Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Ezradamus: Australian Inflation Will Be 20% for 2020-2023.

From January 2020 to January 2022
- M1 money supply rose from 1091 billion to 1639 billion
- M3 supply rose from 2164 B to 2663 B. (23% rise)

There is nothing wrong with expanding the money supply in times of growth. But when money supply goes up, without a corresponding rise in productivity, then the value of money goes down - this is textbook inflation.

All the random fluff and excuses you will hear about war / supply shortages / covid / demand pull inflation / "transitory" / etc have short term effects on the inflation rate - but the bottom line still stands - The money supply expanded by 23% in 2 years over the course of the pandemic. And im pretty sure the country didnt become 23% more productive (making goods and mining resources) over that period.

Macro > Micro every. single. time.

Hence, expect the increased money supply to dilute every dollar in existence. It is a tax against money. And dont let any politician tell you otherwise.

How does this effect me?
I have a rather old school way of looking at society. Broadly speaking, there are three types of people:
- Plebs: Work for others in an unskilled job that can be easily replaced by random Joe Blogs.
- Proletariat: Has a skill, but works for other at the end of the day. You have a boss above you. (this is me btw)
- Bourgeoisie: Owns means of production. The shoplots. Factories. Mines. People work for you. You own capital.

Expect bills to rise faster than wages. Through every period of inflation with fiat currency, wages do rise, but not as quickly as inflation - it never does. Rent goes up because house prices go up.

Those luxuries you used to enjoy suddenly cost alot more. Starting to have to penny pinch a bit to meet grocery targets. But you take reprieve in the fact that your house has gone up 20% in value....ignorant of the fact that you need a place to stay and wont be selling it anyway. The house you live in is not an income generating asset. It doesnt mean anything...but at least you are buffered against inflation.

Your stocks, shares and property values have risen sharply. Your workers are demanding higher pay - sure. Here's a 3.5% pay rise to calm the peasants and to silence r/antiwork.

Why all the fuss about interest rates?
If you are wondering why the money supply is increasing, the oversimplified explanation is that low interest rates makes money cheap to borrow. BANKS SPAWN MONEY INTO EXISTANCE WHEN PEOPLE TAKE LOANS*.  Traditionally, when money was limited by gold in the bank, low interest rates would be a massive help to lower income people. But now, the reverse is true. Because the supply of money is infinite. Low interest rates actually hurt the poor without them realizing it. It makes their pay more worthless as the value of money declines. 

On Helicopter Money
The really big problem with democracy is that it ends up being a popularity contest - and if the population is not educated about money, it is easy to bribe them with 'helicopter money' (payouts). What people dont realize is that whatever temporary benefit from handouts/tax breaks they may have will be offset by a tax on money (inflation). So what if you get $1000 if in the long run, every dollar you earn will be more worthless.

Im quite a fan of democracy. So im writing this blog post to make people more informed about money to promote accountability and good governance. Education is key.

Of course, I dont have a crystal ball. But my educated guess is that by the end of 2023, most people will notice a 20% rise in their expenditure (groceries, utilities, etc) compared to Jan 2020. Time will prove me right or wrong. It sounds insane, but that's averaged over 4 years (1/2020 - 12/2023)... or about 5% per year. This is how insidious inflation can be. You dont think 5% PA is much, but it is actually insane in the grand scheme of things.

*with some limitations of course. There is a reserve requirement, legislated lending criteria etc... But at the end of the day it is really almost unlimited as interest rates approach 0% (it's 0.25% right now). In the US there's a fractional reserve requirement, in Australia, there are similar criteria set by APRA ("risk weighted credit exposures" etc.)

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Project Magnum Opus

    I am writing this to become a better doctor. To be able to function at the level of a consultant. There is no fixed syllabus. There are only outlines of topics that a consultant kinda needs to know about. It seems like an impossible task, but medicine is ultimately based on real life, and it cannot deviate from that. Medicine changes, but human beings do not evolve that quickly. I have 10 years of experience behind me, along with studying for the exams, which are based on real life, and will stay true to reality.

    This project is an integration of all previous study documents for consultant level exams, namely my collection of clinical decision making tools and copypastable templates, ECG archives, ABG archives, and collections of structured assessments and multiple choice questions.

    This aims to be the final set of notes in my career. It will be updated as appropriate and once complete I will look into versioning and QI.

    The topics are wide, and the knowledge required could be extremely focused at times. Remembering lists is meaningless. Everything has to be in working memory, well understood and structured to allow for rapid access on the floor. Quick. Intuitive. Practical. To achieve the required amount of practical working knowledge, basic principles are to be employed. The structure is similar to that of the International Baccalaureate diploma, in that each theme is broken up into chunks with a progression of concepts and logical themes.

    The separation of themes differ from traditional textbooks and references as they are oriented around clinical relevance and application. Compartmentalizing information in clinically relevant areas of working memory is a key goal of this project.

    As this project focuses on real life, many topics are deliberately superficial and to the point. There are also some topics that end up being oddly specific and detailed as they are relevant to clinical practice.

  • Chunking. Breaking up each topic in to bite sized pieces that could be integrated into working memory. Each topic should be reviewable in about 1 hour.
  • Minimising cognitive load.
  • Pictures / diagrams / illustrations / questions*
  • Each topic has to flow in a logical progression of thinking – from fundamental concepts to complex themes.
  • Each topic starts with a question or clinical scenario – because that’s how real life works.
  • Cutting out the noise: Information relevant to practical real life clinical decision making is to be included.
  • Portability – if a presentation needs to be done on one of the themes, easily copy-pastable into a powerpoint.

    I hope to enlist some colleagues to help proof read the topics prior to publishing. Versions are identified by a date appended to each file.


Saturday, July 03, 2021

The Goblin War Buggy

It costs two mana. One colorless, one red. It is cast with haste, and can attack the turn it is played. It deals two damage on turn two.

I have not played Magic The Gathering since 2002.

Why do I remember these cards with such vividness? More importantly, why do I understand the function and role of cards in the meta of a game i have not played in over a decade?

The Goblin War Buggy is not the only card that I have taken to heart. I could list at least two dozen cards in vivid detail, along with their function and role, and how they integrate into a deck, so many years after last playing with them. In retrospect, playing Magic The Gathering was a perfect combination of a few factors. I spent my casual free time thinking about cards. The game made you think hard long before it was actually played. Building a deck meant fussing over card counts and how each card fit in grand strategy of the deck. I spent so much time studying the cards, and thinking about them on my spare time, that I developed a keen understanding of each card. I then played with them, and that reinforced the knowledge I had about those cards.

Why do we remember what we learn? How can I integrate what I learn into working, functional memory?

Step 1: Priming Mental Function
- Sleep enough.
- Cardio Exercise 3 times a week (~20 mins at ~80% HR, or about 160bpm).
- Meditate to wipe out distracting thoughts.
The ultimate goal of the above is to increase levels of Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor that greatly aids in learning and memory. Meditation reduces distracting thoughts, and improves focus on the now... as the default mode of the brain is to think about things past and future, but not the present. Exercise increases BDNF, improves sleep, and lifts mood.

Step 2: Study in a Flow State
There must be no distractions. No checking facebook / instagram / reddit / email. You have one task: To study XYZ. Nothing more. Study while not stressed, in one's casual free time, out of one's own volition, with no pressures or distracting thoughts. Once in a flow state, focus and read intently. Reading for the sake of reading, while incessantly checking facebook or reddit, does not achieve anything. The whole idea of reading is that it allows you to think. It is the act of thinking about something that will integrate it into working memory.
Step 3: Visualize.
Practicing what has been read, will solidify that knowledge and make it easily reproducible/verbalized (for exams!). Performance artists (eg dancers / gymnasts ) will often go through the motions in their mind when not actively practicing physically. The same reason why professional guitarists play the air guitar on the bus. The mind has the ability to visualize scenarios - and it is linked very strongly to the formation of new memories

Step 4: Marinate / Practice
Thoughts need time to marinate. Studying and visualizing require time to marinate and be integrated into one's mind. Seeing things happen in practice will make it stick even more.

How does this relate to studying for Consultant level Exams?

1) The Flow Protocol
- clean up workspace
- exercise
- shower and brush teeth
- meditate for 5 minutes.

2) Study a topic from the syllabus.
- Read various sources regarding a topic.
- Textbooks,
- and yes, google (FOAMED) is my friend.

3) Ruminate about the topic. Scribble some notes
- What questions can they ask me about this topic?
- There is only so much they can reasonably ask!

4) Visualize the topic
- So, a medical student comes and asks you about it. what will you say?
- A patient turns up with this condition. How would you approach it?
- Can I make a first year, first-rotation, intern "autopilot" the management of a patient presenting with XYZ? If so, what clear instructions do I need to give?

5) Consolidate knowledge in to formal notes.
- Structured and consistent with the syllabus.
- Allows rapid recollection / rumination / visualization.
- Marinating thoughts (Step 3 and 4) while looking at notes

6) Examinology
- 27 questions in 3 hours. 360 marks. Must finish. Must be concise. Must not give too little or too much information.
- Like everything in life, this is a real skill that is not really taught anywhere.

*This article was originally written september 2020. I passed the exam July 2021.