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[NYTimes] Sources describe horror stories of young and inexperienced investors on Robinhood, many engaging in riskier trades at far higher volumes than at other firms

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/08/technology/robinhood-risky-trading.html
Richard Dobatse, a Navy medic in San Diego, dabbled infrequently in stock trading. But his behavior changed in 2017 when he signed up for Robinhood, a trading app that made buying and selling stocks simple and seemingly free.
Mr. Dobatse, now 32, said he had been charmed by Robinhood’s one-click trading, easy access to complex investment products, and features like falling confetti and emoji-filled phone notifications that made it feel like a game. After funding his account with $15,000 in credit card advances, he began spending more time on the app.
As he repeatedly lost money, Mr. Dobatse took out two $30,000 home equity loans so he could buy and sell more speculative stocks and options, hoping to pay off his debts. His account value shot above $1 million this year — but almost all of that recently disappeared. This week, his balance was $6,956.
“When he is doing his trading, he won’t want to eat,” said his wife, Tashika Dobatse, with whom he has three children. “He would have nightmares.”
Millions of young Americans have begun investing in recent years through Robinhood, which was founded in 2013 with a sales pitch of no trading fees or account minimums. The ease of trading has turned it into a cultural phenomenon and a Silicon Valley darling, with the start-up climbing to an $8.3 billion valuation. It has been one of the tech industry’s biggest growth stories in the recent market turmoil.
But at least part of Robinhood’s success appears to have been built on a Silicon Valley playbook of behavioral nudges and push notifications, which has drawn inexperienced investors into the riskiest trading, according to an analysis of industry data and legal filings, as well as interviews with nine current and former Robinhood employees and more than a dozen customers. And the more that customers engaged in such behavior, the better it was for the company, the data shows.
Thanks for reading The Times. Subscribe to The Times More than at any other retail brokerage firm, Robinhood’s users trade the riskiest products and at the fastest pace, according to an analysis of new filings from nine brokerage firms by the research firm Alphacution for The New York Times.
In the first three months of 2020, Robinhood users traded nine times as many shares as E-Trade customers, and 40 times as many shares as Charles Schwab customers, per dollar in the average customer account in the most recent quarter. They also bought and sold 88 times as many risky options contracts as Schwab customers, relative to the average account size, according to the analysis.
The more often small investors trade stocks, the worse their returns are likely to be, studies have shown. The returns are even worse when they get involved with options, research has found.
This kind of trading, where a few minutes can mean the difference between winning and losing, was particularly hazardous on Robinhood because the firm has experienced an unusual number of technology issues, public records show. Some Robinhood employees, who declined to be identified for fear of retaliation, said the company failed to provide adequate guardrails and technology to support its customers.
Those dangers came into focus last month when Alex Kearns, 20, a college student in Nebraska, killed himself after he logged into the app and saw that his balance had dropped to negative $730,000. The figure was high partly because of some incomplete trades.
“There was no intention to be assigned this much and take this much risk,” Mr. Kearns wrote in his suicide note, which a family member posted on Twitter.
Like Mr. Kearns, Robinhood’s average customer is young and lacks investing know-how. The average age is 31, the company said, and half of its customers had never invested before.
Some have visited Robinhood’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif., in recent years to confront the staff about their losses, said four employees who witnessed the incidents. This year, they said, the start-up installed bulletproof glass at the front entrance.
“They encourage people to go from training wheels to driving motorcycles,” Scott Smith, who tracks brokerage firms at the financial consulting firm Cerulli, said of Robinhood. “Over the long term, it’s like trying to beat the casino.”
At the core of Robinhood’s business is an incentive to encourage more trading. It does not charge fees for trading, but it is still paid more if its customers trade more.
That’s because it makes money through a complex practice known as “payment for order flow.” Each time a Robinhood customer trades, Wall Street firms actually buy or sell the shares and determine what price the customer gets. These firms pay Robinhood for the right to do this, because they then engage in a form of arbitrage by trying to buy or sell the stock for a profit over what they give the Robinhood customer.
This practice is not new, and retail brokers such as E-Trade and Schwab also do it. But Robinhood makes significantly more than they do for each stock share and options contract sent to the professional trading firms, the filings show.
For each share of stock traded, Robinhood made four to 15 times more than Schwab in the most recent quarter, according to the filings. In total, Robinhood got $18,955 from the trading firms for every dollar in the average customer account, while Schwab made $195, the Alphacution analysis shows. Industry experts said this was most likely because the trading firms believed they could score the easiest profits from Robinhood customers.
Vlad Tenev, a founder and co-chief executive of Robinhood, said in an interview that even with some of its customers losing money, young Americans risked greater losses by not investing in stocks at all. Not participating in the markets “ultimately contributed to the sort of the massive inequalities that we’re seeing in society,” he said.
Mr. Tenev said only 12 percent of the traders active on Robinhood each month used options, which allow people to bet on where the price of a specific stock will be on a specific day and multiply that by 100. He said the company had added educational content on how to invest safely.
He declined to comment on why Robinhood makes more than its competitors from the Wall Street firms. The company also declined to comment on Mr. Dobatse or provide data on its customers’ performance.
Robinhood does not force people to trade, of course. But its success at getting them do so has been highlighted internally. In June, the actor Ashton Kutcher, who has invested in Robinhood, attended one of the company’s weekly staff meetings on Zoom and celebrated its success by comparing it to gambling websites, said three people who were on the call.
Mr. Kutcher said in a statement that his comment “was not intended to be a comparison of business models nor the experience Robinhood provides its customers” and that it referred “to the current growth metrics.” He added that he was “absolutely not insinuating that Robinhood was a gambling platform.”
ImageRobinhood’s co-founders and co-chief executives, Baiju Bhatt, left, and Vlad Tenev, created the company to make investing accessible to everyone. Robinhood’s co-founders and co-chief executives, Baiju Bhatt, left, and Vlad Tenev, created the company to make investing accessible to everyone.Credit...via Reuters Robinhood was founded by Mr. Tenev and Baiju Bhatt, two children of immigrants who met at Stanford University in 2005. After teaming up on several ventures, including a high-speed trading firm, they were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement to create a company that would make finance more accessible, they said. They named the start-up Robinhood after the English outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
Robinhood eliminated trading fees while most brokerage firms charged $10 or more for a trade. It also added features to make investing more like a game. New members were given a free share of stock, but only after they scratched off images that looked like a lottery ticket.
The app is simple to use. The home screen has a list of trendy stocks. If a customer touches one of them, a green button pops up with the word “trade,” skipping many of the steps that other firms require.
Robinhood initially offered only stock trading. Over time, it added options trading and margin loans, which make it possible to turbocharge investment gains — and to supersize losses.
The app advertises options with the tagline “quick, straightforward & free.” Customers who want to trade options answer just a few multiple-choice questions. Beginners are legally barred from trading options, but those who click that they have no investing experience are coached by the app on how to change the answer to “not much” experience. Then people can immediately begin trading.
Before Robinhood added options trading in 2017, Mr. Bhatt scoffed at the idea that the company was letting investors take uninformed risks.
“The best thing we can say to those people is ‘Just do it,’” he told Business Insider at the time.
In May, Robinhood said it had 13 million accounts, up from 10 million at the end of 2019. Schwab said it had 12.7 million brokerage accounts in its latest filings; E-Trade reported 5.5 million.
That growth has kept the money flowing in from venture capitalists. Sequoia Capital and New Enterprise Associates are among those that have poured $1.3 billion into Robinhood. In May, the company received a fresh $280 million.
“Robinhood has made the financial markets accessible to the masses and, in turn, revolutionized the decades-old brokerage industry,” Andrew Reed, a partner at Sequoia, said after last month’s fund-raising.
Image Robinhood shows users that its options trading is free of commissions. Robinhood shows users that its options trading is free of commissions. Mr. Tenev has said Robinhood has invested in the best technology in the industry. But the risks of trading through the app have been compounded by its tech glitches.
In 2018, Robinhood released software that accidentally reversed the direction of options trades, giving customers the opposite outcome from what they expected. Last year, it mistakenly allowed people to borrow infinite money to multiply their bets, leading to some enormous gains and losses.
Robinhood’s website has also gone down more often than those of its rivals — 47 times since March for Robinhood and 10 times for Schwab — according to a Times analysis of data from Downdetector.com, which tracks website reliability. In March, the site was down for almost two days, just as stock prices were gyrating because of the coronavirus pandemic. Robinhood’s customers were unable to make trades to blunt the damage to their accounts.
Four Robinhood employees, who declined to be identified, said the outage was rooted in issues with the company’s phone app and servers. They said the start-up had underinvested in technology and moved too quickly rather than carefully.
Mr. Tenev said he could not talk about the outage beyond a company blog post that said it was “not acceptable.” Robinhood had recently made new technology investments, he said.
Plaintiffs who have sued over the outage said Robinhood had done little to respond to their losses. Unlike other brokers, the company has no phone number for customers to call.
Mr. Dobatse suffered his biggest losses in the March outage — $860,000, his records show. Robinhood did not respond to his emails, he said, adding that he planned to take his case to financial regulators for arbitration.
“They make it so easy for people that don’t know anything about stocks,” he said. “Then you go there and you start to lose money.”
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First Contact - TOTAL WAR - 217 (Foxtrot-Nine-Two)

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The multi-role strike hovercraft slipped through the air, dropping altitude quickly. The intact ships of the squadron were smoking, over half of them the battle-screens were down and the particle screens were so overloaded they were flickering and snarling.
Mukstet, pilot of Foxtrot-Niner-Two, lead striker of the squadron due to their unorthodox launch, looked around, the window shields covering the smart-armaglass retracted. The trees were whipping by and so far there hadn't been any Precursors popping up on the sensors.
That could be because our sensors are hashed, he thought to himself. He saw a faint glimmer of sparkling blue and did a slow bank toward it.
The controls were mushy, slow to respond. The two fifty-gallon reactor mass tanks were empty, used to power the afterburners, which meant his fusion reactor was offline. He was running on the auxilary zero-point reactors now and they barely had the power to keep the ship in the air. They were at over 80% heat, which left the alarms pinging in his ear. The hotter they got the higher the impedance and the less power the reactors produced due to the power being converted to heat.
It was a vicious self-sustaining cycle.
Terrans have been able to beat everything but heat, Mukstet thought, dropping his altitude even further. He was barely skimming above the tree-tops now. He glanced around him, doing a visual on the other striker craft. Four of them were streaming smoke, one white, one bluish, the other two black smoke pouring from where the weapon covers had torn free. A glance at the squadron icons showed him that of the twenty strikers besides his all of them were yellow or amber.
"973, can you do field repairs?" he asked over the link.
--need time and mass nano-forges too hot too slushy slushy-- the green mantid sent back along with a picture of a half-dozen green mantids standing on the lid of a top loading clothes washing machine with bubbles pouring out from the edges of the lid. The caption read "C17H35COONa/H2O!!!!!" Mukstet didn't get it completely but he got the gist.
The blue glimmer came out to be a large lake surrounded by manicured lawns, decorative tree groves, shrubs, and estates for Lanaktallan. There were wrecking equipment near the manors and over half of them were in the middle of being demolished.
"All Foxtrot-Niner elements, all strikers on me, we're going land near the lake and do field repairs," Mukstet said. "All dismount strike team leaderss give me a status report on your dismount teams once we're on the ground. Have your green buddies reconfigure your suits for intra-atmospheric combat. My appreciation to your green buddies for keeping everyone alive during our insertion."
Blinks came back from the squad leaders.
"Foxtrot-Niner-Two, this is Foxtrot-Niner-Twelve, my center-line gravitons are out and my zero-point heat is at 92% and rising. Tell me we're setting down soon," came Dulketit's voice.
"Five mikes, that's it, just five mikes, Foxtrot-Niner-Twelve," Mukstet said. "All squadron strikers, drop speed to two-hundred kay."
The icons blinked and Mukstet went back to keeping his battered striker in the air.
He managed to get his landing gear deployed and set down on what was obviously a manor's ornate back lawn. The striker hovercraft settled down slowly, bumping, and Mukstet killed the power. The vehicle made a whining sound that slowly went silent. The other twenty striker craft settled down on the lawn, not quite dress right dress but close enough.
Foxtrot-Nine-Seven and Foxtrot-Nine-Eighteen both had fires erupt. Black armored troops jumped out with fire extinquishers, hosing down the fires with white powder.
"How's she look?" Mukstet asked his mantids.
--couple hours need mass good to stop at water you run hoses-- 973 sent back with an image of armored Telkan wrestling umbilicals from the lake to the strikers.
"All right. How's the engineers? You all make it?" Mukstet asked.
--some injured two lost legs three lost bladearms be okie okie-- 973 transmitted back with a sweating smiley face.
"All right. Make sure they get first aid," Mukstet said. He reached down and popped the umbilical connecting him to Jekib. He turned on the system, feeling cool air flood in. He hadn't realized how overheated he'd gotten during the insertion. He undid his five-point harness and hit the release stud for his neural jack connector.
It felt weird being disconnected from the striker. Light he was lighter somehow. Aches and pains vanished for a second to be replaced by other aches and pains. His shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers hurt from the vibration through the stick and how tightly he'd gripped everything.
He closed his eyes, just like he'd been trained to, and took several deep breaths, giving his brain time to synch back up to his body. A count of five, opening and closing his hands each count, and then he opened his eyes again. He reached out and hit the stud on the side to open up the cock-pit side door.
Air rolled over him, smelling of water and alien green things. He could see the dismount strikers spreading out at the pointed directions of Sergeant Kuplo. Some of the scouts were running for the construction equipment, others were opening up panels on the striker craft and pulling out hoses, still others were kneeling down while a handful of troops with the red cross, red crescent, and red square of medical personnel were checking their armor's statistics.
The next two hours passed with a blur. Pulling the hoses out to refill the reactor mass with filtered water, the debris caught by the filters passed to the nano-forges, the greenies making repairs as rapidly as possible. Telkan Marines helped put mass into the hoppers for the nano-forges to tear apart once the creation engines had cooled down and deslushed.
"You get anyone yet?" Mukstet asked Kanpuk, his Technical Specialist operating the com-system.
"No. Tegket's working with the other EW guys to try to cut through the interference, but these Precusors are a lot better at jamming than the other ones," Kanpuk said. "So far we've heard some chatter, including a Telkan Marine Heavy Assault Battalion that got dropped into the wrong zone and are protecting a refugee center or ammo dump or something, as well as a couple of Terran Pacific Rim Class warmechs just jumping from the Boop and making landfall via impact."
Mukstet shook his head. They'd barely made it, he couldn't imagine dropping free fall to planet-side in a three hundred foot tall ten thousand ton mech. But then, those mech guys were a whole different breed of crazy. Mukstet's brother had tried out for the war-mech program and now was the pilot of a heavy assault class mech.
But then, he'd always been a little weird, even before the Terrans came.
"Keep me posted. Let me know if we find anyone that needs close air support once we get the strikers reconfigured for intra-atmosphere work and as much of the field repairs as we can do are done," Mukstet said. He'd opened the faceplate on his armored vac-rated flight suit and was enjoying the cool fresh air after all the hours sharing Jekib's air.
The Marine Scout armor used a laser to stimulate a small fungus to produce oxygen from CO2 and CO with enough efficency they could operate in total vacuum for months.
That was something that Mukstet had noticed. During comparisons to Lanaktallan equipment, he'd noticed that the Overseers had created all of their equipment under the assumption that everything would run perfectly. Terrans on the other hand, designed all their equipment as if the world was coming to end and whoever was using the equipment was in the worst possible conditions in the worst possible situation.
Which Mukstet was glad for now.
--refabbing ordnance-- 973 reported. --airframe repairs during wing repairs done--
Mukstet looked over and could see the green mantid engineers, in their hard-shell extreme environment armor moving off the wings of the strikers. They'd been forced to weld the wings in the open position to prevent an actuator failure from allowing the wings to slide into the retracted position. Now that they were ground-side the mantids had to cut the welds and smooth the armor again to allow the wings to deploy and shift properly.
"Everyone get something to eat. Sergeant Kuplo, make sure your men take shifts, eat, and get some water into them, that was a rough landing," Mukstet ordered.
"Yes, sir," the Scout Sergeant said. "You heard him, men. Squad leaders, take charge of your squads. Get with me in half an hour and I'll have guard rotations."
There was a click as Sergeant Kuplo switched to the leadership channel. "What's the ETA on the strikers being ready?"
Mukstet checked the chron display on his retinal link. "Eight hours for full repairs, two more to combat capable. We had to strip the ordnance to run the afterburners in vacuum."
"I'll assign shifts as if its eight hours then, sir," Sergeant Kuplo said.
"You know I'm just a Private First Class, right?" Mukstet said.
"You're striker a pilot and you're in charge of the squadron, that makes you 'sir', sir," Sergeant Kuplo said and then shut off the link to stop any more discussion.
Mukstet sighed and went back to overseeing the striker hovercraft being worked on. The weapons were all deployable, able to be rotated back up into the airframe to increase stealth then deployed when live fire time came.
One thing that Mukstet had noticed is that Terrans really liked kinetic weaponry. His striker had two six barrel rotating autocannons, two door guns, and an underbelly deployable cannon. Missile pods, sure, but he noted there wasn't any laser, plasma, or maser systems. All kinetic.
He wondered why that was as he moved around Striker Foxtrot-Niner-Fifteen, noting that the mantids were repairing the pilot side smartglass and had the armor off the nose to expose where they were working on the airframe.
He took a moment to admit to himself that he really really really wished the Terran pilots and dismount leaders had made it off the Boop. He didn't have any orders loaded up, the only scans of the planet were the ones he'd managed to get from orbit and on the way down, and he had no idea of who had even made it groundside and who hadn't.
He was glad to hear at least some of his fellow Telkans had made it groundside. Second Telkan was largely unblooded with the exception of the power armor guys and most of those were in the infantry units.
Mukstet had joined the Marines after fighting on the wall of Log Base Gamma on Telkan-2 for nearly a month, dressed in an armored vac-suit and running a massive rotary laser cannon. He'd never felt so helpless in his life as when he'd been on that wall. He'd swore he'd never feel that way again and signed up when the Telkan Marine recruiter had come through.
It was slowly getting dark, the pale sparks of the mantid engineers becoming brighter and brighter as time went on and the night got darker. He could see holograms springing up where the mantids clustered together and went to work.
--airframe repaired armor repaired ordnance almost done-- 973 reported. --software checks done combat capable but fragile fragile need two more hours--
"You've got it," Mukstet sighed. My first combat command and the entire squadron is grounded. At least I got them onto the ground.
Mukstet kept walking back and forth on the grass, his palm turned up so he could look at what little ground-side data they had. A BOLO almost four hundred miles out but Mukstet's trainers had all stressed that unless it was coming to your rescue or had requested you a trooper never had a reason to go into the hellfire of a BOLO's combat zone. Off to the east, roughly a hundred and fifty miles, the sensors had picked up heavy Precursor movement almost three hours ago but Mukstet had no idea where they were now. To the west there was heavy groundfire that they'd managed to avoid during their orbits.
The nearest population center was over a hundred miles away to the south, what had looked like a refining facility next to a lake with close packed barracks. Next closest one was two hundred miles to the north, a city from the looks of it.
Mukstet looked at the scans he'd managed to pull of the Precursor vehicles, comparing them to the ones loaded in his striker's IFF. After a little bit he walked over to where Sergeant Kuplo was standing, watching his men who were dug into the ruins of the half-demolished manors.
"Sir?" Sergeant Kuplo asked.
"Do you have your Precursor profiles loaded?" Mukstet asked.
"Yes, sir," the Sergeant said. "Same with the men."
Mukstet held his hand out, palm up, and showed the most common type of Precursor machine that was estimated to be over 5,000 tons. "You have this in your database?"
The Telkan NCO leaned forward, examining it. It had what looked like three snail shells side by side with massive tracks on either side, crawler legs on the side and in front and what looked like a set of jaws up front.
"No, sir. It doesn't match any of my profiles," Kuplo answered. "Where was this taken?"
"Over a thousand of them, from orbit. It's about two hundred meters long and twenty meters wide," Mukstet said. "I've seen something like it before, though."
"Where?" the NCO asked.
"Log Base Gamma, Second Telkan War," Mukstet said. "One large shell at the rear, and made of meat and chitin, but it definitely fits the look."
"You sure, sir?" Kuplo asked. "I was on Telisminia, we mostly had the big layered plate ones."
"I'm sure," Mukstet said. "Which means, these aren't the Precursors from the First Telkan War."
"All right, sir," Kuplo said, nodding slowly. "What's the plan?"
"Give me a few minutes, Sergeant," Mukstet said.
"I'll be over here, sir," the NCO said.
Mukstet walked away, looking at the different types of Precursor machines they'd spotted on the way in, as well as the vessels that they'd passed that had been fighting the Boop and other ships.
More flowing, more like they were patterned off of something living. Lots of mechanical tentacles and pinchers and crab/insect legs. They moved in groups, smaller ones around the big ones, the smallest ones riding on the bigger ones.
These aren't related to the ones from the first war, these are related to those things that came from outer space. Maybe the things made them somehow? Mukstet wondered. A terrible thought bubbled up.
Maybe something else made both?
He looked around. The field was good sized, large enough that all the strikers could be landed on it and then some room. The lake was important, if there was one thing the strikers were it was thirsty. There was plenty of debris to salvage to stuff in the hoppers, the trees on three sides would provide warning of anything large coming in.
I need to think of more than just now. I need to consider that we might not be able to regroup for several days. The strikers will need repair, reloading, remassed. Flight crews will need sleep and food, Musktet thought to himself, looking around.
He checked his armor's database and ran a search string for the terms he needed.
There were six field manuals detailing creation of an operations base. He stood by the lake, looking at the 3D wire-frames, reading the manuals quickly. There were some conflicting thoughts, some stuff that he didn't quite understand.
"Sergeant Kuplo, join me if you would," he sent over the comlink.
"On my way, sir," the NCO said.
It took a few moments for the NCO to join him and he kept scanning the field manuals the whole time.
"You needed me, sir?" Kuplo asked.
"Our current situation is one we've only lightly trained for. I don't doubt we would have trained for it when we arrived here but right now we've got some problems," Mukstet said.
"Aye, sir," Kuplo answered.
"Right now we have no support base. The squadron is based off the Boop, and the Boop is gone. That means right now, all we'd be doing is flying in circles squawking 'DOES ANYONE NEED HELP?' like jumping lizards with their heads cut off," Mukstet said.
"True, sir," Kuplo said, nodding.
"Everyone landed under fire. We passed heavy ground fire repeatedly, which means III Corps and Second Telkan landed into the teeth of heavy fire. Right now, we have a secure area," Mukstet turned and motioned at the field. "We don't know how far we are from any front, but even if this isn't a strategic area for a strike base we can still start a logistics base right here."
"How so, sir?" Kuplo asked.
"Foxtrot-Two-Twenty-Two has bad airframe damage. It's combat capable under the current conditions but to be honest I wouldn't want to have the crew risk it," Mukstet said. "I'm saying we have one active wing at all times, doing recon patrols. Two wings on standby, one on repairs. We pull the nano-forges from Twenty-two, Seventeen, and Eight, and start fabricating the things we need to fabricate a strike base."
Mukstet turned and waved at the area. "We already have construction equipment. You told me that there was construction supplies, that it was obvious something was going to be built out here on top of the Lanaktallan estates that are being torn down. We construct an airfield, rearming point, remassing point. Establish an urgent care clinic, mess hall, and at least get some tents up for sleeping so you don't have to sleep in holes."
Kuplo nodded slowly.
"The Corpsmen on standby will run the urgent care clinic. We've already got wounded little brothers, so we pull the worst wounded to work on building the camp, take the strikers in with the teams we can put together," Mukstet said. He pinged the hasty file he'd put together over to the NCO.
Kuplo turned his hand up, looking at the proposed idea.
"Wish we had something bigger as far as nano-forges go, but the little brothers care capable of damn near miracles with the stuff we've got," Mukstet said. "Right now, we'll break into wing shifts, the ones on standby work on the striker base, one in the air, one grounded. Four wings of four strikers each."
Kuplo nodded. "It could work. Even if we have to abandon the base due to the front shifting or being reassigned another place, digging in is our best bet, at least till the commo channels clear up or we can get something on the command net."
"Let's get it done, Sergeant," Mukstet said.
"Ayut," the NCO said. He put his hand to his helmet to signal he was speaking to the dismount crews.
Mukstet stared at the night around him, made bright as day by the electronics in his suit.
-----------
"Foxtrot-Niner-Two, taking command of Foxtrot Wing One," Mukstet said, checking over his instruments. He knew he'd need to be careful of the port-side graviton generators, but it beat not having the striker up and running.
"Roger, Foxtrot-Niner-Two. You are green to begin mission," Pv2 Dektol, communications technician for the grounded Striker-Twenty-Two said over the headset.
"Establish link with us when you get that commo-antenna up," Mukstet said.
"Roger that, sir," the Pv2, only one rank below Mukstet, said into the mic. "Good luck."
Mukstet got the striker, fully loaded and with a compliment of dismount light scout Marines aboard, into the air. He started moving forward, the rest of the Wing-One following him, then banked to fly low over the lake.
Let's go see if we have any neighbors, Mukstet thought, tabbing up a piece of stimgum.
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submitted by Ralts_Bloodthorne to HFY [link] [comments]

Bullish Options Plays [2-4 Month Horizon]

Bullish Options Plays [2-4 Month Horizon]
This post covers 4 Bullish Option Plays across various industries.
Criteria for selecting Bullish Options Plays:
  • 500MM + Market Cap
  • Average Daily Volume 5MM +
  • Uptrend detected
Using these criteria, I have curated a basket of plays. The time frame of these options are 3-6 months out, to avoid Theta burn and maximize ITM potential. The beauty of these plays is that the stock only needs to move up a few % to be profitable, with a long time horizon as a hedge. Close the position within 2-4 months to minimize theta and maximize delta opportunity.
1) Wells Fargo $WFC [BANKING]
Wells just got hammered after an expected poor earnings. This makes it a prime candidate for upward movement.
Bullish Wells Fargo Case:
Wells has a history of prudent underwriting, and we are probably closer than not to a turn in the credit cycle.
Wells Fargo's retail branch structure, advisory network, product offerings, and share in small and medium-size enterprises is difficult to duplicate, ensuring that the company's competitive advantage is maintained.
Wells offers the scale advantages of a money center bank without the risks and volatility associated with extensive capital markets operations.
Wells Fargo Profile, from my personal research platform
Meets Criteria?

  • 500MM + Market Cap [99B]
  • Average Daily Volume 5MM + [46M]
  • Uptrend detected [Bounced off 52Wk Low as support]
  • **Within 10% of 52 Week Low [52 Week Low was $22, WFC is trading at $24.14]
$WFC Overlay with $JPM - The charts are nearly identical
As a big 4 bank, it is impossible for the Fed to allow WFC to go down. They have a good balance sheet, with a P/E ratio of 8.9, down from 11. The lower P/E ratio alone will bring in more long-term investors. If that isn't enough to make you comfortable, WFC offers a whopping 8% dividend yield, making it even more attractive.
This is an attractive investment for both options and stocks.
Let's take a look at options on $WFC, which I found using my unusual options scanner:
Big Bullish bets for October 16 2020, 2 days after their next earnings.
More Bullish Bets on WFC for October 16 2020
These huge bets range from $25 to $30, 3 months down the line. This averages to a $2.5, or 11% increase over the next 3 months. With this information, I propose:
WFC $27.50c Oct 16 2020, trading at $1.30 at time of writing. 24% Probability ITM.
WFC $30c Oct 16 2020, trading $0.79 at time of writing. 16% Probability ITM.
I am currently invested in $WFC stock, and hold the $30 Oct 16 Calls.
2) Twitter $TWTR [Technology]
Twitter is poised to dominate with its huge reach and rumored subscription platform for content creators. Source:
https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/8/21317266/twitter-subscription-platform-codename-gryphon-job-listing
This is a buy the rumor, sell the news play. I anticipate Twitter announcing this platform in the next 3 months.
Bullish Twitter Case:
Investments in product enhancements and video content could return the monthly active user growth rate to the double digits.
The deal with the NFL to live-stream Thursday night games and provide a platform for interaction and conversation about the games may attract more premium content providers to use the Twitter platform.
Growth in ad revenue per user remains strong at Twitter, more than offsetting the deceleration in user growth.
Twitter Profile, from my personal research platform
Meets Criteria?
  • 500MM + Market Cap [27B]
  • Average Daily Volume 5MM + [30M]
  • Uptrend detected [Strong upward trend since March]
$TWTR Overlay with $FB - the charts are nearly identical
The value that $TWTR and $FB lost due to lack of advertiser revenue has been recouped. The arrival of a subscription service is very bullish, because more and more people are looking to make money online since being laid off by COVID - Twitter's reach makes it incredibly well positioned to solve this problem. Subscriptions made $MSFT and $AAPL cash cows, expect the same for $TWTR.
This is an attractive investment for both options and stocks.
Let's take a look at options on $TWTR, which I found using my unusual options scanner:
Huge Bullish $TWTR bets for Jan 15, 2021
Huge Bullish $TWTR bets for Jan 15, 2021
Huge Bullish $TWTR bets for Jan 15, 2021
These bets were placed BEFORE COVID, and $TWTR is trading at the same price as when these were placed. The strikes range from $40 to $60, 6 months down the line. Taking a Strike of $40, that is 15% OTM of the current price. If they announce the platform within the next 6 months (I predict they will), the stock will explode.
With this information, I propose:
TWTR $40c Dec 18 2020, trading at $3.25 at time of writing. 28% Probability ITM.
TWTR $40c Jan 15 2020, trading $3.45 at time of writing. 29% Probability ITM.
Buying $40 Jan 15 2020 Calls are only $20 more for an extra month. Look to close these after their earnings next quarter, when they will likely announce the subscription platform.
I am currently invested in $TWTR stock, and hold the $40 Dec 18 Calls.
3) Southwest Airlines $LUV [AIRLINES]
Warren Buffet and COVID have caused investors to turn a nose up at airline stocks. I don't blame them - the uncertainty will affect airlines more than most other industries. That said, don't miss this opportunity to profit off Southwest Airlines, as they have the best balance sheet in the industry.
Bullish Southwest Airlines Case:
Southwest enjoys the strongest brand in the industry thanks to its simple fare prices, free checked bags, and solid customer service. This brand equity will enable it to continue growing faster than peers and support unit revenue.
Mergers among Southwest's competitors will engender pricing power for the airlines, and oil prices will remain low for longer, boosting Southwest's top and bottom lines.
Southwest's aggressive expansion will continue, driving growth at the carrier.
Southwest Airlines Profile, from my personal research platform
Meets Criteria?
  • 500MM + Market Cap [20B]
  • Average Daily Volume 5MM + [15M]
  • Uptrend detected [Strong upward trend since June]
$LUV Overlay with $AAL and $DAL - Delta and American have been hit worse than Southwest for a reason.
$LUV is performing better than its competitors, with higher lows and higher highs when comparing the charts. With the best balance sheet, its exposure to oil has been proven to be overcome since the whole oil futures fiasco. They have been prepped for the second wave and are most likely to weather the storm out of all the airlines.
My options scanner did not find any significant options data for $LUV.
I propose:
LUV $40c Dec 18 2020, trading at $3.05 at time of writing. 25% Probability ITM.
LUV $40c Jan 15 2020, trading $3.40 at time of writing. 26% Probability ITM.
I am currently invested in $LUV stock.
4) Ericsson $ERIC [Telecommunications Equipment]
With growing tensions between the US and China, it is unlikely Huawei will be allowed to provide 5G infrastructure. The UK just announced that Huawei will NOT be providing 5G infrastructure, so Ericsson is poised to seize a huge market share.
Bullish Ericsson case:
Income sources could diversify as licensing revenue from 5G patents may grow through applications outside of Ericsson's handset manufacturer agreements.
5G may afford Ericsson a longer spending cycle and higher equipment demand than previous wireless generations. Additionally, 5G should create more use cases for Ericsson's software and services within Internet of Things device networks.
Ericsson's turnaround measures are happening at an opportune time. Management's focused strategy should expand operating margins while 5G infrastructure spending increases top-line results.
Ericsson Profile, from my personal research platform
Meets Criteria?
  • 500MM + Market Cap [29B]
  • Average Daily Volume 5MM + [13M]
  • Uptrend detected [Strong upward trend since March, even stronger after UK Huawei announcement]
$ERIC Overlay with $NOK - Both stocks are strongly trending upward, with almost 100% gains since march.
$ERIC is poised to bank on 5G since Huawei is being punished in retaliation to Chinese handling of Hong Kong. Expect more growth as infrastructure expands and Apple announces their 5G line this fall. Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-iphone-12-rumors-5g-release-camera-specs-2019-6
My options scanner did not find any significant options data for $ERIC.
I propose:
ERIC $11 Nov 20 2020, trading at $0.50 at time of writing. 25% Probability ITM.
I am no longer invested in $ERIC stock - truly kicking myself for selling, because I had a great cost basis a year ago. Regardless, I am picking up these calls.
Conclusion
Based on my research, $WFC, $TWTR, $LUV, and $ERIC are poised for big gains over the next 2 quarters. All the plays have a 25% chance of being ITM, but do not need to be ITM to be extremely profitable.
TL,DR:
WFC $27.50c Oct 16 2020, trading at $1.30 at time of writing. 24% Probability ITM.
WFC $30c Oct 16 2020, trading $0.79 at time of writing. 16% Probability ITM.
TWTR $40c Dec 18 2020, trading at $3.25 at time of writing. 28% Probability ITM.
TWTR $40c Jan 15 2020, trading $3.45 at time of writing. 29% Probability ITM.
LUV $40c Dec 18 2020, trading at $3.05 at time of writing. 25% Probability ITM.
LUV $40c Jan 15 2020, trading $3.40 at time of writing. 26% Probability ITM.
ERIC $11 Nov 20 2020, trading at $0.50 at time of writing. 25% Probability ITM.
submitted by iKalculated to options [link] [comments]

How the hell is one supposed to choose a career? Related: Please help me choose a career.

Hello, SSC. I am using a throwaway.
This is a beast of a post. A few thoughts related to its size:
  1. Sorry
  2. Please don't read the whole thing; it's skimmable.
  3. TL;DR – lawyer, doctor, psych researcher, or (jokingly, unless…) novelist?
To make a long story short, I'm an unhappy software engineer (unhappy with my career, not with life in general), and I committed about a year ago to making a change. Since that time, I've vacillated wildly in my thinking on the various career options available (never able to fully commit), and at this point it's causing me a ton of anxiety: I've gotta choose something, but there just doesn't seem to be a clear answer. My family and partner are running out of patience, and I feel the same way: It's time to get a move on, already.
"Getting a move on" is super fucking hard, though (not to mention terrifying, given the stakes). How are you supposed to compare, on the one hand, cognitive fit (i.e. being good at your job) with, on the other hand, likelihood of being able to pursue your own lines of inquiry or expression (i.e. not feeling like a cog)? Where does money fit into all of this?
The sheer number of different paradigms for career choice seems to be evidence that nobody else really has a clear idea either:
"Do what you love."
"Do what you like the most out of medicine, law, finance, and engineering."
"Work sucks: Make money and retire."
"Working for someone else sucks: Start a business or be your own boss."
Then there are the more complicated ones, like Ikagi, or the Waitbutwhy octopus, or 80,000 Hours' five-star system.
Every different paradigm comes up with a different answer, and the same paradigm often comes up with different answers depending on things that seem like they should not be able to shift paradigms, like what mood I happen to be in at the moment.
I do have some concrete things to work with, namely that I think I've been able to pinpoint why I don't like software engineering. Three main reasons:
1 - Lack of Cognitive Fit:
On pretty much every sort of standardized test thrown at me, there will invariably be a huge imbalance between subscores (verbal = higher, math = lower), with further cleavage between the mathematics subscores (numeric = higher, spatial = lower). This comports with my general "feeling" about these things: Reading and writing are easy and enjoyable; statistics is doable and tolerable; spatial math is difficult and unpleasant.
This has manifested itself in difficulties with software engineering, which is, after all, concerned with how best to build complicated, invisible structures. My in-the-major grades in school were mediocre at best (they were high outside of my major); my work performance is middling. The overall feeling of working in software engineering is that of wading through cerebral molasses, and at no time is this feeling more acute than when I'm working with other computer people: They just get it, and I just don't get it. With all due respect to grit, conscientiousness, growth mindset, etc., I often feel like I am simply running up against the limits of my mental machinery. All fine if it's worth the fight, but...
2 - Lack of Subject-Matter Interest
CS as an academic discipline is interesting enough, but it's never "grabbed me" in the way that some other academic disciplines have. I've never found my mind wandering towards topics in CS in the same way that it often wanders towards topics in, e.g., biology, psychology, economics, literature. I would never read a book on software engineering or computer science for fun.
Why the hell did you major in it, then, you stupid, dumb idiot?
I wish I had a better answer, but it was some combination of peer pressure (the cool, ambitious kids were ALL majoring in CS in 2011 (that may still be the case now, IDK)) and a desire to be employable.
3 - Lack of Workplace Autonomy
A product manager tells you to build the thing, so you build the thing. You (sometimes) get to choose how you build the thing, but if you don't have any underlying interest in how the thing is built, the whole experience just feels like drudgery.

_________

With all that in mind, I was able to build a pretty complicated paradigm that would take an entire post by itself to explain but basically boiled down to the following: Emphasize cognitive fit, subject-matter interest, workplace autonomy, and ability to do good, while trying as best you can to hold onto some of the positive features of software engineering (tons of stability, quite good pay, not-terrible working hours).
That got me down to four main possibilities. For the sake of simplifying the discussion, let's say that remaining a software engineer isn't an option. Here they are:
Law (JD):
On the one hand:
- Super high points for cognitive fit. Rules governing human behavior mediated entirely through the English language? Lots of reading and writing? Beautiful; give me more.
- The potential (if done in a certain way) to feel like you’re “fighting for the good guys.”
- For better or worse, I “vibe” with lawyers. Even the greedy ones tend to be "words people," because “money-driven” + “good with words, sucks at math” tends to equal “lawyer." I've never met, for example, another group of people who like crossword puzzles as much as I do.
On the other hand:
- Nearly every lawyer I’ve talked to says it’s straight-up difficult to get a job where you fight for the good guys and much easier to get a job where you’re fighting for the “neutral-at-best” guys.
- At the end of the day, I’m more interested in the law and less interested in being a practicing lawyer, mostly because of the same autonomy problem in software engineering: A higher-up tells you to do the thing, so you do the thing. In an ideal world, you solve the autonomy problem by, say, working at a think tank or in academia. But I’ve gotten that beaten out of my head by the chorus of voices saying, “Don’t go to law school if you don’t want to practice.”
- Long hours and a culture of overwork lead to high stress. Varies between firms (and between firms and government), but a work-hard-play-hard culture seem to pervade the profession, and, to put it bluntly, most of the lawyers I know seem pretty fucking stressed.
- When I tell lawyers that I’m considering law school, many of them say, “Don’t do it.” People in other fields don’t say that when I tell them I’m considering their field.

Medicine (MD) or Research Medicine (MD/PhD):
On the one hand:
- High level of interest in the subject material. I self-studied AP Bio back in the day by reading the textbook cover-to-cover. When I’m reading nonfiction for fun, there’s a pretty good chance it’s bio or medicine-related. To this day, I don’t really know why I didn’t study it in college. Network effects, probably.
- I could see myself being interested in practicing psychiatry, endocrinology, sleep medicine—any field where the emphasis is more “This strange concoction of chemicals makes you feel a certain way!” than it is “The machine that synthesizes urine broke down again.”
- I put “MD/PhD” because I find the idea of being a physician-scientist more appealing than one or the other. Being able to treat actual real people and then retreating to the lab to do solitary mind work really does sound like the best of both worlds. Either way, though, the process would start with a postbacc, so I guess technically I don’t have to decide yet.
- I did a thing where I downloaded the SSC dataset and looked at all the different careers, and doctors had the highest levels of life satisfaction out of anyone (for whom I could find a coherent career field in the spreadsheet). This held even when they were in school and residency (i.e. couldn’t be entirely explained by income (although it could, I suppose, be explained by “income or the expectation of future income”)). Two main ways I can think of to explain this: 1. Being a doctor is (relatively) fulfilling and makes people happy. 2. Becoming a doctor is so difficult that only (relatively) happy and well-balanced people are able to complete the process. This might sound naïve, but my honest bet is number one. In what other profession do you get paid SO MUCH MONEY to work so intimately with other people? So many high-enjoyability, low-pay professions (teaching, social work, etc.) are basically about taking a pay cuts so that you can work closely with other people. And in medicine you don’t have to take the pay cut.
On the other hand:
- Maybe there are doctors reading this and thinking, “You naïve little twerp; do you know how hard you have to work and how good you have to be to do what you’re talking about doing? Genetic research? Neuroscience? Start honing your colonoscopy skills, bucko, because you’re going to have to pay off your loans just like the rest of us.”
- On a related note, I know a lot of lawyers but no doctors, so I have heavy doses of “realism” from the law side, but not the medicine side.
- Med school, from what I understand, is the most demanding of the professional schools. I honestly can’t say for sure that I’d be able to get through it.
- While I like reading popular books about medicine, I don't really get off on academic papers about medicine. Maybe it’s just because I don’t know the lingo yet, or maybe it’s a warning sign that my interest in the field is going to turn out to be superficial.
- It would take a long time. Between postbacc, med school, (maybe) PhD, and residency, I’m looking at another decade before I make money again. Which is fine if I enjoy the process like I think I will. But if I don’t enjoy the process, it’s going to be a long ten years.
- Less reading and writing than I’d like, although that’s partially mitigated by doing an MD/PhD rather than just a PhD. I just really want a job where I get to read and write on the daily and the quality of the writing matters a good deal. “Just do that outside of your job!” Yeah, but in practice it’s hard.

Academia (PhD in Psychology):
On the one hand:
- I like sitting down at a desk, reading about things, thinking about things, doing what it takes to get the answer to something that’s been nagging at me, and then writing about the process of finding that answer. The fundamental idea that I could get paid to do something like that is still mindblowing to me.
- Checks ALL of the boxes that bugged me about software engineering: You have a degree of autonomy, and you presumably get to work in a field that you’re interested in and that you’re a good cognitive fit for. Law stumbles a bit in the autonomy department. Medicine stumbles a bit in the cognitive fit department. This baby don’t stumble.
- To test my enthusiasm for academia, I read as many research papers as I could get my hands on from as many different fields as I could get my hands on. The result? I enjoy reading research papers. I could see myself writing them. This is a good thing, as I understand it, for a career in academia.
- In terms of which disciplines “won” (greatest level of interest), three were head and shoulders above the rest: Psych, soc, and econ. I talked to some econ PhDs, and I honestly don’t think I have the mathematical acumen for it. Between (cognitive) psych and soc, neither of them has great career prospects, so it’s a wash there, and I’m slightly more interested in psych, so I might as well just do psych.
On the other hand:
- Due to mediocre undergraduate GPA and lack of research, I’ll probably have to do a masters or a postbacc first (time and $$)
- You gotta always be scrapping for grants and funding. Nobody likes scrapping.
- For better or worse, there is a distinct “good” outcome (tenure) that I might not achieve. I know that this is a really contentious topic, and I don’t mean to get anybody riled here, but yeah: I’m gonna be gunning really hard for the outcome that allows me to teach, do research, get paid well, and be difficult to fire. And I might not get it. And that’s extremely worrisome to me. “Making it” in academia, if you have the basic chops, is probably not as unlikely or fluky as, say, making it as an actor. But it’s still unlikely (depending on your field) and still fluky! You could get an advisor you end up not gelling with, and then you’re fucked. You could pursue a line of research that nobody really cares about, and then you’re fucked. (This is what people have told me, anyway). That’s all super scary to me, and it’s definitely an argument in favor of law or medicine, which have more of a “get the degree and collect your job” feel to them.
- Arduousness: Everyone says that it’s difficult and demanding and stressful and that you have to make sacrifices. I believe them. And, while I think I’m willing to make those sacrifices, it’s one matter to say that you’re willing and another matter to actually not drop out of the program when you really feel like dropping out.
- Covid-19 is currently in the process of upending higher education. It might be fine! But the next few years are a bit of an event horizon: We don’t really know what things are going to look like on the other side. In other words, more risk.

Writing (MFA):
On the one hand:
- A cool “wild card.”
- In the “You find out you have 5 years to live, what do you do?” thought experiment, I get an MFA and write a novel every time. Writing creatively is an activity that both hits a ton of neurons AND is somehow infused with meaning for me.
- It’d be super fun.
On the other hand:
- Risk. Risk, risk, risk, risk, risk. Follow your dreams, they say. But what if my dream was to be a professional basketball player in the NBA? Should I follow that dream? To put it another way: I know that I’m a good writer, but it seems like you enter the realm of “luck not optional” when you’re seriously trying to make a living by writing books. I ballparked my odds of eventual success (defined as “I get to write without doing anything else on the side”) at 25% if I get into a top MFA program (which I probably won't anyway). That number is already scarily low to me, and it may well be generous.
- My past is littered with the carcasses of unfinished novels. I’ve managed to finish short stories, and I’ve managed to finish screenplays. The novel is the white whale. I think I could do it from within the structure of an MFA program, but who knows?
- If I don’t “make it” straight out of the MFA program, I’ll have to go back to doing something pay the bills, and that something will probably be software engineering. And then I’m back where I started: Doing software engineering for money while writing on the side. If I end up just “Doing X and writing on the side,” then I would have been better off spending my grad school golden ticket getting up to speed in an X—law, medicine, psychology—that I enjoy more than software engineering.
Where I'm at right now:
Trapped in a terrible cycle, pretty much. It goes like this:
I choose medicine, and a voice goes, “Really? Once again subjecting yourself to a career where reading and writing artfully isn’t really an integral part of the process? Doing ‘science,’ which we suspect you might not be great at doing? You should do law instead, where your mental machinery seems more suited to the process and the people seem more like ‘your people.’”
So I choose law, and a voice goes, “Really? Once again committing to a dynamic where you show up to the office and a superior throws a bunch of work at you and you do the work and go home without having pursued your own lines of inquiry or advanced human knowledge?” “I’ll be a professor,” I say. “No, you really won’t,” the voice says. “Think of all the unhappy lawyers who said they were going to be a professor or go into human rights or whatever. If you want to do research, you should get a PhD instead.”
So I choose a PhD (in psychology or sociology), and a voice goes, “Really? A non-econ social science given the state of academia right now? Do you really think there’s a nice tenure-track job waiting for you on the other side of this? If you’re gunning for the risky thing you might as well go all the way and do an MFA.”
So I choose an MFA, and a voice goes, “Really? And have to go back to software engineering in two years when you write a book and nobody gives a shit? Why subject yourself to that? If you’re going to write on the side, just be a doctor: It’s better than software engineering in terms of subject-matter interest and humanistic elements, but it offers similar stability and predictability.”
Then we’re back at doctor, and the cycle begins anew.
Since I listed pretty much every career option out there, I feel compelled to address some of the few that I left off my list.
FIRE: Just gut it out for ten more years and then retire! But the thing is, I like working—I like sitting at a desk, reading, writing, doing stuff—and I can think of nothing more enjoyable than embarking on one of the career paths that I listed above. So all I would get by FIRE-ing is more financial stability when I finally pursue one of them. WHICH AIN’T NOTHING. Believe me, I know. But I don’t think it’s worth the tradeoff of being miserable for another 10 years and starting round two close to age 40.
Become a Product Manager (PM): Okay, so you don’t like making pie. How about you supervise the people that make pie; wouldn’t that be more fun?
No, I just fucking hate pie.
***Further Wrinkles:***I applied to law school last cycle and got into a school just outside of the T14. Still on the waitlist for pretty much all of the T14 except HYS. I am what the kids call a “splitter” (high LSAT, low GPA), so I don’t have any expectations of getting into HYS, and if I do get into CCN it will probably be because Coronavirus fucks everything up and they have to let a bunch of people off the waitlist.
If I decide to not do law school this year (either because I decide to do something else or I decide that I can’t commit when I’m this unsure about things), I will be giving up something in-hand that I might not be able to get back. Which is scary.
A Final Miscellaneous Thingy:
Since I haven’t actually DONE any of this stuff yet, it would be cool if there were some sort of way to dip my toes into two of the options and see which I like better (the proof, as they say, is in the pudding). Something like a premed postbacc program that would allow you to volunteer in a psych or neuroscience lab. I don’t know if that’s a thing, though. Or maybe it is, but by doing it you just make yourself a weak candidate for BOTH med school and psych PhD programs.
Okay. Phew. If you’re still here, first of all, thank you, and second of all, sorry. Thoughts? Feel free to be super discouraging, too. “I’m a doctor, and every vibe you’re putting out says, ‘flunks out of med school.’” That’s information! That’s helpful!
Thank you again. God bless you, SSC.
Edit: Thank you all so much for your kind and thoughtful answers! Tapping out of the thread for a bit while I go eat and do work and that kinda stuff. Gonna look at and respond to all of these, though; I've just been kinda responding in a random order, but I'll get to 'em.
submitted by throe_aweigh_ to slatestarcodex [link] [comments]

Bullish Option Plays for you [Various Industries]

Bullish Option Plays for you [Various Industries]
This post covers 4 Bullish Option Plays across various industries.
Criteria for selecting Bullish Options Plays:
  • 500MM + Market Cap
  • Average Daily Volume 5MM +
  • Uptrend detected
Using these criteria, I have curated a basket of plays. The time frame of these options are 3-6 months out, to avoid Theta burn and maximize ITM potential. The beauty of these plays is that the stock only needs to move up a few % to be profitable, with a long time horizon as a hedge. Close the position within 2-4 months to minimize theta and maximize delta opportunity.
1) Wells Fargo $WFC [BANKING]
Wells just got hammered after an expected poor earnings. This makes it a prime candidate for upward movement.
Bullish Wells Fargo Case:
Wells has a history of prudent underwriting, and we are probably closer than not to a turn in the credit cycle.
Wells Fargo's retail branch structure, advisory network, product offerings, and share in small and medium-size enterprises is difficult to duplicate, ensuring that the company's competitive advantage is maintained.
Wells offers the scale advantages of a money center bank without the risks and volatility associated with extensive capital markets operations.
Wells Fargo Profile, from my personal research platform
Meets Criteria?
  • 500MM + Market Cap [99B]
  • Average Daily Volume 5MM + [46M]
  • Uptrend detected [Bounced off 52Wk Low as support]
  • **Within 10% of 52 Week Low [52 Week Low was $22, WFC is trading at $24.14]
$WFC Overlay with $JPM - The charts are nearly identical
As a big 4 bank, it is impossible for the Fed to allow WFC to go down. They have a good balance sheet, with a P/E ratio of 8.9, down from 11. The lower P/E ratio alone will bring in more long-term investors. If that isn't enough to make you comfortable, WFC offers a whopping 8% dividend yield, making it even more attractive.
This is an attractive investment for both options and stocks.
Let's take a look at options on $WFC, which I found using my unusual options scanner:
Big Bullish bets for October 16 2020, 2 days after their next earnings.
More Bullish Bets on WFC for October 16 2020
These huge bets range from $25 to $30, 3 months down the line. This averages to a $2.5, or 11% increase over the next 3 months. With this information, I propose:
WFC $27.50c Oct 16 2020, trading at $1.30 at time of writing. 24% Probability ITM.
WFC $30c Oct 16 2020, trading $0.79 at time of writing. 16% Probability ITM.
I am currently invested in $WFC stock, and hold the $30 Oct 16 Calls.
2) Twitter $TWTR [Technology]
Twitter is poised to dominate with its huge reach and rumored subscription platform for content creators. Source:
https://www.theverge.com/2020/7/8/21317266/twitter-subscription-platform-codename-gryphon-job-listing
This is a buy the rumor, sell the news play. I anticipate Twitter announcing this platform in the next 3 months.
Bullish Twitter Case:
Investments in product enhancements and video content could return the monthly active user growth rate to the double digits.
The deal with the NFL to live-stream Thursday night games and provide a platform for interaction and conversation about the games may attract more premium content providers to use the Twitter platform.
Growth in ad revenue per user remains strong at Twitter, more than offsetting the deceleration in user growth.
Twitter Profile, from my personal research platform
Meets Criteria?
  • 500MM + Market Cap [27B]
  • Average Daily Volume 5MM + [30M]
  • Uptrend detected [Strong upward trend since March]
$TWTR Overlay with $FB - the charts are nearly identical
The value that $TWTR and $FB lost due to lack of advertiser revenue has been recouped. The arrival of a subscription service is very bullish, because more and more people are looking to make money online since being laid off by COVID - Twitter's reach makes it incredibly well positioned to solve this problem. Subscriptions made $MSFT and $AAPL cash cows, expect the same for $TWTR.
This is an attractive investment for both options and stocks.
Let's take a look at options on $TWTR, which I found using my unusual options scanner:
Huge Bullish $TWTR bets for Jan 15, 2021
Huge Bullish $TWTR bets for Jan 15, 2021
Huge Bullish $TWTR bets for Jan 15, 2021
These bets were placed BEFORE COVID, and $TWTR is trading at the same price as when these were placed. The strikes range from $40 to $60, 6 months down the line. Taking a Strike of $40, that is 15% OTM of the current price. If they announce the platform within the next 6 months (I predict they will), the stock will explode.
With this information, I propose:
TWTR $40c Dec 18 2020, trading at $3.25 at time of writing. 28% Probability ITM.
TWTR $40c Jan 15 2020, trading $3.45 at time of writing. 29% Probability ITM.
Buying $40 Jan 15 2020 Calls are only $20 more for an extra month. Look to close these after their earnings next quarter, when they will likely announce the subscription platform.
I am currently invested in $TWTR stock, and hold the $40 Dec 18 Calls.
3) Southwest Airlines $LUV [AIRLINES]
Warren Buffet and COVID have caused investors to turn a nose up at airline stocks. I don't blame them - the uncertainty will affect airlines more than most other industries. That said, don't miss this opportunity to profit off Southwest Airlines, as they have the best balance sheet in the industry.
Bullish Southwest Airlines Case:
Southwest enjoys the strongest brand in the industry thanks to its simple fare prices, free checked bags, and solid customer service. This brand equity will enable it to continue growing faster than peers and support unit revenue.
Mergers among Southwest's competitors will engender pricing power for the airlines, and oil prices will remain low for longer, boosting Southwest's top and bottom lines.
Southwest's aggressive expansion will continue, driving growth at the carrier.
Southwest Airlines Profile, from my personal research platform
Meets Criteria?
  • 500MM + Market Cap [20B]
  • Average Daily Volume 5MM + [15M]
  • Uptrend detected [Strong upward trend since June]
$LUV Overlay with $AAL and $DAL - Delta and American have been hit worse than Southwest for a reason.
$LUV is performing better than its competitors, with higher lows and higher highs when comparing the charts. With the best balance sheet, its exposure to oil has been proven to be overcome since the whole oil futures fiasco. They have been prepped for the second wave and are most likely to weather the storm out of all the airlines.
My options scanner did not find any significant options data for $LUV.
I propose:
LUV $40c Dec 18 2020, trading at $3.05 at time of writing. 25% Probability ITM.
LUV $40c Jan 15 2020, trading $3.40 at time of writing. 26% Probability ITM.
I am currently invested in $LUV stock.
4) Ericsson $ERIC [Telecommunications Equipment]
With growing tensions between the US and China, it is unlikely Huawei will be allowed to provide 5G infrastructure. The UK just announced that Huawei will NOT be providing 5G infrastructure, so Ericsson is poised to seize a huge market share.
Bullish Ericsson case:
Income sources could diversify as licensing revenue from 5G patents may grow through applications outside of Ericsson's handset manufacturer agreements.
5G may afford Ericsson a longer spending cycle and higher equipment demand than previous wireless generations. Additionally, 5G should create more use cases for Ericsson's software and services within Internet of Things device networks.
Ericsson's turnaround measures are happening at an opportune time. Management's focused strategy should expand operating margins while 5G infrastructure spending increases top-line results.
Ericsson Profile, from my personal research platform
Meets Criteria?
  • 500MM + Market Cap [29B]
  • Average Daily Volume 5MM + [13M]
  • Uptrend detected [Strong upward trend since March, even stronger after UK Huawei announcement]
$ERIC Overlay with $NOK - Both stocks are strongly trending upward, with almost 100% gains since march.
$ERIC is poised to bank on 5G since Huawei is being punished in retaliation to Chinese handling of Hong Kong. Expect more growth as infrastructure expands and Apple announces their 5G line this fall. Source: https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-iphone-12-rumors-5g-release-camera-specs-2019-6
My options scanner did not find any significant options data for $ERIC.
I propose:
ERIC $11 Nov 20 2020, trading at $0.50 at time of writing. 25% Probability ITM.
I am no longer invested in $ERIC stock - truly kicking myself for selling, because I had a great cost basis a year ago. Regardless, I am picking up these calls.
Conclusion
Based on my research, $WFC, $TWTR, $LUV, and $ERIC are poised for big gains over the next 2 quarters. All the plays have a 25% chance of being ITM, but do not need to be ITM to be extremely profitable.
TL,DR:
WFC $27.50c Oct 16 2020, trading at $1.30 at time of writing. 24% Probability ITM.
WFC $30c Oct 16 2020, trading $0.79 at time of writing. 16% Probability ITM.
TWTR $40c Dec 18 2020, trading at $3.25 at time of writing. 28% Probability ITM.
TWTR $40c Jan 15 2020, trading $3.45 at time of writing. 29% Probability ITM.
LUV $40c Dec 18 2020, trading at $3.05 at time of writing. 25% Probability ITM.
LUV $40c Jan 15 2020, trading $3.40 at time of writing. 26% Probability ITM.
ERIC $11 Nov 20 2020, trading at $0.50 at time of writing. 25% Probability ITM.
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[Tales From the Terran Republic] The Fallout Settles Part Two — Jessica and Gwen

The adorable Gwen Shay stumbles into Jessica's sights.
The rest of this series can be found here
***
Jessica made an amused little snort as Doctor Ayyangar’s image disappeared and shook her head.
She found the mustache-twirling tiresome but sometimes people needed a monster. In this particular case, the doctor needed someone to be a bigger monster than he was. She had learned long ago that as long as he was cursing her name he wouldn’t curse his own quite as much.
The greatest scientific mind in centuries and you’re making him create nightmares… Weren’t you supposed to “preserve” him? Wasn’t that the plan?
Yes, the good doctor was one of “her people”, one of those carefully selected to rebuild Sol, he was first among the scientists and academics that she cherry-picked and tucked ever so gently into one of her “special” habitation ships.
She winced as she thought of the Gardenhome. Even after all these years the tragic loss of that ship stung. So many great minds just… gone…
She, without thinking, pulled open the upper left hand drawer of her office-desk, unconsciously reaching for the “supplies” that normally occupied that place of honor.
“Tsk...” she muttered as she looked down at the empty spot where a flask and a small crystal box of white powder used to reside.
There was no easy fix today, no quick distraction…
Their faces and names floated past. Gifted scientists, scholars, artists… people who can never be replaced. People like to say that all lives are of equal value but that’s bullshit. Some people are a dime-a-dozen and others…
Others are fucking priceless
Six hundred of those lives were lost that day… Six hundred of the brightest lights the human race had just went poof
And Doctor Ayyangar was among them… He just wasn’t given the mercy of death. No, he got to live…
She still remembered the day he brought her The Foot, his eyes glazed, his face twisted with hate and pain… His innocence gone...
Goddammit… She had promised him… She had promised him that his family would be safe… She had promised all of them...
God, she wanted a fucking drink… Just to a sip… Just to take the edge off…
The fate of the entire Porkie race rests in the hands of a coked-out alcoholic… Just wonderful...
She needed a break. Outside her bunker wasn’t exactly a garden, but the woods were lovely and there was a pond nearby with some absolutely lovely specimens of native flora.
It wouldn’t be that much longer before there would be nothing outside but the fucking void. She should go look at the weird little jelly plants.
She threw on her jacket and strode for the door.
***
Just outside of the city of Pol-Gelkrn on Zaran-7 a crowd started to gather around a wide field.
In the middle of the field was a single egg and a small camera.
Soon, a distant rumbling could be heard and the crowd pulled out their phones.
The rumbling grew in intensity, as something came into view high above.
The rumbling turned into roaring as the object drew closer growing ever larger with each passing moment.
The crowd started to cheer as the ground beneath them started to shake as a huge spaceship came screaming down, it’s shields glowing from the heat of re-entry.
At the helm, Gwen Shay grinned as the picture of the egg appeared on one of her screens. The grin was soon replaced with a blissful smile as her entire universe shrank to the size of that field.
Watching half a dozen screens at once, she switched to manual control.
“One-hundred meters...” the girl who usually manned the helm announced. “…Fifty meters… “
Gwen’s universe shrank down to the size of an egg.
“… Twenty meters...”
Her hands turning into blurs, Gwen made dozens of adjustments almost at once.
“Ten meters… ”
The crowd was blasted by nearly gale-force winds as Gwen fired all the lateral thrusters simultaneously and sloooowly eased down on the deflector screen.
“Shields at fifty percent….”
“Sixty percent…”
The landing spurs of the vessel started to slowly dig into the ground below as Gwen started to reduce power to the lower deflector array.
A grinding vibration could be felt throughout the massive vessel as it pressed itself into the soil.
The image of the egg became shrouded in darkness…
The camera’s light switched on.
The egg was intact…
And the crowd went wild.
Gwen let out a shuddering sigh…
Oh yeah…
***
As the main cargo hatch lowered Gwen stepped out and waved cheerfully at the cheering crowd.
“Wooooooo!” she yelled, grinning from ear to ear. “Wooooooooo!… You about some crazy fuckers!” she added when she noticed exactly how close some of the spectators were standing.
A line of vehicles started to roll into the cargo bay, all of them bearing Black Angels markings. They parked in a precise manner and the occupants all lept out and rapidly started to break down the rigging holding all of the parcels in place.
Experienced smugglers don’t waste any time. In moments the vehicles were being loaded and were soon pulling out at high speed only to be replaced seconds later.
A wicked looking woman in her late forties, armed with a megaphone and a stopwatch, approached.
“Goddamn,” she said shaking her head. “Just… Goddamn...”
Gwen just grinned at her.
“Where the fuck where they hiding you?”
“In motherfucking high school,” Gwen said rolling her eyes. “I had to ‘prepare for my future’.” she added in a sneering voice.
“You’re kidding, right?”
“I wish!”
“You can slam a Class Sixteen on the lawn in less than an hour already! What sort of ‘future’ is better than that?”
“According to my mom? Anything,” Gwen laughed. “They didn’t want me on spaceships.”
“Why?!? You’re...”
“Oh because of the ‘accident’...” Gwen said rolling her eyes. “Mom totally lost her shit and made me go to dirt school after that.”
“Accident?”
“Oh yeah,” Gwen said nonchalantly, “When I was nine I-”
“Holy shit!” the gangster gasped. “That was you?!? I heard that it happened to a kid but I had no idea it happened to a Shay!”
“Gram-gram wanted to keep it quiet,” Gwen replied. “This never happened!” she growled in a perfect recreation of her great-grandmother’s angry voice. “No idea why. It’s not like it was a big deal...”
The gangster looked at her dubiously. It was in fact a big deal. It was a really fucking big deal. Holy fucking shit!
If half of what she had heard was true… Jesus Christ!
“So, you’re ok?”
“I’m more than ok!” Gwen said happily as she spun around. “I’m finally free of this fucking gravity well! Escape velocity, baby! Wooooooo!”
“Oooookayyy then...” the gangster said as evenly as she could. For just a second there was something in Gwen’s eyes, something definitely not right.
It took a lot to rattle Kareen. She had been rolling with the Angels for most of her life and had seen and done some shit, but that little flash in Gwen’s eyes chilled her to the bone.
“Well… I just wanted to say hi and congratulate you on your pilotin’,” Kareen said as nonchalantly as she could. “I gotta go and get this cargo moved.”
“Nice meeting you!” Gwen enthused as she extended her hand. “Looking forward to working with you out there!”
Kareen tried not to flinch as she shook her hand. She really didn’t buy into a lot of that spacer’s nonsense but there were some things that you just did not fuck with!
That kid should have been tossed out of an airlock. If it had been any other kid she would have!
“Yeah, I’ll be looking for ya,” Kareen replied with as pleasant of a smile as she could manage.
***
Back on Raylesh, Jessica started making he way back to the buried ship she was using as her base.
As she was walking down the path something moved overhead.
Reaching for her sidearm she glanced upward and just smiled and shook her head.
A garish bright purple luxury grav-car with LED light bars and airbrushed furries in suggestive poses on the sides and hood landed.
The door popped open and a thin old man, dressed in a crushed velvet leisure suit complete with satin shirt and big gold medallion and jeweled sunglasses hopped out.
“Oneeeeeeeee Chaaaaannnnn!” he yelled as he saw her.
She laughed despite herself.
“Gordon!” she called back with a big smile. “You do realize that this is a top-secret facility… and that we are at war, right?”
“Of course!” Gordon Johnson, founder of Johnson’s spirits replied as he gestured at his leopard print leisure suit. “See? Cammo!”
“Jesus Christ…” Jessica laughed. “Get your ass inside before I have you shot.”
***
As Gordon and Jessica entered her office Gordon turned to confront her.
“I’ve tolerated and overlooked so many things, Jessica,” he said in a stern voice. “I really have, telling myself it was all for the greater good... But you’ve gone too far this time!… You stopped drinking?!?
“And what’s this I’m hearing about you, Gordon? Quality products? Have you gone mad?” Jessica laughed as they hugged.
“People are going to need something to wash down the days ahead,” Gordon smiled, “and too many of the damn kids these days can’t appreciate good hooch.”
“Well promise me you will keep making the Green,” Jessica chuckled. “If I fall off of the wagon I want to be appropriately punished.”
“I’m keeping the whole product line!” Gordon exclaimed proudly. “I still have the Rumrunner!”
“That old tub actually still flies? I thought you turned it into a restaurant.”
“A restaurant and distillery!” Gordon replied proudly. “I was going to decommission it but in the end I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. All I had to do was rip out the tables! Even the ‘kitchen’ is original! The Rumrunner will be lifting off today! I just dropped by take one last peek at that fine ass of yours before I headed out.”
Jessica gave him a little wiggle as Gordon gasped and clutched at his heart.
“Damn, girl! Don’t be doing that to an old man!”
“If only it was that easy to get rid of you,” she laughed. “So, you have the Rumrunner. How is the rest of your operation looking?”
“Good. We are ripping-up what we can and loading those ships you sent down with anything that we can shove into them. It’s a mess but my guys should have production lines running within days. The Rumrunner will be at full capacity tonight so we can give you limited quantities of whatever you need from lubricants to paint to plastic explosives… and of course the highest quality ‘solvents’ in the galaxy!”
“You are a freak but damned if you aren’t an amazing one!” Jessica laughed.
“Speaking of amazing,” Gordon grinned as he pulled out clear plastic bag filled with appeared to be a wad of soap. “Three thousand calories of shelf-stable nutritionally complete goodness!”
“Well that didn’t take you long!”
“It’s not like I was working from zero,” Gordon replied. “It’s just a riff on Jovian Rice.”
“And it doesn’t taste like shit!” Jessica said happily as she sampled it. “You are going to absolutely ruin your reputation, Gordon! How’s the price point?”
“Not good,” Gordon replied. “The raw material costs are much higher in the Federation on a good day and getting a reliable source at a high enough volume is going to be a constant challenge. It’s gonna be cheaper to just buy regular food but this stuff will keep forever and is nice and compact.”
“Real food is better for morale, too,” Jessica replied. “I still want to build stocks of this, though. I think we all know more food is better than less.”
“You don’t have to remind me!” Gordon laughed.
“If only we had a gas-miner...” Jessica mused.
Gordon grinned at her.
“What?”
“Funny you should mention that...”
“Are. You. Shitting. Me?!?”
“Remember Aimee?”
“Your traitorous ex-girlfriend Aimee? The Aimee who tried to kill you?” Jessica asked darkly, her enthusiasm gone.
“That would be the one!”
“Please tell me that you haven’t-”
“Well, we’ve sorta kept in touch and-”
“Kept in touch?” Jessica asked raising her eyebrow.
Gordon grinned sheepishly.
“Goddammit...” Jessica groaned, “Seriously?!?”
“Well they say time heals all wounds...”
“Including ones made by a knife it seems,” Jessica replied as she rolled her eyes. “… moron...”
“Well, as it turns out after the dust settled she wound up going back into chemical engineering and set herself up-”
“With the shit she stole from us!” Jessica interjected. “If she wasn’t so fucking slippery I would have killed her a long time ago!”
“Well be glad you didn’t!” Gordon exclaimed happily. “She has herself a gas miner! She runs a little wildcat outfit specializing in custom organic compounds and does first-rate chemical synthesis to boot!”
“And?” Jessica asked dubiously.
“And she wants to come home!” Gordon exclaimed. “A fucking hyperspace capable gas miner, Jessica!”
“And she wants to join us? Now?”
“She has a lot of family over here, Jessica,” Gordon replied. “She wants to help.”
“And?” Jessica asked suspiciously.
“And with everything going on over there, she has concerns. Terran nationalism has been on the rise and now with Patricia and her cronies making a play for the Republic...”
“There it is,” Jessica hissed. “There it fucking is! Aimee concerned about her ‘family’? Nah. Aimee seeing the writing on the wall and wanting to switch sides, exactly like she did on us back in the day? Now that’s Aimee.”
“Yes, but gas-miner!”
“She tried to kill you... twice!
“Gas-miner!”
“She framed you for the chemical weapons that she produced! You know, the ones you absolutely refused to make? You had to hide in a supply locker for six months! Do you remember?”
“Gas… miner!”
“But-”
Gordon leaned in and whispered, “gasminer!”
“Absolutely not! If you want to stick your dick in that particular puddle of crazy you are just going to have to run the Republic blockade.”
“Do you have any idea how many mega-tons of organics and fuel she can produce?”
“I’m sure it won’t be for free,” Jessica grumbled.
“She’s willing to provide raw materials at a very reasonable rate!”
“Goddammit, Gordon! Tell me you didn’t enter into negotiations without consulting me!”
“I got her to agree to forty-two percent of Federation market rate!”
“Which is how many times more than she gets in the Republic?”
“Look, do you want that fuel and those organics or not? I’ve reviewed her production records… Holy shit, Jessica!” Gordon exclaimed as he pulled out his phone and offered it to her. “We can feed everyone!”
“Goddamn it...” Jessica muttered and looked at the spreadsheet.
Her eyes widened.
“(sigh)… What’s her number?”
“Yes!” Gordon exclaimed.
“What is it with you and manipulative narcissists?” she grumbled.
Gordon looked her up and down with an exaggerated lascivious leer.
“What can I say? I have a type!”
Jessica just laughed and shook her head.
“Asshole...”, she chuckled. “IF I do this, she’s off limits! I fucking mean it!”
“Aww..”
“The LAST thing I need is her getting her hooks into you again. You get within a light year of her and the deal’s off… But… I think you won’t mind...” she purred as she started to unbutton his satin shirt.
***
Terrence walked towards Jessica’s office with a fresh pot of tea. He was more than a little concerned. Jessica was really struggling with her sobriety and Gordon Johnson wasn’t exactly a paragon of temperance.
He raised his hand to knock.
“Oh!… Onee Chan!...”
His hand froze.
“Are… Are those ‘My Happy Pony’ panties?!?” Jessica’s annoyed voice said as it leaked through the door, “Take them off right now!”
“(Giggle)… Yes, Onee Chan...”
Terrence just shook his head and walked away.
At least she wasn’t drinking...
***
Gwen looked over at the three somewhat disheveled looking teenaged boys standing in front of her and sighed.
It was finally time to say goodbye to her beloved little nerds. In the end, only Susan decided to stay with them.
“Are you sure you want to leave?” Gwen asked. “Things are about to get good!”
“N-no… Yes! I mean Yes!” Johnny squeaked.
“You are walking away from a shit-ton of money, guys! You really want to go home, back to school, and all that shit? You can be free, rich and free!”
“T-thank you but I would like to go home, please,” Johnny replied as the other two teens nodded vigorously.
“Well, I can’t stop ya,” Gwen said with a smile. “Actually, I can… but I won’t. I’m cool like that!”
“T-thank you!”
“Are you surrrre?” Gwen asked. “One of my friends thinks you’re cute!”
Johnny was NOT falling for that one again!
“That’s… that’s ok... We just want to go home, please, ma’am...”
“Ok… That’s cool… go be nerds…. Shoo!” Gwen said with a wave of her hand.
The three teens sprinted out of the ship.
She turned to Marcia, her helmsperson.
“At least we kept Susie!” Gwen said brightly.
“You just let them go? Don’t we need them?”
“Nah, we’ll get some crew from the Angels,” Gwen replied. “I’ll just give Gram a call and… Speak of the Devil!” Gwen exclaimed happily as an electric motorcycle drove into the ship.
Shay the Elder got off and walked up.
“Gram-Gram!” Gwen exclaimed, running up to give the old fiend a hug.
“Hey baby-doll,” Shay the Elder smiled returning the hug.
Gwen slowly stopped smiling as she looked at her great-grandmother’s face. “…what?”
“Got a minute, kid?”
***
She wants to talk to me?” Gwen asked in shock once they were alone.
“Yeah,” Shay the Elder replied darkly. “She does.”
“Why?”
“She wants something. She wouldn’t tell me what.”
Awesome!!!
“No, baby-doll, it’s the opposite of awesome,” her great-grandmother replied. “Look, you gotta listen all respectful-like, but you DON’T gotta do whatever she says. She can’t just order you around like some nobody! You’re a fucking Shay!”
“But what could she possibly want?”
“I dunno and that’s what bugs me, baby-doll. Look,” the old woman said, clearly worried, “if she wants a word with you I can’t stop it and you gotta listen but whatever, and I mean whatever she says, whatever she promises, just say no. If you say no she can’t touch you. You say no and you are protected by Angels but if you make a deal with The Devil you stand alone.”
“I’m not an idiot, Gram-gram,” Gwen replied.
“This isn’t some scrub trying to sweet talk his way into your panties! This is the motherfucking Devil herself! You be all polite and use those pretty words you got but whatever you do, do NOT say yes to her!”
“Got it!” Gwen replied. “Be polite and say no.”
“I’m fucking serious kid,” the old fiend said urgently. “I’ve seen it over and over and fucking over again. I don’t care how big and shiny that apple is. It’s fucking POISON! You do not want to make a deal with her! As bad as people think I am, she’s worse! Never forget that!”
Gwen looked at her great-grandmother in shock. She was afraid! Her great-grandmother, leader of the fucking Black Angels herself, one of the true nightmares of the Sol Wars, was scared.
“O-ok, Gram,” Gwen replied nervously.
“I’ll be right outside the whole time,” Shay the Elder said as they walked to the captain’s office. “If you feel yourself starting to give or slip just yell or somethin’ and I’ll barge in there and… and I don’t know… do something!”
“Yes, Gram-gram,” Gwen replied as she opened the office door and walked inside.
She paused at a mirror and made sure she looked ok.
Then she took a deep breath and sat behind her desk.
After saying a quiet prayer to the Gods of the Void, she switched on her communicator.
***
After a disturbingly short wait, Jessica Morgan’s pleasantly smiling face appeared on her holo-screen.
“I swear it’s like looking back in time!” Jessica exclaimed. “You look just like your great-grandmother did at your age!”
“Um… thanks?”
“I’m sure you have things to do and I know for a fact that I do so I will just cut to the chase,” Jessica said with a smile. “I assume it has been strongly suggested that you refuse regardless of what I say?”
Gwen shifted nervously. She wasn’t sure how to respond to that.
“It’s ok,” Jessica said, “I know your great-grandmother quite well and I am perfectly aware of her opinion of me… She’s absolutely correct, by the way.”
Gwen just smiled anxiously and remained silent. She wanted to say… something… but everything she could come up with either sounded absolutely moronic or would just dig her deeper in the hole she realized she was already in.
Jessica smiled as she let the silence build.
“I thought you would be more exuberant,” Jessica said an eternity later. “You certainly were when you were talking to that radio person.”
Yeah, that’s because ‘Lissa doesn’t have a fucking brass bull!… And that’s the least of my worries!
“Wooo?” Gwen replied cautiously.
Jessica burst into laughter.
“Well played!” she exclaimed with delight. “I’ll cease wasting either our our time with any further attempts to disarm you and get right down to business.”
Jessica leaned forward slightly.
“I want you to come to work for me.”
“W-what?!?” Gwen spluttered, her eyes wide.
“Ships, I have. Equipment I can buy. I have the resources to get whatever I want and as much of it as I desire, except for one thing...” Jessica said, her eyes glittering, “talent! I can never get enough! It’s the one thing I crave more than almost anything and you, Ms. Shay, have a gift.”
“I wouldn’t go that far,” Gwen said nervously.
“I would,” Jessica replied. “Your last landing? From orbit to surface, in a Class Sixteen, in less than one hour, on top of an unbroken egg? That’s astounding from anyone, no matter how long they have been flying. From someone of your age, your experience, it’s phenomenal.”
“I… I’ve been doing this for years!” Gwen replied defensively. “I grew up on a ship and-”
“Until they made you stop,” Jessica said, cutting her off, “something that I would not have done, by the way, but we will get to that later.”
Gwen flinched. She knew!
“Here’s the deal,” Jessica continued. “I need people who can quickly, and much more importantly safely, get large vessels onto and off of planetary surfaces and I need them now. There are thousands, hundreds of thousands, of our fellow human beings trapped on dozens of worlds. Those are our people, my people, and I’m not going to abandon them to the fucking Feds. Shuttles aren’t going to cut it! I don’t need to move people by the dozens, I need to move them by the thousands! No spaceports, open-dirt landings. Not everyone can do that. You can. I need that. I need you.”
“But I’m with the Angels and-”
“Oh I wouldn’t dream of making you forgo your alliance,” Jessica said with a smile. “While I would love to bring you fully into my organization I am not asking you to make a choice. I just want use of skills… temporarily. Do these people moving runs for me, and once we have everyone that we can evacuated, I have absolutely no problem with you returning to the Angels… if that’s what you truly want.”
“Ok, that sounds reasonable enough,” Gwen said suspiciously. “What’s the catch?”
“The catch?” Jessica asked innocently. “Why ever would you think-” She broke off into a chuckle. “Yes, there is always a catch isn’t there. I’m not asking you to pilot a cruise ship. These recovery missions are likely going to be through hostile Federation space and the systems aren’t always going to be happy to see us, and by us I mean you. I’m asking you to do something quite dangerous. There is no guarantee you will survive.”
There’s no guarantee I’ll survive now. Gwen thought to herself. I’m rolling with the Angels for fuck’s sake.
“Of course you will be well rewarded for the risk,” Jessica continued.
“Rewarded?”
“Yes, very well rewarded,” Jessica replied. “You have done quite well in obtaining a Federation Class Sixteen. It’s a lovely ship, but entirely unsuitable for my purposes. While its operational capabilities are sub-par the real problem with it is that its a Federation vessel, a clearly pirated one. You can’t be going about representing me in a pirated ship. It will further complicate a very complicated situation and we can’t claim that you are ‘peaceful’ when you are demonstrably already a pirate. I will trade vessels with you. That Class Sixteen can serve me perfectly well in an auxiliary capacity and for it I will give you… this.”
Gwen gasped as a picture of a Krenk-Halyx appeared on the screen. It was number seven on her list!
“I see you recognize it,” Jessica smiled. “a Krenk-Halyx medium cargo ship with a completely clean title. It’s yours if you come to work with me.”
Gwen’s mind swam. Big engines, huge hyperdrive, advanced navcomp…
and something else… something much more important...
Jessica smiled as her eye-tracking software indicated exactly where Gwen was staring. She had her.
“I have the papers right here,” Jessica said with a pleasant smile. “Your Class Sixteen will serve me quite well in an auxiliary capacity and with this you will be able to go anywhere, do anything… once your obligation is complete, of course. You will own the ship from day one and soon as you qualify, you will be its captain.”
“Qualify?” Gwen asked suspiciously.
“Yes, qualify,” Jessica replied. “I’ll happily gamble the ship on your unproven abilities but not the crew. Ships I can buy but crew? Good crew has always been valuable but now they are priceless! I can’t ‘give’ you a crew and, no offense, I’m not letting one of my vessels be crewed with a Black Angels cadre. One atrocity and it’s my name, not hers, that is stained. So, unless you have quite a few more members on your cheer squad I’m going to have to assign my people, at least temporarily. Don’t worry. Everyone will understand that having you qualify is second only to the mission. I have every confidence that you will rise to the occasion.”
Gwen unconsciously started to play with her hair. “Qualifying” could take years.
“On the bright side,” Jessica continued, “your training and subsequent qualifications would be through Morgan Shipping, a member of the Galactic Merchantman’s Association and thus will be honored throughout all of known space. Real training. Real certifications. You wouldn’t be limited to just the Black Angels. You could go anywhere, once our current little situation is resolved, of course. It’s a small inconvenience for one hell of a reward. When this is all over your licenses will be valid. And you will still own the vessel from day one!”
Which means exactly squat, Gwen thought. The crew will follow the captain, not the owner. The only thing the owner can do is hire and fire which means absolutely nothing.
“I… I appreciate this… I really do...” Gwen replied nervously.
“But?” Jessica asked calmly as she felt the hook slip from Gwen’s mouth.
“But I already have a ship, not as good… God… nowhere as good but it’s mine… And I’m already a captain and I can get a crew, a good crew, that will follow me and as far as those certifications go, I can get them on my own… I… I’m sorry but I have to say no… ma’am.”
Jessica kept her expression pleasant and even but inside she was scowling. She wanted this little morsel.
How about the actual truth for once? Now there was an interesting thought…
“Don’t want to give up your freedom?” Jessica purred, “makes sense. Nobody, at any age, would be eager to give up command. But I have one question I want you to ask yourself...”
Gwen shifted uncomfortably under Jessica’s predatory gaze.
“… do you honestly think it’s going to be that easy?” Jessica asked.
“What?”
“If you take it, it’s yours,” Jessica replied. “That’s one of our major tenets. Privately, I despise it. I had hoped for so much more than a society of pirates, murders, and thieves. I really did, but, whether I like it or not, that is one of the core tenets of our wonderful society. You took that Class Sixteen so it’s yours... Congratulations,” Jessica added sarcastically.
“Yeah, it is mine!” Gwen said defiantly, taking real offense. “And I’m going to be a GREAT captain!”
“Of that I don’t have a single doubt,” Jessica replied. “The ‘qualifications’ are for my men, not me. Think about it. I can’t put a Black Angel, especially a sixteen year old one, in front of them and tell them that she’s their captain. Owner they will accept. Captain? That won’t fly.”
“And that’s why I’m saying no!” Gwen replied.
Jessica smiled. Now she had the girl engaged. Now there was something to grab on to.
“And you think it’s going to be any easier with the Black Angels? If you honestly do then this conversation is over. I don’t have time to waste with idiots.”
“What do you mean?” Gwen demanded with far more confidence than she felt. “I’m a fucking Shay!”
“How do you think it’s really going to go when you get a real crew, huh? Think about it. Your ship, filled with their people.”
“They are my people!”
“No, they aren’t,” Jessica replied. “not really. They stopped being ‘your people’ the second the accident happened and you know it.”
“That’s bullshit! They-”
“Will be watching you every single second of every single day you are with them,” Jessica said calmly. “They will never trust you and can you blame them? They use what happened to you as their ultimate punishment. It terrifies them as well it should. Nobody escapes what happened to you unscathed… unaltered… nobody.”
“What are you talking about! I’m just fine! I’m-”
“How long can you hold out, hmm? Are you even going to try, or are you, even now, just dying for the chance to do it again?”
Gwen looked away.
“I knew it, addicted,” Jessica said with a smile. “I understand addiction very well. Mine are tame, embarrassingly boring compared to yours, but the same principles apply. Once certain things get under your skin they are there for life. You can deny them, your vices, but you can never truly be free, can you? Part of you is always thinking about it, always yearning for what you can’t have. Isn’t that true?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about...” Gwen said weakly.
“Darling, I’m addicted to alcohol, cocaine, and a pile of designer drugs. I shook the pills long ago but a day doesn’t go by without me thinking about them at least once. The booze and the coke? I only quit those when I reassumed command and it hurts every single day. I know an addict when I see them because I am one and you, Ms. Shay are an addict. I know it but even more importantly your great-grandmother does. She will be watching and you can bet that there will be someone on ‘your’ crew that will be fully capable of taking command the second you fuck up. You might be able to get one hit, maybe and then… right back to the dirt you go and there will be no escape a second time.”
“Nobody is going to take my ship! I’ll-”
“Fight them all?” Jessica asked with chuckle. “A captain only leads with the permission of their crew. If they lose their confidence in you, that’s it. The same holds true for your great-grandmother or even myself, by the way. We are, in a way, just as subservient as those who we lead. Nobody gets to do what they really want, trust me,” she said ruefully. “If your crew wants you out then you are out, especially in an outfit like the Black Angels. In the Angels it wouldn’t even be mutiny. You can be formally challenged for your command. You might be a bad-ass but what chance do you have against one of your Gram-Gram’s real thugs, especially the one she will send for you? You won’t even have the honor of being killed. You will be given a spanking and sent to your room and that will be that.”
“Fuck you!” Gwen snarled.
“Feel free to terminate this call if you think I’m wrong,” Jessica smiled. “Of course if you do then you won’t get to hear the real reason why I want you. Do you honestly think I don’t already have skilled pilots? I’m Jessica fucking Morgan! My special projects cadre are the best money can buy. I have people who are what you will be in twenty years! Me having a dire need for your piloting skill? That was bullshit. That’s just how I was going to draw you in.”
“I thought you were supposed to never lie,” Gwen replied, intrigued despite herself. She should just hang up. She knew it. Just hang up! She said you could!
“You can bullshit without lying,” Jessica chuckled. “I implied that the talent of yours that I craved was your piloting skill. Oh your skill is astonishing, make no mistake. Your little egg video is making the rounds and I have captains in my special projects division just begging me to poach you. Some of the best crews in the fucking galaxy want you, Gwen. More than one ‘captain’ would happily throw it all away for the chance to be on one of these ships and several of them already want you! Impressive, truly impressive, but that’s not the talent of yours that I want. That’s not why I want you.”
Just hang up and run away!
“Why… Why do you want me then?” Gwen asked knowing it was a trap.
“The accident.”
“What?!?”
“You heard me,” Jessica smiled. “I want you not despite the accident but because of it.”
“Why?!?”
“I’m not going to tell you,” Jessica grinned. “I will, however, say this. I don’t have to tell you about the wonderful observation decks that the Krenk-Halyx possesses. The one that I offer you will have one tiny little modification. The aft solar garden will be converted into your personal quarters with it’s own shutter control and shields. You won’t have to sneak. You won’t have to hide. You will be able to get your fix whenever you want. Gaze into the hyperspatial void to your heart’s content!”
“Wha… I… I don’t… What?” Gwen babbled, completely stunned.
“You have absolutely no idea how special you are, Gwen, but I do,” Jessica purred. “For almost every single human being, direct exposure to hyperspace is lethal, worse than lethal. What it does to the body and to the mind… well… There’s a reason that the vilest of the vile use it as torture. But, for one nine year old girl, it wasn’t torture. It was amazing, wasn’t it?”
Gwen just nodded, tears welling up in her eyes.
“You aren’t the first.”
“What?” Gwen spluttered.
“Nope,” Jessica smiled. “You aren’t alone. You are incredibly rare, perhaps one in hundreds of millions, too rare to actually quantify, but you are NOT unique. There are others.
“Who?!?” Gwen gasped.
“Not telling you,” Jessica grinned. “Not yet… There is only one way to find out...”
***
Shay the Elder stalked up and down the hall getting angrier and more worried by the second.
It had been too long. It had been far too long.
She should barge in there, tell that witch to go and fuck herself!
She strode to the door and froze. It was fucking Jessica Morgan. There wasn’t much that scared Old Gwen but that woman…
But it was her baby-doll! No! She had given that monster enough! She wasn’t going to get-
The door opened and her precious little girl stepped out.
Oh no!
“I’m… I’m sorry Gram-Gram...” Gwen said with tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry...”
“It’s ok,” the old woman sighed as she wrapped her arms around her. “She always wins… Always...”
submitted by slightlyassholic to HFY [link] [comments]

Will the Los Angeles Chargers win OVER/UNDER 8 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

Anthony Lynn’s first two seasons as the Chargers head coach were successful with 9-7 and 12-4 records. However, last year was a clear disappointment as the team finished dead last in their division with a 5-11 record. That included losing six of the final seven matchups.

Obviously, the team is entering a new era with a big QB change. They hope the 10-year drought without a division title is going to get snapped sooner than later.

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

After spending 16 seasons with the Chargers, Philip Rivers signed with the Colts. His 23-to-20 TD-to-INT ratio last year was the worst of his whole career. He still racked up 4,615 passing yards, though, but his arm looked weaker than ever. He also struggled as soon as he felt the rush coming.

Before the draft, head coach Anthony Lynn kept repeating that Tyrod Taylor was in the driver’s seat to get the starting nod under center. Does that still hold true after drafting Justin Herbert with the No. 6 overall pick? I doubt it.

Herbert is one of the most polarizing prospects. Some experts believe he’ll have a great career, while others see bust written all over him.

He is physically gifted with good size, an elite arm strength and mobility that allows him to elude the rush and pick up first downs with his legs. He is also known for being able to make all types of throws.

The knocks on him are as follows. First, some people question his leadership ability because he’s an introvert. Also, his decision-making isn’t always the best, he fumbles way too many times and a 64% college career completion rate isn’t all that impressive.

Tyrod Taylor might still have a shot to start under center, but his chances have clearly diminished with Herbert on the team. He has 54 career TD passes versus 20 interceptions, while adding 16 rushing TDs to his resume.

Taylor’s best years were with the Bills from 2015 to 2017. Over that time span, he completed 774-of-1236 passes (62.6%) with 51 TD passes and 16 picks. He helped Buffalo reach the playoffs for the first time in 18 years.

He tends to get blamed for being too conservative. He does limit the turnovers, but throwing 51 touchdown passes in 44 games in Buffalo was far from breathtaking.

After a bad experience in Cleveland in 2018 and not playing in 2019, can Taylor revive his career? It seems pretty doubtful. He makes for a great backup QB, though.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Melvin Gordon left for Denver, which leaves the door wide open for Austin Ekeler to take over as the clear-cut #1 back.

Ekeler was excellent in both facets of the game: as a runner and as a receiver. For the second straight year, he rushed for about 550 yards with 3 TDs on the ground. However, he did a lot more damage through the air by catching a jaw-dropping 92 balls out of 108 targets, which included 8 receiving TDs and an extremely good 10.8 yards-per-catch average.

The undrafted runner from Western State has averaged 4.8 yards per carry thus far in his three years in the big league. This figure is likely to go down now that he’ll be the workhorse back, but he’s expected to get a lot more rushing attempts.

Gordon’s departure inserts Justin Jackson into the #2 RB role. He was picked in the 7th round of the 2018 draft and his main problem has been staying healthy. He missed three games in his rookie season and nine more the following year. In both cases, he rushed for close to 200 yards.

It’s unclear what Jackson can bring to the table due to his limited time on the field. Based on his draft status it’s hard to expect great things, but the jury is still out about his future.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

This position was dominated by two players: Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. All other guys caught less than 10 passes.

You can’t say enough about Keenan Allen. He’s just a super reliable target.

He was often the victim of the injury bug in the past, but he’s now played all 16 games in each of the last three years. During this time period, he has been extremely consistent by averaging 101 receptions for 1,263 yards and 6 TDs. He will be entering his age-28 campaign, so he still has plenty of gas left in the tank.

Mike Williams was the #7 overall selection in the 2017 draft out of Clemson. His numbers have increased each year, except the TD output which inexplicably dropped from 10 to 2 last year.

Williams had a whopping 20.4 yards-per-catch average, second-best in the league behind Mecole Hardman. He battled through knee injuries throughout the year.

The depth at the position is worrisome. The team drafted a couple of guys in later rounds: Joe Reed from Virginia and K.J. Hill from Ohio State.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

Hunter Henry is one of the top tight ends in the league when healthy. The problem has been just that: staying healthy.

He tore his ACL during OTAs in 2018, which caused him to miss the entire regular season.

Last year, he missed four additional games due to a knee injury but he still set career-highs in receptions (55) and receiving yards (652). He has scored 17 TDs in 41 career games, which amounts to 6.6 per 16 games.

Virgil Green is the projected backup TE. He couldn’t get anything going even during Henry’s absence last year. It does not bode well for him. The former seventh-rounder has never caught more than 22 passes since joining the league nine years ago.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

Mike Pouncey’s first five years in the league were pretty good after being selected in the 1st round by the Dolphins nine years ago. Then, his PFF grades started to decline steadily. Things got worse last year when he suffered a career-threatening neck injury. He is on track to return in 2020, but his play has been below-average of late.

Right tackle Bryan Bulaga is now on the wrong side of 30, but that didn’t scare the Chargers off. They signed him to a three-year deal worth $30 million. He will solidify the line without a doubt. He played very well last year in Green Bay; he secured the #15 spot out of 81 tackles based on PFF rankings.

With Michael Schofield about to hit the free agent market, the Chargers acquired Trai Turner from the Panthers. Both received very identical PFF marks, but Turner is three years younger. He’s set to play left guard.

Dan Feeney won the preseason battle for the left guard position during preseason, and he ended up starting all 16 games for the second year in a row. However, once again the quality of his play left a lot to be desired. He rated as the 64th-best guard out of 81 qualifiers.

The Trent Scott experiment on Philip Rivers’ blind side was a huge failure last year. He was atrocious.

Can Trey Pipkins be the answer at left tackle? The third-round pick from last year didn’t play many snaps last year, so it’s hard to evaluate.

Or will it be Sam Tevi taking over at this key position? He did play left tackle as a junior with the Utah Utes. The 6th rounder has never received a PFF grade above 60 in his three-year career, so it’s hard to get excited about him.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

Despite all the criticism around Philip Rivers, he still threw for more than 4,600 yards. Can Justin Herbert and/or Tyrod Taylor do better? I doubt it.

Also, am I the only one worrying about the depth at many positions on offense?

Instead of having a nice Gordon-Ekeler duo at running back, the team must now rely on unproven Justin Jackson as the backup runner. At wide receiver, what happens if either Keenan Allen or Mike Williams gets hurt? If Hunter Henry misses time at tight end, the team must turn to Virgil Green. We’re talking about HUGE talent dropoff between the starters and the backups at those positions.

At least the team upgraded its offensive line, but not that much. I like the additions of Bulaga and Turner, but Okung and Schofield left. To me, that represents a small net gain for the team.

Overall, I believe this unit suffers a small downgrade over 2019.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

All four guys receiving the most playing time on the interior of the line last year received poor PFF grades. Justin Jones finished 93rd, Brandon Mebane 112th, Damion Square 73rd and Jerry Tillery 114th out of 114 qualifiers. That’s awful.

Two of those players are now off the team: Mebane (who turned 35) and Square. Neither of those losses represent a blow to the defense.

Justin Jones improved slightly from his rookie to his sophomore year, but he’ll need to take a bigger leap in his third year. The former third-round pick out of N.C. State has not been very impressive thus far.

As for Tillery, he was the #28 overall pick from the 2019 draft. It’s too early to call him a bust, but ranking dead last among all DLs can hardly be viewed as a successful season. He posted two sacks, but was awful against the run.

The Chargers hope to boost the position with the acquisition of Linval Joseph. The 10-year veteran received high marks from 2015 to 2017, but his play deteriorated a little bit in the past two years. Granted, he still ranked as the 42nd-best interior defenders out of 114 guys last year. He’ll be playing his age-32 campaign, so hopefully his play won’t drop even further.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are the team’s clear-cut sack leaders. They recorded 11.5 and 7 sacks respectively last year, while the third-best turned out to be just 2.5 by Desmond King. Ouch.

Bosa is a beast. Plain and simple. Bosa had 10.5, 12.5, 5.5 and 11.5 sacks during his first four years in the NFL. The 5.5 sacks picked up in 2018 were obtained in seven games; if you project those numbers into a full 16-game season, that equates to 12.5. As can be seen, he’s been very consistent.

Ingram’s sack output has decreased a little bit recently. After posting 10.5, 8.0 and 10.5 from 2015 to 2017, he got exactly 7 sacks in each of the last two years. He remains clearly an above-average edge rusher and likely has a gas left in the tank at 31 years old.

Uchenna Nwosu will continue to be a rotational player in this defense. He played 37% of the snaps and the former second-rounder has 5.5 sacks in two years.

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Thomas Davis provided quality play, especially coming from a 36-year-old linebacker. The team still decided to cut ties with him in order to create cap space and to get younger at the position.

The team has three guys who all played between 37% and 39% of the snaps last year: Drue Tranquill, Kyzir White and Denzel Perryman.

Tranquill was picked in the 4th round of last year’s draft and he enjoyed a very respectable rookie season. He ended up as the #25 LB out of 89 players, based on PFF marks. He is a good candidate to improve his game since he converted from safety to linebacker just three years ago.

White is another former fourth-rounder, but he was taken a year earlier. He has earned 65.6 and 66.6 PFF grades in his first two seasons. His 2019 grade is actually identical to Tranquill’s.

Perryman is unlikely to become a full-time starter in the NFL. He has yet to establish himself as a true starter in five years, so all signs point towards the former second-rounder to end up no more than a reserve player.

The Chargers have added two pieces to the group: free agent Nick Vigil and Kenneth Murray via the draft.

Vigil is no better than what the Chargers already had. As a matter of fact, he has earned weaker marks. He will still get a shot at the starting lineup considering his experience.

With the 23rd overall selection, the Chargers drafted Kenneth Murray out of Oklahoma. The kid plays with great passion and he started at middle linebacker with the Sooners at 17 years old, which is quite impressive!

Murray can literally fly on the field; he’s a playmakers who’s willing to take some risks. His style leads to many tackles for a loss. He needs to get better at reading plays and shedding blockers, however.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Casey Hayward is among the league’s top cover corners. He graded as the third-best CB in the NFL last season, according to PFF rankings. He has 22 interceptions in eight years and figures to have another productive season in 2020. He hasn’t missed a single game in six years!

Desmond King is most effective in the middle of the field as a slot corner. Strangely enough, the Chargers signed Chris Harris, formerly of the Broncos, who also butters his bread in that position. It remains to be seen how to team juggles with these two guys. Both received above-average grades despite subpar years compared to previous seasons.

How does Michael Davis fit in the mix? He could be the odd man out. He did pick up his first two interceptions of his young career after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2017, but he wasn’t particularly good.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Derwin James missed the first 11 games last season. His presence was sorely missed on the field. The #17 overall pick from the 2018 draft enjoyed a spectacular rookie season with 105 tackles, 3 interceptions and 3.5 sacks. Now with a clean bill of health, James projects to play a big role in 2020.

The other starting safety is Rayshawn Jenkins. He’s not nearly as good as his fellow teammate. He racked up the first three picks of his career last year, but he only managed to obtain the 60th spot among 87 safeties, according to PFF grades. He has yet to have a big impact, and he’s unlikely to do.

The team lost some nice depth when Adrian Phillips left for New England. The #3 safety will likely be either Roderic Teamer or sixth-round pick Alohi Gilman. You don’t want either of them to start, so the Chargers must cross their fingers that neither James nor Jenkins gets hurt.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

How will the 2020 Chargers defense fare compared to the 2019’s group?

The team upgraded the interior of the line a little bit with the addition of Linval Joseph.

Tackle leader Thomas Davis is gone, while the organization acquired Nick Vigil and drafted Kenneth Murray. Vigil isn’t a solid linebacker, so Chargers fans must hope for Murray to develop quickly, or perhaps see Drue Tranquill elevate his game.

Getting Chris Harris at corner is another good, albeit not spectacular, addition to the team. However, losing Adrian Phillips will put the Chargers in trouble if one of their two starting safeties get hurt.

Los Angeles allowed the 14th fewest points in the league last year. I expect them to remain around this spot in 2020.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Stable

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Los Angeles Chargers are expected to win 8 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results:

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 8 WINS 42.6% Bookmaker.eu -107 -17.6%
UNDER 8 WINS 57.4% Heritage Sports -105 +12.1%
Tip: Bet UNDER 8 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +12.1%
Rank: 23rd-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): -135

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Chargers’ 16 regular season games:

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

Thank you for reading!

Professor MJ
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

Herman Miller (MLHR) - Work from home in your new expensive chair that your boss paid for

Hello fellow poor kids.
My dream ever since May was to post to WallStreetBets, but those elitist snobs have some rule about waiting a month before posting anything (EVEN A COMMENT) to their subreddit. Well, I wrote this DD with the intention of posting it there, and since I cannot, why not post it in the lite version of WSB subreddits (Plus you allow EPIC DD analysis). Enjoy.

Herman Miller (MLHR)
Share Price (06/21/20): $24.01
Share Price (01/02/20): $41.41
Earnings Date (in less than ten days): 6/30/20
Herman Miller is an American company that produces office furniture, equipment, and home furnishings. Its signature products include the Aeron Chair, Equa Chair, Noguchi Table, Marshmallow Sofa, and the Eames Lounge Chair.
As we have seen, work-from-home has been a real trend that will continue until a vaccine arrives. Several points below support Herman Miller as a beneficiary of this trend:
· Increasing search traffic for Herman Miller products
· Employers providing free money to buy home office furniture (e.g. - $1,500 stipends)
· Large market of work-from-home employees to sell to with money to spend
· WFH is a potential long term trend and saves employers money
· New e-commerce and gaming initiatives at Herman Miller
· Insider buying at Herman Miller
Supporting Information & TL;DR Below:
HERMAN MILLER SEARCH TRAFFIC HAS INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY SINCE MARCH
· Google Trends search traffic shows that Herman Miller searches increased 100% after March 2020 and still remain significantly higher than they were before the Coronavirus lockdowns started.
· Other searches on Google Trends that have seen a significant up-tick include “Aeron Chairs,” “Ergonomic,” “Work From Home,” and “Telecommuting.”
· Also, there is some anecdotal evidence about potential delays in shipping to customers that can be found here: Shipping Delays
EMPLOYERS PAYING EMPLOYEES TO FURNISH THEIR HOME OFFICE
· Many companies are giving employees money to spend on their home office
· Google offering employees a $1,000 allowance to spend on equipment (Alphabet has over 100,000 employees)
· Facebook giving employees a $1,000 bonus for working from home (Facebook has over 40,000 employees)
· Shopify is letting workers spend up to $1,000 on their work from home gear (Shopify has over 5,000 employees)
· Twitter recently boosted it work from home allowance to $1,000 (Twitter has over 4,000 employees)
· Slack employees get $1,500 for working from home (Slack has over 1,500 employees)
· Indeed and Chegg are providing $500 work from home stipends to employees
· While not all companies are giving a work-from-home “bonus,” many other companies are also giving their work-from-home employees additional compensation or some sort of stipend while they are working remotely.
· “In a recent AON survey of around 1,400 US-based companies, more than one-in-five (over 20%) say they are helping pay for their employees’ home-office equipment.”
· “Meanwhile, nearly a third of companies say they are reimbursing their newly remote employees for their laptops, and more than 14% are paying for their ergonomic office furniture, according to a recent survey by Mercer.”
· Search traffic for home office items has increased significantly since March suggesting that employees are using the money to furnish their home offices
· Google trends searches for “home office” and “office chairs” have doubled since March (with “office chairs” maintaining that doubling through this week)
· Searches for “office chairs” on Slickdeals were up 65% and for “desks” was up 85% since the pandemic started
LARGE MARKET (MILLIONS OF HOUSEHOLDS) WITH SPENDING POWER
· Working from home has increased significantly since the pandemic started:
· According to GALLUP, “Sixty-two percent of employed Americans say they have worked from home during the crisis, a number that has doubled since mid-March.”
· In March, the Society for Human Resource Management found that two-thirds of US companies were “taking steps to allow employees to work from home who don’t normally do so.”
· Virtual meetings have skyrocketed this year as evidenced by Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet showing the potential rise in home office furniture purchasing
· Zoom meeting participants rose from 10 million in December ’19 to 300 million participants in April ’20 (An increase of 3,000% over five months)
· Microsoft Teams recorded up to 200 million meeting participants in April ’19 and daily active users of 75 million (Daily active users rose 70% in one month)
· Google Meet has hit over 100 million meeting participants and was adding 3 million users per day in April ’19 (Usage increased 30-fold between January and April)
· Work from home employees have disposable income to spend and are not just employees of “silicon valley tech companies.” - What were the demographics of the “average” work-from-homer before the pandemic?
· According to Global Workplace Analytics, “A typical telecommuter (in 2016) is college-educated, 45 years old or older, and earns an annual salary of $58,000 while working for a company with more than 100 employees. 75% of employees who work from home earn $65,000 per year, putting them in the 80th percentile of all employees (home or office-based).
WORKING FROM HOME IS A POTENTIAL LONG TERM TREND
· Some companies are committing long term to work-from-home for some of their employees which increases the ROI for workers investing in their home office
· Twitter – “If our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work form home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen,” wrote Jennifer Christie, Twitter’s VP of People, in a blog post.
· Facebook – According to Mark Zuckerberg, “We are going to be the most forward-leaning company on remote work at our scale. I think we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently (over the next 10 years).”
· According to GALLUP, “Three in five US workers who have been doing their jobs from home during the coronavirus pandemic would prefer to continue to work remotely as much as possible, once public health restrictions are lifted.”
· According to a Gartner survey, “Nearly three in four (75% of) CFOs plan to shift at least 5% of previously on-site employees to permanently remote positions post-COVID 19”
· Many states are seeing continued rises of COVID 19 after reopening which increases the likelihood of companies continuing to have their employees work from home.
· Texas, Arizona, Kentucky, Georgia and many other states are seeing significant increases in infections and hospitalizations after reopening
· The impact of Memorial Day activity and Black Lives Matters protests are still not fully seen and could increase the risk of those states closing again.
WORK FROM HOME SAVES EMPLOYERS MONEY & INCREASES PRODUCTIVITY
· According to research-based consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics, employers who allow their employees to work from home part-time save about $11,000 per year for each employee working remotely.
· Providing work-from-home stipends and subsidies for employees is more “tax-efficient” as employers can deduct those costs from taxes while employees generally cannot.
· Optimizing your home office increases worker productivity, satisfaction, and morale during a stressful transition from working on-site to working at home.
· “Companies are saying, ‘We want to make sure you’re both comfortable and productive,” said Danielle Lackey, chief legal officer at Motus, a workforce management company.
· “It gets old fast to be working form your couch, and setting up a home office can be expensive,” said Hailley Griffis, Head of public relations at Buffer, a software application company.
INCREASED DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER INITIATIVES AT HERMAN MILLER
· In December 2019, Herman Miller hired Debbie Probst as their new President of Retail. She has a ton of experience with online retail as the former President of One King’s Lane. (Before that she was at Abercrombie & Fitch and Neiman Marcus.)
· Since joining in December, Debbie has been focused on building their online sales component. The timing couldn’t have been any more fortunate given the importance of online sales in a Coronavirus environment.
· Debbie was recently interviewed for the Business Of Home podcast (Link here) where she spoke about Herman Miller's recent initiatives and discussed some of the changes that they are focusing on as a result of the Coronavirus. One of the key points she made was that when people invest in comfortable home furnishings, they are often trading away from a vacation.
“[Home] is a category that has very much competed with the experience economy—when people make the decision to invest in a sofa, quite often they’re trading away from a vacation*, especially with the millennial demographic,” she says. “And [as] the experience economy in the last six to eight weeks has fallen by the wayside, that competitive threat has allowed for a different investment consideration in homes. Our homes are less about investing for the sake of having Instagrammable spaces and more about the luxuries that are going to make home more comfortable or highly functioning during this time.” - Debbie Probst (President - Herman Miller Retail)*
My opinion: Since people are sheltering-in-place and staying home more often, making one's home more comfortable is a priority for many. And since people are not spending as much on experiences, they have disposable income available to invest in more comfort.
NEW E-SPORTS PRODUCT LINE INTRODUCED AS NEW GROWTH SEGMENT
· Herman Miller and Logitech recently announced a new gaming focused product line targed at the e-sports market. It is estimated that a half billion people watch e-sports with the industry being valued in the billions.
· While the average gamer spend 7 hours per week, over 7% of gamers spend at least 20 hours per week playing games. Approximately 5% of gamers between the ages of 18-25 play for more than five hours at a time (the average time spent playing for this age rage is a little under 2 hours)
· For pro gamers or gamers looking to turn pro, ergonomics is important to prevent injury and strain while they are practicing for hours on end. A comfortable chair and good equipment can help performance and increase time playing without injury.
INSIDER ACTIVITY IS NET POSITIVE
· Michael A. Volkema (Director) purchased 25,000 shares of Herman Miller in May 2020 (over $500,000 in shares). This is significantly after the time stay at home orders were initiated and after many companies were impacted by the Coronavirus.
TL;DR:
Herman Miller is benefiting significantly as a result of the “work from home” trend as many employers are giving their employees free money to spend on their home offices. This is evidenced by increased google searches, employer policy announcements (GOOG, FB, TWTR), spikes in teleconferencing activity, positive insider trading activity, and several additional points made above. “Work From Home” trends will sustain for the foreseeable future as COVID cases continue to rise during the summer and skyrocket during the October / November period with no vaccine in place.
Position: Long Shares (Options: $25p, $30c)
Disclosure: I am long MLHR. This is not investment advice. I reserve the right to buy or sell MLHR without updating this thread. Do your own research and share (or not share) with the community in this thread. Thank you to the others on Reddit that shared this idea earlier. Be well.
submitted by LavenderAutist to smallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Passed. 100Q @ 65min, first attempt.

My Background

4 years experience across web software development, IAM, general security/networking consulting, and currently a cybersecurity engineer. I'm in my mid 20s, so my experience isn't as grandiose as others. I have a net+ and sec+, which helped me immensely by basically covering 2 of the 8 domains.

Materials

Books

Practice Tests

Remember, these are not indicative that you'll pass the exam. People that have done better than me have failed, and people that have done worse than me have passed.

Video Series

Other

My Routine

July 2019 my boss slaps the Sybex book on my desk. Tells me to get cert’d up. Two months later I read the first chapter. Every week or two I read the next chapter. It was a slow process, because I was lazy.
COVID gave me a lot of downtime. I finished the book and decided to get serious about the CISSP. I booked my exam for 60 days away. The first 30 days, all I did was Boson and reference parts of AIO, maybe 2-4 hours a day.
Then came the 30 day count down. I studied every single possible moment. Usually 8-12 hours a day. This was doing questions, reading things online, watching videos, participating in discord etc. This was mostly due to anxiety, and I likely overprepared.
In the days leading up to the exam, I went through 11th hour page by page with a discord member over zoom. We each helped each other out. This is when I stopped doing practice questions and videos, and focused on targeted studying. I felt “ready” at this point, and that I had a real solid chance of passing this thing. I was reading up on areas I knew I wasn’t great at, and making flash card “games” to quiz my knowledge. The day before, I relaxed and goof’d on on discord.
The morning of the exam, I got up about 4 hours before the exam started. I took a good long shower, skimmed 11th hour, had a solid (but not greasy) breakfast, and got to the test center about an hour early

The Exam

This is the part you really care about. Did the normal check in process, sat down infront of the computer. NDA. Read it, hit next. Now you have a moment of reprieve. The test doesn’t start until you hit “start”. I breathed, did some stretches, and hit begin.
The first few questions surprised me. Fairly straight forward, and as I hit next on each one I was able to connect the domains they’re tied to. I saw every domain here. I blew threw the first 15-20 questions in about 10 minutes, there was no mental debate on these questions, the answers I selected were simply right. It was a praying mantis sizing up its prey. It knew my weak spot, and it struck it.
Question 20 is when the exam let me know that the rumors were true. D2 and D8 were my weak spots going in, I knew it, and the test knew it. I knew what the question was saying, and I knew all of the answers. I can’t say there was a point where I didn’t recognize terminology at any point, but it came down to two answers, and I had to go with my gut. If that’s something you’re tired of hearing from everyone else who’s passed and failed, it frustrated me when I heard that too. It means that two answer options were so similar, or so equally correct that I could not adamantly say “yep, this is it”. This is where the exam battles with your experience, or at least your ability to understand why, how, when to use a solution.
Around question 65, I was fully prepared that I was going to go to 150 and had a slight possibility to fail if I didn’t start nailing these questions. I didn’t feel like I bombed it (ie, fail at 100), but I didn’t feel like I aced it. When people say read the question thrice, please do. There were 4 questions where I answered and hit next, only to think “dammit that was wrong”. By the time I got to question 85 or so, it was like the beginning. Simple and straight forward, with only one possible correct answer; either you know it or you don’t. Question 100, next, please leave. I passed at 100 Questions, with 115 minutes left on the clock.

My Advice

Know everything in Sybex. If you flip to a page and can explain the topic of any paragraph to someone that’s not in this career path, you may be ready. I don’t believe you would ever be asked “Name the 5th step of the CBK-SDLC”, instead you would get a scenario where you need to realize “Hey wait a minute this sounds like the design phase of SDLC…that’s where we zoom in and make a blueprint of what it looks like...next we would actually need to start development! Let me find the development answer”.
Practice, practice, practice. Don’t think “ah man I’m so bad at memorizing SDLC, RMF, IR, BCP, DRP, BIA, OSI, etc” or “I’m just going to accept I’m bad at Domain 3”. If you know you’re weak there, then fix it. If that means you spend two days on youtube videos and asking questions in discord, then so be it. Don’t lie to yourself on your gaps in knowledge, because the test knows.
“Mile wide inch deep”, but for me felt like an order of magnitude greater “foot deep”. Not much deeper, but more than just knowing the high level definition.
  • Do you need to know exactly how the waterfall model works and name each step in it? No.
  • Do you need to know that the waterfall model is a ridged model best suited for development cycles that aren’t prone to change but allow for a very defined life cycle? Yes.
  • Do I need to know all the different cable types, their run lengths, the name of the ends they use, how to terminate RB45 type b? No
  • Do I need to know that fiber is most secure from emanation and tapping, that Unshielded twisted pair is an integrity and confidentiality risk, and that coaxile is good against emanation? Yes
  • Do you actually need to know those ISO and NIST frameworks? Yes.
  • Do I really need to know port numbers? Yes, the main ones like DNS, HTTP, HTTPS, TELNET, etc.
  • Do I haaavveeee to know what 802.1x is? Yes.
  • Surely I don't need to know the fire types and the extinguishers for them...? Yes, you do
If it's in Sybex, I would bet on it being in the test.
This is a hard test in that you need to be confident across many areas. Anxiety is going to make your chest tight and your stomach turn for a few weeks, especially the days before. Try to rest well, balance work and life. Not every can do 12+ hours a day like me. Do what works best for you. There’s 125,000 CISSP certified individuals on this planet, and there’s nothing stopping you from joining them. Participate in discord. Every. Single. Day. Give your honest answer in questions in discord. Explain why you picked your answer. Debate people in a friendly manner. Back up your answer with evidence.
As CISSP’s we have to be confident in the real world, so now is the best time to learn.
Anyway, that’s basically it. A bit rambly and long winded but that’s about all I have to say.
submitted by Ghawblin to cissp [link] [comments]

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