Stubborn Mule

How common are common words?

11 July 2013

One of my favourite podcasts is Slate’s Lexicon Valley. All about language, it is rigorous and detailed in its approach to the subject, which appeals to the closet academic in me, but also extremely entertaining. It is a sign of a good podcast to find yourself bursting out laughing while walking down a busy city […]

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Feedburner on the fritz

30 June 2013

Those of you who have subscribed to email updates from the Stubborn Mule will have noticed some strange behaviour lately, as old blog posts have appeared in your inboxes. Why this is happening remains a mystery to me. The email subscriptions are powered by Google’s Feedburner service and, with the recent announcement that Google is […]

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Can I trust MtGox with my passport?

12 June 2013

In March 2013, the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCen”) published a statement saying that companies which facilitate buying and selling of “virtual” currencies like Bitcoin constitute “money service businesses” and are subject to reporting obligations designed to prevent money laundering and other financial crimes. A couple of months later, the seizure by US authorities of Liberty Reserve has shaken money service […]

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BitTorrent Sync

8 June 2013

I have been a long-time user of Dropbox. It synchronises important files across computers, provides offsite backup and remote access to these files. But it does have its limitations. A free Dropbox accounts gets you 2 gigabytes of storage (although persuading friends to sign up can earn you an an increase in this limit). If […]

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Unfounded liability

20 May 2013

Today a tweet from “Australia’s most idiosyncratic economist” Christopher Joye caught my eye. I followed the link and found a scaremongering article trying to whip up concerns about Australia’s levels of government debt. A key part of Joye’s argument is to accuse the government of creative accounting by including Future Fund assets in the calculation […]

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Bitcoin: what is it good for?

4 May 2013

Bitcoin has been a hot topic in the news over the last few weeks. The digital currency has its adherents. The Winklevoss twins, made famous by the movie Social Network after suing Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly stealing the concept of Facebook, now purportedly own millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins. It also has its detractors. […]

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Quandl

20 April 2013

I spend a lot of time trawling the internet for data, particularly economic and financial data. Yahoo Finance and Google Finance are handy for market data and “FRED”, the St. Louis Fed is an excellent, albeit US-centric, resource for a broad range of financial aggregates. While these sites make it very easy to automate data […]

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Wall of Liquidity

22 March 2013

Once again a misconception is gaining currency. There is increased talk of a build up of cash just waiting to be converted into equities or other assets. I wrote about this years ago in cash on the sidelines, but apparently the financial commentariat did not read the post, so it is time to revisit the […]

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Cypriot sovereignty surrendered

18 March 2013

Here is a rant about events in Cyprus. Normal dispassionate service will resume here at the Mule in the next post. Over the weekend, the European crisis took a sickening new twist in Cyprus. The government of Cyprus announced a “levy” on Cypriot depositors as part of a deal to secure a bailout of its […]

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Account Keeping

5 March 2013

I have been digging through some family archives and came across an old bank passbook belonging to my great grandfather, William Booth. He lived in Perthville in the central west of NSW. His account was with the Bank of New South Wales, Bathurst branch. Pasted inside the front cover is a statement of the account […]

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