Now Printing

As this blog, like it’s owner, gets longer in the tooth, interesting patterns emerge. Since I try, come hell or high water, to write weekly, the most viewed page is always the homepage, which contains my latest scribble. Right now, that registers 8,845 views since I began writing in late 2008, just over three years ago. The next numbers are pages which are no longer the homepage, but are found through their own title, usually kicked up by a search engine.

Search engine terms vary, but WordPress also lists those. Some examples from the past month are:

Search terms that led the hapless surfer to The India Road blog Times used
pics of vasco da gama and every stop he made going around the tip of africa 5
“my mother was a nuclear” 4
mapa de los paises pertenecientes a estados unidos 4
women orgasm distance clitoric 3
john wayne bobbit porn 3
routes of portuguese navigators 3
young leafs penis 3
porn massage girls in thailand 3
greeks fighting europe 3
chinese porn movies 2
history of gooey duck 2
sexy military ex girlfriends 2
spine surgery rates in oecd nations 2
shitting dick nipples ascii 2
greece france spain backyard fire debt burned body was 2
when did fire become hotter than snow 2
richelieu brandy logo south africa 2
the ring of fire sexposition 2

Some of those terms (and believe me, the jury had quite a job coming up with this short list) are bizarre to say the least, but I guess you could say the same about my posts. The one in Spanish (map of countries belonging to the US) is either deeply confused or  profoundly insightful. As for the last one, I’ve clearly been missing out. Sounds like something you might do the morning after a good curry.

Scientists search for order from chaos, although I suppose mathematicians working in chaos theory do the exact opposite. I made a graph of the most viewed sites, and cut off any pages with less than ten views. The homepage is of course excluded, but the results are a Pareto distribution, led by a post called The Gooey Duck. I only rarely cross-post, but in case you’re curious… Pareto is the longtail, which I wrote about at the very start of The India Road blog. It’s the salesman’s religion, twenty percent of products account for eighty percent of sales.

A Pareto distribution for The India Road blog pages. The Gooey Duck, gigantic as it is, comfortably leads the field.

 I can understand the hits related to some of the Islamic topics and on the Chinese New Year, but am puzzled by the success of the phallic bivalve. One thing that does happen every day is that due to the accumulated posts, there are more hits because there is more to choose from. Undoubtedly, with over one hundred twenty blogs running to about one thousand words, the text adds up to a good sized book (as opposed to the size of a good book).

When I was in Hamburg last week, a bunch of us ended up in an Imbißstube one night. Delicacies such as Sow’s stomach and Labskaus were very much in evidence.  I happened to mention QE to some Dutch and German people, all highly educated, and interested in the catharsis Europe is presently undergoing. No one had heard of QE, or of the longer name, Quantitative Easing. I mentioned QE2, and people did know that―but as the ocean liner.

This has the simplest and clearest explanation I found, but in plain terms, governments are printing money to give to the banks. The plan is that the money surplus gets lent out and stimulates the economy, since zero or near zero interest rates aren’t doing it.  The money is not physically printed, it is electronically transferred to banks. Problem is, banks aren’t lending. They’ve taken all the Viagra but they still can’t raise a smile.

If it sounds like a racket, it’s because it is. You want to buy a new car, but you can’t afford it. So you use your scanner, photoshop skills, and high resolution color printer, and bang up a few 500 euro notes. And off you go. It’s normally called counterfeiting, but if the Central Bank does it, it’s known as QE. Japan started it, about ten years ago. After the collapse of Lehman Bros., the US has used it (twice), and so has the UK. The ECB has come up with its (predictably complex) acronym, LTRO. That’s Long-Term Refinancing Operations.

What’s striking about all this is that the population at large has absolutely no idea what’s going on. And by that I mean one billion people: the US, EU, and Japan combined. Printing money, even electronically, should lead to weaker currency, and increase inflation. But your currency can only weaken in relative terms, and if everyone’s printing… And anyhow, the effects aren’t being felt on the street. Although making ‘vapor’ money does make banks more liquid, and when they’re good and drunk they might stumble in for a bad haircut on Greek debt.

Before you sign up for the couch, given the madness all around, take a tip from Uncle Sigmund.

Along with heralding the Year of the Dragon, this week has seen the annual pilgrimage to Davos―the place to be seen if you want to be part of the business oracle fraternity. At Davos, only a core group is invited. Sort of like letting girls free into nightclubs. About 1700 people pay to go.  The cost per person is 100,000 € (yes, the symbol is still on my keyboard). Works out to 170 million euros, or 220 million dollars.

I guess some of that vapor money is steaming to Switzerland. It’s an old tradition.

The India Road QR links for smartphones: point your camera and click.

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