Saturday, December 13, 2014

Watch Out for the Undertow


Dear Mr. Cook:

Did you ever see that horrifying Lars Von Trier movie--Breaking the Waves? Well, that's what it was like to be an Apple Inc. shareholder this week. As a matter of fact, the movie makes a lot of sense as a parable of the individual shareholder swimming against the tide in a choppy algorithmic sea. Especially the part when Bess voluntarily goes back out to the rig for another brutal beating!

Today's numbers: Down 1.89, share price 109.73. I'm thinking maybe we should go ahead and use the dollar signs going forward. Not to enables irrealism, I fear. And if you indulge irrealism, Mr. Cook, Apple Inc. will fall and take many people down with it. Not me, I'll step out of the way way ahead of time. But TIAA CREF for instance, last time I looked Apple Inc. was their largest holding, representing some 5% of the portfolio.


I'm sure you know about Euclid's nineteenth proposition concerning proportionality of numbers. I'm out of my depth here--Porisms, lemmas and postulates, oh my! But according to David Pengelley of New Mexico State University who lectured today in Santa Fe, Euclid made an assumption about transitivity in the 19th proposition which he could have proved, it is provable, but he didn't. The flaw in the proof was detected in 1970 by a Danish mathematician (I think Pengelley said his name was Taisbeck) who wrote about Euclid's omission in an unpublished dissertation. But before Pengelley found out about the Dane's work, which was after he had resolved the gap for himself, he was almost driven to the mathematical insane asylum, because the proof as it stood was proving something false.

An interesting discussion ensued about why Euclid may have missed it, or if he would have even conceived of the omission as a problem, or recognized it as a flaw in the reasoning.

Was it that Euclid had no imagination that it could have been otherwise? Could he have thought, What does that have to do with the universe of mathematics as I understand it? Other similar speculative questions were voiced.

I only bring it up because I think if you had endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement in your own way as I had suggested, it would have been impossible for that shakedown artist Jesse Jackson to come knocking on your door this week. Now you've opened yourself up, and all of us, to a world of hurt that didn't have to be.

I'm not suggesting Apple Inc. shouldn't be fair, even generous to the workers building the new campus. But the premium he'll take, the piece of it that I'm personally paying for, that I do resent.

I'm going to enjoy not thinking about Apple Inc. at all this weekend. I know you don't have that luxury.

Sincerely yours,

Frances Madeson







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