0592: "Drama"

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Hephaestus16
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Hephaestus16 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:22 am UTC

The problem of creating simple rules for systems based around human behaviour is that you can't change human behaviour. I remember Arthur C. Clarke mentioned this in 3001 when discussing communism.


There are plenty of ways of changing human behaviour (drugs, head trauma, screwed up childhood etc.), to reduce drama new humans rather then new rules are needed. I personally an inclined to making the majority of people have autistic spectrum reorders.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby NMcCoy » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:38 am UTC

A rather poignant one for me; I have recently had to come to terms with not only the fact that people are complicated (which I knew) but that I'm complicated, and trying to pretend that I'm not doesn't work.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby guyy » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:44 am UTC

This is why it confuses me when people say math and science are hard.

I mean yeah, they can be hard, but compared to human social rules, math and science are about as difficult as balancing a cone on its base.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby cephalopod9 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:45 am UTC

I think this is why I'm probably not going to get into Asimov's Foundation series.
People are weird and there is way too much chaos and information you can't really collect involved to begin approaching treating it like an equation.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby drazen » Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:45 am UTC

Actually, you can kind of predict the stock market with one simple rule: investors massively overreact to almost everything. :)

As far as sex bringing needless drama, couldn't the same be said for almost every facet of human interaction? Off the top of my head, also complicated are: romance in general, vacationing with friends, and some parts of friendship in general.

I always bring it down to one rule: almost all people, in any interaction, tend to have irrational expectations of others, starting with one where they expect them all to conform to their way of doing things and agree with their rules. No one's immune, and some of these things are far more damaging than others.

Scott Adams (Dilbert author) summed it up as follows: most people have three driving qualities... selfishness, stupidity, and horniness. I'd also add "arrogance" to that list ("Order of the Stick" had a funny bit about the "Debate Hall Where You're Always Right" in the Lawful Good afterlife). Now, think about what that means for any simplification of "the rules!"

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Mostley » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:17 am UTC

That comic reminds me of Erik von Markovik (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mystery_(pickup_artist)) he's a geek who tried to figure out social dynamics. Some think successfully. Interesting stuff anyway.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby crazdgamer » Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:52 am UTC

As someone who has witnessed relationship-related drama unfold over the last couple of weeks, I can definitively say, for the first time,

Randall, get out of my head.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby isamaru » Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:30 am UTC

Sad, but SO true.

crazdgamer wrote:As someone who has witnessed relationship-related drama unfold over the last couple of weeks, I can definitively say, for the first time,
Randall, get out of my head.


Same here. So Randall, please, get out of our collective head! :D

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby SocialSceneRepairman » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:13 pm UTC

Ah, the great Secret Council of Hippies. Where would we be without them?

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby isamaru » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:40 pm UTC

sdedeo wrote:This is a terrific comic for a complex systems lecture. Unfortunately, it is not (even close) to being PG-13, which is about as risqué as you can go in an academic environment. One can just delete the superfluous "holy shit", but does anyone have a good suggestion for an alternative to "sex"? Not an alternative to sex, mind you, an alternative to "sex".

Since when is "sex" risky in academic enviroment? Not sex, mind you, "sex".

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby togo1960 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:14 pm UTC

I'd suggest that whenever an action within a system has a natural (and functional) consequence, any attempt to remove the consequence from the action tends to increase system complexity.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Sprocket » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:22 pm UTC

TurtleMidget wrote:I ¡This cheese is burning me!'d.

Edit: Is l-o-l replaced with that sentence?
Then, uh, I laughed out loud.
Yeah it's kind of retarded, but we all know when we see tcibm it means l o l. ::shrug:: Mods...
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby FireZs » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:29 pm UTC

I can see why people would dislike this comic: if they had been thinking about something like this already, or if they're just not getting any.

When what happens in the comic happens in real life, usually the people involved don't even know what the current rules are.
Last edited by FireZs on Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:50 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Sprocket » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:31 pm UTC

StClair wrote:Yes. This is precisely how geeks earnestly set out to "solve" problems that have simply been waiting for someone as brilliant as us to come along.

Good comic.
Yeah. It's so funny how certain types of geeks A) think things like this wouldn't have been fixed a long time ago and that they're the only ones to ever decide to try it out despite all of human history and imense genius that preceeds them. and B) the ones who feel the need to constantly prove their geek hood seem to feign this bizarre notion that humans can, nay, SHOULD be simplified. (like the guy who wants to give us all aspergers..yeah that'd be effing grea...I've known too many people with aspergers...)

I like how Randall acknowledges and makes fun of the stupidity of geeks. It makes me happy. Also how he revels in the complexity of humanity but doesn't want everyone to be schizotypally eccentric either.
Last edited by Sprocket on Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:39 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby philsov » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:37 pm UTC

"because while we may not have the solution, we sure as hell do have plotted data on our failures."
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Sprocket » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:50 pm UTC

guyy wrote:This is why it confuses me when people say math and science are hard.

I mean yeah, they can be hard, but compared to human social rules, math and science are about as difficult as balancing a cone on its base.

Allow me to explain - social stuff - you learn it by being around humans and interacting with them, and some parts of it are kind of unknowable, especially when the range of neourosis are taken into account. You either figure things out naturally, or you're dealing with things that can't exactly be figured out. There's not generally one right and an infinite number of wrongs. You can't really put any effort into understanding people completely, and difficulty in this case is based on the amount of effort one needs to apply in order to understand something.

Math on the other hand takes effort to actaully learn how to accomplish. Sure you can understand it conceptually without TOO much effort, but once you get into the actual DOING of it, you need to be able to hold a lot of concepts together, and repeat and repeat things, very intentionally, until you have them memorized. Plus even the concepts you have to use with some regularlity to retain.

You have to go out of your way to put math infront of you and sit and do it, alone so you can focus. Social interaction on the other hand is frequently enjoyable, it involves being WITH people, which people generally want anyway, and they learn as they go through things that are natural drives (being with others) for them. They don't have to go out of their way to put a person in front of them and study and think about it, they don't have to read about them or study to have some pretty good ideas how they work. Most importantly, you are a human, which gives you a great base for understanding how to interact with them, because you have some idea of how you might like to be interacted with.
You are not mathematics.

Mathematics had to be invented, human interaction developed naturally. Humans don't totally understand eachother, but in order to do math you have to know exactly how it works. To interact with humans, you don't need to know much more than how you would like to be treated.
Last edited by Sprocket on Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:57 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby FireZs » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:56 pm UTC

Sprocket wrote:... You have to go out of your way to put math infront of you and sit and do it, alone so you can focus. Social interaction on the other hand is frequently enjoyable, it involves being WITH people, which people generally want anyway, and they learn as they go through things that are natural drives (being with others) for them. ...


Unless you have Asperger's.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Sprocket » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:57 pm UTC

FireZs wrote:
Sprocket wrote:... You have to go out of your way to put math infront of you and sit and do it, alone so you can focus. Social interaction on the other hand is frequently enjoyable, it involves being WITH people, which people generally want anyway, and they learn as they go through things that are natural drives (being with others) for them. ...


Unless you have Asperger's.
FireZs, we all know, people with Aspergers don't count. :wink: but actually the thought was in my head when I wrote that. Also apparently people with Aspergers need friends too...huh.

isamaru wrote:
sdedeo wrote:This is a terrific comic for a complex systems lecture. Unfortunately, it is not (even close) to being PG-13, which is about as risqué as you can go in an academic environment. One can just delete the superfluous "holy shit", but does anyone have a good suggestion for an alternative to "sex"? Not an alternative to sex, mind you, an alternative to "sex".

Since when is "sex" risky in academic enviroment? Not sex, mind you, "sex".
:D This pleased me.
Last edited by Sprocket on Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:59 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby FireZs » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:58 pm UTC

Sprocket wrote:FireZs, we all know, people with Aspergers don't count. :wink:


Well, the person to whom you were replying may have it, so...

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby fenrir_darkwolf » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:19 pm UTC

sdedeo wrote:This is a terrific comic for a complex systems lecture. Unfortunately, it is not (even close) to being PG-13, which is about as risqué as you can go in an academic environment. One can just delete the superfluous "holy shit", but does anyone have a good suggestion for an alternative to "sex"? Not an alternative to sex, mind you, an alternative to "sex".

?? What university do you go to? My profs spend most of their time lecturing in and around the gutter.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Ocker3 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:24 pm UTC

it struck me that door/wall in the last panel looks to be bulging, perhaps because of the immensity of the drama on the far side. Or it could have been a slip of Randall's hand. But he's infallible, so he must have meant for it to be that way.

I posit that sex involves drama because it's not something the brain takes lightly (like playing a few games of tennis), but something the brain takes quite seriously, akin to spending a week or two with someone (ymmv). Too many deep brain connections for it to be as casual as a cup of coffee.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby endolith » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:31 pm UTC

Sprocket wrote:Yeah. It's so funny how certain types of geeks A) think things like this wouldn't have been fixed a long time ago and that they're the only ones to ever decide to try it out despite all of human history and imense genius that preceeds them.


Truth.

I kind of hypothesize that this problem was fixed a long time ago, intentionally, with the invention of life-long monogamous marriage. It's not natural (animals don't do it), and maybe is less good than the "natural" state in some ways, but it's much better in other ways and has kept people relatively peaceful and happy for thousands of years.

But maybe this solution is losing its effectiveness in the modern world? With changes in lifestyle, life expectancy, population density, contraception, paternity testing, gender equality, information technology, etc. etc., some people think it's time for a new strategy.

Of course it's not a simple problem to solve...

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Kadzar » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:33 pm UTC

cephalopod9 wrote:I think this is why I'm probably not going to get into Asimov's Foundation series.
People are weird and there is way too much chaos and information you can't really collect involved to begin approaching treating it like an equation.
That's not a good enough reason to not read the Foundation series. You're missing out on some great books.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby FireZs » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:37 pm UTC

Ocker3 wrote:I posit that sex involves drama because it's not something the brain takes lightly (like playing a few games of tennis), but something the brain takes quite seriously, akin to spending a week or two with someone (ymmv). Too many deep brain connections for it to be as casual as a cup of coffee.


No, sex can be casual for some people. That's not why drama happens.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby FireZs » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:42 pm UTC

endolith wrote:Of course it's not a simple problem to solve...


What's the problem? What're the rules? Enormous amounts of energy are spent just working on just those two questions, let alone addressing the first and changing the second.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby kirkjerk » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:50 pm UTC

Can someone explain why the Asian markets, with their timeshift because of being on the other side of the planet, can't be used as a leading indicator for stocks in the US markets? Or vice versa... it seems like there's a pretty decent correlation. I know it's tough to buy in in an economical way, but if they were letting people do daytrading in the late 90s, is there the infrastructure for this?
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby space_raptor » Wed Jun 03, 2009 2:52 pm UTC

Great comic. Not super funny, but that's okay.

The stock market crack especially hits home, for me, an engineer who recently entered the stock market. It's all voodoo. although I've done pretty well this year, those of you who can should be investing.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Yusuke » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:01 pm UTC

As someone who has written a set of RPG-style rules for the phrase "We need to talk," this comic really hits home. There was a point where I was carrying D12s around with me at all times.

Looking back, that might have been when things started going downhill.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Ocker3 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:04 pm UTC

endolith wrote:with the invention of life-long monogamous marriage. It's not natural (animals don't do it),



uh, how do you categorise 'animals' then? Just mammals? Why do I keep hearing about certain species mating for life? http://www.wonderquest.com/animal-mate-for-life.htmhttp://www.highnorth.no/Library/Myths/gr-co-wh.htm (the list includes birds, land-based animals, and apparently some sea-going ones as well)

now it may be quibbling about totalities (given the high number of 'mostly monogamous' species as opposed to the 'completely monogamous' species), but it's not 100% one way or the other.


FireZs wrote:
Ocker3 wrote:I posit that sex involves drama because it's not something the brain takes lightly (like playing a few games of tennis), but something the brain takes quite seriously, akin to spending a week or two with someone (ymmv). Too many deep brain connections for it to be as casual as a cup of coffee.


No, sex can be casual for some people. That's not why drama happens.


you said 'some', which somewhat intuits "not for most", which would kinda involve it leading to drama . . .
Last edited by Ocker3 on Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:07 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby FireZs » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:06 pm UTC

kirkjerk wrote:Can someone explain why the Asian markets, with their timeshift because of being on the other side of the planet, can't be used as a leading indicator for stocks in the US markets? Or vice versa... it seems like there's a pretty decent correlation. I know it's tough to buy in in an economical way, but if they were letting people do daytrading in the late 90s, is there the infrastructure for this?


That's like saying how the stock market does in the morning is a leading indicator of how it does in the afternoon. Doesn't work like that in general.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Kevin11_11 » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:16 pm UTC

lol I was just studying interrupted time series designs. Thanks Randall :D

Also, I think you should make a comic about putting exclamation points after letters like lowercase l (i.e Randall!!!)

looks weird :P

why the heck is "this cheese is burning me" appended to my post!!?!!??!

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Kailen » Wed Jun 03, 2009 3:24 pm UTC

I don't get all the hate for this comic either. I think it's a funny, and sadly accurate, comic.
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby mootinator » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:05 pm UTC

westrim wrote:This comic reminds me of when I invented Socialism at the age of 8. I had thought about it for a week or so, then laid it out for my dad during a drive home from somewhere (with everything shared equally and slackers put in a nice prison until they pulled it together and such- ah, the idealism). He looked at me funny, but waited until we got home to say anything. Then he showed me the encyclopedia entry and explained to me that people just don't work that way most of the time.


Well that's a shame. If your father didn't have an encyclopedia to show you you might be president right now!

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby FireZs » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:05 pm UTC

Ocker3 wrote:
FireZs wrote:No, sex can be casual for some people. That's not why drama happens.


you said 'some', which somewhat intuits "not for most", which would kinda involve it leading to drama . . .


And you seemed to suggest that sex is serious business for everyone. What you're saying here is closer to the truth, but I still say that it doesn't have much to do with how seriously people take sex. Or rather, how seriously you take sex is a symptom, rather than a root cause. The root causes can cause drama even in situations where there is no sex involved.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Frankie » Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:19 pm UTC

westrim wrote:This comic reminds me of when I invented Socialism at the age of 8. I had thought about it for a week or so, then laid it out for my dad


(Heh, I didn't know that the forum autoconverts L O L into LOL). My 8 year old did the exact same thing a few months ago. We had an excellent dinner discussion on pluses and minuses of the major political/economic systems of the world. Capitalism is cruel and unfair, but everything else humans have tried so far is even worse.

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby uncivlengr » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:14 pm UTC

Some people try to accomplish something and their actions have the opposite affect, and the character makes some shallow comment on the complexities of human relationships.

Randall, get out of every crappy sitcom writer's head.

edit: reminds me of a less funny version of the Seinfield episode "The Deal" (note that this point is unrelated to the reference to crappy sitcoms).
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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby cheeseheadtotherescue » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:24 pm UTC

This reminds me of a quote from "A Beautiful Mind" where Nash is talking to a woman in the bar and says, "I don't exactly know what I am required to say in order for you to have intercourse with me. But could we assume that I said all that. I mean essentially we are talking about fluid exchange right? So could we go just straight to the sex?"

If only it could be so simple. _sigh_

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby blueberry » Wed Jun 03, 2009 5:29 pm UTC

Oh geez, I can't tell you how many times this has happened in my geek circles. Randall get out of my head! Generally for me it's happened along the lines of a couple deciding that monogamy is an outdated system and decides to try polyamory without taking into consideration all the new problems they'll encounter. Or, another popular one, a few friends decide to be buddies but then don't factor in that sometimes when you have sex you develop feelings for the other person. Then it turns into a triangle or quadrangle of jealousy fueled social doom. Personally, I don't believe polygamy/non-monogamy/monogamy/whatever other system you can think of is particularly superior to the other. They all have their pros and cons and can "work" in a particular culture. However, the drama spike in my experience comes from people who believe everything will be magically perfect and "fixed" once they switch to the new social rules. Whenever there is change there is going to be at least a chaotic transition period.

This is a terrific comic for a complex systems lecture. Unfortunately, it is not (even close) to being PG-13, which is about as risqué as you can go in an academic environment.

Considering all my anthropology and human sexuality courses, this made me laugh.

I mean yeah, they can be hard, but compared to human social rules, math and science are about as difficult as balancing a cone on its base.

Hence, the creation of the social sciences?

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby Grasshopper » Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:20 pm UTC

Iluvatar wrote:The simple rules would be pretty easy to define. Just remove all the preconceived notions that are attached to it and treat it like any other pleasurable exchange between two people (say, playing tennis, for example)- be safe and have fun. At a glance, this seems like it'd solve all the problems, though as Randall points out, it ain't that easy.


Even that is not that easy, if I play tennis with my wife's sister (who I enjoy playing tennis with, and who enjoys playing tennis with me), then my wife gets pissed off at me for enjoying something with her sister. Thats the true problem with relationships, everyone will get jealous of the time and attention that you spend with/on someone else (some people let things go both consciously and sub-consciously to different degrees, making some people appear more jealous).

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Re: "Drama" Discussion

Postby phillipsjk » Wed Jun 03, 2009 6:28 pm UTC

westrim wrote:This comic reminds me of when I invented Socialism at the age of 8. . .

Yeah? Well, when I learned that the government was accumulating a huge debt when I was 8, I invented "across the board" budget cuts. Being a socialist, my father explained that things aren't that simple. Sometimes you can mess things up by cutting the wrong thing to much. Classic example: deferring roof repairs to pay down debt, then having a catastrophic repair later (due to water damage). The sad part is that example is public policy where I live: there is funding for new infrastructure, but not for maintaining old infrastructure. </offtopic>


space_raptor wrote:The stock market crack especially hits home, for me, an engineer who recently entered the stock market. It's all voodoo. although I've done pretty well this year, those of you who can should be investing.


In high school I came up with a "Buy low, sell high" strategy (relying on the "Greater fool" theory) that I have so far been too scared/lazy to try with real money.
  1. Start with companies that stand out for some reason. For me, it was stock that went up when the market went down.
  2. Research those companies to decide which ones you want to invest in, and how much you want to invest.
  3. Look at the graph of the stock performance over the past year. Try to estimate how much the stock price varies.
  4. Set a price goal 10-20% (of the variability) away from the next expected peak.
  5. Buy the stock when the price is clearly in a "valley." Don't worry if it is still going down (or already going back up).
  6. Hold the stock until you reach your price goal. Don't worry if the stock goes down. If the company goes bankrupt, you will probably lose your money.
  7. Sell the stock at the price goal. Don't beat yourself up too much if the stock goes up to over triple your selling price: you have no way to predict such swings (that can come down just as fast).

The risk, aside from bankruptcy of the company, is that you may be holding a stock for years before your goal is met. Also, if you are leveraged, the bank may force you to sell prematurely if the stock goes too low.

Edit: As with any stock market strategy, it works better when the market is going up on average. Even throwing darts at the stock page in the newspaper works when the market is going up ;)
Did you get the number on that truck?


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