There are mirror websites at http://hiqnews.megafoundation.org,
June 12, 2015: We're
going out of town for our annual week of vacation where there's
no internet access so I won't be able to update this page until
June 19th. (Yes, there's still at least one spot in the United
States which is out of reach of the internet.) But when I get back
and can find time to write it up, there's interesting news.
March 5, 2014:
I wrote below on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, is still relevant.
The difference in the risk of death and morbid disease between
someone who's unable to find time to exercise, and who eats a
traditional Western diet (pizza, lasagna, mashed potatoes and
gravy, ham, wheat bread, English peas, margarine, Cokes, etc.) and
someone who engages in daily, vigorous aerobic and non-aerobic
exercise and who eats a Mediterranean or similar diet is awesome!
The question then becomes: what do these super-health habits do
for longevity? It's hard to imagine them adding 20 years to the
lifespan of someone who, without exercising or eating a
super-healthy diet would live to 95. That would make them last to
115, and there are precious few 115-year-olds.
Another way to estimate the gain afforded by
uncommonly healthy health practices is to use the life expectancy
for the average 75-year-old. For a man born in 1920 who will be 95
next year, the average life expectancy is 2.84
years. The average life expectancy of a man born in 1940
who will be 75 next year is 10.18 years. This would give our
hyper-healthy 95-year-old male an average life expectancy of 105
compared to about 98 if he hadn't taken such good care of himself.
(Note that our super-healthy nonagenarian may enjoy many more
years of excellent health and vitality than the typical
Which is the better metric: adding 20 years to
his life expectancy or adding 10 years to his life expectancy? I
don't know. This may be a question that will have to be answered
the hard way by waiting to see how long super-healthy people will
It might be worth mentioning that the
20-year-or-so disparity between the "health nuts" and
the average couch potato doesn't seem to diminish with advancing
Thomas Perls has noted that beyond the age of 90, genes seem
to play an increasingly important role in determining the
longevity of the "oldest old". Still, Jeanne
died at 86, her father at 93, and her older brother at 97. I
suspect that her consumption of red wine (at a time when red wine
would have had significant levels of resveratrol), of two pounds
of chocolate a week, and of stone-pressed olive oil might
have played a role in her extraordinary longevity (122 years).
About 70% of all super-centenarians die of transthyretin-related
amyloidosis caused by misfolding of the transfer-thyroxin-retinol
protein in the circulatory system. A drug, tafamidis, has been
approved in Europe to treat transthyretin-related amyloidosis, but
it's not yet accepted in the United States. There's hope that this
disease may be conquered.
January 22, 2014:
Pearson, with Consumer Health Labs, has graciously provided four
heart health articles that may be of interest to readers
Health Procedures Covered by Medicare Part B
Myths About Heart Disease
Failure Resource Library
an Experienced Cardiologist
January 12, 2014:
on a lengthy evaluation of the feasibility of delaying aging 15,
20, or 25 years. Here's an Oxford University summary I encountered
that concludes that a low-risk lifestyle reduces mortality risk by
a factor of about 10 compared to a high-risk lifestyle. Assuming
that the risk of dying (mortality risk) doubles every 7 years,
this factor of 10 translates into a mortality risk corresponding
to a little more than 21 years. (This includes a ~10-fold reduction
in cancer risk!)
December 12, 2013:
I've run out of time again tonight, but you might enjoy reading Nuts
It might also be mentioned that in talking
about delaying aging for 15, 20, or 25 years, we're discussing
delaying cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's
disease, Type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis... consummations
devoutly to be wished. And this is where anti-aging technology
stands on December13, 2013, with the outlook improving
December 11, 2013:
It looks as though health-and-fitness devotees who engage in
aerobic exercise for 30-or-more minutes a day, along with
resistance training, nutrition-oriented diets, stress reduction
(viz.: meditation), and appropriate supplements (e. g., omega-3
oils, vitamin D, coenzyme Q-10, etc.) have aging biomarkers that
are 20-or-more years younger than those of the average, sedentary,
somewhat-overweight individual who eats a conventional Western
Since life spans become more and more dependent
upon longevity genes the older someone gets, it remains to be seen
whether these 20-or-more-year, healthy-living aging biomarker
offsets are reflected in actual life span increases.
November 17, 2013:
Getting Rich Slowly.
November 6, 2013:
October 28, 2013:
American Income Gap.
October 23, 2013:
More about federal
October 17, 2013:
Hyperventilating about characterizations of the U.
S. Federal debt. Here's a link
to a previous discussion of this topic.
October 15, 2013:
with U. S. Federal programs (updated).
October 4, 2013:
couple of articles about the government shutdown.
October 3, 2013:
live in interesting times.
October 1, 2013:
may be light at the end of the tunnel.
September 30, 2013:
September 28, 2013:
More of the same.
September 26, 2013:
Another day at the hospital. My wife is doing well, but isn't
enjoying it much.
24, 2013: "Tomorrow", now
"today", has been what you'd expect: a day spent at the
hospital. Although the operation went as well as operations can,
my wife may feel worse before she feels better as the spinal block
wears off and soreness sets in. We'll see what the morrow
23, 2013: I'm still not done with my latest
update (an answer to David Moenning's question, "Are we
entering a new secular bull market?) The answer is, I believe,
that we're more apt to enter a secular bear market than we are a
secular bull market. The price-to-earnings ratio on the S&P
500 is at a level typical of market tops. But there's more to it
than that, and that's what my lengthy write-up will be about.
I mentioned last Tuesday that my wife was
having knee surgery that day. But she took a generous bite of ham
before she remembered that she wasn't supposed to eat anything
before surgery. Later, after she was on the operating-room gurney,
she told the staff what she's done. They immediately released for
another day, and that day will be tomorrow. So I don't know what
my schedule will be tomorrow and the rest of the week.
The model portfolio fell further on Monday along with the rest of the markets,
(It's up 2.47% tonight.)
19, 2013: My apologies for last night's
missing updates. My web-hosting service decided to take a break at
midnight last night. In addition to that, I wasn't happy with what
I had prepared to post. I was having a brainstorm, and it took
until tonight to finish up the material.
17, 2013: I've
added a model portfolio and some fantasies about secular bull
markets and about where the markets might possibly go from here
(or maybe not (:-)) under Today's
Investment Commentary (see below).
Monday, September 16, 2013: Beginning
tonight, I'm going to make a sea change in this website.
Over the past few years, my attention has, in
self-defense, turned toward anti-aging strategies. As a
consequence, my investing activities have been put on autopilot.
I've harvested and posted daily investment news headlines in lieu
of investment ideas, strategies, and results. This news-gathering
function has taken so much time each day that there hasn't been
time left for more creative activities. Like what? Well, several
times over the past few years, I've set up model stock portfolios
that have done phenomenally well. Unfortunately, I've never had
the courage of my convictions to actually invest money in them,
but if I had, I
(and you) could have profited handsomely.
In the arena of anti-aging strategies, there's
also interesting news.
This website desperately needs updating and
repairs. I also hope to have time for this.
Sunday, September 15, 2013: The
trailing P/E ratio on the S&P 500 is still only 18:1, so the
S&P 500 is no more overpriced now than it was last April.
Sunday, April 7, 2013: As
an update to what I wrote last November, the trailing P/E ratio on
the S&P 500 is around 18. (It's long-term average has been
Its normal upper limit is 20-to-25, so it's fully priced but not
yet overpriced. It would have to drop to 10 or below to constitute
a secular (super-) bear market bottom. Here's a chart
that gives a decent picture of the S&P 500's history from four
years after its inception in 1871 until the chart's 2005 closing
I'm working on an update to this topic of
secular bull markets and secular bear markets, but I'm not quite
through with it yet.
In my opinion, the equity markets are not
"asset bubbles" at this time.
November 27, 2012: Here's
a first and second
installment in a discussion of some investment options.
November 25, 2012: On
the basis of new information, I'm going to have to change some of
the material I posted on Friday (below). I'm going to change the
peak P/E (Price-to-Earnings) ratio in 1999 from 38:1 to 34:1.
Further, the S&P 500 index has only now deflated to the top
of its normal range. If the past can be used to guide the
present, we could be typically looking at another 16 years--2028--before
the S&P 500 falls to a secular bear market bottom, and then
begins to re-inflate!
During this entire period,
"buy-and-hold" is a money-losing strategy.
There's one domestic mutual fund that has
returned more than 15% a year over the past 10 years: the Fidelity
Leveraged Company Stock Fund. This was a favorite of mine in
2007, and I had some money invested in it, but it was hit so hard
by the 2008 downturn that I cashed out of it. It's a wild ride
(it's a Morningstar three-star fund), but it's done better than
most domestic funds. However...(1) most of its gains were
made during its early years when the markets were rebounding
from the 2002-2003 bear market, and (2) U. S. market indices are
now near the seasonably favorable tops of their ranges, poised to
decline sometime in the next six months. A better measure of their
prowess are their five-year track records, which are measured from
their 2007 bull market peaks.
On the other hand, our previous four-year
market cycles have been predicated upon the Fed's manipulation of
credit markets in order to fight either inflation or unemployment,
and this time, the Fed's hands are tied, so maybe we won't have
typical post-election market declines.
Fortunately, there are alternative strategies
that ought to work... emerging market mutual funds, commodity
funds, real estate funds, the AAII stock screen portfolios, and
the TopStock market timing service, to name a few. These have
their pros and cons.
November 23, 2012: I'm
getting ready to revamp this website in ways that I hope will
offer more personal benefit than what I've been posting in the
past. Like what? Well, over the past year-and-a-half, I've been
investigating exotic, "bleeding-edge" anti-aging
therapies. Some examples are Life Code's "Stem Cell
100", TA Sciences' TA (Telomerase Activator)-65, buckyballs
in olive oil, the Life Extension Foundation's "Calorie
Restriction Mimetic", modest calorie restriction, PQQ (PyroloQuinoline
Quinone) and other esoterica. Are they working? That's hard to
tell, but maybe so.
A related topic is health maintenance.
Another is investment and the economy. Right
now, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite are lower than they
were 13 years ago in 1999. But in 1999, the S&P 500 hit a P/E
ratio of 38:1... quite a bit higher than it had ever been
throughout its previous history. Similarly, the Nasdaq topped out
at 5,500 compared to its current readings of around 3000. Over the
past 13 years, the markets have been working off this
once-in-two-centuries excess. The P/E ratio for the S&P 500 is
currently around 16:1... reasonable but not cheap. In the
meantime, we're ostensibly in a secular bear market that's due to
end in the 2016-2018 time frame at P/E ratios substantially lower
than they are now.
I'm working on writing this up, but it may take a
In a lighter note, with Christmas vacation only
four weeks away, here's a site that offers vacation packages for
Disneyworld: Flying Elephant Vacations.
The American Association of Individual
Investors (AAII) has stock screens (portfolios) that promise
extraordinary long-term returns. I had thought about recommending
this as a viable investment strategy, but the markets have been so
chaotic that I haven't followed up on this. Here's a discussion
of some to the AAII stock screen performance claims.
Wednesday, I wrote this discussion
of two current views of intelligence.
probed others' experiences with the dual n-back program, as
well as running it for myself.
Switching now to more frivolous topics, this
business of "brain boosting" seems to me to have
repercussions well beyond "Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who's
the smartest one of all?" This would seem to me to be of
importance to everyone who plans to grow old... to age-related
cognitive decline, and to the avoidance of Alzheimer's Disease,
not only for ourselves but also for those we love.
This could be game-changing.
(1) My own
personal story (Updated) .
Flynn Effect and Age-Related Cognitive Decline
Boosting: Quo Vadis, Dominie?
Results of My "Brain-Boosting" Experiment (Sunday
(5) the first example of one of these lists is
a set of 153 cancer prevention news articles dealing with the
relationship between food, herbs, etc., and cancer. It may be
(6) A general listing and discussion of some
putatively beneficial nutritional foods, spices, and supplements
is given here. Entire
books have been written regarding each of the items set forth in
this list. I plan to expand upon this material, but this gives a
skeletal outline of foods, and food-derived extracts that I try to
consume. (What's needed most is a presentation of what these
"nutriceuticals" have done for some of us and might do
There should be a lot happening on this website
over the next few days and weeks, given time to report on these
2013-10-7: (Monday Night):
to Daily Investments Interpretations (Individual Dates)
July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011
January 1, 2011 to July 30, 2011
July 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010
January 1, 2010 to July 30, 2010
July 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009
January 1, 2009 to June 30, 2009
1, 2008, to December 31, 2008
7, 2008, to June 30, 2008
The stunning implications of the fact that we're, perhaps, in a
super-bear market are only now penetrating my skull.
A Buy-and-Hold Strategy Applied from
the Start to the Finish of a Super-Bear Market (e. g. 2000 to
2018, Assuming That This Concept Is Valid) Would Typically Lead to
60% to 65% Losses Over the 17-18-Year Period After Correcting for
Inflation and Adding in Dividends!
Over the course of a (typical?) 17-to-18-year
super- bear market, the value of an S&P 500 index fund, after
correcting for inflation and adding in dividends, typically
drops to 1/3rd of its value from the
beginning to the end of the 16-year secular (super-) bear
market period. In talking about a "typical" super-cycle,
I need to mention that these super-cycles are inferred from the
chart pattern of the S&P 500 from 1871 to the present. Over
that time span, there have been 3 super-cycles and, it would
appear, part of a fourth, from 2000 to the present time... if, in
fact, these super-cycles are real enough to have predictive value.
But no two of these super-cycles have been just alike.
("History doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes."?) You
might take a look at the above-linked chart
displaying the S&P 500 from 1871 to 1997 and see what you
Where We Stand Right Now, and Where We
Might Go from Here:
So far, money invested in an
S&P500 index fund in March, 2000, has fallen
by now, after correcting for inflation and adding in dividends, to about ½ of what it was worth in March, 2000.
However, because the S&P 500 was overpriced by... 65%?... in
March, 2000 (by far the most overpriced it's ever been), then if
we are in a super-bear market, this money in 2018 should be worth
about 40% what it is now. In other words, money
invested in a buy-and-hold S&P 500 index fund in March, 2000,
should be worth, in 2018, only about 1/5th what it was when it was
invested in 2000!
A Buy-and-Hold Strategy During a
Super-Bull Market Yields Dramatic Gains
(b) All of the long-term gains registered
by buy-and-hold investors occur within super-bull markets, and
they're sufficient to overpower the fall of the price of equities,
in real value, to 1/3rd of their previous highs, plus the average
6.8% a year that Dr. Jeremy Siegel has found for the long term
average rate of return of the U. S. stock market from 1802 through
2004. This points to a staggering
conclusion: our best stock market strategy would be to sell our
stocks at the beginning of a super-bear market, and to avoid stock
investments for the next 16-to-18 years until the beginning of the
next super-bull market. So how many individuals and
companies that make money by selling investment services do you
think are willing to tell their customers to avoid the stock
market for 16-to-18 years at a stretch? Yeah, that's the same
number I came up with, too.
But... We're in Uncharted Territory
Because we're in uncharted territory,
experiencing the first deflation since the Great Depression, the
markets could go lower than usual, although we might expect them
to return to their hypothetical trend lines by 2018 (no
guarantees, of course).
These Speculative Predictions and
Interpretations Apply Only the the U. S. Stock Market
These predictions, if they unfold as
they have in the past, apply only to the U. S. stock market. I
have no data concerning non-U. S. markets (although non-U. S.
markets have a habit of moving more-or-less in lock-step with the
U. S. stock market). I'm particularly hopeful that the Chinese and
Indian stock markets may decouple from the U. S. market over
the coming years.
Over the weekend, I've re-examined the subject of super-bull
markets and super-bear markets, and I don't like what I've
found. Of course, there's nothing that says things have to work
out this way, but the numbers are suggesting a super-bear market
bottom in 2018 that would be 55% to 65% below where the popular
indices stand today even if our current malaise turns out to be a
standard, garden-variety recession, with a cyclical bull market
starting up again in 2009 or 2010.
A buy-and-hold strategy in most mutual funds in
such a scenario would be a disaster, although there may be a few
funds that can outperform the market sufficiently that you'd come
out well ahead even if the blue-chip index funds lose 2/3rds of
their purchasing power. The above-linked write-up will explain.
11/2/2008 Important (Second) Update: This "recession" is
categorically different in cause
and consequences than any of the normal recessions we've
experienced over the past 60 years.
Unlike all the other recessions since World War II, this recession
(Depression?) is deflationary, driven by a credit crisis, rather
than a result of the Federal Reserve Board's overshooting its mark
in its efforts to slow the economy in order to rein in inflation.
This may be "The Perfect Storm".
As many of us are probably aware, there are now techniques that
seem to subtract 15 or more years off our biological ages. It will
be decades before such results can be verified through
large-scale, long-term studies, but some of us are availing
ourselves of these "bleeding edge" stratagems, with
dramatic improvements in such ponderable parameters as blood lipid
profiles, fasting glucose and insulin sensitivity levels, and
related health measures. Along with living
longer (and, in fact, these disease reductions are prerequisites
to living better longer) are techniques for putatively
reducing the risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's
disease, Parkinson's disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Again, there
are no guarantees. It will take decades of large-scale, long-term,
placebo-controlled studies to validate the various pilot studies
that have been conducted to date... studies that are concerned
with special nutritional and supplement interventions that don't
involve patentable drugs. Still there's compelling evidence that
some of these maneuvers really do work. For example, As an
example, four years ago, I was going to my dermatologist every
three months to have actinic keratoses--sunlight-induced,
pre-cancerous lesions--frozen off the top of my head. After I began
drinking green tea four years ago, these lesions disappeared and
have never returned--in keeping with numerous studies showing that
green tea fights skin cancer. Other members of the Calorie
Restriction Society have had a similar experience. This is
certainly anecdotal, but nevertheless, this is what's
Another example of startling discoveries that,
to my knowledge, haven't made it into widespread public view is
Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. Norman Hollenberg's
discovery that the Kuna Indians, who live on a relatively isolated
group of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama, have 1/10th
(that's 10%!) of the age-adjusted rates of heart attacks,
strokes, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer than do their
North American counterparts. (See this
for diabetes.) The key to this seems to lie in their drinking 3 to
5 cups a day of "raw"
hot chocolate. (The crucial ingredient seems to be epicatechin.).
These dramatic reductions in degenerative diseases aren't
attributable to genetic inbreeding, because Kuna Indians who move
to the mainland and adopt mainland diets suffer the same ills that
plague the rest of us. (You can buy this unprocessed cocoa at
outlets like iHerb.)
Because this is more potent than resveratrol,
I'm wondering what effect this has upon aging and life
In the meantime, here's an article
about aging interventions that I wrote in 2006 but never
Goof Up: Last fall, on the 21st of
September, I declaimed that "My personal guess is that the
stock market is going to recover from its deep, steep dip and
climb higher (with some ups and downs) for the remainder of the
year. I'm also speculating", quoth I, "that we won't go
into a recession before 2009, after the 2008 presidential
Boy, was I wrong! Actually, the stock market
continued to rise to new heights, peaking on October 11th. But
then it did the unthinkable: it plummeted to new lows--like two
tornadoes howling down the same path.
Having lost all of my own August-to-October
ill-gotten gains and a bit more besides, I'm going to try prognosticating
again, along with some ideas about investments. (This will be
changing rapidly over the next few days, so you may want to check
Here is an article
I published in the March issue of "Gift of Fire"
reviewing recent articles and books that discuss psychopaths.