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The Mighty Wart

The Mighty Wart
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  • Glyphosate unlikely to cause cancer, European scientific advisers say [View news story]
    Let’s get some facts here:

    - Glyphosate alone is not widely used in agribusiness. Why? Not only it doesn’t penetrate mammalian intestinal mucosa but it neither penetrate plant cells defeating its whole purpose.
    - In order for glyphosate to work it has to be mixed, most often than not with a surfactant. This is the core of what Roundup is.
    - Is Roundup found in GMO crops? Plenty.
    - Is glyphosate on its own highly toxic to humans? Probably not as it’s difficult to be absorbed.
    - Are surfactants toxic to humans? Yes they are. There is also evidence of that.
    - Is glyphosate toxic to humans (i.e.: carcinogenic) when mixed with other chemicals, such as surfactants (i.e.: Roundup). In other words, is Roundup highly toxic to humans? “Probably” yes. Not only it has surfactants, which are proven that some of them are toxic, but it might make glyphosate absorbable by the intestinal mucosa, hence the “probably”.

    Hope this helps.
    Nov 23, 2015. 08:41 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Glyphosate unlikely to cause cancer, European scientific advisers say [View news story]
    Fair enough.

    There is however Transgenic Round Up resistant wheat developed by MON that was never marketed but still found its way into the fields. So technically it’s possible that someone, somewhere, found wheat with glyphosate residue. Mind you it’s not that the wheat was sprayed knowingly of this. It’s that glyphosate is everywhere so on a wheat resistant crop it could well be possibly found. Survivorship bias coming into effect.

    From Wikipedia:

    "Escape of GM wheat seed

    In 1999 scientists in Thailand claimed they discovered glyphosate-resistant wheat in a grain shipment from the Pacific Northwest of the United States, even though transgenic wheat had never been approved for sale and was only ever grown in test plots. No one could explain how the transgenic wheat got into the food supply.[38]

    In May 2013 a strain of genetically-engineered glyphosate-resistant wheat was found on a farm in Oregon. Extensive testing confirmed the wheat as a variety – MON71800.[39] The wheat had been developed by Monsanto but never been approved or marketed after the company had tested it between 1998 and 2005. The unexplained presence of this type of wheat presents a problem to wheat growers when buyers demand GMO-free wheat.[40] Japan subsequently suspended import of soft white wheat from the United States.[41] A Kansas farmer sued Monsanto over the release, saying it had caused the price of wheat grown in the US to fall.[42] Monsanto suggested that the presence of this wheat was likely an act of sabotage.[43]"
    Nov 18, 2015. 08:15 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Glyphosate unlikely to cause cancer, European scientific advisers say [View news story]
    That’s the point of GMOs. They are designed genetically to, among other things, be resistant to specific herbicides (and pesticides) including Glysophate. So it really depends what wheat you are spraying to.
    Nov 17, 2015. 09:03 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Glyphosate unlikely to cause cancer, European scientific advisers say [View news story]
    “EFSA scientists, who worked with experts from EU countries, said their study differed from the IARC's in that it considered only glyphosate, whereas the IARC had assessed groups of related chemicals. They said the toxic effects could be related to reactions with other constituents.”

    Worth reading the Reuters news to have a better assessment of the situation. Chemicals tend to interact with other chemicals enhancing their toxicity (or not). It’s well known than smoking and drinking at the same time is more damaging that the sum of each activity.

    I’d err on the side of the IARC’s report purely because their analysis is closer to what happens in real life. You will never get a corncob with only glyphosate.
    Nov 13, 2015. 09:46 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bank Of New York Mellon Still Looks Like A Sell [View article]
    I’m intrigued on why you say that BK will see little to no benefit from rates as they rise… You are probably missing the fact that BK is the biggest custodian in the world with +$20 trillion under custody including more than a trillion dollars under management through their fully owned subsidiaries such as Newton , Walter Scott, etc. BNY by itself is one of the biggest asset managers in the world with a lot of the assets invested in FI and money markets; assets which performance are linked directly to the level of rates. That’s not counting their security lending business which should also benefit from a rates increase.
    Jul 27, 2015. 10:25 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Will Greece be in or out? [View news story]
    Europe’s leaders cannot show Greece the door because this is not stipulated in any treaty. Is either them leaving in their own terms or remaining is a state of despair.
    Jul 8, 2015. 06:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ackman: Shutting HLF is 'one of the most important things' [View news story]
    I agree with you Ackman. Just make sure you remain solvent in the process of shutting it down.
    Apr 1, 2015. 10:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Consumer advocacy group takes exception to proposed Herbalife class-action settlement [View news story]
    Yes shipping doesn’t mean selling. Most of the cash-flows are within the pyramid and your five trucks worth of products are in very few cupboards and garages.

    What you need to understand about HLF and many other MLM is that the stock is not in HLF and not accounted for there but it’s in the distributors. That allows the company to have a positive operating margin and “amazing” cash reserves but the reality is that “selling HLF products” by and large can only happen after recruitment. No recruitment = no selling of products and the distributors and the bottom feeders get most of the hit.

    Hence the pyramid scheme, hence the massive short position of Ackman, hence the endless (but entertaining) discussions here in SA.

    I haven’t met yet the first person in my life using HLF and NOT being part of the scheme BUT I know quite few people selling HLF and using their products (as it’s meant to be). So I’m not denying revenues coming from outside the scheme. I’m just saying that this should be minimal and certainly not enough to sustain a $3 billion company.
    Mar 18, 2015. 12:51 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Herbalife's Venezuela Woes Continue [View article]
    It’s a simple weighted average calculation. The government claims that up to 90% of dollars enter the country at 6.30. So that leaves 10% entering at a series of different prices being the maximum at around 270 (black market). Assuming the government is exaggerating, which probably is the case, let’s say that 70% of the total enters at 6.30 and the rest at 270. The weighted average of that is around 85 Bolivares per dollar which is what most analysts are pricing it. This price has the current oil price as the underlying driver. Any amelioration of the oil price will tend to push down the black market price and thus this implicit rate.

    Giving that less dollars are entering the country, albeit the majority at 6.30, there isn’t simply enough dollars at this price to repatriate the profits of many multinationals without incurring in further scarcity (already it’s a big thing there) and probably creating a humanitarian catastrophe. My guess is that the government is waiting for the entities holding huge amount of bolivares to burn themselves at 270 (effectively writing off their profits) before rationalizing anything. But I’m probably grossly overestimating the intelligence of the government there.
    Mar 17, 2015. 11:42 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Bloomberg: Apple's first car could arrive by 2020 [View news story]
    Let's hope it doesn't get slower with every new iOS update
    Feb 24, 2015. 11:13 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • FTC chief OK to share stage with Herbalife exec riles prominent critic [View news story]
    I really don’t understand what is the point you are trying to make. Actually churning rate is what matters. Whether some people come back is totally irrelevant as they have to start from scratch. Why you don’t answer better this question for me: What does leaving HLF mean for you?

    Leaving is leaving my friend.

    They might come back because they have shit loads of products in the living room they don’t know what to do with them and that they find impossible to sell outside an attractive “business proposition” (i.e.: pyramid) as HLF offers . But they left before HLF for a good reason don’t you think?
    Feb 13, 2015. 10:34 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • FTC chief OK to share stage with Herbalife exec riles prominent critic [View news story]

    A Pyramid scheme IS NOT where you pay for recruiting. That's total nonsense. If that was the case HLF would have been broken long time ago. Just look at the churn rate of the company.

    A pyramid scheme is one where the participants obtain their monetary benefits primarily from recruitment rather than the sale of goods and services to consumers. Herbalife business model in fact.

    Yes it does sale some products, and yes it does (only very recently) have some retail distribution channels outside the net. At elast in some LATAM countries. However these don't make it a non-pyramid I'm afraid.

    Get your facts right first.
    Feb 12, 2015. 08:05 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • FTC chief OK to share stage with Herbalife exec riles prominent critic [View news story]
    Herbalife is a pyramid scheme, no doubts about it. Whether this can be proved is a different story and whether you can remain solvent until it’s proven is also a very different story.

    I wouldn’t go long on the ability of the incumbent parties to prove this, which is essentially what a short position on HLF is atm. I would short HLF based on other more mundane things like I do with other stocks. But not an (highly) unlikely event happening.

    Too many moving parts and politics involved for this to happen. HLF only needs to carry as it is that prices will keep following a random path. Ackman is betting on a price dropping to zero. That’s a tall call.

    Nuf said.
    Feb 11, 2015. 12:18 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Australia repeals carbon tax, BHP says move will help competitiveness [View news story]
    By taxing polluters you are effectively taxing economic agents. These are entities that keep the world moving.

    It’s impossible to generate growth without polluting as we rely so much on fossil fuels. It’s impossible to fulfil all current human needs without polluting. Every economic activity has at the bottom of the chain few hundred barrels of oil.

    So the challenge here is to discriminate between standalone polluters and producers. This is very difficult I’m afraid and not always straight forward.

    A carbon tax will only generate inflation while doing very little to reduce pollution. It will have to be implemented world-wide as individual countries will not shot in their foot themselves and put them in a disadvantage when compared to other more lax countries. This is a gargantuan task. To really do something about it a new economic system must be brought forward, otherwise this is all futile.

    A new economic system can be implemented locally so it doesn’t have to rely on World consensus. Not only that but it’s more sustainable than taxing an economic activity. Taxing is a wealth transfer from one agent to normally a government. A new economic system will create wealth and not just simply transferring it. Tackling pollution is not a matter of transferring wealth from polluters to non-polluters. Tackling pollution is about producing things in a different way or producing different things all together and the economic activities that sustain this.
    Jul 17, 2014. 10:57 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple: Soon A Member Of The $1,000 Club? [View article]
    Apple is dead
    Jan 28, 2014. 08:17 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment