volatility that’s gripped the technology sector this year, the mood on Wall Street has turned decidedly bleak on the long-time market darling. Analysts are pointing to the stiff competition that Meta now faces from rivals and to the fact that revenue was below expectations as causes for concern. Michael Nathanson, an analyst at brokerage Moffett Nathanson, titled his note “Facebook: The Beginning of the End?”

“These cuts run deep,” he wrote. The results were “a headline grabber and not in a good way.”

Investment advice is about the least-qualified topic I might offer advice on. I enjoy managing my own retirement account. And television, streaming or otherwise, is pretty much barren and uninteresting. My daily sum-total of time on the major networks news shows probably adds up to less than a half-hour. And I’m a news junkie…always have been. Recreational news watching limits me to Bloomberg TV. Not always interesting; but, depending on guests, most of it ain’t bullshit or mystical crap. What comes from Bloomberg staff is pretty much always interesting and professional. As witnessed by the waiting line of networks ready to steal their staff.

Oh…and Facebook. They could disappear overnight and I wouldn’t notice the “loss”.

Mysteries of the CoyWolf

Click to enlarge

Coywolves are canid hybrids of wolves and coyotes. They have recently become common in eastern North America, where they have been considered eastern coyotes, eastern wolves, or red wolves. Apparently their habitat now includes northern NM.

Many eastern coyotes (Canis latrans “var.”) are coywolves, which despite having a majority of coyote (Canis latrans) ancestry, also descend from either the gray wolf (Canis lupus) or the red wolf (Canis lupus rufus, formerly Canis rufus). They come from a constantly evolving gene pool, and are viewed by some scientists as an emerging coywolf species. The genetic composition and classification of the eastern coyote is debated among scientists.

A study showed that of 100 coyotes collected in Maine, 22 had half or more gray wolf ancestry, and one was 89 percent gray wolf. A theory has been proposed that the large eastern “coyotes” in Canada are actually hybrids of the smaller western coyotes and gray wolves that mated decades ago as the coyotes moved toward New England from their earlier western ranges.

Coywolves have the wolf characteristics of pack hunting and the coyote characteristic of lack of fear of human-developed areas. They seem to be bolder and more intelligent than regular coyotes.

…Unfortunately for this beautiful animal very few people truly understand them. Spending time with them and watching their true behavior shows us they are an extremely social and intelligent wild canine species. The world is far better with Coy-Wolves.

I have a special spot in my heart for CoyWolves. I knew them as Adirondack coyotes – and folks automatically presumed they were a cross between coyotes and wolves.

I did a fair piece of design and testing early in the creation of mountain bikes. Mostly in the Catskill Mountains and the Adirondack range. Had a couple of favorite trails I rode well beyond the boundaries of good sense and safety. Testing designs for future production being the excuse. In hindsight, not too bright.

But, on one of those favorite trails in the Catskills – on a downhill stretch where I flew about 30+mph for quite a distance – one autumn afternoon I had a big auburn CoyWolf join me side-by-side full bore down the mountain trail for a quarter-mile or so – felt like leagues of speed. We glanced at each other from time to time, maintaining a gap of 3 or 4 feet between us.

Then as the trail started to level off and my speed dropped she gave a final look at this crazy two-legger on two wheels and made a sharp right angle turn away into the trees.

I can still feel the rush of sharing that trail that way, that day.

Neuroscience reveals brain differences between Republicans and Democrats

With the U.S. presidential election just days away, new research from the University of South Carolina provides fresh evidence that choosing a candidate may depend more on our biological make-up than a careful analysis of issues.

That’s because the brains of self-identified Democrats and Republicans are hard-wired differently and may be naturally inclined to hold varying, if not opposing, perceptions and values. The USC study, which analyzed MRI scans of 24 USC students, builds on existing research in the emerging field of political neuroscience…

The study focused on the mirror neuron system, a network of brain areas linked to a host of social and emotional abilities. After declaring their political affiliation, The subjects were given questionnaires designed to gauge their attitudes on a range of select political issues. Next, they were given “resting state” MRIs which made it possible to analyze the strength of connections within the mirror neuron system in both the left and right hemispheres of their brains…

The results found more neural activity in areas believed to be linked with broad social connectedness in Democrats (friends, the world at-large) and more activity in areas linked with tight social connectedness in the Republicans (family, country). In some ways the study confirms a stereotype about members of the two parties — Democrats tend to be more global and Republicans more America-centric — but it actually runs counter to other recent research indicating Democrats enjoyed a virtual lock on caring for others…

The research also suggests that maintaining an open mind about political issues may be easier said than done. In fact, bridging partisan divides and acting contrary to ideological preferences likely requires going against deeply ingrained biological tendencies. And while there is evidence that mirror neuron connections can change over time, it’s not something that happens overnight…

Here we go, again.

I’ve maintained for a long time – as have many sociologists – that you can keep on learning well beyond the typical 26-year-old threshold. Which means to me you can reevaluate, make decisions afresh from acquired knowledge.

I understand where the good doctor is going with the hard-wired portion of the dialectic. I just think the redirective capabilities of the human mind make it possible for someone to move beyond social reflexes.

But, then, I look at George W. Bush getting re-elected in 2004 and wonder, “what the hell do I know?”

Versatile Blogger Award

I have been nominated by Mary Lupin (Tailfeather) and Craig Hill (Craig Hill) for the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks to both of you for this recognition.

Mary offered this nomination several weeks ago – and being the hermit I am I tried to ignore her good will and thoughtfulness – she is a talented and perceptive writer. I guess that doesn’t insulate me from the natural social feelings among bloggers — because, now, here’s Craig doing the same. 🙂

I relent.

The rules of the Versatile Blogger Award are:

Add the Versatile Award photo on a blog post. Thank the award-giver and link back to them in your post.

Share 7 things about myself.

I am a cranky old geek who’s been online since 1983
I am a cranky old radical/progressive/atheist
I live in a community just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico
I am of Scots and Italian descent
I learned to cook from the Italian half of the family
I learned to stand up against hypocrisy from the Scots half of the family
I believe firmly in love, music, nature, science

Pass the award along to 15 favourite bloggers. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

blog that should not be
Crossing Wall Street
Four Blue Hills
Misanthropic Scott
Motley News
Om Malik
Sex, Spirit, Soul Mates and Chocolate….Ivonne’s Journey
The Stephen W Terrill [Music] Web Log
Tracie Louise Photography
Travel Photography by Dimitrii Lezine
Vikram Roy’s Blog

This list is in alphabetical order and no doubt I have missed some I enjoy and respect.

Kids of lesbians have fewer behavioral problems

A nearly 25-year study concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers.

The study, published…in the journal Pediatrics, followed 78 lesbian couples who conceived through sperm donations and assessed their children’s well-being through a series of questionnaires and interviews…

The answers were coded into a computer and then analyzed. This data was compared with data from children of nonlesbian families. The results surprised Dr. Nanette Gartrell.

“I would have anticipated the kids would be doing as well as the normative sample,” she said. “I didn’t expect better.”

Children from lesbian families rated higher in social, academic and total competence. They also showed lower rates in social, rule-breaking, aggressive problem behavior.

The involvement of mothers may be a contributing factor, in addition to the fact that the pregnancies were planned, Gartrell said.

The children “didn’t arrive by accident,” she said. “The mothers were older… they were waiting for an opportunity to have children and age brings maturity and better parenting.”

This also could have occurred because “growing up in households with less power assertion and more parental involvement has been shown to be associated with healthier psychological adjustment,” Gartrell wrote in the study…

“This study shows that the 17-year-old adolescents who have been reared by lesbian families are psychologically happy and high functioning,” said Gartrell, a Williams distinguished scholar at the UCLA School of Law. Restrictions of child custody and reproductive technologies based on sexual orientation are not justified, she said.

CNN’s article covers its buns by dragging in bible-based moralists and a few others who have an axe to grind whenever science and reason provide positive information and analysis. That – to me – is part of the silliness that rules American politics.

One of the main antagonists says the results of this study…”just defies common sense and reality.”

The fact is that so-called common sense has nothing to do with verifiable, reproducible, scientific peer-reviewed evaluation. “Common sense” to the superstitious – means superstition rules — and science and reality is ignored. Ideological hogwash.

Now that spadework has turned up surprising results – bona fide scientists will lead the way to discovering why and how the differences exist.

Shifting blame is a social disease

Nathanael J. Fast, an assistant professor of management and organization at the USC Marshall School of Business and Larissa Tiedens, a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford, conducted four different experiments and found that publicly blaming others dramatically increases the likelihood that the practice will become viral. The reason: blame spreads quickly because it triggers the perception that one’s self-image is under assault and must be protected.

The study called “Blame Contagion: The Automatic Transmission of Self-Serving Attributions” is believed to be the first to examine whether shifting blame to others is socially contagious. The results will be published in the November issue of Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

“When we see others protecting their egos, we become defensive too,” says Fast, the study’s lead author. “We then try to protect our own self-image by blaming others for our mistakes, which may feel good in the moment.” He adds that in the long run, such behavior could hurt one’s reputation and be destructive to an organization and further to our society as a whole.

Tiedens said the study didn’t specifically look at the impact of hard economic times, but it undoubtedly makes the problem worse.

“Blaming becomes common when people are worried about their safety in an organization,” she said. “There is likely to be more blaming going on when people feel their jobs are threatened.”

Fast says that when public blaming becomes common practice — especially by leaders — its effects on an organization can be insidious and withering: Individuals who are fearful of being blamed for something become less willing to take risks, are less innovative or creative, and are less likely to learn from their mistakes.

Blame creates a culture of fear,” Fast said, “and this leads to a host of negative consequences for individuals and for groups.”

Har! I’ve worked for a few companies that sound just like this study.

I imagine it’s a global phenomenon. More representative of our species than individual cultures.

Social networking for the delusional – reinforcing their fears

For years they lived in solitary terror of the light beams that caused searing headaches, the technology that took control of their minds and bodies. They feared the stalkers, people whose voices shouted from the walls or screamed in their heads, “We found you” and “We want you dead.”

When people who believe such things reported them to the police, doctors or family, they said they were often told they were crazy. Sometimes they were medicated or locked in hospital wards, or fired from jobs and isolated from the outside world. But when they found one another on the Internet, everything changed. So many others were having the same experiences.

Type “mind control” or “gang stalking” into Google, and Web sites appear that describe cases of persecution, both psychological and physical, related with the same minute details — red and white cars following victims, vandalism of their homes, snickering by those around them.

Identified by some psychologists and psychiatrists as part of an “extreme community” on the Internet that appears to encourage delusional thinking, a growing number of such Web sites are filled with stories from people who say they are victims of mind control and stalking by gangs of government agents.

Although many Internet groups that offer peer support are considered helpful to the mentally ill, some experts say Web sites that amplify reports of mind control and group stalking represent a dark side of social networking. They may reinforce the troubled thinking of the mentally ill and impede treatment.

Of course. True Believers – scattered, diverse, unconnected – can now gather into into a group reinforcing their shared delusions.

Individual medical care, discussion and mediation, now has yet another counter-current to reality blocking the way. More ways to choose dementia.