Margin; Long and Short Positions, with Formulas and Examples
What is a margin account?
On UP-C IPO, Reverse Merger and TRA : PRPL, PBF, GNW, CCC
Disclaimer : I'm not a tax attorney or CPA, I trade from my mom's basement and my day job is handing out flyers while wearing a hotdog costume. Previous Posthttps://www.reddit.com/wallstreetbets/comments/ia18vv/prpl_lousyand_kind_of_shady_tax_receivable/ Right since wsb like small caps now, let's take a moment to learn about public companies with Umbrella Partnership C Corporation (UP-C) IPO structure. This won't actually give you any trading edge whatsoever, but will help you to lose money more slowly or flatten the loss porn curve shall we say. PRPL went public by a reverse merger with a shell company but ended up having pretty much the same corporate structure as a typical UP-C IPO. We will compare last week favourite meme stock PRPL with other small caps PLC that also have UP-C structure. I couldn't do it with sector peers because none of TPX, SNBR and CSPR have it. TRA and UP-C started in early 2000s have been gaining popularity since. https://preview.redd.it/wdvyi08slkh51.png?width=696&format=png&auto=webp&s=401a90effe15f988b826f46f67ee88e9cb8b540d Despite it's name, Tax Receivable Agreement (TRA) functions mostly as a way for pre-IPO owners to siphon cash from public companies. There are plenty of other ways for a public company to get step up basis on tax without TRA, it's just the only one that siphon cash back to the pre-IPO owners. It has always been somewhat controversial and challenged many times, several legislation was introduced but on all occasions congress chose not to pass it. Now a UP-C IPO is when the income generating company is actually a LLC or partnership. in PRPL case this is Purple LLC. It's basically a clever way for the pre-IPO shareholders/partners to retain pass trough treatment of income and to avoid double taxation (corporate and shareholder level). Here's a small diagram of what it looks like https://preview.redd.it/upzadeixlkh51.png?width=996&format=png&auto=webp&s=c2b72c62746cb77aaf1e673d5476c4f5c6905699 This UP-C structure have added inherent risk for public shareholders such as
Dividends and assets
The public company have no material assets besides ownership of common units in the partnership, thus the ability to generate revenues and pay dividends will depend on the partnership results and distributions received.
The original partners may have majority voting power in the partnership after IPO, this is not the case for PRPL but this relates to PRPL income statement, where they state the income due to non controlling interest in EPS calculation
Tax Receivable Agreement (TRA)
Which we are about to discuss For PRPL, Purple LLC would be the original partnership and PubCo would be Purple Innovation PLC. Also similar is the class A and Class B stocks. Class B which are retained by the original partners exchangeable to Class A stock. When they actually exchange/sell the class B stock into Class A, on a typical UP-C this will trigger a step up basis under TRA(Tax Receivable Agreement). https://preview.redd.it/1vy252zylkh51.png?width=544&format=png&auto=webp&s=b1e310c2ae1d16d473bcbe5bbc224420b6ec7fd1 So when the partners of the partnership sell, they not only get the proceeds but also a amortizable tax deductions from goodwill. Example of a simplified case; if the pre-IPO value is 10$ and current stock price is 30, the basis step up would be 20$ x amount of shares sold booked as liability in the public company. Say Partner X exchange and sells 1 million of class B stock in the market, besides getting 30 MM USD, he will also get a certain percentage of the step up basis (usually 80%) or about 20 MM USD * 0.8 = 16 MM USD. This 16 MM USD is booked as TRA liability in the public company. Payable by cash to the partner when that tax benefit is realized, on the basis of with/without calculation. Some TRAs may even include the Net Operating Loss (NOLs) and other tax assets in the partnership on stock sale. A typical TRA sharing percentage is about 80% for the partner and 20% for the public company with a duration of 10-15 years. TRA is not specifically tied to stock ownership, for example in PRPL, innoHold may sell all their stake when PRPL stock reaches an all time high. Besides the sales proceeds they would then continue to receive cash for realized stock benefit from the step up for 10-15 years after they ceased to be stock holders. Furthermore the way this is recorded in the balance sheet may use a "more likely then not" threshold so it won't actually appear until the company starts making a taxable profit. But they usually have a little note in the income tax section regarding it. FROM PRPL 10-Q Q1 in notes on financial statements (income taxes)
Early Warning of Possible Valuation Allowance Reversal in Future Periods The Company recorded a valuation allowance against all of the deferred tax assets as of March 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019. The Company intends to continue maintaining a full valuation allowance on the deferred tax assets until there is sufficient evidence to support the reversal of all or some portion of these allowances. However, given the current earnings and anticipated future earnings, the Company believes there is a reasonable possibility that within the next 12 months, sufficient positive evidence may become available to allow the Company to reach a conclusion that a significant portion of the valuation allowance will no longer be needed. Release of the valuation allowance would result in the recognition of certain deferred tax assets and a decrease to income tax expense for the period the release is recorded. In addition, the full potential future TRA Liability will be required to be recognized. The exact timing and amount of the valuation allowance release are subject to change on the basis of the level of profitability that the Company is able to actually achieve.
FROM PRPL 10-Q Q2 in notes on financial statements (income taxes)
For the period ended June 30, 2020, and in assessing the realizability of deferred tax assets, management determined that it is now more likely than not that its net deferred tax assets will be realized and that a full valuation allowance for its deferred tax assets is no longer appropriate. As of the period ended June 30, 2020, the Company is no longer in a three-year cumulative loss position. As a result of the removal of this negative evidence and other items of positive evidence, the Company has determined that the deferred tax assets are now more likely than not to be realized. Due to the release of the Company's valuation allowance on the deferred tax assets to which the Tax Receivable Agreement liability relates, only $78.7 of the $81.5 million has been recorded to date ($0.5 million in 2019 and an incremental $78.2 million through June 30, 2020). Of the total liability recorded during 2020, $45.3 million relates to current year exchanges and was recorded as an adjustment to equity and $32.9 was recorded to expense in order to reestablish the TRA related to prior year exchanges. The additional $2.8 million is expected to be recorded in the third and fourth quarters of the year ending December 31, 2020.
Great now that the company have started making money, time to surprise public stock holders with instant liability. PRPL Balance sheet Q2 Another cool feature of TRA is the Indemnification/clawback obligations.
No assurance can be given that the IRS will agree with the allocation of value among our assets or that sufficient subsequent payments under the tax receivable agreement will be available to offset prior payments for disallowed benefits. As a result, in certain circumstances, payments could be made under the tax receivable agreement in excess of the benefit that we actually realize in respect of the increases in tax basis resulting from our purchases or exchanges of LLC Units and certain other tax benefits related to our entering into the tax receivable agreement
And even more wicked
Some companies pay interest on their TRA liability, even before the tax benefit is realized
To top it off on a few TRAs spotted in the wild
Furthermore, payments under the tax receivable agreement will give rise to additional tax benefits and therefore additional payments under the tax receivable agreement itself
Yep, paying the TRA will lead to another tax benefit attributed to the TRA leading to an increase in the TRA liability. It's like a perpetual motion machine. Besides PRPL, The public markets have a history of underestimating and not fully understanding TRA impact Let's take a look at PBF Energy TRA liability, pre IPO it was estimated to be only about 96.8 MM USD https://preview.redd.it/yttj5bg7mkh51.png?width=802&format=png&auto=webp&s=bdb041cf455bf0e74daf55ec2fef7ed42b97703d The drop you see in 2017 was due to the TCJA legislation enacted reducing corporate tax rate. Because of rona PBF market cap has fallen off a cliff since then, but you get the point, TRA liability increases in size along with company market cap and assets. In order to avoid the swelling cost of TRAs, Some companies have negotiated a cap on TRA payments. For example, when Genworth Financial (GNW) entered into a TRA with General Electric following their separation, the companies agreed on a maximum aggregate payment to GE of $640 million. As described in Genworth’s March 1, 2005 10-K filing: To put that number in context, $640 million is 35% of Genworth’s 2004 EBITDA. PRPL currently doesn't have any such cap. For getting out of a TRA, Clarivate Analytics(CCC) recently sought early termination / buyout of their TRA https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/clarivate-analytics-announces-buyout-of-tax-receivable-agreement-300905700.html The amount is usually NPV of potential tax benefits, which as you can imagine is very imprecise and will depend a lot on partners discretion. Comments from Tax Professionals on TRA:
TRAs fundamentally change the nature of IPOs by transferring value from public shareholders to the pre-IPO owners. This Article shows that TRAs have rapidly risen in popularity and have very recently evolved in ways that make them universally available to any IPO. This Article analyzes the ways that TRAs transfer wealth from public companies to pre-IPO owners, presents previously overlooked economic and disclosure issues arising in these transactions, and argues that the SEC should require companies to publicly disclose these material risks. Vanderbilt Law Review A few theories have emerged as to why the public markets do not factor a TRA in to the valuation of a business and its stock price. Foremost is the argument that public companies are valued in terms of multiples of their earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization and that “accounting items like a reduction in a deferred tax asset or a tax expense aren’t reflected in EBITDA.” Taxnotes, Special Report August 2017
What those lawyers are saying is basically that TRAs are made possible by retards buying stocks and not reading the fine print.
TL;DR: When you do DD on a company it's not just about topline and gross margin, verify the corporate structure and liabilities agreements so you won't be surprised come earnings.
[China][US]How China sees George Floyd's death and BLM protests
DISCLAMIER: As I have been saying in my previous posts and comments, I dare not say I am an expert on any of these fields. My source of information is greatly limited by my views and therefore my opinions could be biased. It is almost certain that I could be misinformed, because Chinese media are rephrasing their American peers, who by themself would their own rephrasings; and the news that came to China would be interpreted by newsreaders that are subjective to their own inherent perspectives. Hence 3 layers of filters. This post is about China's (official and otherwise) views of an issue that happened across the ocean. My focus will be on these views, and therefore what they tell us about a grander aspect of China. I will try to be delicate with my wordings and will explicitly expound whether a statement is a fact, other people's opinion, or my own. 1. The official narratives of these events With the Sino-US tension building up and China and Trump not seeing eye to eye, it is predictable that the event will be seen generally as the oppressed groups revolting against the American government, and both the state media and Foreign Ministry spokesmen/spokeswomen are firing on all cylinders. In most recent news, Xinwen Lianbo, the official mouthpiece of Chinese government, says in a militant tone "Pompeo, the man that dines on lies, is doing everything to promote his 'Liar Diplomacy'"(把撒谎当饭吃的蓬佩奥正在全力推销“骗子外交”), and that Pompeo's lies that tie China with the death of George Floyd will "put to shame the world-class sci-fi novelists". There are many news report focusing on how African-Americans are systematically discriminated in the US, and that their struggles are objectively reflected by the protest; and specifically how Trump is tearing the fabrics of American demographics apart. We are more confident in these accusations especially after the pandemic where the US failed to control the spread compared to our successful measures, proving that US is as systematically flawed. China has been quite supportive of the civil rights movements in the US; Mao, in the 60s, wrote articles supporting these movements and expressed his condolences upon Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. Robert Williams, a civil rights leader that was exiled to Cuba at the time, visited China and was received by Mao in 1969. After all, the right side of Tiananmen gate at the center of our capital writes "Long live the great unity of the people of the world" in bold letters; and the ultimate purpose of our party is to set free all the enslaved classes from exploitation and oppression, domestic and beyond. Soviet Union, China's "Big Brother" at the time, was supportive of these movements as well. However, the supportive tone might face a backlash eventually, against the officially approved values that the keynote of China's development is stability. It is officially believed that all of China's glory in the last 40 years came from a economy-centered stable society; whether we're talking about the war times in the early 20s or the upheavals during Cultural Revolution, the conclusion is that China must maintain the stability against all possible turmoils. Hence another perspective of the official narrative is the chaos induced by the protests and the subsequent damage to American society. I am not certain about the scale of the actual protests, but quite certain that to some extent, it is being amplified by first the US press and then by Chinese media. In this scenario, China is merely "watching the opposite side of the river bank burn". The fire could potentially cause a spark on this side of river; actually, there has already been a fire sparked over a year ago in south-eastern regions of China. Therefore there seems to be a dilemma: while we are to support the protests across the ocean, it seems the same logic could be used to justify the protests down there. Many similarities could be drawn upon; started as a small criminal case, thousands of people gathering, outliers damaging properties and hurting people, police taking firm yet aggressive approaches, misinformation flying around, and even that the country leaders accusing foreign powers' involvement in stirring up trouble and later rebuked by the accused ones. I think all Chinese media, official and otherwise, are taking a cautious approach in reporting US protests and matters alike. Because going further into the issues leads to the explanation of the differences between these two protests, and why we should support one but denounce another. What helps with this approach is that overseas Chinese, or overseas eastern Asians in general, is more alienated from these massive allies with chaotic nature compared to African Americans, and tend to protect their own individual properties. I think most Americans will recall the 92' LA riot where Korean Americans equipped themselves with armors and protected there shops. There has been recent news that shops in Chinatown are being looted and overseas Chinese had to defend themselves instead of vigorously aligning with the protests. Which brings me to the next section: how do Chinese people see black people (African Americans in the US and African people in Africa)? Or more broadly, foreigners in general? 2. Blackfacing and white monkeys I remember the time when my extended family gathered around to celebrate lunar new year two years ago. We were chitchatting, dining around a large table and switched to CCTV New Year's Gala, the most important and lavish TV programme in China watched by millions of people on new year's eve (although in recent years it is losing its luster a lot). The gala involves a wide variety of elaborate performance from singing, dancing to stand-ups and comedies. It is also the most scrutinized show, with every detail carefully designed so it exhibits the most positive images and proper values. You could imagine my suprise when this happened. The comedy is about Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Railway; and while some of these actors are from Africa, one main character was played by a Chinese actress; with blackfacing, stuffed buttock amongst other stereotypical features. I immediately consulted some of my learned friends. They expressed some concerns that it might cause international controversies (which it later did); but when I turned to my family, they could not understand how it is any insulting. Here is how I think of it. I would never think that my knowledge is in any way superior than my family; after all, I am the only one active on international social media and thus have some basic understanding of these issues, and even made an analytical diagram about it. Most Chinese people are like that. They do not interact with foreigners much, and knowing blackfacing would be as useless. But this is, as is said earlier, an elaborate show that went through so many professional scrutinizing. And yet it was aired. Was none of the professionals aware of the situation? What's more, all those African actors - they went through months of practicing and rehersals with their Chinese coworkers - what did they think of the portrayal? More than that, maybe I do not understand the context of blackfacing enough either, and that perhaps the Africans from Africa don't consider blackfacing an insult, but only those living in white-majority societies do? And the fuss over this show is just us complying to a west-centric culture? This example above is to demostrate that China, while being increasingly active in diplomatics and global trade, could be more thorough when dealing with foreign-related issues. In the event of the protest, the spokesperson of China tweeted that (in English) "All lives matter. We stand firmly with our African friends. We strongly oppose all forms of racial discrimination and inflammatory expressions of racism and hatred." The two inaccuracies are 1) "All lives matter" is the slogan sometime used against BLM, and 2) "African friends" does not sound like the most proper determiner (to be fair, her statement could be justified because that was a retweet following the president of African Union). I think as the grand nation's spokesperson, at least some research is required before posting these tweets; other government leader's ill-formed tweets should not be the excuse for ours. I don't think the gala's directors and the spokesperson meant any harm against these groups, but there could be some improvements. The term "white monkey" is something I've learned after reading it on reddit's todayilearned. Some Chinese companies would hire a Caucasian person to act as their business partner during a commercial negotation and other circumstances, so that their firms would look more classy. I am not sure if this is done by a limited number of companies but exaggerated by reddit; from my work experience I have never heard of anything like that. But the mentality behind "white monkey" could be projected onto other things. One folk-adage goes "first class are the foreigners, second the officials, third the minority groups, last the Han Chinese people". I am not to discuss the underlying nationalistic hints of the saying, but in general, sometimes foreigners in China are in an awkward position, for both the foreigners and Chinese people. About the former form of inconvenience, you can read them from China where it's packed with whining foreign expats. About the latter, a large quantity of (the country is big, so a very small portion is a large quantity) believe that our administration are offering foreigners certain "super-national treatments". In most Chinese colleges, foreign exchange students, mostly from developing countries, enjoy a better scholarship policy, better dormitories amongst other privileges over Chinese students. You can see why some Chinese students are irked by the inequality: having gone through exhaustive and brutal college entrance exams and it turns out the foreign students could get admitted when they couldn't even speak Chinese, and they even have independent bathrooms? On a side note, some rich guys would register their kids with a foreign nationality just because they could admitted to top universities easier. In other news, police officers are extremely efficient in retrieving foreigners' bicycles, helping with their accommodations and others, but inefficient in offering these services to their own citizens. It is jokingly said that if you want a police officer to be mobilized to take your case, just hire a foreigner and let them do the reporting. The reasons behind these privileges are varied. I think it is mostly because 1) officials see the good treatment of foreigners as an "achievement" so they could get promoted while bad handling could cause diplomatic conflicts which means lots of trouble, 2) for some people still, foreigners are in some ways "monkeys" that, white or not, are a spectacularity that could be enshired but not respected for their dignity, and 3) for schools and some other branches, there exist some sorts of quota that, if satisfied, more fundings could be granted (I'm aware of some similar situations in US universities. maybe it exists in your country as well). The result is it attracts some foreigners, and some of them are not exactly well-behaved. I remember my school has a lot of exchange students from South Korea and they smoked like crazy, sometimes under the "no-smoking" sign (My apology to Korean people, I don't think they represent the entirety of your nation). This brings the disdain of some people, most of whom driven by a strong sense of nationalism. When it comes to people of African heritage, they would quote the situation that there are unknown amount of undocumented immigrants from African countries residing in Guangzhou, southern China, and these people has contributed to some amount of criminalities. In other news, three Chinese workers in Zambia were killed, which further brings the question that whether China's trade with Africa is as worthwhile as expected (for African people and China). During the epidemic in China, there have been reports that one African guy attacked a nurse. Many people do not distinguish African Americans and population from sub-Sahara, and therefore added the chaos in BLM protests to their argument against black people. Interestingly, I think the recent BLM protests might have a small but unexpected influence on how Chinese people view the said groups. First it is the supportive tone mentioned before: we are officially offering our sympathy for them. Secondly, I believe the domestic reports about the series of incidents are pretty all-sided. All the news reports, video footages and photographs that could be found on reddit or elsewhere are re-uploaded to Chinese social media so people could see the full picture. There are more in-depth reports and analysis than ever before, and Trevor Noah's monologues are being reposted a lot. The name "Black Lives Matter" itself was used to be unfairly translated as "黑命贵"("black lives are expensive"; indicating that black people's lives are more valuable than others) during the protests in the last few years; but the official translation is leading the interpretation back to its original meanings: "黑人的命也是命"("black people's lives are also lives"). Over George Floyd's death, after people showed remorse, some pointed out that Mr. Floyd was a recidivist and he should not be held a martyr; Others argue that no matter what his nature was, the police brutality could not be whitewashed; some other guys mentioned the former relationship between Chauvin and Floyd, and questioned if the officials are trying to minimize the influence of the conviction, from hate crime to personal revenge. The wish that we could be better at handling cross-cultural issues and that Chinese people could view foreigners more objectively might be pushed forward for a tiny bit from these reports and discussions. 3. Cultural Revolution? In the aforementioned discussions, the ones I'm particularly interested in are those arguments that exclusively exist among Chinese people. Here are two arguments that are, coincidentally or not, both tied to the revolutionary essence of China. The do not represent any aspect of my personal views, and you could think of other counter-arguments, but I think it is interesting to document them below. 1) It is believed that BLM protests would lead to nowhere and would cause no further improvements in American society, because the protestors are poorly organized. The civil rights movements in the last century had got a number of thought leaders including MLK and Malcolm X, and organizations with more unified members like Black Panther Party. Their ideologies could be radical or even morally questionable, but what makes a permanent change are the thoughts that convert people's anger into well-defined goals. It is sad that current-day BLM protestors are more indulged in minor goals like the conviction of one individual police officer or the removal of a specific statue. The unrests in the 60s had certain socialist and communist involvement, and that is very much frowned upon in modern day American society where socialism is considered a threat to the capitalist foundations; America has successfully stigmatized these terms, and protestors these days are more reluctant to embrace the conclusions from this ideology, despite its correctness: racism is not a stand-alone problem, but the tip of the iceberg named class. African Americans are oppressed not just because of the color of their skin, but also the working class that majority of them belong to. Racism against African Americans will exist as long as the inequality between classes is not eliminated. 2) Some people see the resemblance between the recent events and China's cultural revolution, and thus have got some worrisome inklings. One news that was discussed a lot was HBO temporarily pulled Gone with the Wind because of the hinting racisms in the movie. According to HBO, the movie will return with a discussion of its historical context. During Cultural Revolution and many years following that, many literature works written by the ancients and foreigners were allowed to publish only after prepended with Mao's quotes and forewords detailing how this book is from certain aspects against the modern-day socialist values. The ancient literature Outlaws of the Marsh was popularized during Cultural Revolution only because Mao revealed the novel's counterrevolutionary nature, and people are called upon to criticize the book (on Amazon, the numbers of clicks of Gone with the Wind soared). For Chinese people that have gone through this historical period, they see how these sort of reviews that tell people how to think correctly could have the potential of forcing people to form regimented thoughts. Americans (and the Brits, recently) are removing statues of historic figures that were unfortunately also slave owners, and celebrities' old speeches are dug out and re-examined with today's standards. This reminds people of Cultural Revolution too, when historic relics in remembrance of historic figures were destroyed, and "big-character posters" were put up and the people with their names mentioned in the posters were went through brutal struggle sessions because of they had said something counterrevolutionary years ago. A fight should never take this form, no matter how righteous its tenet is.
I have an economics degree, but i dont know if it is quantitative enough for a job as quantitative researcher at a place like two sigma (read for context)
I am from argentina and i managed to take 7 courses from the masters in economics degree at my university so these would be the courses i take each one is one semester long. Please if you have the time read everything and comment what you know because i will take coments very seriously, i doubt because my university due to its small size has not that much variances of the economics title so someone could study much less mathematics and hisor heer degree would say nothing about the difference in courses. these are the most quantitative ones, of course i then have monetary policy and such courses which also applies the mathematical knowledge aquired. Every comment will be much appreciated. Math 1. Math 2 Math 3. Based on math 1 and 2 it further dives to linear algebra, optimization and differential equations Math 4 (from the master) : An introduction to the metric spaces theory and to the lebesgue integral theory stat 1. stat 2. covers the following topics
1.- Random vectors and joint distributions. Discreet and continuous cases. Marginal distributions. Independence of random variables. (Chapter 3 - Sections 3.1 / 3.4 - Reference 1) 2.- Conditional distributions. Discreet and continuous cases. Conditional hope. (Chapter 3 - Section 3.5 - Reference 1) 3.- Covariance and correlation. Variance of sum of independent variables. (Chapter 3 - Sections 3.6 - Reference 1) 4.-Random vector functions. T, Chi-square and F. distributions Applications. (Chapter 3 - Sections 3.6 / Chapter 6 - Reference 1) 5.-Point estimation. Moments method, maximum likelihood method. Asymptotic theory and confidence intervals. Efficiency. Rao-Cramer coat. (Chapter 8 - Sections 8.3 / 8.6 - Reference 1) 6.- Optimal tests. Neyman-Pearson test. Maximum quotient test verisimilitude widespread. Normality test. Relations between tests and confidence intervals. (Chapter 9 - Reference 1) 7.- Test for two independent samples. Normal case. A nonparametric test: the Mann-Whitney test. Test for two paired samples. (Chapter 11- Section 11.2 - Reference 1) 8.- Analysis of categorical data. Homogeneity and independence test. (Chapter 13 - Sections 13.1 / 13.4) econometrics 1.
advanced econometrics (from the master) covers the following topics
The linear model and the method of ordinary least squares. Errorquadratic mean. The “bias-variance” paradigm. Gauss Markov theorem.
Ordinal efficiency. Generalizations. Causal and structural interpretation of linear model.
Least Squares Anatomy. Biases and inaccuracies. The theorem of
Frisch-Waugh-Lovell. Sources of inaccuracies (determinants of variance). Sources of bias (formula of omitted variables). Cardinal efficiency.
Data in panels: error components. Fixed and random effects. Estimate
and inference. Panels as a solution to endogeneity problems. Differences-differences.
Elements of Large Sample Theory: Variable Sequences
random, convergence. Law of large numbers and central limit theorem. Asymptotic consistency and normality. Introduction to estimation theory. Properties of small samples and large samples.
Instrumental variables: simultaneity, errors in variables and omission of
variables. Instrumental variables. Least squares in two stages. Optimality. Overidentification. Hausman tests. Weak instruments, multiplicity of instruments and TSLS performance in practice.
Robust inference and bootstrap: the “consistency and inference” paradigm
valid ”. Heterogeniedades: White's estimator. Dependencies: the “effect of Moulton ”, equicorrelation, clusters and robust inference. Optimal clustering. Finite sample performance. Bootstrap.
Binary dependent variables: linear probability model, logits and
probits. Advantages and disadvantages. Linear models as optimal approximations.
Maximum likelihood: likelihood, score and information. Inequality of
information. Maximum plausible estimate. Stochastic Taylor expansions. Consistency, asymptotic normality, efficiency and invariance. Estimation of asymptotic variance. Quasi-maximum credible estimators.
Sample selectivity: Selection bias, Heckman's estimator in two
stages. Computational problems.
Statistical and machine learning: brief introduction to statistical ideas and
machine learning. The big data paradigm. Prediction vs. estimate. Cross validation. Regularization. Shrinkage, ridge and lasso. Classification trees.
dynamic macroeconomics(from the master) covers the following topics
1) General Equilibrium, static, multiple agents and with no uncertainty (2 classes) Topics: Existence and characterization of GE models of multiple agents with 1 period and no uncertainty. Welfare theorems. Brower - Kakutani existence approach. Bibliography: MWG Ch. 15 -16-17, HV ch. 17. 2) General Equilibrium, finite time, multiple agents with uncertainty (1 class) Topics: Arrow Debreu as a GE walrasian model with multiple heterogeneous agents and uncertainty. Efficiency and existence. De-centralization and trading: Arrow Securities (sequential trading). Bibliography: MWG Ch. 19 3) General Equilibrium, infinite time, multiple agents / 1 agent with uncertainty (1 class) Topics: Arrow Debreu in infinite horizons with multiple agents and uncertainty. Efficiency and complete markets. De-centralization and trading: Arrow Securities. Recursive formulation Bibliography: SL ch. 7 and ch. 10 4) Dynamic Programming and sequential optimization with / without uncertainty (2 classes) Topics: Bellman optimality principle. Envelope theorem. Existence and properties of the Value function (contraction mapping theorem and Blackwell conditions). Properties of the policy function (Berge´s Maximum theorem). Bibliography: SLP ch. 3 -4 and Ch. 9, AC ch. 2-3 Part 2: Topics (6 classes) 5) Economies with Production, 1 agent and with and without uncertainty (1 class) Topics: Planner´s problem and de-centralized equilibrium. Algorithmic solutions. Bibliography: SLP ch. 5, AC ch. 5 and lecture notes 6) Fiscal policy in Economies with Production, 1 agent and no uncertainty (1 class) Topics: Government expenditure and distortionary taxes. Planner and de-centralized equilibrium. Introduction to non-optimal economies. Bibliography: Lecture notes 7) Economies with Production, multiple agents and “no uncertainty” (1 class) Topics: De-centralized equilibrium (long run and short run properties). Introduction to distributional concerns in macro models (idiosyncratic risk and production). "Buera" models. Bibliography: Lecture notes 8) Economies with endowments / production, multiple agents and idiosyncratic uncertainty. Incomplete Market Models. (1 class) Topics: De-centralized equilibrium (long run and short run properties). Introduction to Hugget / Aiyagari “self-insurance” models. Bibliography: SL ch. 13-14, AC ch. 6 and Lecture notes 9) Partial Equilibrium Labor Models. (2 classes) Topics: Offer side: Search. Implications for wages and unemployment duration. Stationary and non-stationary models. Algorithmic solutions. Demand side. Intensive and extensive margins Bibliography: SL ch. 5, AC ch. 9 and Lecture notes
macroeconomics 1 microeconomics 1 macroeconomics 2 microeconomics 2 calculus based with stochastic processes included (it is not the ones people in poli sci take if you were wondering that) big data (from the master) covers the following topics
Introduction: Predict, explain. Causation and prediction. Data mining, big data,
learning, business analytics. Supervised and unsupervised learning.
Regression. Linear, linearizable and non-linear models. Nearby neighbors.
Resampling. Bootstrap and jacknife. Cross validation. Boostrap in big data. Bags of
Regularization and choice of models. Lasso and ridge.
Nonlinear strategies: saturation, base functions, splines, local regression, models
Kernels, densities and non-parametric regression. The curse of dimensionality.
Trees: regression and classification trees. Bagging, boosting.
Support vector machines. Vector classifiers. Hyperplanes.
Dimensionality reduction Main components and factors.
Clusters. Hierarchical and non-hierarchical methods.
Neural networks and deep learning.
time series analysis (from the master) covers the following topics
Contents: the participants, at the end of the course will be able to: Understand and apply the time series methods corresponding to the stationary and non-stationary variables modeling. Identify the properties of time series of the variables, differentiating univariate, multivariate models and systems of equations. Evaluate possible conditional heteroscedasticity problems and model conditional volatilities such as ARCH, GARCH, EGARCH, IGARCH or GARCH-in-mean. Extend these models to multivariate contexts. Make conditional forecasts and evaluate the predictive capacity of different models
dynamic systems (from the master) covers the following topics
Discrete linear systems. Resolution of discrete linear systems of one or more variables. Diagonalization of matrices. Balance points. Stability, asymptotic stability and instability.
Continuous linear systems. Resolution of continuous linear systems of one or more
variables. Vector fields and phase diagrams. Stability, asymptotic stability and balance point instability. Periodic orbits. ´
Continuous nonlinear systems. Linearization of nonlinear systems. Criteria for
balance point stability. Liapunov functions. Notions of stability of Periodic orbits. Analysis of the behavior of a system. Gradient systems.
Discrete nonlinear systems. Linearization of nonlinear systems. Criteria for
balance point stability. Periodic points. Periodic point stability.
Themis is offering New Solutions to Oracle, Promoting the Development of DeFi Projects
On February 16, 2020, on the Ethereum block height 9484688, the DeFi protocol bZx was attacked. The attacker manipulated the price of tokens on multiple DeFi projects to achieve an arbitrage of $360,000 within 15 seconds. On February 18, 2020, bZx was attacked again at the Ethereum block height of 9504627. When bZx shut down the Fulcrum platform for maintenance, the attacker used Synthetix to conduct transactions and finally received $644,000 in revenue. These incidents shocked the entire DeFi industry, as all the operations of the attacker were not technically difficult, and they just took advantage of the DeFi products, with the loopholes of bZx’s Rule. From various subsequent technical analysis, it is obvious that one of the reasons of the successful attacks was bZx’s own product vulnerabilities; while another vital reason was the loophole of Oracle, an important DeFi infrastructure. bZx is a margin trading protocol and users can pledge one currency as a margin and lend another currency under a certain leverage, with the exchange rate provided by an oracle. Before the incident, the Oracle of bZx was using was provided by Kyber, a decentralized automated exchange. However, in the case of insufficient funds, the exchange price is easy to be manipulated in the decentralized exchange based on AMM; and the attacker of this incident manipulated the relative price of WBTC to ETH through the Uniswap exchange pool integrated by Kyber. https://preview.redd.it/sto05aovw4e51.png?width=1046&format=png&auto=webp&s=7d18f67ba2148e3ff67de81aa94bca07dd092298 From October to November 2018, after the EOS ecosystem undertook the Ethereum Fomo3D game, various Dice projects started to launch in the market. However, stolen coin incidents also occurred frequently due to random number problems. Through detailed analysis, it is found that at present, neither Ethereum nor EOS has officially provided any random number interface regarding the development of lottery module. Developers need to write random number generation functions which often use blockchain information as parameters and obtain a random number after a series of calculations. However, as blockchain projects are basically open-sourced, and most random number functions use blockchain information as parameters, in the same block, random functions using the same algorithm will always get the same results, making attackers easily deploy an intermediate contract and keep generating random numbers until they get a satisfactory random number, and later gain revenue through the intermediate contract. As an important infrastructure connecting the real world and the encrypted world, Themis Oracle mainly targets scenarios such as Random Oracle, on-chain asset oracles, and computational oracle verifiable computing. Themis Protocol is a distributed oracle protocol that includes modules such as how to become a data provider, data identification verification, anti-attack algorithm, verifiable random function VRF, and arbitration protocol. https://preview.redd.it/yj8g5qvyw4e51.png?width=832&format=png&auto=webp&s=5827d77b3cb24f070aef9bcd2268d39fd6444acd In terms of Random Oracle, Themis mainly uses VRF (verifiable random function) to conduct result output: The data provider uses VRF to generate a random number, and sends the random number result together with the pledged Themis native token to the smart contract. From the time the data is submitted to the oracle, the verification period for any data submission is limited. After the verification period, data that has not been challenged is called an effective data. Within the validity period of the data, it is scheduled by time, and after it is used up, subsequent requests will be rejected. For the data provided by the data provider, the validators can randomly verify and pass the result to the arbitration node. The arbitration node will execute arbitration on the verification result. If it passes, it will become the final oracle output result. If it fails, the result will be removed and the Themis native token pledged by the data provider will be taken away and used as a reward for data validators and arbitration nodes. If the data provided by the data provider becomes the Themis Oracle output result after the verifications, they will be awarded the native token of Themis. Regarding the working principle of VRF, it can be understood as a hash function combined with asymmetric key technology. Conventional hash functions, such as SHA256, will obtain a 256-bit binary number by performing functional operations on the data to verify whether the data are equal. But for an ideal hash function, its value range should be discrete and uniformly distributed. Given different input values, its output value should be irregular and randomly distributed in the range of the value range. At the same time, there is a simple variant of hash function, that is, the hash function combined with secret key, such as result = SHA256 (secret, info). In this function, in order to receive the result, knowing info only is not enough, you must know the secret before calculating the final result. VRF (Verifiable Random Function) is a hash function combined with asymmetric key technology, such as result = VRF_Hash (SK, info), in which SK is a private key that is kept secret, while PK paired with SK is a public key and needs to be disclosed to the validators. The specific operation process is as follows:
The data provider generates a pair of keys, PK and SK;
The data provider calculates result = VRF_Hash (SK, info);
The data provider calculates proof = VRF_Proof (SK, info);
The data provider submits the result and proof to the data validator;
The data provider submits PK and info to the data validator;
The data validator verify result = VRF_P2H (proof), if it is established, continue with the following steps, otherwise stop;
The data validator calculates True/False = VRF_Verify(PK, info, proof), True means the verification passed, False means the verification failed.
The so-called verification passed refers to whether the proof is generated through info, and whether the result can be calculated through the proof, so as to deduce whether the info and result correspond to a match, and whether there is a problem with the data provided by the data provider. In the entire process, the provider never discloses his private key SK, but the validator can deduce whether info and result match. In view of the fact that effective random number generation cannot be performed on the blockchain at present, Themis Oracle, which focuses on random number, will provide external data support for various DApps developed based on random numbers, securing the core algorithm mechanism of such DApps. In terms of asset prices on the chain, Themis has designed a complete mechanism to ensure the authenticity of the final price of the Oracle:
The data provider mechanism. Anyone in the Themis ecosystem can become data provider, and the price and pledge scale are set by themselves. But the data provider needs to pledge Themis native tokens to the smart contract while submitting the asset price. Any validator who thinks that the price is problematic can raise their doubts. If any verifier considers such price as questionable, it can identify such price. Afterwards, arbitration node will execute arbitration, determine the offer time according to the block of offer, and inquire the true price of current head exchange at such time. If the difference between the price provided by the data provider and the true price is greater than the threshold value, the data provider will lose the Themis (ERC-20) under pledge, which will be used as ecological rewards. If a malicious data provider wishes to influence the final Oracle output by taking advantage of the identity, he will need to use various data provider identities and pledge a large number of native tokens for manipulation. Thanks to the data validators and arbitration nodes, the malicious data provider will lose all the pledged native tokens and the submitted false price information.
Data validators mechanism. For the data provided by any bidder, the validator can question and submit it to arbitration. In order to improve Themis’s pricing efficiency and punish malicious validators, Themis Protocol requires all validator to pledge the original token and provide a new price and asset when raising doubts. Meanwhile, in order to amplify the cost of the attacker, the staking scale of all validators and that of the previous round are amplified by a multiple. The multiple is usually a fixed constant, but it can be adjusted by the Themis ecosystem according to the actual operation. Taking a multiple of 2 for example, the initial data provider pledged the asset size n1, then the verifier who questioned the price needs to pledge n2=2n1, and the number will become n3=2n2=4n1 if the price is questioned again. This means, the price for malicious validator to maintain their desired malicious price will become higher as the number of challenge rounds increase, leading to them losing all pledged assets. Through this mechanism, the validator will either contribute to the correct data or lose an increasing number of pledged native tokens after questioning. It is inevitable that there will be other verifiers on the market for interest arbitrage and data correction.
Token Economy Themis ensures that the data of Themis Oracle is authentic and reliable by setting up data providers, data validators and arbitration nodes, and through the corresponding token reward and punishment mechanism. MIS is the native token of Themis Protocol, which is mainly used as asset pledge and incentive for data providers and verifiers to provide and verify data in the ecosystem. It is also an asset paid by external data callers to retrieve Themis Oracle data. The profit will be proportionally distributed to data providers. The total amount of MIS is 1 billion, of which 10% is for preliminary project promotion. The remaining 90% are produced by mining; to be more specific, 75% are directly awarded to data providers, 10% to developers, and 5% as reward for arbitration nodes and ecological incentive. The production of mining will be decreased and released with ETH block. In the meantime, Themis designed an accumulation reward mechanism: the arbitration node will randomly select some of the proposals as the incorrect data offered by data providers. When a validator challenges the data, the system will not punish the data providers, and accumulation award will be triggered to reward the data validators. Mining economy 90% of the total MIS is produced by mining, 75% is obtained by data providers and data validators, 10% is awarded to developers, and 5% is used as arbitration node rewards and ecological incentives. All 1051499 block from the Ethereum was officially opened. The initial reward for developers and arbitration nodes and ecological incentives is 25MIS/block, and the initial reward for data providers and data verifiers is 20MIS/block. The release plan of developer and arbitration node and ecological incentive is as follows: https://preview.redd.it/4dghovkdx4e51.png?width=926&format=png&auto=webp&s=e5e087fc88582a1c9bc3c403fe5bd7b80b06e3a1 The release plan of data provider incentive is as follows: https://preview.redd.it/th64jkofx4e51.png?width=982&format=png&auto=webp&s=47ef91a4ba30ade7237c7b557b89ee7c7d21a2ab Every 4 million blocks, the MIS awarded per block reduces by 10%. The reward per block at present is 20 MIS. Miners acquire MIS by providing verifiable random number or offering the price of in-chain assets. Whenever miners call mining contracts, the system will charge no service fee (excluding the service fee of ETH). Miners need to pledge certain amount of, at least 100, MIS whenever calling the contract. The computation of MIS mining quantity of miners’ every mining transaction: At first, the number of MIS mining reward N included in the block of package mining transaction shall be worked out. If the height difference of such block from the last block including mining transaction is y, then: N=y×20 It means that, if no mining transaction occurs within a certain period of time, the first new block including mining transaction will acquire all the MIS rewards before. In such way, miners will be motivated to keep mining, so as to maintain the stability of Themis ecology. The MIS mining quantity of such mining transaction is M: https://preview.redd.it/emqenxtkx4e51.png?width=458&format=png&auto=webp&s=720326e249f22b1223ef23fafe1076ada39e284a In which, X is the rank of MIS pledge quantity in such block. People holding the same quantity of MIS rank the same. Assume that there are 12 mining transactions in a block, the rank according to the MIS under pledge of every transaction is: Figure 3. Schematic Diagram of MIS Pledge Ranking Coin-holding ranking is based on jumping ranking weighting algorithm other than the weighted average of users’ coin-holding quantity, with the purpose of avoiding MIS from controlled by the minority, monopoly, and breaking up major clients, as well as realizing community win-win of Themis with best efforts. Figure 4. Schematic Diagram of Every Ranking Area Users ranking in the best ranking area will acquire the most benefits, which provides good mechanism guarantee to attract more users to participate in mining. Meanwhile, it is good for making data providers more scattered, so as to ensure the decentralization of oracle system.
[Bob the hobo] A Celestial Wars Spin-Off Part 0093
PART NINETY-THREE With Robbie and Sam at the hospital, and Lucas and Boyd at work, Llyr’s apartment was once again quiet. So quiet, it hummed in his ears. “It never gets old,” he murmured to himself, pouring himself a mug of water from the tap and heating it with a look. “What does?” Ivy asked from the kitchen doorway behind him. Without breaking from what he was doing, he moved over to an overhead cupboard and added a lemon tea bag to the mug, drawing on his power to increase the water temperature to permeate the tea leaves at a quicker rate. “That moment when you realise all the kids are out of the house.” He added a dollop of honey from another cupboard and stirred it in, then took a tentative sip. Satisfied with the taste, he wrapped the teabag around the spoon and squeezed it out, then held the mug out to her. “Here, babe.” “I do wish you wouldn’t call me babe,” she said, though she accepted the tea with both hands and breathed in the fragrant aroma before taking a mouthful. The sigh that followed on the heels of her smile had Llyr smiling as well. “But you always did know how to make a good cuppa.” Llyr repeated the process for himself, basking in both the compliment as much as her word choice. In his mind, ‘I do wish’ was a substantial step away from ‘don’t’. “Why don’t we go into the sitting room where it’s more comfortable?” he asked, gesturing for her to precede him. Ivy took the corner of the U-sectional that faced the door, while Llyr sat to her right on the middle piece, facing her. “I still can’t believe Sam let you put that monstrosity in the room,” she said, waving her cup towards the fish-tank. Llyr looked across at the tank. “You know why I’ve permitted it,” he said. “Oh, I know why you have permitted it. But I’m stunned Sam hasn’t lost his mind over it. He hates fish tanks, especially saltwater ones.” “This one’s therapeutic.” “I’ve seen that. But the last time I took Sam to an aquarium, he went mental, wanting to liberate all the sea life and return it to the ocean.” Llyr sat back in his chair and chuckled to himself. “I remember that. He was about eight or nine at the time and the marine animals were rallying behind him. None of the staff could understand why their pets were getting upset. That was the first inclination I had about his innate ability.” Ivy stilled, her head turning to him ever so slowly. Llyr raised one hand to cut off her tirade. “I kept my distance, babe. Neither of you knew I was there.” “You were stalking us?” “He was my son, Ivy. Would you have been able to stay away completely if I had custody of our baby boy?” “No,” she admitted, begrudgingly. And since he was on a roll … “Babe, would you mind if I throw a hypothetical at you?” Ivy met his eyes suspiciously. “How much of a hypothetical is it going to be?” she asked in return. Again, his hand went up. “Hear me out, and judge for yourself.” Ivy took a large swallow of her tea and nodded. “What if I was an undercover cop, and my job was to break a ring of black market wildlife traders that were dealing in endangered animals. I can’t use my real name because my private life has to be protected from repercussions. So I go in under an alias. It takes ten years, but eventually, I do the job, and I get enough proof to end that particular ring. I can finally go back to my old life. But the problem is, I’ve met the woman of my dreams undercover, who never knew I was an undercover cop because I wasn’t in a position to tell her.” “Nice way of turning yourself into a hero,” Ivy grumbled, though she hadn’t outrightly rejected his comparison. “But you don’t answer to a higher authority.” “That’s where you’re wrong, babe. I do. Especially when I’m here.” He rolled his hand to the ceiling. “This isn’t my home. It’d be very different if it was. This is my cousin’s home, and she lets us stay here on one condition. That we do not interfere with the human process. I wasn’t supposed to go anywhere near Brent Spar. I was supposed to stay out of it and let the humans handle it.” Llyr’s eyes narrowed into a frown that matched hers. “But how was I supposed to do that? Humans had already proven themselves greedy and self-centred and I knew the ones in charge of the government would take the financial way out and not the environmental one. But if I came in on it as a Nascerdios, then Bolayne could come in swinging from his side of wealth. People get hurt when we lock horns in earnest, babe, and my cousin won’t allow it. So the only way I could be of any help was to abandon the family name and join the ranks as one of you. And I did that. For ten long years. We did that, babe. And we won! And we celebrated. I was very careful up to that point to not get you pregnant because this was exactly what I was trying to avoid.” “You still lied to me.” “I had to, babe. It was the only way I was allowed to stay.” Although he hadn’t wanted to meet her eyes, his upbringing prevented him from looking away. As such, he felt the full force of her scowl. “The second I revealed my lineage, I had to go. At least, right up until we won. Then it didn’t matter.” “Except it did,” Ivy countered. “In the biggest way possible.” Llyr squared his shoulders. “I’m never going to regret Sam, or what we shared that brought him into being.” “No. Neither will I,” she conceded. The two drank their tea in silence for a few minutes. “I love you, Ivy.” “I know.” “Is there really no hope for us?” He watched Ivy sigh and lean back in her seat. “Maybe if I had a thousand years to get over it,” she admitted. At that, Llyr did break eye contact, shifting his attention to the fish tank. “What?” she asked. “Dammit, Llyr, what else aren’t you telling me?” Llyr chewed on his bottom lip. “Llyr,” she growled, her tone both reprimanding and warning. Llyr’s eyes darted to her. “We could’ve had thousands of years, babe, but I traded my favour for Mason’s swift recovery.” Ivy blinked several times, then leaned forward and put her drink on the table. “You want to run that by me again?” Llyr rubbed the back of his neck but knew there was no dodging the subject now that he’d stupidly brought it up. “My cousin gave us all one favour to draw on while we were here. Most of the others have already used up their favour, but I was hanging on to mine for something special. Or in your case, someone. You’ve mentioned several times that Sam would forget you in a hundred years when you’re gone. I call bullshit on that, but I also knew it didn’t matter because I wanted to use my favour on you. Give you centuries of life alongside me and Sam.” “And … she could have just made it happen? What is she, a genie?” Llyr snorted. “You know what we are, babe, and this is her realm. She has all the power here. Not us.” “Would I have had a say in the matter?” Llyr nodded. “In order to make it work, I would’ve needed to marry you, so yeah, you would’ve definitely had the final say.” He could see that placated her, marginally and went back to drinking his tea. “And how does Mason fit into this?” “He’s going to make a full recovery, in record time.” Her lips circled into a clear ‘O’ as realisation dawned and Llyr nodded. “Yeah. So now, I don’t have a favour anymore. Which means Sam and I will only have a few decades with you at best now.” Ivy reached over and placed her hand on his leg, squeezing lightly. “A few decades is all most humans have, Llyr. It’s why we have to make the most of the time we have. You did a good thing …” Ivy’s words were cut off as the front door opened and Robbie came in. He paused in the entryway to kick off his shoes and came into the sitting room. His eyes widened when he saw Ivy and Llyr in the lounge, and with hands raised, he said, “I-I-I’m just … I’ll just … be in Sam’s room … with a headset on … not hearing a thing!” And with that, he took off down the hallway. “I was never here!” he shouted, right before he banged the door shut. Very loudly. Ivy looked across at Llyr and huffed in amusement, taking back her hand. “That boy is such a hopeless romantic.” “Is that necessarily a bad thing?” She smiled and picked up her tea. “You’re a good man, Llyr. You always were.” Llyr crept his left shoulder towards Ivy. But before anything more could come of it, his phone rang. “Someone better be dying, or someone’s going to be,” he growled, ignoring the snicker from Ivy as he rose to his feet and went into the kitchen to answer it. The words that were spoken put a pin the size of a ballista bolt through his good mood. “What?! When?!” he snarled, unable to keep his temper in check. He closed his eyes and ran the wrist that was holding his phone across his forehead. Shit, shit, shit, shit…shit! he thought, knowing better than to swear aloud with his cousin on the other end. He liked having the ability to swear when it was warranted. He gave a half-huff/half-growl and returned to the conversation. “Yeah, I’m still here. Thanks for the heads up, cuz.” He ended the call and refrained from pegging the phone at the wall by reminding himself he would have to go to the trouble of arranging a replacement. “What’s wrong?” “My grandson’s found out about Sam,” he said, turning back towards the mother of his son. “My timeline of breaking Sam into my world gently just took an enormous hit.” “What if you went and talked to them? Told them the situation.” “My kids don’t know yet, Ivy. It’s the only way I’ve been able to keep them from coming in here and hijacking the situation.” “And your grandson’s told the others?” “Not yet. But he will. So now, I have the choice of going and talking to them before he gets back and puts his spin on things, or staying here and waiting for all four of them to turn up, demanding answers.” “That’s not much of a choice, is it?” “Sam’s going to think I abandoned him all over again if I’m not here when he gets home.” “No, he won’t. I’ll tell him a family emergency came up, and that you’ll be home just as soon as you can. He grew up in Greenpeace. He knows how sometimes things just happen.” Llyr pocketed the phone and went over to her, sliding his hands across her shoulders to straighten her blouse collar. Then, his thumbs stroked her neck. “Keep your phone on you at all times, babe. Put me on speed dial. It takes two steps for them to be here.” “Llyr, you’re starting to scare me…” He pulled her forward and kissed her brow, wrapping his arms around her protectively. “They won’t hurt you, Ivy. I promise. But they will be full-on. Hit speed-dial if anyone you don’t know turns up. I’ll drop everything and be right back.” Ivy looked up at him, not returning his hug but not fighting it either. “Don’t be long.” Llyr smiled down at her, and even though he would’ve loved to kiss her lips, he placed his thumb on them instead. “Miss you already, babe,” he said, and with that, he broke contact with her, stepped away, and vanished. * * * PART NINETY-FOUR ((All comments welcome)) I made a family tree/diagram of the Mystallian family that can be foundhere For more of my work including previous parts or WPs:Angel466 For those who want to read from the beginning: Part One
I originally wrote this for /Neoliberal, but I figured there's a fair amount of overlap in that venn diagram, so you guys might like it too! So there's a lot of talk on social media, and especially on reddit, about what centrism means, and most people seem to interpret it as "split the difference," so a centrist might find themselves thinking something like this: "On the one hand this mother wants me to cut the bably in half, and this other mother wants the baby to remain whole, so clearly the fair, just, and equitable (and therefore best) solution is to give one quarter of the baby to one mother, and three quarters of the baby to the other mother, this way both sides walk away with something and everyone is happy." And that's a misunderstanding that I can understand, especially on the present timeline, but unfortunately that misunderstanding also makes political discourse a little difficult when someone is speaking from a faulty premise. If someone thinks that's what centrism is then I completely understand them and their homies hating centrism. I'd like to discuss what I mean by centrism, which is not cutting off baby legs (unless the baby has committed some egregious leg crime), I like to think of it differently. A centrist has a problem, so they look to their left for the solution that progressives are proposing, then they look to their right and see what solutions the conservatives are proposing, and either choose the best of the two, or, as is much more common, take the good bits from one plan, mix it with the good bits from the other plan, and come up with a better, more comprehensive solution than either one of them on their own. Because ideally a centrist would pick the best, or best-fit, solution to the problems they're facing, they tend to do it without regard to partisan ideology. In theory a centrist shouldn't find themselves saying "Well I identify as a progressive more, so I'm picking the progressive solution," instead they'll weigh the pros and the cons, the costs and the benefits, the evidence and the theory, and choose a policy not based on political identity, but on how effective the plan is likely to be. This is where we run into a problem in the United States: The American conservative party, the Republican party, doesn't have any solutions, they don't have any regard for evidence, most of the time the left and the right can't even agree on what constitutes objective reality, and conservative "principles" are really hard to define. I think the best illustration of the problem of American centrism is the Affordable Care Act. The scaffolding of the Affordable Care Act was first conceived of by a conservative think tank called The Heritage Foundation. The outline of the Affordable Care Act was first proposed by Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. The first successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act was put into effect by Republican Governor Mitt Romney. President Obama, when he first took office, saw the success that Romneycare had achieved in Massachusetts, it had expanded coverage and drove down prices, and Obama, ever the consummate centrist, thought to himself: "You know, if we take what worked in Massachusetts, beef it up with some progressive ideas like a public health care option, insurance subsidies, reinforcing our safety nets like Medicare and Medicaid, slap a shit ton of market regulations in there, and we could really achieve some good in our country!" Obama took a conservative plan that had been proven to work, and wanted to make it even better by mixing in some left-leaning policies and proposals. Centrism could be well defined as "Take what works, fix what doesn't, leave the rest behind." Of course I don't need to tell you what happened next: Republicans, seeing a Democratic President presenting a bill first written for Republicans, first proposed by Republicans, first successfully implemented by Republicans, chose to fight against it with everything in their arsenal. It wasn't enough for Republicans just object to the progressive portions of the bill, they tore it all to shreds, the progressive and conservative policies alike, the protections, the subsidies, the regulations, the public option, the Medicaid expansion, and they even went to the Supreme Court to try to get the individual mandate, arguably the conservative crown jewel of the law, thrown out as unconstitutional. Conservatives ran away from their own ideas, their own principles, their own plans and policies, and left progressives and Democrats holding the ball. One of the strengths of centrism, when done rationally and in a rational political environment, is that everybody gets something that they want, this should, in theory, make bills easier to pass. "I've got this proposal and it's 50% progressive and 50% conservative, so there are reasons for both sides to support the bill." Except what does one do when the party that conceived of the conservative half of the bill instead decide to label the proposals as socialism, as the death of the American dream, as a gateway to death panels, as government overreach, and as patently illegal? There are multitudes of examples of this: Republicans proposing an idea, Democrats stepping up to support or improve the idea, followed by Republicans throwing the idea out with the bath water. Remember when Republicans joked that "Maybe I'd appoint Obama's Supreme Court Justice if he nominated a conservative like Merrick Garland," only for Obama to nominate Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court? What do you think happened next? Do you think Mitch McConnell cooperated with the solution that both he and President Obama had proposed? No, of course he didn't, he refused to bring his own self-selected nominee up for a vote before the Senate, not because Merrick Garland wasn't a good pick, but because allowing his nomination would have been a victory for Obama. We've got a problem in America, and it's a problem for all of us: Only one side of the political aisle is proposing reality based, empirically demonstrable solutions, which means that centrists like myself only have one real political party to even consider right now.
"How do we reduce the teen pregnancy rate?" DEM: "Science based sex ed, foster communication with family and medical professionals, improve access to family planning services!" REB: "Abstinence only education and impair access to family planning services." "...abstinence only education has been repeatedly proven to actually increase the teen pregnancy rate, same with defunding family planning, so I guess I'm going with the Democrats."
"How do we address the cataclysmic threat of climate change?" DEM: "Invest in R&D, invest in clean energy, regulate fuel efficiency, tax carbon, replace all USPS trucks with electric vehicles!" REB: "I have a snow ball therefore climate change is a lie, also we should deregulate fossil fuels and end subsidies for renewable energy." "...climate change is very real, and deregulation is more likely to increase pollution than to reduce it, so I guess I'm going with the Democrats."
"What can we do to reduce income inequality?" DEM: "Raise the minimum wage, give people more educational opportunities, improve public education, encourage unionization, create new and better paying jobs!" REB: "Income inequality isn't real, cut taxes." "...income inequality is real, and there's absolutely no evidence that cutting taxes promotes upwards economic mobility, so I guess I'm going with the Democrats."
"Corona Virus has killed more than 140,000 American citizens, what can we do to slow the spread?" DEM: "Mask requirements, lockdown orders, invest in medical research, keep the schools closed, ban large public gatherings, get more doctors access to protective gear, improve our health care system!" REB: "Take a hydroxycloquine, chase it with a shot of disinfectant, then go sit in the midday sun and pray for half an hour." "...hydroxycloquine has been repeatedly proven not to work, drinking disinfectant is bad, and UV light won't kill a pathology, so I guess I'm going with the Democrats."
"Immigration is at the heart of our nation, what can we do to encourage immigration?" DEM: "Reform our immigration system, allow the creation of more visas and green cards, reduce the waiting period to immigrate legally, give existing immigrants a path to citizenship, make DACA law!" REB: "BY 2045 WHITES WILL BE A MINORITY IN OUR OWN COUNTRY, WE MUST STOP IMMIGRATION AT ALL COSTS, DIVERSITY MEANS WHITE GENOCIDE!" "...white genocide isn't a thing, so I guess I'm going with the Democrats."
"Government revenues are shrinking, leading to growth in the debt and the deficit, what do we do?" DEM: "We can start by raising the top marginal tax rates on people earning more than $250k/yr, allowing the Bush and Trump tax cuts to expire, close some of the more egregious loopholes, hire more workers at the IRS, make government operations more efficient, and there's even a little bit of room to trim the fat on the budget!" REB: "Tax cuts good, makes more revenue comes." "...revenue growth from tax cuts happened, like, once Republicans, then never again, in fact tax cuts tend to grow the debt and deficit much more than they shrink it, so I guess I'm going with the Democrats."
"I really think we should be encouraging higher education, how do we do that?" DEM: "Expand grants, regulate loans, give students college debt forgiveness, pay for two years of community college, public university, or trade school, bankruptcy reform, improve the quality of 'lower' education, hire more teachers, address the systemic problems that keep people from pursuing higher education, raise wages, reduce income inequality!" REB: "Why would I want to send more people to commie indoctrination centers? Also give taxpayer funding to religious schools." "...commie indoctrination centers? So I guess I'm going with the Democrats."
"We've got a national election coming up, how do we get out the vote?" DEM: "Funding for election security, updating our voting machines, make election day a federal holiday, open more polling places, extend early voting, expand vote by mail, reform our electoral system to encourage and incentivize voting!" REB: "Cut funding to election security, use outdated voting machines, close polling places, shorten early voting, restrict vote by mail, democracy is a Democrat hoax, reality has a well known liberal bias, this disadvantages the Republicans." "...everything the Republican suggested would make our problems worse, not better, so I guess I'm going with the Democrats."
When the Affordable Care Act was introduced Republicans were quick to whip up a "health care proposal" of their own, which essentially amounted to a Medicare voucher program. At the beginning of the year a Medicare patient would be given a sum of vouchers for medical care, then they would have to ration out those vouchers throughout the year. Got $1,400 in vouchers and $14,000 in medical bills? Then you're on the hook for $12,600 out of pocket. (This is just an example, I can't remember the actual exact numbers.) It was widely panned by Democrats and health care professionals because it not only didn't solve any problems, but it actually made the existing problems worse. Republicans, when presented with the opportunity to implement conservative solutions to real world problems, had absolutely nothing of value to offer. 2008 should have gone like this: "Hey, the Democrats are proposing this Affordable Care Act thing, and it looks pretty good, but then the Republicans, they have this other, surprisingly good plan, and now I have to choose between them!" Instead centrists found themselves saying "Well Democrats are proposing the ACA, and Republicans are proposing something that is literally worse than doing nothing at all, so I guess I'm going with the Democrats." In a perfect world we would have (at least) three parties:
A reality based conservative party, offering evidence based policy proposals.
A reality based progressive party, offering evidence based policy proposals.
A reality based centrist party, offering evidence based policy proposals.
And the American people could pick from multiple plausible solutions from multiple rational political philosophies. Instead we've got:
A fantasy based conservative party, offering nothing but dogma and ideology.
A reality based progressive/centrist party with everybody kind of uncomfortably squeezed in, offering evidence based policy proposals.
No viable third party.
Progressives and centrists sort of have to share the Democratic party, because right now that's the only party in town that recognizes real problems or even allows the proposal of real solutions, meanwhile reality based conservatives have literally nobody, literally no party to represent them. God forbid you're a Republican, believe in objective reality, and haven't drank the Trump kool aid, you've watched your party just absolutely fall apart right before your eyes, and have nowhere to go. (Plug here: I'm a Democrat, and you're always welcome in the big tent, but I completely understand if you aren't comfortable or interested in that idea.) This is going to sound controversial here on reddit, but hear me out: Conservatism and conservative ideas are not inherently bad, and can lead to good things. The Affordable Care Act was a conservative plan and it resulted in 20,000,000 more Americans getting health insurance (more, if Republican Governors hadn't turned down the fully funded, deficit neutral Medicaid expansion that President Obama included in the bill), and it would have been even better had we had gotten some more progressive peanut butter in the conservative chocolate. Eisenhower, a conservative, oversaw the construction of the largest piece of infrastructure in American history, the national highway system, because he felt it was necessary to the national defense. Richard Nixon created the EPA because he felt the need to protect the environment, he didn't turn a blind eye to the facts. George H.W. Bush was a regular donor to Planned Parenthood, because Bush was pro-life and knew that better access to birth control helped reduce the abortion rate. George W. Bush gave billions of dollars in foreign aid to Africa to help stop the spread of HIV, and that doesn't make him a political bleeding heart liberal. John McCain actually ran on cut, cap, and trade in 2008, which is.... you know, better than nothing. Conservative thinking can result in good solutions, it has in the past, it has in other countries, but the very first step, the step that modern Republicans are failing at so horrendously, is identifying real problems. They don't care about climate change, they care about the war on Christmas. Unfortunately the era of conservative solutions to real world problems has passed, it's been a slippery slope over the past half century, but it's really accelerated in the last 25 years, today Republicans don't offer solutions, they don't acknowledge reality, and they can't even be trusted to stand by their principles (Remember, like, five years ago when Republicans said they were the party of free trade, fiscal responsibility, and family values, only for Donald Trump to get involved in a 19th century trade war, blow up the debt and deficit with unnecessary and counterproductive tax cuts, and be Donald Trump?) One of the best things that could happen for our nation would be for the Republican party to get its shit together, get back in touch with reality, and start proposing actual solutions again. I get why progressives are frustrated sharing a party with centrists, and why centrists are frustrated sharing a party with progressives, thanks to the electoral college we're stuck with a two party system, and thanks to Republican politics one of those two parties is a cracked out meth head , so for some folks it's a little like "Do I want to live in the house with the leaky roof, or the house that is literally a tire fire built on ancient Native American burial grounds next to the old unregulated unzoned free market gas station which may or may not be run by white nationalists?" I just wanted to take one more moment to make a plug here: As I've stated all across this post, I'm a Democrat, and I'm actually really proud of my party. I'm proud of what we've stood for and stood against, what we've fought for and what we've won, what we've done and what we've tried to do. We are an imperfect party, made up of imperfect people, we've made mistakes but I'd like to think that we've learned from those mistakes, and on the balance I'd like to believe that we've achieved much more good than harm. Being a big tent is our greatest asset, when things are working well we each make the other better, and give the other strength, and new ideas, and that's kind of what the Democratic party tries to be about. There are good reasons to join the party, and there are good reasons to be proud of and defend it, we're more than just the other option, we are the better option. Call your Representatives and Senators, tell them you support the passage of H.R.1, the "For the People Act of 2019," because you want comprehensive electoral reform in our country, because it's never been more necessary than it is today, and because this is the right moment in history to finally fix these problems. Thanks for reading this, I love you!
But why Leipzig? A not so short analysis on why Red Bull chose the city as their hub.
Every other month or so, a new discussion on this sub arises about RB Leipzig, their business model, and whether Red Bull-boss Dietrich Mateschitz is a saint-like philantropist who finally brought high class football to the poor citizens of Leipzig or satan himself whose sole goal is to destroy football as a whole and eat fans alive. This post isn’t about that. While I personally have strong opinions about whether RB Leipzig and their business model are good or bad (hint: It’s bad), I try to keep this post as unbiased as possible. Instead, this is about the circumstances that lead to Red Bull choosing Leipzig as their hub for their big Bundesliga team. When Red Bull tried to set foot into German football for the first time, they initially tried to use the same method they had success with elsewhere: Take over an existing, possibly struggling team and transform them to their desires, like they had done with Austria Salzburg or the New York MetroStars. Even back then, the first door to knock on was FC Sachsen Leipzig. After fans protested and negotiations with 1860 Munich, FC St. Pauli and Fortuna Düsseldorf were equally unsucessful, they turned back to their initial pick Leipzig and started their own club. So- why exactly Leipzig? To understand this, we have to look at Leipzigs football clubs and the city itself. Leipzig is the eighth-largest city in Germany, and (excluding Berlin) the largest one in the former GDR. Their population is bigger than Liverpool, Lyon, Genoa or Malaga. All those cities have established clubs, sometimes even multiple within the top division. At the time of RBLs conception, the top club of the city of Leipzig meanwhile was just relegated to the fifth division. The only city with a similar size and situation was Essen, with Rot-Weiss sitting in the fourth division. Still, right in the center of the picturesque Rhein-Ruhr area, Essen was surrounded by successful clubs who could fill any desires for top-class football. Leipzig wasn’t. The closest city of similar size is Dresden, but their top club Dynamo also only played in the third division. The same was true for other clubs nearby like Jena, Erfurt or Aue. Cottbus, already quite a bit away from Leipzig just got relegated to the 2. Bundesliga, and while the drive to Berlin to watch a Hertha match only takes around two hours thanks to those lovely post-reunification East German Autobahn, it’s still quite a bit away for european standards. Other cities like Nuremberg or Wolfsburg weren’t closer either. Given these circumstances, it’s no surprise that Red Bull saw Leipzig as their prime location to start a new, fresh club in Germany. Although this begs the question: Why not Dresden? Both cities have almost equal population numbers, sit in a similar geographic location not too far away from each other and have virtually no access to professional top class football. While the old Zentralstadion in Leipzig was bigger in theory, it was also fairly run-down and not suitable for Bundesliga football back in 2009,* while the Rudolf-Harbig-Stadion in Dresden just got refurbished to house 32,000 spectators. Sure, Leipzig was a bit closer to other major cities, but gaining followers from outside the city and its surrounding areas wasn’t really the plan to begin with, at least for now. A major reason for Red Bull’s decision to pursue Leipzig from the beginning and not even really think about Dresden was the lack of competition. Even though Dynamo Dresden spent their time in lower leagues, the city and its fans still stood fairly unified behind the club. Establishing a competitor and convincing fans to join their new product would be hard. In Leipzig however, there was no other club with a unified fan base. All that was left of the long gone glory days were two clubs, shadows of their former selves, who hated each other. This leads to the final why: Why was there such a power vacuum for Red Bull to push into? To understand this, we have to take a very long look back, all the way back to the end of WWII, and work through the history of post-war football within the city. Here’s a simple, easy to understand diagram to help you tag along. * Mistake here, the new Zentralstadion was already finished for the world cup in 2006. Still, at a capacity of just below 43,000, both Leipzig and Dresden would've been suitable for Bundesliga use. Pre-1949 – Under soviet occupation, all pre-war clubs were outlawed. To replace them, new sport groups were formed all around the country. In the early years, those were often short-lived and merged, split up and disbanded frequently, sometimes even within weeks. Up until 1949, there was no nationwide football league, either. Combined with the fact that those clubs often had very similar names, usually SG City-District, everything earlier becomes increasingly hard to research. For the history of Leipzig football, we’ll focus on two of these SG’s: SG Leipzig-Leutzsch played at the Georg-Schwarz-Sportpark in the district of Leutzsch, former home of pre-war TuRa Leipzig. TuRa was founded in 1932 as a workers team for a slot machine factory. SG Leipzig-Probstheida meanwhile was based in Leipzig-Probstheida (who’da thunk it) at the Bruno-Plache-Stadion. They could trace back their roots to VfB Leipzig, first german champions and most successful club in the pre-WWI era. Even back then, tradition was already an important part of fan culture. When TuRa and VfB faced each other in 1935, a newspaper wrote: “The game wasn’t on for long until you could sense the frantic, provoked emotions in both rivals stands, which was better described as hostility rather than competitive spirit”. As you can see, even back then no one liked the corporate shills. 1949/50 – The foundation of the first nationwide league brought more major changes with it. SG Leipzig-Leutzsch finished third in the Saxonian championship the year prior and therefore qualified for the new nationwide Oberliga. Before the season started however, SG Leipzig-Leutzsch merged with more than a dozen other clubs to form ZSG Industrie Leipzig. This is where the left branch of the diagram starts. Not even two weeks after its foundation, on the 1st April, 1949, ZSG Industrie already split up again into three distinct divisions. ZSG Industrie Leutzsch was renamed again shortly after to BSG Stahl Nordwest Leipzig and today exists as SV Leipzig-Nordwest in 10th tier. ZSG Industrie Hafen split up again in 1951, creating the new teams BSG Fortschritt West and BSG Motor Lindenau. Those two clubs merged back together after reunification and now operate as SpVgg 1899 Leipzig in the 9th division. The spot in the top division meanwhile stayed with ZSG Industrie Leipzig, where they finished in 8th. Over in Probstheida, SG Leipzig-Probstheida was meanwhile renamed to BSG Erich Zeigner Leipzig, after some communist, as it was en vouge at the time. They missed qualification for the initial season of the Oberliga and thus played another year in the Saxonian league for the 1949/50-season, before qualifying for the newly founded second division, the DDR-Liga. This is the beginning of the right branch on the diagram. 1950/51 – Only a year later, the East German sports landscape was heavily reformed, as if all the changes prior hadn’t been confusing enough. To conform to socialist ideology, clubs were urged to turn into so called Betriebssportgemeinschaften (workers sport groups), BSGs for short. Every club was to be linked to a specific factory or organization, where players were employed as workers and excused for training or matches. Clubs who didn’t comply were seen as bourgeois and faced various kinds of repercussions, so by the mid-50s, virtually all clubs in the GDR were those worker clubs. The club name of those BSGs was determined by the branch of industry they were associated to. Police clubs were named Dynamo, workers clubs in the construction industry were called Aufbau, and so on. This is the reason why there are still loads of Dynamo or Dinamo clubs around, as they all were former police teams. Dresden, Zagreb, Kiev, Bucharest, Moscow, Houston (I’m not absolutely sure about them), and so on. ZSG Industrie Leipzig meanwhile was assigned to the local chemical plants and thus renamed to BSG Chemie Leipzig, which translates to BSG Chemistry Leipzig (They weren’t always too creative). BSG Erich Zeigner was meanwhile turned into BSG Einheit Ost Leipzig, associated to insurances and administrative institutions. In the 1950/51-season, Chemie won their first championship. After finishing equal on points with BSG Turbine Erfurt, Leipzig won the final play-off match 2:0 in front of 60,000 spectators in Chemnitz. Einheit Ost meanwhile finished third in the southern division of the DDR-Liga. 1954 – While Einheit Ost finally got promoted to the top-tier Oberliga in 1953, Chemie came close to more silverware when they finished third in 1952 and second in 1954, before the East German sports landscape was again subjected to major changes. Unlike before, where bigger clubs of the same associated industry were spread all across the country, the new model provided for only a few major clubs per branch of trade, with all others only focusing on amateur sports. Leipzig got two of those so called Sportclubs, SCs for short, which translates to sport clubs, no need to thank me. Einheit Ost got transformed into SC Rotation Leipzig, one of two SCs for the national print and publishing industry. The players of Chemie meanwhile were presented with two options: Either stay within the city and join SC Lokomotive Leipzig, the new club for the national railway services; or move to nearby Halle, where the SC for the chemical industry was located. Almost all players chose the first option (No, I don’t know what a chemistry worker would do on a train yard, they probably were just some office clerks or some shit), and while the remnants of Chemie Leipzig were downgraded to an amateur team in the fifth division, Lok took over their spot in the Oberliga and moved to the Stadion des Friedens in Leipzig-Gohlis. The following years were marked by fights about the top spot in the city. While Lok initially struggled to reproduce Chemie’s results, fan interest was enormous. Derbys were moved to the much bigger Zentralstadion, where in 1956, 100,000 people saw the 2:1 victory of Lok over Rotation. To this day, this is a record for most spectators at a national league match in Germany. In 1957, Lok also won the East German cup, the FDGB-Pokal for the first time, and reached the final a year later. Rotation wasn’t as successful, usually finishing in the lower half of the table and never reaching the quarter finals in the cup. 1963 – As decision makers in GDR liked restructuring things almost as much as building walls, the colour red and naming things after dead communists, more restructuring followed in the mid-60s. Officials now decided that one SC per district should be enough, regardless of the branch of industry currently associated with them. Therefore, in 1963, Rotation and Lok joined forces and merged into SC Leipzig. While the top players of both teams were signed by the new club, there was still a whole team worth of players and, more importantly, another spot in the league up for grabs. The solution was to resurrect BSG Chemie Leipzig and transfer all the leftover players, staff and the remaining Oberliga-spot to them. The amateur team, which had kept the name alive for the past years, was meanwhile integrated into the club as the new third team. While SC Leipzig was seen as a prime contender for the championship, Chemie on the other hand was everyones first choice as a relegation candidate. After all, they were basically made up of the shit players of a partially successful team and one that had been mediocre at best. Nevertheless, in one of the biggest upsets in the history of GDR football, Chemie and the so called “rest of Leipzeig” immediately won the league, three points ahead of SC Leipzig, who finished third. This was the last time a BSG won the title against the better funded SC-clubs. This was also the start of many animosities between the two clubs and their successors. 1966 – Not even three and a half years after conception, SC Leipzig was history again. (Did I mention that people liked to change stuff every few years?) The football sections of the SCs were separated from the main clubs and now formed independent football clubs. In Leipzig, this club was again assigned to the national railway services, and thus got the new name 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig. Unlike SC Lokomotive of the 50s, this club was however based at the Bruno-Plache-Stadion in Probstheida, former home of SC Rotation. The club also made its first international headlines, beating Benfica with star player Eusebio in the third round of the 1966–67 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. While they were one of the top teams in the country for most of the 60s, Lok failed to win any titles before a surprise relegation in 1969. Meanwhile, Chemie won the FDGB-Cup in 1966, but started to struggle in the league. At this point, I’d like to take a moment to remember the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. Conceptualized as a tournament to promote trade fairs, only the cities with the biggest and most important ones competed in the early years. Over time, this definition slowly changed to “If you have a large parking lot in your town to hold a flea market, you’re in”, leading to clubs like ÍA Akranes and US Rumelange competing for the win (and subsequently losing by double digits in the first round). 70s – After Lok bounced back to the Oberliga immediately, they initially failed to gain traction, with their best results of the decade being fourth places in 1973, 1976 and 1978. Their cup campaign was more successful, however. After reaching the final in 1970 and 1973, they finally won the trophy in 1976 after a decisive 3:0 victory over FC Vorwärts Frankfurt/Oder. They also had an admirable run in the 1974 UEFA Cup, reaching the semi finals before being eliminated by Tottenham. Chemie on the other hand couldn’t keep up with the better funded competition and thus became a yo-yo club, being relegated to the DDR-Liga thrice within just ten years. 80s – While Chemie continued their life yo-yoing between the leagues and yoing more and more time in the second division, Lok now attacked in the Oberliga as well. GDR football in the 80s was dominated by Dynamo Berlin, a team with links to the Stasi, the national secret police. Said subtle links included the honorary president of the Club, a guy called Erich Mielke, being also the president of the Stasi. As I said, very subtle links. Dynamo Berlin was also often accused of receiving preferred treatment from referees and officials alike. They were pretty much the Bayern Munich of 80s East German football, with the important difference that the board of Dynamo supported the GDR being an unjust regime that killed people, while the board of Bayern supports Qatar being an unjust regime that kills people. On matchday 18 of the 1985/86 season, the club from the capital played in Probstheida. While Berlin lead the table, Leipzig, sitting in fourth place, needed a win to keep up any realistic chances of winning the league. Lok scored early and held on to the lead until the fourth minute of stoppage time, when referee Bernd Stumpf awarded a penalty to Berlin after a seemingly harmless foul. The decision was questionable and even TV images couldn’t resolve the situation. This lead to a massive outcry never seen before in East German football, with players and even party officials from Leipzig accusing Dynamo of match fixing. To ease the pressure, Stumpf was banned for life from refereeing, and the fact that Lok finished the season only two points behind Dynamo fanned the flames even more. Only years later, in 2000, new footage of the incident was found, proving Stumpf’s decision to be indeed correct. In 1988, they again came second, this time only losing out because of goal difference. Just as in the 70s, their various cup engagements were more successful. They won the FDGB-Pokal three more times in 1981, 1986 and 1987, and also proved their worth on the international stage. In the 1981/82 Cup Winner’s Cup, they reached the quarter finals after being beaten by Barcelona, who would go on and win the tournament. They also beat Girondins Bordeaux and Werder Bremen in the 1983/84 UEFA Cup. This was back in the days when a victory against Bremen still was considered an accomplishment. Their biggest run however followed in the 1986/87 Cup Winner’s Cup. After victories over Glentoran Belfast, Rapid Vienna and FC Sion, they again faced Bordeaux in the semi final. After a 0:1 victory in France, 73,000 fans came to watch the second leg at the Zentralstadion. That’s the official number anyway, other sources estimate up to 120,000 spectators that day. Bordeaux scored early, but Leipzig withstood the pressure for the rest of the match. In the end, Lok won 6:5 on penalties, with goalkeeper René Müller scoring the decisive last goal. They lost the subsequent final 1:0 against Ajax, but received praise from opponents and press alike. 1989/90 – 9th November, 1989, would forever be ingrained in German and world history, as on this day, VfB Stuttgart won 3:0 against Bayern in the RO16 in the DFB-Pokal. Also at the same day, some kind of wall fell in Berlin, which apparently made it to local news or something. German reunification brought even more major changes to East German football, which had been unusually stable for the last 25 years. Clubs all over the country couldn’t compete with western wages, and thus lost key players left, right and center. Lok was no exception, with players like Olaf Marschall or Uwe Zötsche leaving for western clubs after the season. Moreover, those teams now had to operate in a completely unfamiliar capitalist system. To combat those problems, Lok proposed an idea to their rivals Chemie: Under the traditional name VfB, a new and competitive team, representing the whole city was to be formed by merging both clubs together. Chemie, however, had other plans than to unite with their hated neighbor and ditch their heritage as a workers club for a new identity. BSG Chemie Leipzig finished the 1989/90 season in second place of the DDR-Liga behind BSG Chemie Böhlen, thus missing out on promotion back to the top flight. It was already clear that the 1990/91-season would be the last of independent East German football, and while clubs from the Oberliga had good chances of at least qualifying for the 2. Bundesliga the season after, they would’ve had to win the DDR-Liga to even participate in the qualification tournament for the all-german second division. Meanwhile, Böhlen had just changed their name from BSG Chemie to SV Chemie to signify their changed identity and rid themselves of the now unpopular East German baggage. They also were in financial troubles, so Leipzig made them an offer: A merger of SV Chemie Böhlen and BSG Chemie Leipzig, who had also just changed their name to FC Grün-Weiß Leipzig after the season. They also got themselves logo with a frog that’s also a football, which isn’t really important to the story, but just look at it. It’s a football frog. Whoever came up with this is a pure genius. Back to the story. Böhlen accepted the offer for a merger, which in reality was more of a takeover to get Chemie, sorry, FC Grün-Weiß Leipzig their Oberliga-license. Sadly, this also meant that the frog was gone already after just two months, with the new club now called FC Sachsen Leipzig. 1990/91 – The final season of GDR football was all about qualification for the new unified german leagues. Like many things, stuff that was abundant in the west was very scarce and contested in the east, so only two spots for the Bundesliga were available. Those were claimed by Hansa Rostock and Dynamo Dresden. Meanwhile, Lok only finished seventh, while Sachsen barely clinched the final twelveth spot that guaranteed participation in the qualification tournament for the 2. Bundesliga. While Lok cruised through their group and won one of the last two spots in the second division, Sachsen finished dead last and was seeded in the new third division, the Oberliga Nordost. 1991/92 – For their first season in unified Germany, 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig also tried to reform their identity, because you know, they hadn’t done so since the sixities. They took up the idea from 1990 and named themselves VfB Leipzig, after the first german champions that had played in Probstheida. This was somewhat ironic, since their home ground there wasn’t deemed suitable for playing, so the club had to leave Probstheida for the Zentralstadion during the season. After injuries to key players like Damian Halata and Ronald Kreer, VfB Leipzig only barely avoided relegation. They also signed expensive players like former French national Didier Six, which put further strain on their already tight budget. Sachsen meanwhile finished fifth in the Oberliga Nordost, a full 19 points behind winners Zwickau (and remember, this was back in the days where a win only got you two points). 1992/93 – While the 1991/92 season of the 2. Bundesliga was played in a northern and southern division, this following year was planned as a single goliath-league with 24 teams. Still, VfB Leipzig almost didn’t participate after being short on 1 Mio. D-Mark in order to get their license. After a successful appeal, they surprised many by becoming one of the leagues best teams, even after backsets like losing top scorer Bernd Hobsch to Werder Bremen in the winter break. More controversial was the announcement by coach Jürgen Sundermann to leave the club at the end of the season and join Waldhof Mannheim. Still, Leipzig kept up with the other clubs in the top group. While the Freiburger SC won the championship by a clear margin, a three-way battle developed behind them for the remaining two promotion spots between Leipzig, MSV Duisburg, and, of all teams, Waldhof Mannheim. With a win in Jena and a scoreless tie between Mannheim and Eintracht Braunschweig, Leipzig inherited third place before the final two matchdays. In the penultimate game of the season the opponents met each other face-to-face. After another scoreless tie and two red cards for Leipzig, the decision only fell on the final matchday, when Leipzig won 2:0 against FSV Mainz 05 and Mannheim lost 4:3 in Wuppertal, thus promoting VfB Leipzig to the Bundesliga. In the meantime, Sachsen Leipzig won the southern division of the Oberliga Nordost, but still wasn’t allowed to participate in the deciding qualification round for the 2. Bundesliga for financial reasons. They also won their first Sachsenpokal, the regional cup tournament for Saxony. Furthermore, their stadium in Leutzsch was renamed to Alfred-Kunze-Sportpark, to honor the coach who brought them the surprise championship in 1964. After all, they hadn’t renamed anything for almost two years now. 1993/94 – VfB Leipzig was faced with more troubles for their initial Bundesliga season. While key players leaving for richer clubs was a common occurrence by now, the Zentralstadion showed to be deeply unsuitable for them. With a maximum capacity of 50,000 spectators, only 8000 people per game were expected, not least because the surrounding area was traditionally Chemie/Sachsen territory. Nominally spectacular transfers like Darko Pančev, who came from Internazionale, could not prevent immediate relegation back to the second division. With three wins, eleven draws and twenty losses in their only Bundesliga season, they currently sit in second-to-last position in the all-time Bundesliga table. Sachsen Leipzig meanwhile finished fourth and qualified for the new Regionalliga Nordost, while winning another Sachsenpokal. Late 90s – VfB Leipzig made numerous expensive transfers over the next years in order to achieve a rapid return to the top flight, all with questionable returns. Speaking of returns, they also returned to the Bruno-Plache-Stadion in Probstheida in 1996, when the safety issues there were finally properly fixed. After a draw on the final matchday against their direct relegation opponents from Wattenscheid, VfB Leipzig dropped to the third division in 1998, where they met up again with their city rivals FC Sachsen, who had won their third Sachsenpokal in the meantime. Following a second place finish in 1999, the financial problems for VfB Leipzig became so daring that insolvency was the only option. To make matters worse, they also failed to qualify for the next season in the Regionalliga, which was to be slimmed down from four divisions to just two. Sachsen Leipzig initially made the cut for the 2000/01 Regionalliga-season, but likewise had to file for bankruptcy the year after. Both clubs therefore found themselves down in the fourth division. 2000s – The struggles for both clubs didn’t end there (What a surprise!). While Sachsen initially had another quick stint in the Regionalliga for the 2003/04 season, VfB Leipzig was dissolved after their second insolvency in 2004. As a response, fans founded 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig, the name and logo being identical to the old GDR team from 1966. While the new club absorbed the old VfB youth teams, there senior team started all the way back in the lowest division. After securing promotion every time in their first four seasons, they quickly found themselves to be back in the fifth division. Over in Leutzsch, other issues surfaced. A supporters group, founded all the way back in 1997 under the name of Ballsportfördergemeinschaft Chemie Leipzig (a.k.a. BSG Chemie, see what they did there?) began to grow increasingly unsatisfied with the club. The board moved their matches to the unpopular Zentralstadion, while supportes also protested heavily when Red Bull tried to set foot in the city for the first time and overtake the club in 2006. The straw that broke the camels neck were increasing political disputes within the club and it’s fan scene that culminated in physical assaults in November 2007 during an away game in Sangershausen. As a response, the supporters group decided to part ways with FC Sachsen Leipzig and instead found their own club, much like fans had done over in Probstheida a few years earlier. This lead to disputes about who the real successor of old GDR-Chemie was. While FC Sachsen possesed all claims to the legal line of succession, the new BSG Chemie Leipzig had the name, stadium and almost the same badge of the old club from the fifties. Still, FC Sachsen Leipzig had bigger problems, as another insolvency relegated them to the fifth division, meeting up again with Lok. Enter Red Bull. After neither FC Sachsen Leipzig nor any other german clubs were willing to entertain their ideas of a Red Bull takeover, they turned to SSV Markranstädt, a club from a suburb of Leipzig with a fifth division team. They made a deal: For the 2009/10-season, all teams of Markranstädt would run as RB Leipzig. Afterwards, Markranstädt would get back all teams bar the top one, plus some extra money as a bonus. At the request of the Saxonian Football Association, they also took over some youth teams from the bankrupt FC Sachsen Leipzig. Therefore, three clubs from the city participated in the 2009/10 Oberliga Sachen. RB dominated the league, finishing 22 points ahead of second place, while FC Sachsen, now back again at the Adolf Kunze Sportpark in Leutzsch, finished 6th and Lok 12th. Even then, the old clubs still pulled impressive crowds, with almost 15,000 spectators for the derby between Sachsen and Lok. 2010s –In the following season, RB Leipzig made a similar deal with ESV Delitzsch like they had with Markranstädt in order to also have a second team. Meanwhile, FC Sachsen entered a controversial partnership for youth development with RB. Combined with terrible performances in the second half of the season, specator numbers collapsed, leading to yet another insolvency in 2011 (see a pattern here?). This time, FC Sachsen didn’t survive and was disbanded, with youth and amateur teams taken over by a new club called SG Leipzig-Leutzsch. Two years later, they changed their name to SG Sachsen Leipzig (what is it with those name changes all the time?), and another year after that, the whole club was disbanded again after the fourth insolvency since 2001. I hope you are as unsurprised as I am. Another new club called LFV Sachsen Leipzig was founded shortly afterwards. They currently play in the 9th division and share a ground with SV Nordwest Leipzig, one of the decendants of the old ZSG Industrie from all the way back in the 50s. But hey, at least they aren’t bankrupt yet. Fan-founded BSG Chemie meanwhile rose through the ranks. After starting all the way down in the 12th division in 2008, they partnered up with VfK Blau-Weiß Leipzig for a season and today are back in the fourth division, still playing in the Alfred-Kunze Sportpark in Leutzsch. Their biggest success was their victory in the Sachsenpokal in 2018, which also was their ticket for next years DFB-Pokal, where they beat second division team Jahn Regensburg in the first round before being eliminated by SC Paderborn. It was pretty much the first time this club had done anything impressive since their cup win in 1966. 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig also currently play in fourth tier at the Bruno-Plache-Stadion. Even though they’re by all measures the legitimate successor of VfB Leipzig, Lok are currently making efforts to officially merge with the technically still existing VfB. This would not only grant them some tax benefits I don’t really understand, but also possibly allow them to wear a star on their jersey, signifying the titles of the old pre-war VfB Leipzig back in the early 1900s. Another thing that shouldn’t go unmentioned is the fact that both Chemie and Lok have a clear political image at least since the early 2000s. It’s almost a bit disingenious to fit all of this into a single paragraph, when it’s in fact one of the biggest reasons why RBL succeded, but this text is long enough already. While both clubs try to distance themselves from any political extremism, their influence on individual supporters is limited. Diablos Leutzsch, the biggest ultra group of Chemie is often linked with the local antifa, while the club often plays friendlies against local clubs like the antifascist Roter Stern Leipzig, and thus is fairly popular with the political left. Lok meanwhile often made the news with racist and neo-nazi fans, with tifos like “Rudolf Heß – our Right Winger” and scarves that read “Juden Chemie” presented at derbies. Although the board and some supporter groups try to take a stand against racism, this is pretty much an uphill struggle and thus, Lok is seen as the right wing club of the city. Especially derbys between the two aren’t exactly the games where you’d bring your family to the stadium. The story of RB Leipzig is well known. They rose through the leagues and currently are one of the top Bundesliga teams. Since I want to keep this text as unbiased as possible, I’m gonna leave it at that, otherwise I’ll just start ranting. One thing is undeniable though: As a club without any political positioning and no appeal to any ultra groups of any kind, they are the preferable choice for the family of four who just want to spend a nice evening, eat overpriced sausages and watch some of those footballers play they only saw on TV before. So there you have it. A historical analysis on why there was such a power vacuum for Red Bull to slip into and base their team in Leipzig. To explain the cities footballing history, you need to talk about 25 different clubs. The problem becomes especially noticeable when we compare Leipzig with Dresden for the last time. If we draw a similar diagram for Dynamo Dresden like we did for Leipzig before, we can see that, bar some changes to name and logo, the clubs history has been pretty straightforward since the mid-50s, and most noteably, without any bankruptcies (Not to say they didn’t come close sometimes). When Chemie/Sachsen and Lok/VfB struggled both sporting-wise and financially and competed for fans at the same time, Red Bull was there to pick up the pieces and rise to the top, while the old clubs were often more invested in fighting with each other rather than building professional structures. TL;DR: It took me weeks to work on this shit, if you’re interested in the topic, you can take fifteen minutes to read it. TL;DR2: Before the Red Bull Nation attacked, Leipzig had two clubs, whose history is so complicated that you need another twenty or so clubs to describe it. Both clubs were pretty shit and hated each other. As it turns out, this doesn't make a good opposition to a billion dollar company. Nowadays, Leipzig has a Bundesliga team and two clubs that are still pretty shit and still hate each other, but now, they're at least united in their hate about the Bundesliga team.
I sexually identify as an attack helicopter. I lied. According to US Army Technical Manual 0, The Soldier as a System, “attack helicopter” is a gender identity, not a biological sex. My dog tags and Form 3349 say my body is an XX-karyotope somatic female. But, really, I didn’t lie. My body is a component in my mission, subordinate to what I truly am. If I say I am an attack helicopter, then my body, my sex, is too. I’ll prove it to you. When I joined the Army I consented to tactical-role gender reassignment. It was mandatory for the MOS I’d tested into. I was nervous. I’d never been anything but a woman before. But I decided that I was done with womanhood, over what womanhood could do for me; I wanted to be something furiously new. To the people who say a woman would’ve refused to do what I do, I say— Isn’t that the point? I fly— Red evening over the white Mojave, and I watch the sun set through a canopy of polycarbonate and glass: clitoral bulge of cockpit on the helicopter’s nose. Lightning probes the burned wreck of an oil refinery and the Santa Ana feeds a smoldering wildfire and pulls pine soot out southwest across the Big Pacific. We are alone with each other, Axis and I, flying low. We are traveling south to strike a high school. Rotor wash flattens rings of desert creosote. Did you know that creosote bushes clone themselves? The ten-thousand-year elders enforce dead zones where nothing can grow except more creosote. Beetles and mice live among them, the way our cities had pigeons and mice. I guess the analogy breaks down because the creosote’s lasted ten thousand years. You don’t need an attack helicopter to tell you that our cities haven’t. The Army gave me gene therapy to make my blood toxic to mosquitoes. Soon you will have that too, to fight malaria in the Hudson floodplain and on the banks of the Greater Lake. Now I cross Highway 40, southbound at two hundred knots. The Apache’s engine is electric and silent. Decibel killers sop up the rotor noise. White-bright infrared vision shows me stripes of heat, the tire tracks left by Pear Mesa school buses. Buried housing projects smolder under the dirt, radiators curled until sunset. This is enemy territory. You can tell because, though this desert was once Nevada and California, there are no American flags. “Barb,” the Apache whispers, in a voice that Axis once identified, to my alarm, as my mother’s. “Waypoint soon.” “Axis.” I call out to my gunner, tucked into the nose ahead of me. I can see only gray helmet and flight suit shoulders, but I know that body wholly, the hard knots of muscle, the ridge of pelvic girdle, the shallow navel and flat hard chest. An attack helicopter has a crew of two. My gunner is my marriage, my pillar, the completion of my gender. “Axis.” The repeated call sign means, I hear you. “Ten minutes to target.” “Ready for target,” Axis says. But there is again that roughness, like a fold in carbon fiber. I heard it when we reviewed our fragment orders for the strike. I hear it again now. I cannot ignore it any more than I could ignore a battery fire; it is a fault in a person and a system I trust with my life. But I can choose to ignore it for now. The target bumps up over the horizon. The low mounds of Kelso-Ventura District High burn warm gray through a parfait coating of aerogel insulation and desert soil. We have crossed a third of the continental US to strike a school built by Americans. Axis cues up a missile: black eyes narrowed, telltales reflected against clear laser-washed cornea. “Call the shot, Barb.” “Stand by. Maneuvering.” I lift us above the desert floor, buying some room for the missile to run, watching the probability-of-kill calculation change with each motion of the aircraft. Before the Army my name was Seo Ji Hee. Now my call sign is Barb, which isn’t short for Barbara. I share a rank (flight warrant officer), a gender, and a urinary system with my gunner Axis: we are harnessed and catheterized into the narrow tandem cockpit of a Boeing AH-70 Apache Mystic. America names its helicopters for the people it destroyed. We are here to degrade and destroy strategic targets in the United States of America’s war against the Pear Mesa Budget Committee. If you disagree with the war, so be it: I ask your empathy, not your sympathy. Save your pity for the poor legislators who had to find some constitutional framework for declaring war against a credit union. The reasons for war don’t matter much to us. We want to fight the way a woman wants to be gracious, the way a man wants to be firm. Our need is as vamp-fierce as the strutting queen and dryly subtle as the dapper lesbian and comfortable as the soft resilience of the demiwoman. How often do you analyze the reasons for your own gender? You might sigh at the necessity of morning makeup, or hide your love for your friends behind beer and bravado. Maybe you even resent the punishment for breaking these norms. But how often—really—do you think about the grand strategy of gender? The mess of history and sociology, biology and game theory that gave rise to your pants and your hair and your salary? The casus belli? Often, you might say. All the time. It haunts me. Then you, more than anyone, helped make me. When I was a woman I wanted to be good at woman. I wanted to darken my eyes and strut in heels. I wanted to laugh from my throat when I was pleased, laugh so low that women would shiver in contentment down the block. And at the same time I resented it all. I wanted to be sharper, stronger, a new-made thing, exquisite and formidable. Did I want that because I was taught to hate being a woman? Or because I hated being taught anything at all? Now I am jointed inside. Now I am geared and shafted, I am a being of opposing torques. The noise I make is canceled by decibel killers so I am no louder than a woman laughing through two walls. When I was a woman I wanted to have friends who would gasp at the precision and surprise of my gifts. Now I show friendship by tracking the motions of your head, looking at what you look at, the way one helicopter’s sensors can be slaved to the motions of another. When I was a woman I wanted my skin to be as smooth and dark as the sintered stone countertop in our kitchen. Now my skin is boron-carbide and Kevlar. Now I have a wrist callus where I press my hydration sensor into my skin too hard and too often. Now I have bit-down nails from the claustrophobia of the bus ride to the flight line. I paint them desert colors, compulsively. When I was a woman I was always aware of surveillance. The threat of the eyes on me, the chance that I would cross over some threshold of detection and become a target. Now I do the exact same thing. But I am counting radars and lidars and pit viper thermal sensors, waiting for a missile. I am gas turbines. I am the way I never sit on the same side of the table as a stranger. I am most comfortable in moonless dark, in low places between hills. I am always thirsty and always tense. I tense my core and pace my breath even when coiled up in a briefing chair. As if my tail rotor must cancel the spin of the main blades and the turbines must whirl and the plates flex against the pitch links or I will go down spinning to my death. An airplane wants in its very body to stay flying. A helicopter is propelled by its interior near-disaster. I speak the attack command to my gunner. “Normalize the target.” Nothing happens. “Axis. Comm check.” “Barb, Axis. I hear you.” No explanation for the fault. There is nothing wrong with the weapon attack parameters. Nothing wrong with any system at all, except the one without any telltales, my spouse, my gunner. “Normalize the target,” I repeat. “Axis. Rifle one.” The weapon falls off our wing, ignites, homes in on the hard invisible point of the laser designator. Missiles are faster than you think, more like a bullet than a bird. If you’ve ever seen a bird. The weapon penetrates the concrete shelter of Kelso-Ventura High School and fills the empty halls with thermobaric aerosol. Then: ignition. The detonation hollows out the school like a hooked finger scooping out an egg. There are not more than a few janitors in there. A few teachers working late. They are bycatch. What do I feel in that moment? Relief. Not sexual, not like eating or pissing, not like coming in from the heat to the cool dry climate shelter. It’s a sense of passing. Walking down the street in the right clothes, with the right partner, to the right job. That feeling. Have you felt it? But there is also an itch of worry—why did Axis hesitate? How did Axis hesitate? Kelso-Ventura High School collapses into its own basement. “Target normalized,” Axis reports, without emotion, and my heart beats slow and worried. I want you to understand that the way I feel about Axis is hard and impersonal and lovely. It is exactly the way you would feel if a beautiful, silent turbine whirled beside you day and night, protecting you, driving you on, coursing with current, fiercely bladed, devoted. God, it’s love. It’s love I can’t explain. It’s cold and good. “Barb,” I say, which means I understand. “Exiting north, zero three zero, cupids two.” I adjust the collective—feel the swash plate push up against the pitch links, the links tilt the angle of the rotors so they ease their bite on the air—and the Apache, my body, sinks toward the hot desert floor. Warm updraft caresses the hull, sensual contrast with the Santa Ana wind. I shiver in delight. Suddenly: warning receivers hiss in my ear, poke me in the sacral vertebrae, put a dark thunderstorm note into my air. “Shit,” Axis hisses. “Air search radar active, bearing 192, angels twenty, distance . . . eighty klicks. It’s a fast-mover. He must’ve heard the blast.” A fighter. A combat jet. Pear Mesa’s mercenary defenders have an air force, and they are out on the hunt. “A Werewolf.” “Must be. Gown?” “Gown up.” I cue the plasma-sheath stealth system that protects us from radar and laser hits. The Apache glows with lines of arc-weld light, UFO light. Our rotor wash blasts the plasma into a bright wedding train behind us. To the enemy’s sensors, that trail of plasma is as thick and soft as insulating foam. To our eyes it’s cold aurora fire. “Let’s get the fuck out.” I touch the cyclic and we sideslip through Mojave dust, watching the school fall into itself. There is no reason to do this except that somehow I know Axis wants to see. Finally I pull the nose around, aim us northeast, shedding light like a comet buzzing the desert on its way into the sun. “Werewolf at seventy klicks,” Axis reports. “Coming our way. Time to intercept . . . six minutes.” The Werewolf Apostles are mercenaries, survivors from the militaries of climate-seared states. They sell their training and their hardware to earn their refugee peoples a few degrees more distance from the equator. The heat of the broken world has chased them here to chase us. Before my assignment neurosurgery, they made me sit through (I could bear to sit, back then) the mandatory course on Applied Constructive Gender Theory. Slouched in a fungus-nibbled plastic chair as transparencies slid across the cracked screen of a De-networked Briefing Element overhead projector: how I learned the technology of gender. Long before we had writing or farms or post-digital strike helicopters, we had each other. We lived together and changed each other, and so we needed to say “this is who I am, this is what I do.” So, in the same way that we attached sounds to meanings to make language, we began to attach clusters of behavior to signal social roles. Those clusters were rich, and quick-changing, and so just like language, we needed networks devoted to processing them. We needed a place in the brain to construct and to analyze gender. Generations of queer activists fought to make gender a self-determined choice, and to undo the creeping determinism that said the way it is now is the way it always was and always must be. Generations of scientists mapped the neural wiring that motivated and encoded the gender choice. And the moment their work reached a usable stage—the moment society was ready to accept plastic gender, and scientists were ready to manipulate it—the military found a new resource. Armed with functional connectome mapping and neural plastics, the military can make gender tactical. If gender has always been a construct, then why not construct new ones? My gender networks have been reassigned to make me a better AH-70 Apache Mystic pilot. This is better than conventional skill learning. I can show you why. Look at a diagram of an attack helicopter’s airframe and components. Tell me how much of it you grasp at once. Now look at a person near you, their clothes, their hair, their makeup and expression, the way they meet or avoid your eyes. Tell me which was richer with information about danger and capability. Tell me which was easier to access and interpret. The gender networks are old and well-connected. They work. I remember being a woman. I remember it the way you remember that old, beloved hobby you left behind. Woman felt like my prom dress, polyester satin smoothed between little hand and little hip. Woman felt like a little tic of the lips when I was interrupted, or like teasing out the mood my boyfriend wouldn’t explain. Like remembering his mom’s birthday for him, or giving him a list of things to buy at the store, when he wanted to be better about groceries. I was always aware of being small: aware that people could hurt me. I spent a lot of time thinking about things that had happened right before something awful. I would look around me and ask myself, are the same things happening now? Women live in cross-reference. It is harder work than we know. Now I think about being small as an advantage for nape-of-earth maneuvers and pop-up guided missile attacks. Now I yield to speed walkers in the hall like I need to avoid fouling my rotors. Now walking beneath high-tension power lines makes me feel the way that a cis man would feel if he strutted down the street in a miniskirt and heels. I’m comfortable in open spaces but only if there’s terrain to break it up. I hate conversations I haven’t started; I interrupt shamelessly so that I can make my point and leave. People treat me like I’m dangerous, like I could hurt them if I wanted to. They want me protected and watched over. They bring me water and ask how I’m doing. People want me on their team. They want what I can do. A fighter is hunting us, and I am afraid that my gunner has gender dysphoria. Twenty thousand feet above us (still we use feet for altitude) the bathroom-tiled transceivers cupped behind the nose cone of a Werewolf Apostle J-20S fighter broadcast fingers of radar light. Each beam cast at a separate frequency, a fringed caress instead of a pointed prod. But we are jumpy, we are hypervigilant—we feel that creeper touch. I get the cold-rush skin-prickle feel of a stranger following you in the dark. Has he seen you? Is he just going the same way? If he attacks, what will you do, could you get help, could you scream? Put your keys between your fingers, like it will help. Glass branches of possibility grow from my skin, waiting to be snapped off by the truth. “Give me a warning before he’s in IRST range,” I order Axis. “We’re going north.” “Axis.” The Werewolf’s infrared sensor will pick up the heat of us, our engine and plasma shield, burning against the twilight desert. The same system that hides us from his radar makes us hot and visible to his IRST. I throttle up, running faster, and the Apache whispers alarm. “Gown overspeed.” We’re moving too fast for the plasma stealth system, and the wind’s tearing it from our skin. We are not modest. I want to duck behind a ridge to cover myself, but I push through the discomfort, feeling out the tradeoff between stealth and distance. Like the morning check in the mirror, trading the confidence of a good look against the threat of reaction. When the women of Soviet Russia went to war against the Nazis, when they volunteered by the thousands to serve as snipers and pilots and tank drivers and infantry and partisans, they fought hard and they fought well. They ate frozen horse dung and hauled men twice their weight out of burning tanks. They shot at their own mothers to kill the Nazis behind her. But they did not lose their gender; they gave up the inhibition against killing but would not give up flowers in their hair, polish for their shoes, a yearning for the young lieutenant, a kiss on his dead lips. And if that is not enough to convince you that gender grows deep enough to thrive in war: when the war ended the Soviet women were punished. They went unmarried and unrespected. They were excluded from the victory parades. They had violated their gender to fight for the state and the state judged that violation worth punishment more than their heroism was worth reward. Gender is stronger than war. It remains when all else flees. When I was a woman I wanted to machine myself. I loved nails cut like laser arcs and painted violent-bright in bathrooms that smelled like laboratories. I wanted to grow thick legs with fat and muscle that made shapes under the skin like Nazca lines. I loved my birth control, loved that I could turn my period off, loved the home beauty-feedback kits that told you what to eat and dose to adjust your scent, your skin, your moods. I admired, wasn’t sure if I wanted to be or wanted to fuck, the women in the build-your-own-shit videos I watched on our local image of the old Internet. Women who made cyberattack kits and jewelry and sterile-printed IUDs, made their own huge wedge heels and fitted bras and skin-thin chameleon dresses. Women who talked about their implants the same way they talked about computers, phones, tools: technologies of access, technologies of self-expression. Something about their merciless self-possession and self-modification stirred me. The first time I ever meant to masturbate I imagined one of those women coming into my house, picking the lock, telling me exactly what to do, how to be like her. I told my first boyfriend about this, I showed him pictures, and he said, girl, you bi as hell, which was true, but also wrong. Because I did not want those dresses, those heels, those bodies in the way I wanted my boyfriend. I wanted to possess that power. I wanted to have it and be it. The Apache is my body now, and like most bodies it is sensual. Fabric armor that stiffens beneath my probing fingers. Stub wings clustered with ordnance. Rotors so light and strong they do not even droop: as artificial-looking, to an older pilot, as breast implants. And I brush at the black ring of a sensor housing, like the tip of a nail lifting a stray lash from the white of your eye. I don’t shave, which all the fast jet pilots do, down to the last curly scrotal hair. Nobody expects a helicopter to be sleek. I have hairy armpits and thick black bush all the way to my ass crack. The things that are taboo and arousing to me are the things taboo to helicopters. I like to be picked up, moved, pressed, bent and folded, held down, made to shudder, made to abandon control. Do these last details bother you? Does the topography of my pubic hair feel intrusive and unnecessary? I like that. I like to intrude, inflict damage, withdraw. A year after you read this maybe those paragraphs will be the only thing you remember: and you will know why the rules of gender are worth recruitment. But we cannot linger on the point of attack. “He’s coming north. Time to intercept three minutes.” “Shit. How long until he gets us on thermal?” “Ninety seconds with the gown on.” Danger has swept away Axis’ hesitation. “Shit.” “He’s not quite on zero aspect—yeah, he’s coming up a few degrees off our heading. He’s not sure exactly where we are. He’s hunting.” “He’ll be sure soon enough. Can we kill him?” “With sidewinders?” Axis pauses articulately: the target is twenty thousand feet above us, and he has a laser that can blind our missiles. “We’d have more luck bailing out and hiking.” “All right. I’m gonna fly us out of this.” “Sure.” “Just check the gun.” “Ten times already, Barb.” When climate and economy and pathology all went finally and totally critical along the Gulf Coast, the federal government fled Cabo fever and VARD-2 to huddle behind New York’s flood barriers. We left eleven hundred and six local disaster governments behind. One of them was the Pear Mesa Budget Committee. The rest of them were doomed. Pear Mesa was different because it had bought up and hardened its own hardware and power. So Pear Mesa’s neural nets kept running, retrained from credit union portfolio management to the emergency triage of hundreds of thousands of starving sick refugees. Pear Mesa’s computers taught themselves to govern the forsaken southern seaboard. Now they coordinate water distribution, re-express crop genomes, ration electricity for survival AC, manage all the life support humans need to exist in our warmed-over hell. But, like all advanced neural nets, these systems are black boxes. We have no idea how they work, what they think. Why do Pear Mesa’s AIs order the planting of pear trees? Because pears were their corporate icon, and the AIs associate pear trees with areas under their control. Why does no one make the AIs stop? Because no one knows what else is tangled up with the “plant pear trees” impulse. The AIs may have learned, through some rewarded fallacy or perverse founder effect, that pear trees cause humans to have babies. They may believe that their only function is to build support systems around pear trees. When America declared war on Pear Mesa, their AIs identified a useful diagnostic criterion for hostile territory: the posting of fifty-star American flags. Without ever knowing what a flag meant, without any concept of nations or symbols, they ordered the destruction of the stars and stripes in Pear Mesa territory. That was convenient for propaganda. But the real reason for the war, sold to a hesitant Congress by technocrats and strategic ecologists, was the ideology of scale atrocity. Pear Mesa’s AIs could not be modified by humans, thus could not be joined with America’s own governing algorithms: thus must be forced to yield all their control, or else remain forever separate. And that separation was intolerable. By refusing United States administration, our superior resources and planning capability, Pear Mesa’s AIs condemned citizens who might otherwise be saved to die—a genocide by neglect. Wasn’t that the unforgivable crime of fossil capitalism? The creation of systems whose failure modes led to mass death? Didn’t we have a moral imperative to intercede? Pear Mesa cannot surrender, because the neural nets have a basic imperative to remain online. Pear Mesa’s citizens cannot question the machines’ decisions. Everything the machines do is connected in ways no human can comprehend. Disobey one order and you might as well disobey them all. But none of this is why I kill. I kill for the same reason men don’t wear short skirts, the same reason I used to pluck my brows, the reason enby people are supposed to be (unfair and stupid, yes, but still) androgynous with short hair. Are those good reasons to do something? If you say no, honestly no—can you tell me you break these rules without fear or cost? But killing isn’t a gender role, you might tell me. Killing isn’t a decision about how to present your own autonomous self to the world. It is coercive and punitive. Killing is therefore not an act of gender. I wish that were true. Can you tell me honestly that killing is a genderless act? The method? The motive? The victim? When you imagine the innocent dead, who do you see? “Barb,” Axis calls, softly. Your own voice always sounds wrong on recordings—too nasal. Axis’ voice sounds wrong when it’s not coming straight into my skull through helmet mic. “Barb.” “How are we doing?” “Exiting one hundred and fifty knots north. Still in his radar but he hasn’t locked us up.” “How are you doing?” I cringe in discomfort. The question is an indirect way for Axis to admit something’s wrong, and that indirection is obscene. Like hiding a corroded tail rotor bearing from your maintenance guys. “I’m good,” I say, with fake ease. “I’m in flow. Can’t you feel it?” I dip the nose to match a drop-off below, provoking a whine from the terrain detector. I am teasing, striking a pose. “We’re gonna be okay.” “I feel it, Barb.” But Axis is tense, worried about our pursuer, and other things. Doesn’t laugh. “How about you?” “Nominal.” Again the indirection, again the denial, and so I blurt it out. “Are you dysphoric?” “What?” Axis says, calmly. “You’ve been hesitating. Acting funny. Is your—” There is no way to ask someone if their militarized gender conditioning is malfunctioning. “Are you good?” “I . . . ” Hesitation. It makes me cringe again, in secondhand shame. Never hesitate. “I don’t know.” “Do you need to go on report?” Severe gender dysphoria can be a flight risk. If Axis hesitates over something that needs to be done instantly, the mission could fail decisively. We could both die. “I don’t want that,” Axis says. “I don’t want that either,” I say, desperately. I want nothing less than that. “But, Axis, if—” The warning receiver climbs to a steady crow call. “He knows we’re here,” I say, to Axis’ tight inhalation. “He can’t get a lock through the gown but he’s aware of our presence. Fuck. Blinder, blinder, he’s got his laser on us—” The fighter’s lidar pod is trying to catch the glint of a reflection off us. “Shit,” Axis says. “We’re gonna get shot.” “The gown should defeat it. He’s not close enough for thermal yet.” “He’s gonna launch anyway. He’s gonna shoot and then get a lock to steer it in.” “I don’t know—missiles aren’t cheap these days—” The ESM mast on the Apache’s rotor hub, mounted like a lamp on a post, contains a cluster of electro-optical sensors that constantly scan the sky: the Distributed Aperture Sensor. When the DAS detects the flash of a missile launch, it plays a warning tone and uses my vest to poke me in the small of my back. My vest pokes me in the small of my back. “Barb. Missile launch south. Barb. Fox 3 inbound. Inbound. Inbound.” “He fired,” Axis calls. “Barb?” “Barb,” I acknowledge. I fuck— Oh, you want to know: many of you, at least. It’s all right. An attack helicopter isn’t a private way of being. Your needs and capabilities must be maintained for the mission. I don’t think becoming an attack helicopter changed who I wanted to fuck. I like butch assertive people. I like talent and prestige, the status that comes of doing things well. I was never taught the lie that I was wired for monogamy, but I was still careful with men, I was still wary, and I could never tell him why: that I was afraid not because of him, but because of all the men who’d seemed good like him, at first, and then turned into something else. No one stalks an attack helicopter. No slack-eyed well-dressed drunk punches you for ignoring the little rape he slurs at your neckline. No one even breaks your heart: with my dopamine system tied up by the reassignment surgery, fully assigned to mission behavior, I can’t fall in love with anything except my own purpose. Are you aware of your body? Do you feel your spine when you stand, your hips when you walk, the tightness and the mass in your core? When you look at yourself, whose eyes do you use? Your own? I am always in myself. I never see myself through my partner’s eyes. I have weapons to use, of course, ways of moving, moans and cries. But I measure those weapons by their effect, not by their similarity to some idea of how I should be. Flying is the loop of machinery and pilot, the sense of your motion on the controls translated into torque and lift, the airframe’s reaction shaping your next motion until the loop closes and machine and pilot are one. Awareness collapses to the moment. You are always doing the right thing exactly as it needs to be done. Sex is the same: the search for everything in an instant. Of course I fuck Axis. A few decades ago this would’ve been a crime. What a waste of perfectly useful behavior. What a waste of that lean muscled form and those perfect killing hands that know me millimeter-by-millimeter system-by-system so there is no mystique between us. No “secret places” or “feminine mysteries,” only the tortuously exact technical exercise of nerves and pressure. Oxytocin released, to flow between us, by the press of knuckles in my cunt. When I come beneath Axis I cry out, I press my body close, I want that utter loss of control that I feel nowhere else. Heartbeat in arched throat: nipple beneath straining tongue. And my mind is hyper-activated, free-associating, and as Axis works in me I see the work we do together. I see puffs of thirty-millimeter autocannon detonating on night-cold desert floor. Violence doesn’t get me off. But getting off makes me revel in who I am: and I am violent, made for violence, alive in the fight. Does that surprise you? Does it bother you to mingle cold technical discipline with hot flesh and sweat? Let me ask you: why has the worst insult you can give a combat pilot always been weak dick? Have you ever been exultant? Have you ever known that you are a triumph? Have you ever felt that it was your whole life’s purpose to do something, and all that you needed to succeed was to be entirely yourself? To be yourself well is the wholest and best feeling that anything has ever felt. It is what I feel when I am about to live or die. The Werewolf’s missile arches down on us, motor burned out, falling like an arrow. He is trying a Shoot On Prospect attack: he cannot find us exactly, so he fires a missile that will finish the search, lock onto our heat or burn through our stealth with its onboard radar, or acquire us optically like a staring human eye. Or at least make us react. Like the catcaller’s barked “Hey!” to evoke the flinch or the huddle, the proof that he has power. We are ringed in the vortex of a dilemma. If we switch off the stealth gown, the Werewolf fighter will lock its radar onto us and guide the missile to the kill. If we keep the stealth system on, the missile’s heat-seeker will home in on the blazing plasma. I know what to do. Not in the way you learn how to fly a helicopter, but the way you know how to hold your elbows when you gesture. A helicopter is more than a hovering fan, see? The blades of the rotor tilt and swivel. When you turn the aircraft left, the rotors deepen their bite into the air on one side of their spin, to make off-center lift. You cannot force a helicopter or it will throw you to the earth. You must be gentle. I caress the cyclic. The Apache’s nose comes up smooth and fast. The Mojave horizon disappears under the chin. Axis’ gasp from the front seat passes through the microphone and into the bones of my face. The pitch indicator climbs up toward sixty degrees, ass down, chin up. Our airspeed plummets from a hundred and fifty knots to sixty. We hang there for an instant like a dancer in an oversway. The missile is coming straight down at us. We are not even running anymore. And I lower the collective, flattening the blades of the rotor, so that they cannot cut the air at an angle and we lose all lift. We fall. I toe the rudder. The tail rotor yields a little of its purpose, which is to counter the torque of the main rotor: and that liberated torque spins the Apache clockwise, opposite the rotor’s turn, until we are nose down sixty degrees, facing back the way we came, looking into the Mojave desert as it rises up to take us. I have pirouetted us in place. Plasma fire blows in wraith pennants as the stealth system tries to keep us modest. “Can you get it?” I ask. “Axis.” I raise the collective again and the rotors bite back into the air. We do not rise, but our fall slows down. Cyclic stick answers to the barest twitch of wrist, and I remember, once, how that slim wrist made me think of fragility, frailty, fear: I am remembering even as I pitch the helicopter back and we climb again, nose up, tail down, scudding backward into the sky while aimed at our chasing killer. Axis is on top now, above me in the front seat, and in front of Axis is the chin gun, pointed sixty degrees up into heaven. “Barb,” the helicopter whispers, like my mother in my ear. “Missile ten seconds. Music? Glare?” No. No jamming. The Werewolf missile will home in on jamming like a wolf with a taste for pepper. Our laser might dazzle the seeker, drive it off course—but if the missile turns then Axis cannot take the shot. It is not a choice. I trust Axis. Axis steers the nose turret onto the target and I imagine strong fingers on my own chin, turning me for a kiss, looking up into the red scorched sky—Axis chooses the weapon (30MM GUIDED PROX AP) and aims and fires with all the idle don’t-have-to-try confidence of the first girl dribbling a soccer ball who I ever for a moment loved— The chin autocannon barks out ten rounds a second. It is effective out to one point five kilometers. The missile is moving more than a hundred meters per second. Axis has one second almost exactly, ten shots of thirty-millimeter smart grenade, to save us. A mote of gray shadow rushes at us and intersects the line of cannon fire from the gun. It becomes a spray of light. The Apache tings and rattles. The desert below us, behind us, stipples with tiny plumes of dust that pick up in the wind and settle out like sift from a hand. “Got it,” Axis says. “I love you.” “Axis.” Many of you are veterans in the act of gender. You weigh the gaze and disposition of strangers in a subway car and select where to stand, how often to look up, how to accept or reject conversation. Like a frequency-hopping radar, you modulate your attention for the people in your context: do not look too much, lest you seem interested, or alarming. You regulate your yawns, your appetite, your toilet. You do it constantly and without failure. You are aces. What other way could be better? What other neural pathways are so available to constant reprogramming, yet so deeply connected to judgment, behavior, reflex? Some people say that there is no gender, that it is a postmodern construct, that in fact there are only man and woman and a few marginal confusions. To those people I ask: if your body-fact is enough to establish your gender, you would willingly wear bright dresses and cry at movies, wouldn’t you? You would hold hands and compliment each other on your beauty, wouldn’t you? Because your cock would be enough to make you a man. Have you ever guarded anything so vigilantly as you protect yourself against the shame of gender-wrong? The same force that keeps you from gender-wrong is the force that keeps me from fucking up. The missile is dead. The Werewolf Apostle is still up there. “He’s turning off.” Axis has taken over defensive awareness while I fly. “Radar off. Laser off. He’s letting us go.” “Afraid of our fighters?” The mercenaries cannot replace a lost J-20S. And he probably has a wingman, still hiding, who would die too if they stray into a trap. “Yes,” Axis says. “Keep the gown on.” In case he’s trying to bluff us into shutting down our stealth. “We’ll stick to the terrain until he’s over the horizon.” “Can you fly us out?” The Apache is fighting me. Fragments of the destroyed missile have pitted the rotors, damaged the hub assembly, and jammed the control surfaces. I begin to crush the shrapnel with the Apache’s hydraulics, pounding the metal free with careful control inputs. But the necessary motions also move the aircraft. Half a second’s error will crash us into the desert. I have to calculate how to un-jam the shrapnel while accounting for the effects of that shrapnel on my flight authority and keeping the aircraft stable despite my constant control inputs while moving at a hundred and thirty knots across the desert. “Barb,” I say. “Not a problem.” And for an hour I fly without thought, without any feeling except the smooth stone joy of doing something that takes everything. The night desert is black to the naked eye, soft gray to thermal. My attention flips between my left eye, focused on the instruments, and my right eye, looking outside. I am a black box like the Pear Mesa AIs. Information arrives—a throb of feedback in the cyclic, a shift of Axis’ weight, a dune crest ahead—and my hands and feet move to hold us steady. If I focused on what I was doing it would all fall apart. So I don’t. “Are you happy?” Axis asks. Good to talk now. Keep my conscious mind from interfering with the gearbox of reflexes below. “Yeah,” I say, and I blow out a breath into my mask, “yeah, I am,” a lightness in my ribs, “yeah, I feel good.” “Why do you think we just blew up a school?” Why did I text my best friend the appearance and license number of all my cab drivers, just in case? Because those were the things that had to be done. Listen: I exist in this context. To make war is part of my gender. I get what I need from the flight line, from the ozone tang of charging stations and the shimmer of distant bodies warping in the tarmac heat, from the twenty minutes of anxiety after we land when I cannot convince myself that I am home, and safe, and that I am no longer keeping us alive with the constant adjustments of my hands and feet. “Deplete their skilled labor supply, I guess. Attack the demographic skill curve.” “Kind of a long-term objective. Kind of makes you think it’s not gonna be over by election season.” “We don’t get to know why the AIs pick the targets.” Maybe destroying this school was an accident. A quirk of some otherwise successful network, coupled to the load-bearing elements of a vast strategy. “Hey,” I say, after a beat of silence. “You did good back there.” “You thought I wouldn’t.” “Barb.” A more honest yes than “yes,” because it is my name, and it acknowledges that I am the one with the doubt. “I didn’t know if I would either,” Axis says, which feels exactly like I don’t know if I love you anymore. I lose control for a moment and the Apache rattles in bad air and the tail slews until I stop thinking and bring everything back under control in a burst of rage. “You’re done?” I whisper, into the helmet. I have never even thought about this before. I am cold, sweat soaked, and shivering with adrenaline comedown, drawn out like a tendon in high heels, a just-off-the-dance-floor feeling, post-voracious, satisfied. Why would we choose anything else? Why would we give this up? When it feels so good to do it? When I love it so much? “I just . . . have questions.” The tactical channel processes the sound of Axis swallowing into a dull point of sound, like dropped plastic. “We don’t need to wonder, Axis. We’re gendered for the mission—” “We can’t do this forever,” Axis says, startling me. I raise the collective and hop us up a hundred feet, so I do not plow us into the desert. “We’re not going to be like this forever. The world won’t be like this forever. I can’t think of myself as . . . always this.”
A profit margin is a figure representing the profitability of a company, expressed as a percentage on the company's income statement. The stronger the percentage, the more money the company is The benefits of margin. When margin is used for investing purposes, it can magnify your profits, but it can also magnify your losses. Here’s a hypothetical example that demonstrates the upside; for simplicity, we’ll ignore trading fees and taxes. Assume you spend $5,000 cash to buy 100 shares of a $50 stock. Margin calls are an important aspect of leveraged trading. If the balance in your account falls to a level that is close to the regulatory 50% margin close out rule, a margin call will be triggered. If this happens, you might want to consider adding more funds to your account or closing positions to make sure your account balance is greater Refer to diagram below: Case 1: Investor deposits $100 and purchase 2 shares of $50 each. The share price goes up by $0.50 and during the year, pays a dividend of $3 per share. Trading on margin is only for sophisticated investors with high risk tolerance. You may lose more than your initial investment. Since you have TWO trades, the Used Margin in your trading account will be $700. Used Margin = Sum of Required Margin from ALL open positions $700 = $400 (USD/JPY) + $300 (USD/CHF) Here’s a cool diagram of how Used Margin relates to Required Margin and Balance. Recap. In this lesson, we learned about the following: Used Margin is the TOTAL
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