Some Thoughtful Points on the VIX

Larry Summers via Tyler Cowen: SUMMERS: Second, the VIX — people tend to underappreciate this. The volatility of the market moves very much with the level of the market. The reason is that if a company has $100 of debt and $100 of equity, and then the stock market goes up, it’s 50/50 levered. If the stock market goes up by $100, then it has $100 of debt and $200 of equity and it’s only one-third levered. So when the stock market goes up, its volatility naturally goes down. And the stock market has gone way up over the last 10 months. That’s a factor operating to make its volatility go significantly down. It’s also the case if you look at surprises.

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Nantucket

Spent the weekend in Nantucket to celebrate my good friend Casey’s last month as a bachelor. It was my first time there, and I was hoping to get some good photos on my D7200. It turned out to be a bit foggy, so I left my camera at the house for most of the weekend. But it cleared up in patches and I got a few shots on my phone. I’d never used Lightroom Mobile, and Casey recommended I try it out. I was blown away at how easy it is to use, and how well it integrated with my Zenfolio workflow. Here are a few shots from my phone. The harbor: Tom Never Beach: Waterfront houses from the ferry

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Boston: Built on Water

I’ve always enjoyed looking at old maps of Boston that show how the coastline has changed over the past 400 years, as more and more “man made land” was created. I was just talking about this over the weekend with a few friends, and then today National Geographic put out a piece, “How Boston Made Itself Bigger,” with some great maps illustrating the changes. Here’s the simplest view, comparing 1630 to today: A few things: As a South Boston resident for 10 years, I’m getting tired of my mom telling me that when sea levels rise, I’m dangerously close to the water. Look mom, I don’t live in the filled in area! (and yes, I’ve checked the topographic maps as

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When do you go to the hospital after labor begins?

Two weeks ago Laura gave birth to our first child, Mason West Kornstein. Everyone’s doing really well, and it’s been a blast so far. As soon as Laura went into labor at 2:00 am early Thursday morning, she began tracking her contractions so that we could tell how things were progressing and decide when it was time to go to the hospital. By 8:00 am we were curious to better understand how quickly things would advance. The doctor had told us to wait until contractions were five minutes apart for an hour before coming to the hospital. That was fairly straightforward guidance, but we had no clue whether that time would come in a few hours or a few days. And we didn’t know

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Happy Passover

This year we held our 13th consecutive friends seder, now a long running tradition. We started at Chester Street in 2005, had a great run at D Street from 2007-2013, did three years at Athens Street from 2014-2016, and this year Mike and Tina held it down on Gold Street. While the format has evolved quite a bit, one thing that has remained consistent is that we never actually have it on one of the first two nights of Passover, when you’re “supposed” to seder. We originally would to wait until the 3rd or 4th nights, so that we could steal family leftovers. That led to the brisket showdown of 2006. Later we would hold it on the 7th and 8th nights,

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We’ve Reached Peak Brewery

From WBUR last week, the number of US breweries has now passed the five thousand mark: The number of American breweries topped 5,000 for the first time last year, with craft beer makers accounting for 5,234 of 5,301 U.S. breweries, according to new figures from the Brewers Association. Just five years ago, there were only about 2,000 U.S. craft brewers, which the Brewers Association defines as small or independent beer makers. Last year alone, more than 800 opened for business. The history of American breweries is interesting. I did a small research project on the market in 2012 while in grad school, and the momentum that was just starting then has continued through today. The Brewers Association has a few well-made

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The Town of Framingham: 318 Big Years from 1700-2017

After a great 318-year run, I just learned that beginning next year, my hometown will no longer be a town. Framingham will become a city. For me, the main reason this is notable is that Framingham has long held the distinct title of being the “biggest town in the country.” It’s one of those things that everyone from Framingham learns at a young age, and then proudly repeats whenever given the opportunity. When two strangers from Framingham meet in some distant non-Framingham place, it’s often the first thing they bond over and share with anyone who will listen. Here’s an example. A few years ago I went to a bar in Palo Alto with my good friend Ed. We started talking to

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What about people at home?

From Bill Maher’s monologue last week: “Paul Ryan wrote a healthcare bill that somehow covered fewer people than just repealing Obamacare and replaced it with nothing, and it still wasn’t good enough for the Freedom Caucus. It’s like if you wrote a highway bill that made all the bridges fall down, and they said, ‘Yeah, but that only kills drivers. What about people at home?’”