Showing posts from June, 2008

Fortis warns of imminent meltdown of US economy

In a alarmist post Fortis, amid a raise of capital to cover itself, warns of a US meltdown within weeks.

The original article in Dutch was removed from the website but coverage in the blog-o-sphere is everywhere. Here is an english translation.

They predict 6000 banks going under and ... GM, thereby starting the "meltdown" of the US economy. It is coming! next week!

He he, I don't know what to make of the gloom and doom. I stick by my numbers analysis... the subprime meltdown is 50-60% done. Sure we haven't seen the last part of even the worse of it but this too shall pass. Just batten down the hatches.

For me all numbers will derive from the further decline in house prices. A further 10% down would be good news. 15% would be normal, stretching the FED shock absorber. 20% would deplete it. 30% could be serious problem. As in banks are bankrupt without a hope of federal bailout. It may be the trigger for the partial socialization of the banking system. Far from su…

Eurocup 2008: OHE OHE OHE OHE!



TF14: The Devil in the Freak

TF14: The Devil in the Freak by marc fleury
Le Freak, Chic, 1978
The Devil in Us, Black Devil Disco, 2006

The Freak doesn’t need any introduction. Classic, classic disco. And like I am fond of saying if it needs an introduction, get the hell out of here.

Dancing to the Freak has got to be one of my earliest club memories. I was 16, in Spain, in the Baleric islands in 1985 and dancing like a freak monkey full of hormones on the speakers at 5AM. This was pre the 1988 Ibiza summer of love, but to me it was Space. Sorry, as I quickly approach 40 I reminisce and get nostalgic. I remember how annoying it was when 40 year old would talk about “woodstock” and how we hadn’t done shit since then.

Anyway. Freak is a stand out track and it lends itself to easy remixing due to early use of drum boxes and a easy 8A Key. Of course the original clocks slow, what didn’t in these days. But it sustains acceleration pretty well. Interestingly the Devil clocks at 126 and feels slow, but since le Frea…

TF13: I will be your friend-- Pauvre Con

Podcast here.

On a mid-night IM dare by a French Friend (Nicolas) I got out of Bed and raced to remix Gainsbourg’s classic “Requiem pour un Con”. While the song is great, I truly loathe the words. So very French and obnoxious. It literally translates to “Requiem for an asshole”. It made me cringe the whole time. I do like the drums at the end.

So iTunes at 12:30 gave me the original, keyed on 7B at a mollasses 100Bps. Argh... slow and heavy. I wasn’t hopeful for the harmonic matches.

Fate would have it that the ONE harmonic/structure match would be the seminal house track “I will be your friend” by Robert Owens.

Funny how things go! Hein Nicolas? How appropriate to have a little bit of US peace to counter French piss.

I guess it is a good balance of the force. The words and the way they match are spooky and I played a bit with the words: for example introducing synth where there was none in the original but the singing goes “the synth are for you”

This was put together in 90 minutes…

What just happened in the markets?

I got a wager with my father in law that we will see DOW 11,000 by the end of the summer. I took that bet with him at the beginning of the week when the DOW was at 11,800 as of this afternoon it is 11,300. He doubled down.

Obviously this is a wager I would like to lose.

Leading the charge on the way down are the financials and GM. The financials are understandable. In a nutshell, housing has dropped 20% generating .5T of losses on the banks most of which is being brushed under the FED TAF and repo carpets. The FED shock absorbers have the same length to go in reserve. According to historical level of income to housing price, there could be an additional 10% to go on the way down in the best case scenario, most probably there 15%, maybe 20 if we overshoot. Essentially we may be at 60 of the housing and the FED shock absorbers may absorb most of the subprime shock.

Then there is GM, I haven't looked at the details, but with the prices of oil where they are, you know all the b…

TF12: Jungle Boogey Nip & Tuck remixes

Following a suggestion by PCLeddy in comments, I have decided to remix Kool and the Gang's classic "Jungle Boogey".

The original is too fuzzy but I found a cover that sounded clean. I decomposed the song in four block (the whole song is an arrangement of those blocks). Scouting for compatibility was a bit of b*tch, even with harmonic matching however I did find 3 that matches greatly and decided to play with this.

The result are 3 mixes a/b/c in TF12

Jungle Boogey + Zookey == Jungle Zookey
This version is very close to the original. The polydrums supports plays nicely and doesn't impact the melody too much. This is a true "nip and tuck" close to the original.
Jungle Boogey + The Path == A Path through the Jungle Boogey
The Path is great Detroit classic that is notoriously difficult to mix with everything else including itself. However here blocks of Jungle fit nicely. The resulting track has 2 interesting parts. The beginning with "Feel the funk" …

TF9: Super-b*tch

Nip and Tuck remix series.

You can find it here.

TF9 is a disco marvel. I take SuperNature (Cerrone) and mix with is something called "feeling like a b*tch" and a remix from Rob Acid. The disco acid mix is working really well, specifically in the beginning where the sonar sound feels very natural on the old track. The lyrics are fun and the delivery is good. I let SuperNature dominate the first half. The second part is more hardcore acid, it really starts with the beat breakdown, it is still a bit too fuzzy in my opinion, mostly due to the cutesy stuff Cerrone used to do on keyboard in 77. It is funny to think about the fact that the two tracks are separated by 31 years. The melody keeps the tone of the old disco, that cool melody. It makes it a bit more intriguing in a very modern way. Supernature is an interesting track, still very solid all by itself. I wish I had a master. The voice is SUPERB at least the first 3/4, the synth, while dated sounds pretty good, but …

TF8: 500 degrees in Funkytown

Nip and Tuck series, Dr Technofetichiste has been quite active doing plastic surgery on old disco tracks.

Yes, you heard it right: Funkytown, that old old old classic from the late 70's. I could see exactly where to operate, the track is 30 but with a bit of touch here and there, it will feel 3 month old :)

The underlying track, 500 degrees, is a modern house track, with good synth and excellent beat support. It is discreet and harmonic. The harmonic mix works easily, not too busy which is good. The song structure of funkytown is a little strange with those breakdowns (not a big fan by the way) and I had to do 3 cuts on the modern track to match the old song structure but nothing too dramatic.

The result, 500 degrees in Funkytown, lifts up the old classic. It is a simple mix, as I mentioned not too busy. Funkytown dominates, 500 degrees' melody modulates the wording which gives it a fresh feel. Some parts work surprising well. Enjoy.

You can find it here.

PS: I got about 20…

The Anti-Bubble

Strange financial physics of the inverse bubble.

John Kay from the FT is asking in commentary if there is a term for the inverse of a "Bubble". He muses that it must be somewhere in physics. The particle physicist in me wants to say the obvious "anti-bubble" like there is matter and anti-matter.

From astrophysics, the notion of white dwarf, the remaining heavy core of exploded star, could work with one caveat. Obviously what is nice about the bubble imagery is that it conveys fragility and the certainty that it will explode. The inverse of a bubble is a price that artificially too low and will re-inflate. It needs a phenomena from physics where something is deflated with the knowledge that it will eventually re-inflate. A white dwarf, will not explode.

Oh, I know, a limp noodle?

I think I would stick to anti-bubble. The reason is that the anti-bubble IS A BUBBLE, a ponzi scheme that will run out of steam as it runs out of numbers and will explode. The bubble…

The FED shock absorbers in a picture

Via Sudden Debt this morning.

See this picture, it is a before and after picture of the FED asset structure. It summarizes the crisis pretty well.

The biggest action has been reliquify assets in the industry. They have pawned L3 assets for Treasuries (for free). A pretty good trade on the surface of things (for the banks) at the expense of the tax-payers.

The assets are illiquid and probably mis-priced and may go further down in value. If they do, this has been a socializing of losses. If on the other hand the asset go back up in value (unlikely keep in mind that banks offloaded their crap, by definition of these facilities) it would have been a good trade.

Point is the risk is transfered to the FED.

There is 57% left of treasuries, so quite a way to go still on "shock absorption" this is what is left.

Eurocup: Spain beats Italy on PK

CAMPEONES! Casillas rules!

(that and there is a bit of revenge for me personally after the WC of 2006)


Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole!

Will the fat lady sing already?

It seems that as my economic posts get a bit more technical many of you "disconnect", you all seemed to respond better to generic posts. Truth is, while I apologize for the details, they are important in understanding what the frak is going on in this current financial crisis. However today I will try to fly a bit at "10,000ft".

So, we are facing $350B of losses to the financial sector due to subprime, due to falling prices on defaulted assets with jingle mail phenomenas. House prices are STILL falling down. So the losses are going to increase. Let's say it will be $500B on subprime alone when all is said and nothing sold. The banks have already recapitalized to the tune of $250B. And it is going on with a vengeance. Dividends are being cut, capital is being raised (latest: Fifth Third, with $2B announcement this morning). The financial sector is in dire straits but I am ready to go long on it, well at least by selling puts :) My banker refused to do such…

France shelves a EU tax proposal

Well, on second thought, there are some positive consequences to the Irish NO vote on the Lisbon Treaty. The first one reported in the FT this morning is the shelving of a French proposal on uniformity of taxation across EU.


See, one of the reasons I am going to Spain instead of France is that their tax system makes a lot more sense ... for me.

From the article, and in all fairness some of it sounds good :)

During the next six months, France would try to ensure that ratings agencies were subjected to EU scrutiny, that the Basel II capital requirements for banks were supplemented with liquidity requirements and enshrined in EU legislation and that there was better co-ordination between European market supervisors.

On supervision, Ms Lagarde wanted to establish an informal college of supervisors: “We don’t believe it is realistic at all to have a single European supervisor.”

Horrible: ITA:2 FRA: 0

C'est une catastrophe.

Goldman to lay off and invest in SIV

In hot and cold signals, GS is giving the tone of the day:

1/ They are laying off massively. The street is expecting a 30% drop in earning, (60 for lehman) so they are hacking ahead of the bell

2/ They are closing on a $8B stressed SIV investment which is heralded by some (the FT) as a "turning point" in the current crisis. Wait... wasn't it the Bear salvation?

Buckle your belt Dorothy, cash is the place to be!

Bosch and Siemens to recruit at kinder-garten

In germany there is a lack of engineers. So they go to 5 year olds to give them the engineering bug. I had it. One of my twins has it: he is busy drawing the biggest TGV train on paper with just "one" engine instead of the current "two". He calls the 'Tres Grand TGV" also showing an inclination for the insipid yet funnily marketable acronym the French engineers can come up with. He is 5 and I can see he will be an engineer. The other twin says "he wants to be a banker, so I can finance my brother" and I had to explain all about the notion of "interest" to him.

See the funny thing is that in Germany and France (just like in Spain and India) being an "engineer" is a socially acceptable thing, like being a doctor or lawyer in the US. In the US an engineer is almost second class. A friend once pointed out to me that in the French word "ingenieur" there is the word "genie" or genius, and that in "engi…

Mitsubishi and PSA Peugeot will deliver ev car

2011, that is when they expect to have their first cars on the market.

The announcements today (via FT) is that they will collaborate on the drivetrain and they are looking for batteries, Li-ion to be specific.

My Tesla should be delivered Dec 2008 or maybe Feb 2012, but it will look a lot cooler than a Peugeot, I can tell you that.

Ireland votes NO to Lisbon Treaty

From the FT

The Irish No strikes a blow at these ambitions because no EU treaty can come into effect unless all 27 member states ratify it. In theory, the 862,415 Irish voters who rejected Lisbon – less than 0.2 per cent of the EU’s 497m population – have stopped Europe dead in its tracks.

0.2 per cent stops the treaty? How is this a "democracy?". I call this an incomprehensible dictatorship of the random!!!! How the hell is this supposed to work?

Originate to Repo

From the FT. An analysis that the banking system is becoming dependent on the TAF facilities (exchange your dead mice for treasuries) and how this situation has not changed in 10 years in Japan. For all the arrogance of the western banks and regulators, we are repeating exactly the same mistakes. The Japanese banking system is a junkie.

But in the meantime I am told that many western banks are becoming increasingly creative about how they repackage their assets to get central bank support. Addiction, in other words, is not disappearing of its own accord. No wonder some bankers now joke that the "originate to distribute" model has quietly morphed into "originate to repo" pattern instead. It is indeed a difficult policy trap. Do not bet on an easy or smooth exit soon.

Originate to distribute was the way the bank created so much leverage. They made a loan, sold it and got the capital back so could make a new loan etc. The distribute market is dead (CDO) because the …

Eurocup2008: NED 4 - FRA 1


Now France has got to defeat those italian clowns to
1/ qualify for the next round
2/ get our revenge for the world cup final.

Lo veo chungo

Graphics Designer, AJAX programmer needed

I need a good graphics designer.

I also need a good AJAX shop that can help us with a fairly advanced drag drop assembly application.

This is for our "on the side project" of home automation. They are not full time positions but I will pay consulting rates.

The graphics shouldn't take more than a couple of hours, the application will take a bit more and on that front we want an absolute AJAX guru, familiarity with the Google toolkit is a must, knowledge of SEAM a big plus. You can contact me directly at marcf999 AT


We are moving to Madrid!

Well, some of you already know as we have sent out about 100 invites yesterday for a bye bye party! Yep we are moving back to Europe. Truth is, after 15 years in the good old US of A, I kinda miss Europe.

I came to the US in 1993. I was doing my PhD work in a lab at MIT (the Research Lab of Electronics or RLE). I met Nathalie who was attending Wellesley college. I immediately was taken by her, it took a little while for me to convince her that I was the one. After months and months of courtship, the Beauty decided the Beast wasn't that bad after all (she thought I was a bit obnoxious at first, no way :) we dated and we got married after 2 years. We went back to France and lasted only one year. Something about France rubs me the wrong way. I think it is the rudeness. Don't laugh, I know I have been known to be rude even insulting (still am) but something about civilized behavior now pleases me.

This is where Madrid comes in. The conversation with my lady went someth…

Great! I am someone's hero!

Mark Hinkle published a piece on "Five Reasons why JBoss Founder is my Hero". You can find it here.

Heh! it felt good. I always liked a good rubbing of my back :) the top reasons were

1/ He Built a Community and then Built A Company.
True, although I have seen successful examples of the contrary, I am particularly proud of this fact.

2/ He Didn’t Do It in the Valley.
Well, by necessity, I was broke :) Truth be told I think ATL is a GREAT place to build a software business. When your talent is online you don't need to be in SV. In a way SV is passe in the age of the internet but even that obvious fact hasn't yet fully materialized.

3/ Returned Value to his Stakeholders.
No complains there.

4/ He Fostered a Legacy.
JBoss is an iconic brand and my father would be proud. I am also proud of the activity of the old JBossians

and my personal favorite

5/ Marc Fleury is was and will always be a Rockstar
More so than any other open source leader Marc Fleury has been colorful…

vinyl coming back?

From CNN:

This spring, an employee intending to order a special CD-DVD edition of R.E.M.'s latest release "Accelerate" inadvertently entered the "LP" code instead. Soon boxes of the big, vinyl discs showed up at several stores.

Some sent them back. But a handful put them on the shelves, and 20 LPs sold the first day.

Sometimes, nostalgia is BS. In the DJ world, LPs are still going strong, if you are a real DJ you use vinyl. I was having this very conversation with a DJ at the REX club on the night of Jeff Mills. Jeff of course uses CD, I don't even bother with physical I am completely digital with Ableton and what not. But it is funny how many people cling to the old ways. The old ways are even making a come-back.

They claim it is not nostalgia, it is because "vinyl sounds better". Whatever.

Negative equity is everywhere.

Say you put 10% down on a purchase of a property. You borrow the next 90%. Say the price of the property goes down 10%, let's say you sell your property, you have lost your 10%. Let's say you walk away: you have lost your 10%. You have an incentive to go "long" on the property, hoping the prices will go back up.

But when your loan is "zero down" you don't care if the prices go down. This phenomena has been described in the US press as "jingle mail" and it is now appearing all over the EU. I just came back from Spain where it is starting to be particularly acute. People buy their second residences there, sometimes as investments. So when the prices go down, your financial incentive is simply to WALK AWAY.

This of course piles on the banks with a positive feedback loop: the prices go down, a lot of people walk away, so the offer increases, so the prices go further down until, accelerating the fall.

I don't see an easy out (even with bubb…

20 years of the Parisian Rex club

It has been a while since I have blogged, but I have an excuse, I am in Europe at the moment (we are thinking about moving back to Europe, more on that another day).

A couple of weeks ago, a good friend of mine, Nicolas, wrote saying "if you need an excuse to come to Paris, here it is". The Rex Club, Garnier's residency, is a mainstay of the electronic night in Paris. They have been celebrating the 20 years of the club. The 2 week long line-up is massive, Robotnick, Dubfire, Larry Heard (Chicago) and as a grand finale, and all-nighter with Jeff Mills on Friday and another all-nighter with Garnier on Saturday night.

I am seriously thinking about it. See the advantage of coming from the US for such parties is that when it is 6AM locally and most people start to fade quickly (except a few chemically enhanced souls) it is really 12PM for you, so you look like you are fresh. If someone asks what you are on you can always respond "on jetlag". Very stylish.

So anywa…