Benton Park, Saint Louis

The pictures with today’s post, including this header were taken on Anne’s and my bicycle ride to watch the Gateway Cup races in Benton Park.  The header shows the pretty lake that is the centerpiece of the park.  I love the shadows of the line of trees that delineate the street.  The kids look like notes on a musical scale as they tool along.  The final picture is of Bevo Mill, a Southside Saint Louis landmark that we passed on our way to the races.

While we were vacationing with Jay, Carl and Ashlan, in Yellowstone this last summer, the subject of double rainbows came up.  Apparently, before we met up, Jay was driving and saw a double rainbow in the sky.   She was unaware of the double rainbow guy video that had just gone viral this same summer and now has over 14 million hits.  Ashlan had great sport with Jay about this and I must admit that I joined in too.  Well the double rainbow guy is back in the news, Paul “Bear” Vasquez in now an advertising spokesman for Microsoft.  He has appeared in two commercials for Microsoft’s new Windows Live suite.  Here are his ads for Windows Live Photo Gallery and Essentials.  So wow, a double rainbow, what does it all mean?  For one guy, it means a paycheck.

Last week NPR had an article on last May 6th one-thousand point drop in the market.  It was only a momentary drop, but it still sent shivers through the markets.  The Securities and Exchange Commission has been investigating this incident, but has not reached any conclusions about it, at least not publicly.  What intrigued me most about this article is that it introduced three new terms that I had not heard before.  These definitions are from Wiki and others:

  • Flash Crash – Also known as The Crash of 2:45, refers to the US market crash on May 6, 2010 in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged about 600 points only to recover those losses within minutes. It was the biggest one-day point decline, 998.5.
  • Quote Stuffing – The placing and then almost immediately cancelling large numbers of rapid-fire orders to buy or sell stocks.  This can be used to manipulate the prices of stocks, technically illegal, but still practiced.
  • Sub-Penny Pricing – The placing of an order to buy or sell for a price that includes a denomination of a fraction of a penny.  This practice is also used to influence the prices of stocks.  It is akin to bidding for a Picasso for $5M and 1¢, you beat the $5M bidder, but only for a little while.

The advent of all three of these terms is derived from the innovation of high frequency trading.  This technology allows brokerages, such as Goldman-Sachs, to plug their supercomputers directly into the New York Stock Exchange and conduct millions of trades per second.  This innovation more than anything else spawned the Flash Crash and can justly be describes as Algorithmic Terrorism.

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