Shouting is not Free Speech

I am coming to believe that one of the greatest violations of free speech is shouting. That is, anytime you speak loudly enough to drown out your opponent, you are violating his right of free speech. This is the case whether you are drowning your opponent out with a bull horn or an ad budget.

Free speech is our core liberty. Most of our other critical rights like freedom of the press and freedom of religion are merely particular cases of freedom of speech. Democracy itself is just a joke without a zealously guarded freedom of speech. Any erosion of this right whatsoever weakens the entire framework of democracy.

Freedom of speech is even more basic than its role as the foundation of government. We are dependent on free speech for the discovery of the truth itself. Is anything more basic?

Is there any one that doubts that freedom of speech is best served in an environment without shouting? Contrast a personal discussion where everyone remains reasonable with the screaming contests that we have all at least seen. Contrast a formal debate with bull horns screaming from opposite ends of a park. Contrast two massive ad campaigns with a series of reasoned public debates.

We all know how to control shouting. The choices in the previous paragraph make it perfectly clear that we do not lack methods. That means that we must either lack the consensus that shouting is a bad thing or the will to stop it. Further, I suspect if we had the consensus, the will would be sufficient.

Why don’t we have a consensus? This really seems like common sense. Even the shouters aren’t trying to say they have a right to shout. They are just implicitly defining their shouting as an exercise of free speech. Of course it is not, but this is a trick that works for them.

Part of the problem is that there is a large pro-shouting lobby. When people shout by buying advertising, those that sell ads are all for shouting. The front ranks of the pro-shouting forces are all media outlets. The shouters themselves hide in the background while the media outlets try to make it about freedom of the press.

It is not about freedom of the press. In fact, the argument is compelling that the press is less free when the shouters are paying the bills and creating the profits for the media outlet. When shouting is allowed, the media outlet has every economic incentive to be a propaganda arm for the shouters rather than an impartial communicator of the truth.

Democracy will continue to be hamstrung as long as shouting is allowed. Stand up for freedom of speech. Oppose shouting today.


Simple Tax Plan

America is in Financial trouble for the same reason that anyone gets in trouble. We don’t take in as much as we spend. There isn’t anyone who disagrees with this.

Republicans say that the answer is to run the government like a business, but no business prospers or even survives by taking in the least money for the fewest possible services. It’s a business plan that has no chance of success, and the Republicans prove that every time we allow them into power.

The Democrats at least try to create services that are popular because that’s how they get into office, but the Democrats aren’t very good at coming up with a plan to make those services affordable. Perhaps the most accurate criticism that the GOP makes is that the Democrats aren’t even thinking about the government like a business.

The Government As a Business

When you start a business, you really need to know what is going to make people want to give you money. You can do all kinds of cool things, but until you have fostered the voluntary transfer of cash from customers to you, it’s a project rather than a business. Our government is still a project.

Political Stability

What have we got to sell? How about political stability? If you don’t think that’s a reason to do business in the US, try running your Subway shop in Uganda. What’s it worth to you as a business owner? More importantly, as the provider of this very valuable service, what will the marker bear? We don’t want to cripple business in any way, but we need to remember that they are the customers for the government of the people. They are not the people.

Every business should be very happy to pay 33% of their profits for political stability alone. If you are not making a profit, we’ll carry you until you do because new business is the lifeblood of capitalism while old businesses are frequently hardening arties. A robust economy is an economy with lots of new businesses. Big business is brittle.

This is the Political Stability tax. It’s not much different than the current corporate income tax, but it answers the main complaint of those idiots who say they don’t get anything for their taxes. This what you get. This is what costs you. We’ll negotiate because that’s the way business works, but negotiation means you need to sweeten the deal for us in some way for us to even consider some alteration. Otherwise, you can take you business to Uganda if you don’t think this is a good business opportunity. We only want happy customers, but we’re not going to ruin our business model by making every customer happy.

Infrastructure Taxes

Infrastructure is the difference between a First World country and a Third World country. It always has been. It always will be. Our infrastructure is still one of the best reasons to locate a business here instead of somewhere else. Businesses should pay direct usage fees (pre-tax income) for use of infrastructure, and a five percent infrastructure expansion tax out of their profits. We can only win in the world to come by having the best possible infrastructure.

We’ve been one of the rich countries in the world because we have always invested in infrastructure. Look at the infrastructure we’ve created. Note that the government was the driving force in all cases. Railroads, highways, the electric grid the Internet are all critical pieces of our infrastructure that only work because of the government’s direct participation. Just 75 years ago, most of the United States used outhouses and had no electricity. Infrastructure is civilization.

Our education system, schools, libraries, public water and sewage, and our health care system are all part of the vast and wonderful infrastructure that we provide. Companies will only keep starting here if we continue to be the best place to start them by providing the best infrastructure.

Again, this structure provides a bit of corporate welfare for new and struggling businesses by not charging an infrastructure tax until a business makes a profit.

Monopoly Taxes

Everybody talks about too big to fail when it is obvious that these morons are going to take the whole world down with them when they go, but once the crisis has passed, too big to fail becomes too big to screw with. This has to change or we will inevitably collapse.

‘Big’ is the key word in too big to fail. You avoid too big to fail by keeping companies from getting too big. The problem here is not the steepness of the intellectual challenge. The problem is having the guts to face up to the monster companies who have their tentacles in every aspect of our lives.

I propose a sliding scale monopoly tax where you pay more tax based on our market share. Is that fair? It’s our market. They can sell their widgets elsewhere if they don’t like this deal. I don’t think we’ll lack for customers who want a piece of the action.

Again, the monopoly tax will only be charged on profits. If a company is a monopoly and not making a profit, we’ve got a problem tha cannot be solved by tax policy.

How much is the monopoly tax? A profitable company is paying 38% of its profits for political stability and infrastructure. If we charge them a one percent monopoly tax for each two percent of the market they control, they will be able to keep twelve percent of their profits.

Is this a capitalist disincentive? Of course. That’s the whole point. We want to structure the tax code so that companies try to stay small and nimble so they don’t become a danger to the overall economy.

Individual Taxes

No individual taxes on the first million each year, and 38% on the remainder. After you make the first million, you are as dependent as a business on the government to protect your wealth. Furthermore, it is likely that your large income is due at least in part to our fabulous infrastructure. Please send us the money with a thank you recognizing that we the people made all of this possible.

There will be investment incentives, but only for those who invest in small business. Anyone who invests in a true startup can exclude up to five times the amount of their initial investment if the project explodes in value. Capitalism is gambling so we need to encourage people to gamble.

Is it fair to charge higher taxes to the rich? Of course! No one’s coming to steal what we’ve got. If they are coming at all, they’re coming for the rich. They’ll probably want our help when this happens.


Individuals who make less than a million and business that don’t make a profit will pay absolutely no taxes.

We will do everything possible to make businesses successful because successful businesses will pay our bills, but we don’t want businesses to get so big that they become a threat to the system.

All successful business pay a flat 38% on profits. Any exceptions to this must have a one-year sunset clause.

Companies owning more than two percent of their designated market will pay the monopoly tax.

This plan should generate all of the tax revenue that America needs to get out of debt while removing the crippling burden that our current tax structure places on our economy. Inside of five years, this will pay off the national debt without having to sacrifice any investment in infrastructure. Beyond that, we will have the money we will need to deal with the certainly bigger problems of the future. Trouble is coming because it always does. Let’s be ready.

More opinions based on a lifetime of citizenship, whatever that means, can be found at my Twitter column at

Twitter — Worth a Second and a Third Look

In one month, I gone from thinking of Twitter as a curiosity that didn’t fit in my toolset to the point where I am totally addicted to Twitter as a source of information and as a means of expression.

Today I believe the uses of Twitter are so diverse, profound, and revolutionary that it will be banned by many governments (already happening). Societies that maintain access to this kind of tool will flourish by comparison.

I’ve also come to believe that tweeting is a legitimate art form, and we have already developed some masters. Most people are still pretty bad with this tool, but expertise seems to come quickly to those who pay attention.

If you can dismiss Twitter without trying to find out why a government would ban it, then I am wasting my time here. If not, read on.

Giving Twitter a Real Try

FYI: A Twitter message is called a ‘tweet’, and a collection of such messages is called a ‘stream’.

Here’s what I recommend if you want to efficiently see what Twitter is about.:

  1. Join Twitter: Http://
  2. Use the Discover function in Twitter to explore streams created by people and organizations.
  3. Decide on an intent for your output stream (self-expression, marketing, professional improvement, etc.)
  4. Create your Twitter Bio keeping your intent in mind.
  5. 5. Follow streams that provide source information or provide examples to emulate.
  6. Look at your input stream at least once every day.
  7. Try to craft at least one tweet in keeping with your purpose every day.

I guarantee that after two weeks that you will know enough about Twitter to know how you can use it. You might still decide it’s not for you, but I think you’ll surprise yourself. I certainly surprised myself.

General Rules

The only rule about consuming Twitter is don’t be a glutton. It’s really easy to get far too much information about exactly what you are interested in. You soon won’t be able to read it all, let alone get anything done. You might be able to read a couple of thousand tweets a day, but most of them point to far more significant articles. It’s nothing to be made aware of 500 articles a day that you really do want to read.

Writing is another story. Twitter is a place where you can say what you think within reason. You do want to keep future employment possibilities and business relationships in mind. Certainly don’t say anything that will land you in court if you can avoid it,

There are a lot of rules about writing tweets, but none of them are mandatory and you can make up your own. Here are mine:

  1. Intentional – just because a tweet is only 140 characters doesn’t mean that you should throw them out casually without a master plan. That plan can be to show people how demented you are, but you don’t want to do something like that by accident.
  2. Remember what public means. Remember that Private probably also means public when push comes to shove.
  3. Politics — Think carefully over whether or not you want to primarily do politics. If not, don’t do politics at all. Politics is the worst thing to do if the primary purpose of your stream is to foster business relationships. Keep in mind that taking any political position is going to alienate about a third of the population.
  4. Manners – Be nice unless the whole point of your stream is to generate a series of rude comments. People want to count on a predictable level of civility.
  5. Religion & Sex – avoid unless your stream is about religion or sex.
  6. Business streams must provide useful information along with their ads. No politics or religion. Make people glad to get your stream.
  7. Self-promotion – think about what each tweet does to advance your image.
  8. Avoid cat fights. It’s really easy to ignore criticism, and even easier to not respond to it. That may be my favorite aspect of Twitter.
  9. Ideas that you can’t fit into one tweet require more thought.
  10. Don’t post more than a couple of links a day to one of your own products. Don’t become clutter in your followers’ streams.

Possible Uses of Twitter

I use Twitter to note ideas, to register outrage, to convey humor, to ask questions, to indicate solidarity, to point to my work, to play at word smith, and probably most importantly for therapy. That’s covers most of my output stream, and I am not using Twitter to sell anything. I suspect that I am still scratching the surface.

One of the approaches that currently intrigues me is simultaneously tweeting and writing articles. I have watched the very funny Andy Borowitz do this several times now, and it’s quite efficient and impressive.

My input stream is mostly comedians and political observers. I also have subscribe to several special news sources, and several general news sources. I could easily add sports or business inputs. Input is news.

One of the pleasures of Twitter is that I can watch something on TV with other people watching the same event so I get to experience the event and commentators’ perspectives on the event at the same time. I watched the last Republican debate with my input stream in view, and the Twitter commentary was far more interesting than the mindless banter coming from the candidates.

Twitter is a tool like the printing press. When Gutenberg wanted a few copies of the Bible, he had no idea what he was setting Martin Luther loose. That was just the beginning. This is the beginning of Twitter.

My Personal Adoption Story

I’m not religious about New Year’s resolutions, but I do think the New Year is a great reminder that we need to occasionally take a look at our lives and make sure we are doing what we want to do. As we all know, it’s all too easy to fall off the path and do what’s convenient. We all have friends and relatives that still don’t even use email, and I didn’t want to be one of those guys. I was at least going to learn to use a few social media tools well enough so that I could articulate why they sucked.

I’d had a Twitter account for a while but I never used it. Conciseness is not one of my virtues as a writer, and 140 characters is what it usually takes me to say hello. I thought of Twitter entirely as a tool to express myself, and not at all as an information source. I still wasn’t thinking of it as an information source when I started to follow a few people. I didn’t follow them to get information; I followed them to see how they used the tool.

Unfortunately, I started with some really bad examples. I’m a political junkie and the Republican primary seemed to offer a perfect focus. Whatever your politics, any honest assessment says that these guys do not understand the media. They don’t even understand it enough to find someone competent to tweet for them.

The good result of following them was that it immediately made me feel smarter because I knew I could write better tweets than that. I also thought that it couldn’t do my writing any harm if I focused on conciseness for a while. I had to write a few tweets of my own, but first I needed a plan.

I decided I wanted to do a stream where I covered ideas and events. As much as possible, I would strive to be funny and profound. I wouldn’t talk about work or personal stuff at all. I’d badger a few friends into following me so I could get feedback. Generally speaking, the narrower your focus, the easier it is to build a following, but I have kind of an eclectic mind so I went for the eclectic stream.

It might be hubris on my part to cover any of the topics I cover, and it is certainly hubris to cover them all. I decided I am not going to let that bother me. If I’ve thought about something long enough to have a theory, I’ll lay it out there and let people tell me when I am wrong.

Although I would recommend that most people avoid political streams because they alienate so many people, I decided to make politics the main focus of my stream. I would usually have a hard time resisting this, and a presidential election just makes it harder. Besides, I’ve already left a broad trail of my beliefs.

I think my first tweets were just about a month ago. Some days I tweet a lot and other days not so much. I’ve already cranked out an amazing 1500 tweets, and I don’t think I have repeated myself yet.

I probably average 50 a day which is a lot, but I could crank out ten times that many if I got paid by the tweet. If you are doing over 50 a day, you probably need to do it through multiple accounts so you don’t drive all of your followers away.

I never get writer’s block with Twitter. I can always afford one more 140 character investment. Each thought has to fit into 140 characters, but it doesn’t have to fit with any other thought. That’s very emancipating.

I’m just starting to gather random thoughts into related piles to make articles and to start projects, and I find I have a gold mine of my own ideas. (Looks like gold to me right now any way.) I am going to have to invest in apps that allow you to store and organize your tweets. They are cheap but figuring out which one you want is a learning process.

If you want to see exactly how bad I am at practicing what I preach, check me out @alanbcorwin on Twitter.  http:\\\alanbcorwin

The Sex Election

We all know it’s going to come down to the economy, but you have to enjoy the Republican attempt to make this election about sex. Democrats simply don’t have the guts to make these guys look as silly as they make themselves look, and for some reason there is no pro-sex PAC out there. The only way these guys really get to look like fools is to do it themselves.

What if we did have an election about sex? Choice A would be that sex was not allowed except for the purpose of procreation. Choice B would allow sex for pleasure. It’s a very simple choice, but let’s complicate it a little by making it binding. We all know that all of those sex for procreation only people feel kind of dirty just having neighbors who do it for fun. Let’s all agree to move to an area dominated by those who share our choice.

I’m sure the same kind of split is going on up in Canada and probably in Mexico too. Let’s see if we can fix the problem for the whole continent. We could have three choices in a whole continent election: the two choices above and a third choice which allowed sex for pleasure only unless you get a procreation permit. I could be wrong, but I think most people will go with Choice B even though that is by far the most complex option.

There are definitely people in category three, but they should be the smallest group because they are not breeding. They only grow by siphoning members from the other groups.

If we did a county by county color map of the results, the As would be red, the Bs would be blue, and the Cs would be green. I would have to bet that most of the map would be blue. The reds and the greens might find few places that would take them in, although the greens are growing all of the time as more and more people recognize the impact of a planet with seven billion people on it.

I suspect the red areas of the map would be far smaller than the red area displayed after a presidential election. I could be wrong, but I suspect that even most Republicans like sex. They’re just disgusted that other people are having a good time at it.

Of course this is silly. We don’t need to make this kind of separation because no one is forced to have sex with anyone else. However, when you try to define the election the way that Rick Santorum is, you’re really betting that you think the above map will be red. I welcome that vote. The rest of the world may think we are prudes, but I’m pretty sure that America loves sex. I could be wrong, but a few hundred billion dollars worth of advertising is on my side. They don’t spend that kind of money to turn peole off.

More comments exposing my fractured stream of consciousness can be found in my Twitter stream @alanbcorwin

Open Letter to Sir Charles

Dear Charles Barkley,

I am a great fan of both your basketball career and your sports casting, not to mention that you seem like an all-around great guy. You deserve to have more fun playing golf.

Here is how to fix your swing. It will take some drudgery, but nothing is hard.


All of your problems are caused by your right hand. The kinds of things that go wrong in your swing are not left-handed problems; they are right-handed problems. Take your right hand off the club, and even a big monster like you cannot stop the club halfway down. The right hand may be not be the cause of your problem, but it is certainly critical to the implementation of your problem. You would be better off not touching the club at all with the right hand than letting the rght hand dominate the swing the way you do.

For a right-handed golfer, the left hand swings the club and the right hand hits the ball. The swing must dominate the hit. That is, the effort of the right hand must mesh with the timing of the swing. The swing is a train that the hit jumps on board.

When you stop your swing, you are saying that you are simply going to hit it, that you don’t need no stinking swing. If that was really the case, the answer would be to start your swing at your pause point. Everything else goes to waste as soon as you stop anyway.

Clearly, however, you need to swing because that’s the way the game is designed. Therefore, let’s make your swing more natural.

The first drill you need to adopt is the three o’clock to nine o’clock drill, sometimes called the Thumbs Up drill. You can do it with any club, but most people use a wedge. Address the ball, swing smoothly back until you arms are parallel with the ground and your thumbs are pointed straight up. You can stop right here to check your position if you want. Swing down through the ball to where your arms are pointed right at the target and your thumbs are once again pointed to the sky. Concentrate on making a smooth swing. Do not worry about the position of the thumbs at impact.

Do this drill for 15 minutes every day. If your swing goes wacko on the course, retreat to this restrictive swing and simply take one more club. You’ll do fine. You can always be master of the little swing.

That’s easy, but I know you want to smash the ball. We all want to smash the ball. You feel like a more highly evolved being when that ball hangs in the air forever, and you can’t get that feeling with the little swing.

The drill I chose for that will take longer to assimilate, but it should be well worth the effort. It is based on one of Johnny Miller’s practice routines. He used to hit five irons at a target 150 yards away with only his left hand. Johnny ranks up there with Ben Hogan and Tiger in the annals of deadly iron players, and I think this drill was a key to that.

There is a lot of value in swinging with just the left hand. You have to swing the club along the proper path. You have to get to the proper position at the top. You have to use your feet and your weight correctly. You have to turn through the impact zone. You have to swing all the way to the target. We all struggle to do all of these things with two hands on the club, but they are natural enough so that we can instantly feel what is going wrong and correct with one hand on the club. It works so well that I often do this with the weighted practice club to magnify the sensation.

Step One:

Just swing any club with only the left hand. Swing smoothly back to where the club is pointing at the target. Accelerate smoothly through the impact area and release to the target. The right hand never touches the club. Repeat until tired or bored.

You should do this exercise with all of you clubs whenever you get a moment. You do not need to hit balls in this exercise, but be careful. You will have a much wider swing arc with only one hand on the club. Make sure you have plenty of clearance.

When You get so that you can consistently make a smooth swing with just your left hand, gradually begin to increase the power you apply by increasing your turn speed. After a few weeks, you should be able to whip that club though the impact area like a backhand from a left-handed tennis player who discovered an unguarded alley. It’s all just practice and timing.

Step Two:

Once you get to that point, you are ready to start hitting balls. The right hand is still not touching the club! Using just the left hand, hit shot after shot until you can consistently hit the ball square with just the left hand. Make sure you strike down on the ball.

Because you’re bigger than Johnny, You should have no trouble getting your six iron 150 yards with just the left hand. When you can hit eight out of ten six irons past the 150 yard marker, you are ready to go to the next step.

Step Three:

In the next step, you can put your right hand on the club, but you cannot close it. As a result, you are still doing the entire backswing with the left hand, but your right hand can participate in striking the ball if it can stay in synch with the left. The left hand cannot stop if the right cannot close on it.

What happens here is that you should still hit the ball pretty well if you continue to hit it with your left hand, and there is nothing to stop that. Getting the timing right when you apply the right hand will determine how much power you can add as the timing is far more important than the input power.

Step Four:

The right-hand may now close on the grip as lightly as possible. The right hand is a bit player here, providing gentle guidance to smooth the swing and a bit of extra acceleration at impact. This is still a swing done with the left hand, and the right hand is a friendly hitchhiker.


The swing is still mentally left-handed, and the right had still grips very lightly. The right hand just rides along until the last possible moment, then it explodes into action at the ball. You can have a really good golf swing without that explosion and you can have that explosion in a poor golf swing, but what you want is the explosion at the right time in a good golf swing.

Your irons shots will be as good as you ever want them to be before you get to this stage. You really only have to master this stage if you want to hit the ball over the horizon.

A concerned fan,

Al Corwin

The Complete Cell Phone

Their cell phone is the only computer most people will ever need in the reasonably near future. For some people, it already is all the computer they ever want and more. More of us will join that group with every passing day.

Cell phones are already more powerful than the personal computers of the not too distant past. The barrier will not be the compute power that you can carry in your pocket. If you want to talk about the needed processing power or storage, any level you want to talk about will be in your computer someday.

There are three other hurdles that the cell phone needs to overcome to deliver all of the utility of the modern personal computer. The PC wins today for screen size, keyboard, and relative security, but cell phones already have options that show that these advantages are on the way out. The personal phone in a cell phone is almost on your doorstep in a package that will be hard to resist.

Projector Screens

You can already get a cell phone with a projector good enough to put on a quality presentation. It won’t be too long before we see a cell phone that can project a screen of almost any size that creates a clear, sharp image in full daylight. At this point, the cell phone will have display capabilities that at least rival the capabilities of a desktop PC.


Already lots of phones provide the capability to plug in a standard keyboard. The only barriers to be hurdled here are design problems with the keyboards themselves. So far, none of the keyboards that you can carry in your pocket can really deliver the feel of a quality keyboard. That will happen soon for those of us that cling to the need for a keyboard.

For those who are looking for another means of input, voice is coming of age. It works somewhat on Windows mobile phones, and it seems to work very well on Android phones. I haven’t seen this on iPhones, but I suspect they are better at voice recognition just like I assume that they are better at everything else. They all seem to be better at voice commands than voice text entry.


The worst security feature of cell phones is how easy they are to lose. I don’t think we can fix that problem, but we can change the impact of a loss. First, we can have an automatic backup system where all of your data is kept on a secure server somewhere. I believe that Apple’s Mobile Me does that, and there have to be many competitors. These services will get better and better.

It seems like you also need the other side of the coin. That is, you need to be able to erase your phone remotely when it is lost. Some phones may have this already. It certain

Beyond Trading System Optimization

As anyone who has ever tried to do optimization on automated trading systems will tell you, there are many problems. The optimal numbers from the past almost certainly won’t be the optimal numbers for the future. In fact, every data set you test will produce different numbers. Why then would you do system optimization?

We believe that the most important output from these efforts is the discovery of relationships between decision factors. It’s not the price you pay when you buy or the price you get when you sell that determines profit, it’s the difference between the two.

That means that the most important relationships we are looking for are the relationships between selection factors and exit factors. We like using response surface graphs to show these because they show the relationships clearly, and the general picture they show differs little when we try it on different data sets. This leads us to believe that the relationships are robust even though the optima are often simply coincidental.

Response surface graphs also show which settings are clearly dysfunctional. It becomes pretty clear after looking at just a few sets of results that there is a range of settings that might work, and a range that is clearly disastrous. This is true for both the individual factor settings and for the relationships between them. Note that findings of dysfunctional settings tend to be far more robust than findings of optima. Knowing what to avoid doesn’t tell you how to do the job right, but there is clearly value in avoiding known disaster area.

In addition to interactions between selection factors and exit factors, there are also clearly interactions between various selection factors and interactions between various exit factors. For example, an either OR rule for selection factors means that you get into more trades while an AND rule reduces the number of trades. We know that without performing any tests, but more trades or less trades is not the critical answer we need. We need to know whether an OR rule gives us a higher winning percentage and greater profit, and whether an AND rule gets us into more trades that lead to more profits.

The same is true with exit rules. Do they work well together or do they get in each other’s way? Generally speaking, there is a desired exit process and a set of fall-back exit processes. You don’t want the fall-back processes to unduly interfere with the desired process, but you can’t let your primary exit process to be so dominant that the backup plans don’t go into effect until it is too late. Response surface graphs show these relationships very clearly.

Not all of the critical interactions are two-factor. There can be three, four, or even more factors that are working together. The more complex an interaction, the less likely it is to be robust, but many three-factor reactions are robust. Showing three-factor interactions is a minor problems that we address currently with animations. Here is an example.

We show the most powerful factors on the axes. Here this is the critical selection factor and the primary exit factor, and that is generally the case. The third factor, the backup exit strategy, we show with the animation. The animation shows that the third factor changes the degree but not the nature of the reaction between the first two factors. This presents a fairly clear picture of what is going on in the trading system, and we can see that these pictures will look very similar if we apply them to a variety of data sets.

It is important to see whether the charts you get out of the data support or contradict your basic theories. The basic theory here is that a move in one direction is most likely to be reverse if it swings far enough, and most likely to make a solid profit when you are looking for the swing back to be half as large as the initial move. The size of the swings varies considerably, but the relationship between size of the initial swing and size of the secondary swing is pretty consistent.

The fallback exit factor is of less importance. By itself, it never determines whether the system will win or lose, but does affect how much it will win or lose.

What settings should we choose for our working system? It’s still something of a crap shoot, but we have a reasonable idea of the direction to shoot in. The chances of picking the best values is only slightly more than zero, but the chances of picking pretty good values is very high. There may be other response surfaces that you can look at like days in position or winning percentage that will push you in one direction or another, but you still are moving from analysis of the past to prediction of the future. The stock market will never be a chemistry problem.