Mazama Caldera, aka Crater Lake

We recently visited Crater Lake National Park with good friends and one of the things I learned (and should have known) is that we’ve been using the wrong geological name all this time … it’s not a crater, it’s a caldera. (or at least that’s what the Park Ranger told us). Over 7000 years ago, Mount Mazama changed dramatically. – note: there are links to slide shows on different topics – poke around.

This adventure was different from 2 years ago due to an absence of fires and this year taking a boat ride around the lake and spending several hours on Wizard Island. One thing that hit me like a ton of bricks is the magnitude of it all (the lake is 5×6 miles) – staying up on the crater rim just does not have same impact – if you go, take a boat ride!

The lake

The water is amazingly clear … drinkable too (we all had some from the middle of lake – ranger filled everybody’s water bottle). If you doubt me, this pic is in 40 feet of water – let that sink in.

Here is a slide show with standard resolution pics of more Crater Lake water

After the water, the geology of the caldera is beyond amazing.

Here is a slide show with standard resolution pics of more some geological features.

Two of the most popular geological features are Wizard Island and the Phontom Ship; and the above pic shows the ship in forground and the island in background.

The ship

The island

While on the island, we hiked to the top – which IS a crater. Some of us hiked down into the core of the island crater – an odd feeling. A quick swim was also in order but the water was COLD! All the pics in this movie are from the island.

If you’ve read any of my adventure posts here, plants and their beauty and perservance are always interesting … Crater Lake has its share of fabulous creatures.

Another set of plant pics from the lake, the island and all around

The park is one of those amazing places on this wonderful planet … good planets are hard to find!

Interesting 5G data point

SA posted a quick update on SK Telecom 5G users and data usage – quote (bold is mine, and there is no more to the SA post):

SK Telecom (SKM -1%) says it’s built up 1M 5G subscribers just four months after launching service. That’s twice as fast to a 1M milestone as SK accomplished with its 4G launch in 2011. The South Korean company says the 5G subscribers are using 33.7 GB of data each month, vs. 20.4 GB from 4G subscribers. The million subs make up about 3.6% of the total subscriber base of 28M.

This will be an important indicator to watch as deployments roll forward beyond ‘super / power users’ … data usage will be critical to the narrative behind data center, network and storage companies’ future. This one data point suggests >50% increase in data usage … extrapolate that one out!

An hour of work & GDP productivity

Infographic: How Productive is an Hour of Work? | Statista

From those wonderful data dogs, Statista.

What is it about Ireland? They seem to be head/shoulders more productive than the rest … all those EU countries with better social services and progressive (per US standards) governments, seem to be doing better than USA.

CBO on Budget

The non-partisan CBO published their regular budget update report. Heisenberg referenced in a post this morning, so I will not recopy the salient points as Heisenberg did a great summary.

Some of these points are very important for investors and every US voter. At minimum, please read Heisenberg’s post.

Update 8-22 – IHS PMI print this morning throws a bit of cold water on CBO estimates (even as bad as they were) – Heisenberg put a good narrative around this and waxed a bit political (deservedly). Here is the key point to my update – quote:

Moore called the August numbers “a clear signal that economic growth has continued to soften in the third quarter”, and said the data “collectively point to annualized GDP growth of around 1.5%”. That is woefully short of the administration’s lofty 3% goal, and lower than CBO’s estimate which accompanied the group’s worrisome budget forecast released Wednesday.

Needless to say, a good phrase here would be: Uh Oh!

South Sister 2019

If you missed the earlier post – Traveling to South Sister – check it out.

My 3rd hike up this hill in the last 4 years (last year’s), and sadly, this was the least enjoyable – not the mountain, the weather, my legs, my equipment, inadquate water, nor bad pictures. There were just too many people; i have never seen this many people on a Cascades hike in over 30 years of hiking.

The destination

I took the same route as before – straight up from Devil’s Lake with a full parking lot (and i hiked up the trail 1/4 mile and realized i left my forest pass in the ‘g)love box’ … so back to the car and repeat) … some views were the same as before, but the camera found different objects

the color of this lake blows me away – every time

Sadly, with all of the people, too many missed this sign … i even saw people with a dog swimming in one of those most precious and fragile lakes like above …

Once on the summit this year, i spent my time on the southeast side of the rim … the views were quite different from last year’s north side. This year, I also hiked to top in short sleeves & shorts – last year was chilled in long sleeves and shorts (wind).

GIven all the people … i won’t go back

Traveling to South Sister

I planned my 3rd South Sisters hike in 4 years to catch the full moon setting on my way to the trailhead. Getting up in time to be on the road by 04:00 is not that tough, when you have this to look forward to seeing …

The next post will be from South Sister hike

Cisco (CSCO) quarterly / annual update

Cisco reported annual earnings today. Wall Street, so far, responded unfavorably to future guidance provided by the company. I am not sure I fully agree, but acknowledge that the crystal ball is opaque at best with the current irrationally moving economic parts … so one key question: “Is CSCO hedging the future with very, very conservative guidance?”

This financial block really got my attention given the service provider order drop – quote, with my bold: ” In terms of orders in Q4, total product orders growth was flat. Looking at our geographies Americas was up 1%, EMEA was up 4% and APJC was down 8%. Total emerging markets was down 8% with the BRICS plus Mexico down 20%. In our customer segments, enterprise was down 2%, commercial grew 7%, public sector was up 13% and service provider was down 21%. “

CEO continued on: “Let me double click on service provider just a bit. The Americas was generally the same from an order perspective from the prior quarter, so no real shift positive or negative. Europe was actually positive in the SP space. In Asia, we saw continued weakening in our China service provider business and we had two massive build outs in India a year ago that just didn’t replicate this year with the two major players there. That’s the net of the service provider situation it’s not more complicated than that. “

Bottom line – if CSCO was not one of my largest stock positions, I might be backing up the truck over the next few downturns (I am assuming them to occur), so I’ll watch and back up the little red wagon when opportunity knocks with a >3% yield.

Mr Duy on Fed and baseline view

Mr Duy’s post this morning was a bit longer than normal yet worth every character … his summary took me by surprise (see my bold below)

Bottom Line: I agree with the assessment that risks to the economy have grown in the past 6 months. Boiled down to the essentials, the economy is slowing to trend and the multiplying downside risks leave it vulnerable to slowing below trend. The yield curve is telling me that these shocks will not overwhelm the Fed. Powell & Co. can still sustain the expansion and are expected to do so. “Expected” is key of course; the slower the Fed moves, the more likely they are to miss the opportunity to avoid recession. A policy error is a very real potential outcome here. To enhance the odds of avoiding recession, I would advise the Fed to get a 50bp cut done at the next meeting. While I fully expect the Fed to ease at the September meeting, at the moment the Fed seems likely to stick with the less aggressive 25bp cut.

I’m watching these variables and the subsequent analysis as a guide to when / how much to gather more bonds / t-bills / utility stocks.

Update 8-15: Mr Duy updated his post yesterday given the bucket of economic data today fit into his paradigm perfectly – quote: “Bottom Line: It remains too early to see a recession in the data. It’s reasonable to worry about the pessimistic signal from the yield curve but even if it does foreshadow recession, a recession call now is likely still too early. “

Osprey child left the nest

Literally …

On a highly trafficed bike path along our city-splitting river, is a wonderful Osprey nest. This is the second year I have watched the cycle … and as of yesterday, this year’s little one was gone from the nest … but circling not far away.

End of the summer nest … and if you look down below, the area is scattered with white paste

A couple of weeks ago, the little one was exercising

Afterward, one of the parents dropped in for some coaching

Close to ending recession watch?

New Deal Democrat (SA author) made a clear statement in weekly update that I found interesting. I am not sure that I agree, but the case made is rational and data-driven – quote: “The nowcast remains positive. The short-term forecast, which has been very volatile recently, and two weeks ago was briefly positive, since then has been slightly negative. But the big action has been in the long leading indicators, especially interest rates, which have now turned very positive. If Q2 corporate profits increase in the 2nd GDP report in three weeks, as they have in S&P corporate earnings, almost certainly I will go off recession watch.” (my bold)

Time will tell … careful observations and patience are my focus

Mr Duy and Mr Toad’s ride … Whew!

The drop on the 10yr below the YTD trendline is material, imho

Mr Duy comments on employment with 6 points; here is #6: quote – “6.) Still, there is a risk the Fed holds steady. In June, the Fed clearly signaled a rate cut in July. In July, we don’t have such a strong signal for September. It’s not in the bag. Things that I don’t think the Fed has come to terms with yet: 1.)  if they want higher interest rates in the future, they need to keep rates lower now and 2.) the whole idea of getting rates well above 2% in a world where the major economies can’t hold 0% is just not going to work.”

Collaboration – Lens #2

A recent post described a competitive lens on this data

Infographic: The State Of Global Renewable Energy Employment | Statista

The collaborative lens would ask …

  • what is China doing that the rest of us should copy?
  • what can we do to help others increase their renewable energy employment?
  • what are the constraints keeping employment less in some countries?
  • what are the strongest forces in all countries to grow employment in this field?

The gist of the discussion becomes how to increase EVERYBODY rather than find winners and losers. Learn and share to the benefit of all. … how strange, right?

Fitbit trade debacle

Ok … sometimes you just need to confess up to making an error and then working a way out of a hole.

Yesterday with Fitbit due to report earnings, I thought that it may surprise on upside … boy, was I wrong!

With all the published information wrt FIT, I added the following inputs:

  • Apple reported decent growth in Apple Watch sales
  • Almost everybody I know uses a FIT device and does NOT want to buy the more expensive Apple Watch (i offered to buy them for wife and daughter and both declined and chose to stay w/ FIT)
  • I scaned the blogosphere and Stocktwits for any noise – it all came back neutral in RECENT posts

I purchased a total of 300 shares (not much capital intentionally so for a speculative earnings trade)

FIT earnings were good, but the company reduced revenue and margin targets … to sell more cheaper devices (?) … the FIT watch device is NOT selling well.

I am in a hole … I did not sell, I bought a bit more to lower my entry price. Why? User data. The data FIT has is not reproducible. If the current management team cannot figure out how to monetize it, somebody else will … I will keep working (trading) to make a bit of $ of this – a bit of lemonade from really sour lemons.

Key learning: when hunting for noise in blogosphere, retracing steps backward longer in time is worth it.