Google’s Panda Algorithm Explained

Google’s “Panda” algorithm is the weapon the company has deployed to beat back the “content farms” and prevent them from filling Google’s search-result pages with raw sewage. This is critical not only to Google’s survival, but to anybody who has a business website.

The video below by SEO superstar Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz is the best explanation of Panda that I have seen.


Obama: Ceasar or Savior?

President Obama has launched a war to bring “democracy” to Libya, but what’s so special about Libya? Why do they get the democracy? What about us?

The great thing about an effort to bring democracy to the USA is that we already have the paperwork done. We already have a constitution that was written and adopted by elected representatives of the people.

President Obama wouldn’t have to bomb anybody. As a matter of fact, he could restore our democracy all by himself simply by adhering to the Constitution.

Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich is trying to get him to do just that. From HuffPo:

“My amendment will provide the first test whether this Congress will defend its own authority under Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution,” Kucinich said in a statement. “Congress must use its constitutional authority of the power of the purse to end this war.”

Of course, Congress might very well give the President approval for the war. But that isn’t the point. The point is to have a vote; cuz the constitution sez so.

When Saint Obama was beatified in 2008, his supporters were so ecstatic that some of them actually gave him a Nobel Peace Prize before he was even inaugurated. Here is one of the things the Nobel committee mentioned in their award:

“Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts.”

Silly Norwegians. They really ought to take their prize back, unless of course “laureate” is Latin for “shoot you in the face with a cruise missile.”

No, Saint Obama has not delivered on expectations at all. He is, in fact, making a point of continuing the modern presidential tradition of scoffing at the constitutional checks-and-balances as they apply to making war.

My father was a democrat, but he never liked Dennis Kucinich when he was mayor of Cleveland. I don’t recall what his exact beef was, but I remember him saying that Kucinich “was a trouble-maker”. I suspect Obama is of the same opinion.

On June 19th, the 90-day period of the War Powers Act will expire on Obama’s Libya campaign. But nothing will happen. Obama will just ignore Congress.

Democracy and Empire do not go together.

In a military empire, Caesar does not consult the plebs when he deploys his legions.

Caesar Obama is no different.

Hail Caesar!

Obama-Saudi Oil Deal?

A few months ago, we saw the Saudis become irate with President Obama after he fomented rebellion in Saudi Arabia/Bahrain. The Saudis cut back on oil production, pushed up the price of gasoline, and pushed down Obama’s approval rating.

But last week, the Saudis defied the rest of OPEC and vowed to increase production. So, there must be some kind of deal, right? But what is it? Here’s my theory:

The Saudis are backing the Sunni faction in Syria to overthrow the Iranian-backed Shiite regime. Syrian dictator Bashar Assad had the rebellion mopped up until the Muslim Brotherhood joined the fight last week. The MB had previously declined to participate in the Arab Spring, so why where they suddenly in the trenches?

DEBKAfile thinks that Obama has done a deal with the Turks to back a MB regime in Syria. However, it is supposed to be a Turkish-style secular regime. So, the MB can take power, but they won’t retain backing if they impose Sharia law. A lot of Syrian refugees have been fleeing into Turkey, so the Turkish army is preparing to intervene on the side of the rebels just like NATO has in Libya.

The Saudis must love this deal because it will make them 2-0 vs Iran. One victory in Bahrain in defiance of Obama, and a second victory in Syria in alliance with Obama.

The Saudis pump, oil drops, gasoline drops, American consumers can breathe again, Obama becomes magically more popular, and everybody lives happily ever after.

Of course, Bashar Assad is not yet defeated, and the Iranians could send troops to assist him. Will the Iranians back down again, like they did in Bahrain? Maybe so. Geopolitical analyst George Friedman has long said that Turkey would be one of the rising powers of the future. And if the Turks put troops into Syria, the Iranians might skulk away.

Will there be blowback domestically for Obama once people realize that he is trying to bring an MB regime to power? Maybe that could scuttle the deal – especially if the fighting drags on as it has in Libya and Americans have time to realize what’s going on.

Poverty is a Problem After All

How many of the 44 million people on food stamps own smart phones? I don’t know, but according to this story, 64.5% of new mobile customers signed up for low-end, pre-paid service in the first quarter. And that’s more than double the number from 2006.

Poverty is a problem after all. Who knew, right?

What’s amazing is that there is no serious effort, or even discussion about bringing the factories home. Sure, it’s fashionable now to say that “labor arbitrage is over”, but even if that were true, which it probably isn’t, so what? We are left with the horror of a vast swath of our population not able to feed themselves, let alone buy TV shows via an iPad.

As we sit here waiting for Japan to save us, by resuming the export of auto parts to Mexico, where they will be “assembled” by former US plants, imported into the USA, and then sold by our fabulous “service economy” auto-dealers so that our lackluster economic expansion can continue at a blistering 1% pace, one wonders exactly when we will see ourselves for what we really are: a developing nation in need of protection from foreign imports.

For a long time, South Korea was one of the few places in the world where you couldn’t find a Toyota to save your life. Why not? Because of their “Automobile Industry Protection Act” adopted in 1962.

But protectionism is bad, right? Surely it must have caused a disaster in South Korea!

Guess again.

South Korea now has the 5th largest auto industry in the world, and is nipping at Germany’s heals. See the league tables here.

We opened our markets to European and Asian exporters to help build them up after World War Two, and fend off the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Guess what?

Mission accomplished.

We saved the free world.

But if you think that we won the Cold War without paying a price, guess again.

The price is all too visible in our gargantuan national debt and massive food-stamp population.

Are we now a “developing” nation? Maybe not technically, but it would behoove us to act as if we were so that we have a chance of staving off such an outcome.

One of the few remaining items on the asset side of the national balance sheet is our huge consumer market. Sure it’s melting away as more and more people descend into poverty, but as the saying goes: “there is a lot of ruin in a nation.”

In other words, it might not be too late.

It’s time to start thinking of the USA as a developing nation. It’s time to circle the protectionist wagons, South Korean style, and adopt a national policy of industrial growth.

We have tried financial engineering. We have tried to mark-up the price-tags on our houses. We have tried to conquer oil-rich lands. And President Obama has tried to “double exports”.

Guess what?

It was all BS.

The “glorious” decade of wide open “free trade” with low-wage nations like Mexico, China, and India has SMASHED our economy.

And there is no political constituency to reverse the process.

None at all.

Tech Hiring Frenzy

Friday’s jobs report was weak relative to recent reports, but look at these two stories I came across. There seems to be an insane hiring frenzy going on in the tech sector. This guy is complaining about the quality of available programmers:

“There’s a boom on… Everyone’s desperate to hire developers…”

And this University of Washington professor has a more detailed analysis titled: “Red Hot: The Computer Science Job Market“. He says that his students are being recruited with salaries as high as $105,000 and $30,000 signing bonuses.

One student got an internship with a big company paying $30 per hour. He asked if he could work in their London office, and they sent him right over.

This is tempting me to come out of retirement and do a project or two. It just so happens that I have a computer science degree, and I can code circles around these punks. If Groupon or LinkedIn wants to throw money and stock options at me, who am I to stop them?

Of course, this type of feeding frenzy might be the sign of a top. Is Groupon just the reincarnation of Time will tell, but at the moment, there is no jobs-related gloom in the tech industry. has a thing that makes employment trends charts. If you are looking for a new career, Search Engine Optimization seems to be on fire (click chart to enlarge):

The Java programming language seems to be top dog:

I suppose that has a lot to do with Google’s Android apps being written in Java.

Pat Buchanan Needs a Fact Checker

Pat Buchanan tried to imply that there were European-style economic riots here in Miami during Memorial Day weekend. Here is what he said in this column:

Nor is America any longer exempt from the anarchic violence plaguing Europe. …headlines the day after Memorial Day tell the story: “Miami ‘War Zone’ During Urban Weekend…”

That’s just total BS. There weren’t any such riots. Sure, there always incidents during “Urban Beach Week”, but the idea that they were caused this year by Greek-like “austerity” is just plain silly – unless by “austerity” you mean “liquor”. In any case, here is Buchanan’s “riot” and the Miami Herald story:

Richard Russell’s Fan Lines

Last week, Richard Russell made a bearish call using the “three fan line” technique. You can see his chart here. Russell used the NYSE, but here I will reproduce his idea using the S&P 500 (click chart to enlarge):

My first quibble is with the first fan line (blue), which is not drawn through a significant swing low. The late November swing low was the first serous correction of the move up off of the September low. Russell’s other two lines are fine, but I would label the pink line as #1, and the red line as #2.

But why begin in September? Why not take a look at the entire bull market? Here is a weekly chart beginning in March 2009:

The SPX could drop another 85 points and still be above the primary trend line of the bull. Furthermore, the bible of technical analysis, Technical Analysis of Stock Trends by Edwards & Magee, states on page 277:

“…the Fan Principle is normally applied only to corrective moves…”

So, we are not supposed to use fan lines to predict the end of a bull or bear, but rather the end of a correction to the primary trend. What might that look like? Here is a monthly chart of the SPX where I have drawn my fan lines from the 2007 top:

The red line is not legitimate yet because we have only had a tiny pullback from the May high, and we don’t know if it will prove to be a major swing high. However, if it eventually does, then we may have a third fan line on the recovery from the 2007 top. As long as we are under that line, you could say that the rally up off of the March 2009 low has just been a bear-market rally on the monthly time-frame. And the red line might prove strong resistance for bears to sell against going forward.

And if the SPX can break above the red line, then you could argue for giving up the bear-market rally thesis, and expect a challenge of the 2007 top.