We don’t know what it is, but it sure is something.

I am extremely interested in the ways in which modern science cannot tell us about our past.  Take, for example, a recent boat wreck rediscovery off the coast of Alabama.  The wreck has so far been identified as either the Rachel (wrecked in 1933) or the Monticello (wrecked during the Civil War).  Of course, further study may reveal more possibilities for identification.  The wreck was originally half-buried in sand off the coast and was then (or this is my understanding from the poor wording ofthe article, but that’s another story) thrown further on shore by recent storm systems.

Now, both boats were schooners that did wreck in that general area at about the appropriate time.  So the shape of the ships themselves would probably be somewhat similar.  Still, there are small things that would probably lead to the identification of one boat or the other.  One expert mentions steel cables, which the wreck may or may not have, as possible only for the later ship.  Also there should be some apparent burning on the Civil-War era boat, which supposedly was burning as it ran aground.  Still, Museum of Mobile marine archaeologist Shea McLean says “You can never be 100 percent certain unless you find the bell with ‘Monticello’ on it, but this definitely fits.” Ok.  How about reasonably sure?  How about even more than half sure?  Do I hear 55%?

I can understand some hesitation on the part of the experts to make faulty claims when they have not yet had a real opportunity to understand and investigate the wreckage, so I’m perfectly hapy to wait for some real results.  I also agree that the wreck should be moved and protected as quickly as possible, especially after one strom flung it right up on shore from being half-buried.  Still, the idea of another storm sending the wreck flying “through those houses there like a bowling ball” amuses me.  But I’ll leave the current shipwreck flying jargon in the hands of the experts.

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My roommate

I’ve had some questions of late as to the potential crazies of the girl I now live with.  Ok, I’ve lived with her almost a month now, and I’m still not quite sure.  There’s the lonely factor.  I’m absolutely certain that the fact that she can’t stop talking to me has something to do with her having basically lived on her own for the past year.  But she also has two cats, and is on her way to three.  Not that I mind cats – still the attention she pays to them in place of actual people could be indicative of a slightly imbalanced state of mind.  However, she’s a perfectly sweet and nice girl.  As a roommate, her expectations are low.  And she certainly doesn’t expect to be a part of my life, though she occasinally talks my ear off.

So are the potential crazies really a bad thing?  True, she’s possibly a little awkward to have around if you’re welcoming a new acquaintance into your home.  But she’s not the type to become physically dangerous.  And even if she does, she’s about half my size, wispy, and not nearly as mean as me on a joyous and stress-free day. What could she possibly do?  Even if she were to attempt to talk me to death, there’s always the possibility of fleeing in outright rudeness to get away.

On the other hand, she might be catching.  Let’s face it, I’m not the most socially balanced person all on my own.  Sure I can laugh at myself and often do, but I also tend to act even more ridiculous when I’m nervous.  So am I simply more worried of myself sinking into catladydom?  Or is there some deeper, less ridiculous fear there?  Or does it not have anything to do with my own fear for myself at all?  Is it more about this girl, who I don’t know or have any intention of knowing outside of living in the same apartment as her for a year, who I’ve already comforted on one of her bad days because there doesn’t seem to be anyone else?  What does it say that my roommate came home from her job crying and i was almost afraid to hug her?  What kind of world is that?

Hedging

In English parlance, ‘hedging’ typically refers to statements made to qualify or modify a more extreme position or opinion. Hedging in the financial or investment sense is pretty much the same thing (i.e., covering your butt) but the way in which it occurs is what’s confusing.

So I’ll go over the simple part first. So, you want to invest. Maybe it’s in a stock, or even in a group of stocks, that you think will rise in price. Pretty simple, right? But, what if the market does poorly? What if there’s a universal market crash? How do you protect that investment? The answer is a hedge. A hedge is an investment you make as a protection against risk. Wikipedia has a really good example of how the actual investment might look and perform over a few days, so I won’t bother to re-describe that here. What I will mention is a bit about how the complexity of a hedge works.

A hedge is typically a ‘shorting’ of a stock, meaning a contract for the rights to stock shares in the short term. It could be a swap, an option, or a future, or some other kind of right, but it is often not the actual physical exchange of stocks. Let’s look at an example. You think F industry, of which B stock is a part, is going to do poorly. Or you just think B stock is going to do not-so-well. You would take a short position of this stock, borrowing the stock and selling it at its current market price. Then, at a predetermined or optional future date, you buy the shares back, hopefully at a lower price, and return them to the lender. If the shares of stock actually fell in value, you’ve made a profit.

The question then comes up as to what the lender of the short has gained. Probably there was some sort of money exchanged for the rights to the stock for that period of time, either a percentage or some other exchange. I’m not sure exactly how that technically works yet. Also, I’m not sure I need to. Right now I’m going to go ‘hedge my bets’ that I don’t need to know.