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All you need
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All you need

  #571 (permalink)
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Language Log: Rats beat Yalies: Doing better by getting less information?

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  #572 (permalink)
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10. To trade successfully, think like a fundamentalist; trade like a technician. It is imperative that we understand the fundamentals driving a trade, but also that we understand the market's technicals. When we do, then, and only then, can we or should we, trade.

That's way too much to do. The only thing to understand is that price goes up and down. All the rest are meaningless. I do not care why price is doing what it is doing. My job, as a trader, is to CORRECTLY IDENTIFY WHAT PRICE IS DOING NOW. I leave the rest to the economists, news reporters and other talking heads.

I'll stick with the rat and just turn left.





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  #573 (permalink)
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Thank you, Jeff.

Rats beat Yalies: Doing better by getting less information?

Louis Menand's review of Philip Tetlock’s book “Expert Political Judgment" makes the point that in "more than a hundred studies that have pitted experts against statistical or actuarial formulas, ... the people either do no better than the formulas or do worse". Menand suggests that the experts' downfall "is exactly the trouble that all human beings have: we fall in love with our hunches, and we really, really hate to be wrong". Tetlock puts it like this (p. 40): "the refusal to accept the inevitability of error -- to acknowledge that some phenomena are irreducibly probabilistic -- can be harmful. Political observers ... look for patterns in random concatenations of events. They would do better by thinking less."

Tetlock suggests that humans perform worse in this experiment because we have a higher-order, more abstract intelligence than rats do: "Human performance suffers [relative to the rat] because we are, deep down, deterministic thinkers with an aversion to probabilistic strategies... We insist on looking for order in random sequences." Menand, on the other hand, thinks it's just vanity:
The students looked for patterns of left-right placement, and ended up scoring only fifty-two per cent, an F. The rat, having no reputation to begin with, was not embarrassed about being wrong two out of every five tries. But Yale students, who do have reputations, searched for a hidden order in the sequence. They couldn’t deal with forty-per-cent error, so they ended up with almost fifty-per-cent error.
But why does more information make for worse performance? We're used to seeing evolution develop optimal solutions to such basic problems as choosing where to look for food. So what's gone wrong here? If animals have accurate estimates of how much food is likely to be where -- however those estimates are learned -- then the rule of "[proportioning] their choices in accord with the relative expected rates" is the students' solution, not the rat's solution. The rule says to allocate your foraging time among the alternative locations in proportion to your estimate of the likely pay-off. That's what the students did. But the maximum-likelihood solution is to put all your chips on the option with the highest expected return -- what the rat did.



The question is how many traders reading this are TOO STUBBORN to apply this new information? I would wager more traders will cling to their "squiggly lines" than admit the rat will beat them and trade like a rat.


Last edited by TheRumpledOne; September 12th, 2009 at 05:58 PM.
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  #574 (permalink)
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Sounds like a trend to me.

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  #575 (permalink)
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well, its a good thing i went to brown on my daddy's money where we were all rich to begin with and didnt have to eat cheese to survive - those poor yale bulldogs

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  #576 (permalink)
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I don't necessarily subscribe to all of Gartman's trading rules..... I just thought the mercenary gorrilla thing was interesting.

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  #577 (permalink)
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10. To trade successfully, think like a fundamentalist; trade like a technician. It is imperative that we understand the fundamentals driving a trade, but also that we understand the market's technicals. When we do, then, and only then, can we or should we, trade.

That's way too much to do. The only thing to understand is that price goes up and down. All the rest are meaningless. I do not care why price is doing what it is doing. My job, as a trader, is to CORRECTLY IDENTIFY WHAT PRICE IS DOING NOW. I leave the rest to the economists, news reporters and other talking heads.

I'll stick with the rat and just turn left


This is like my approach to news........ I don't care WHAT the news is I just care WHEN it is.

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  #578 (permalink)
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Jeff Castille View Post
I don't necessarily subscribe to all of Gartman's trading rules..... I just thought the mercenary gorrilla thing was interesting.

It looks good on paper and sounds good when you are talking to a room full of traders.

The problem is determining which way to trade at any given moment.

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT TRADING
  • Price either goes up or down.
  • No one knows what will happen next.
  • Keep losses small and let winners run.
  • POSITION SIZE = RISK / STOP LOSS
  • The reason you entered has no bearing on the outcome of your trade.
  • You can control the size of your loss (skill) but you can't control the size of your win (luck).
  • You need to know when to pick up your chips and cash them in.
Expectancy = (Probability of Win * Average Win) - (Probability of Loss * Average Loss)



You can not control the probabilities of wining or losing.


You can not control your average win size.


The only part of the equation of the equation that you can control is your average loss size.




Now, applying the conventional wisdom of cutting your losses and letting your winners run works IF YOU ARE CONSISTENT. By only trading in one direction, you let the randomness of the market work for you rather than against you. You consistently trade in one direction.



Looking at charts in hindsight shows many opportunities to make money if you went long here and went short there. But in real time, which is the only time you can trade, it is not so easy to pick when to switch from long to short and back again.


If you only trade one way, you protect yourself against the market turning on you just as you switched trading directions. I know you have had that happen at least once.


If you only go long at tops AND bottoms and honor your stops, you know the maximum loss. The upside is you will catch a big reversal and/or breakout sooner or later and rake it in.


So far, it seems like at least one person reading this forum has "got it".

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  #579 (permalink)
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Amazing Facts

"Rats lay down urine trails (visible under blacklight). Like Hänsel and Gretel they only need solve the problem once. Planaria lay down mucus trails to the same end."



Interesting quote eh?

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  #580 (permalink)
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Jeff Castille View Post
"Rats lay down urine trails (visible under blacklight). Like Hänsel and Gretel they only need solve the problem once. Planaria lay down mucus trails to the same end."



Interesting quote eh?


Rats and Monkeys Beat Pundits and Yalies The Center for Science Writings



Mon 7 Jul 2008
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Rats and Monkeys Beat Pundits and Yalies



On our latest Bloggingheads.tv chat, George Johnson and I riff on Chris Anderson’s WIRED essay “The End of Theory.” One of the essay’s implications is that dumb, number-crunching computers can do better than theory-guided human experts. This idea reminds me of a 2005 review by Louis Menand of the book “Expert Political Judgement,” by Philip Tetlock, a Berkeley psychologist. Tetlock carried out a 20-year study of the ability of 284 experts in politics and economics to make predictions about current affairs. The experts did WORSE than random guessing, or “dart-throwing monkeys,” as Tetlock puts it. Tetlock also cites an experiment at Yale in which rats seek food in a maze. Food was placed on the left side of a fork in the maze 60 percent of the time; otherwise, the placement of the food varied randomly. After figuring out that the food was on the left side of the fork most of the time, the rats turned left every time and so were right 60 percent of the time. Yale students, discerning illusory patterns of left-right placement, guessed right only 52 percent of the time. Yes, the rats beat the Yalies, just as monkeys beat the political pundits. Followup experiments showed that these disturbing findings do not hold for science journalists who graduated from Columbia.

============================================================

Do you see the vested interest some people have in silencing those who want to expose the charade on pull down the Wizard of Oz's curtains?

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