best bet: bet against the S&P

Nate Silver has a great analysis of S&P national debt ratings. The post is worth a read. I won’t summarize it all here, but highlight two points. (1) “if you were an investor looking for guidance on which country’s debt was the safest to invest in, Standard & Poor’s ratings wouldn’t have done much to help you navigate the headwinds of the financial crisis.” And ever better, (2) “The evidence from the past five years suggests that it may be worthwhile to adopt a contrarian investing strategy that specifically bets against S.&P.’s ratings.” It’s also nice to see STATA output in the NYTimes.

trend watch!

Report on research from a CNN.com site:

What do tweens value most? If you are thinking honesty or self-acceptance think again. What they value above everything else, according to a new study from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), is fame. Other individualistic values, such as financial success and physical fitness are also high on the wish list.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychology Research on Cyberspace, found children aged 9 to 11 now hold “fame” as their No. 1 value. Fame ranked 15th [out of 16] in 1997.

Curious, I thought. Kids these days. So I clicked over to look at the study. How did they have children rate what values were most important to them? Answer: not at all. Instead, the study was a content analysis of the values important to two of the most popular programs among kids these ages in their respective years. For 2007, those shows were “American Idol” and “Hannah Montana,” compared to “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Boy Meets World.” On that basis is borne the CNN.com conclusion that tweens ten years ago could care less about fame, and now it is the most important thing in the world to them.