Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Improbable Research: "How High Can a Dead Cat Bounce..."

Improbable Research has a blog (on our blogroll, left) and also a column in the Grauniad.*
Here's the September 6th offering:
In struggling to make sense of the stock market, people reach and stretch for metaphors. Sometimes they even contort, dislocate, and mangle. In 1995, Geoff P Smith of the University of Hong Kong made a grand unified effort to gather and classify those metaphors.
Smith congealed the metaphors and his thoughts into a monograph called How High Can a Dead Cat Bounce?: Metaphor and the Hong Kong Stock Market. It appeared in the journal Hong Kong Papers in Linguistics and Language Teaching.
Smith collected mostly from three sources: the South China Morning Post's business supplement, the Asian Wall Street Journal, and the Asia Business News television programme.
Here are verbatim snippets, which I present in the form of a mixed-metaphor story.
"Strong bears came out of the woods determined to drag the market down."
"The bears had their claws firmly dug in and were not letting go."
"Optimists saw the makings of a baby bull, but naysayers warned it could be a bum steer ... after last year's grizzly bear market."
"Speculators played a cat-and-mouse game with stocks."
"The stock remained a dog."
"Investors [ran] like a herd of startled gazelles."
"The market was very nervous."
"The market was having trouble focusing on issues."
"Sick dollar ... groggy dollar ... dollar cringes."
"The market was suffering vertigo."
"The market started to drift and lose direction."
"[The market] precariously balanced on the 10,050 mark."
"The index hovered."
"[The market was] losing its footing."
"The index fell off the cliff."
"The Hang Seng Index dropped like a brick." (This one's a simile. I know, I know.)
Surveying the hodgepodge of stock phrases and market-driving hype, Smith sighs: "Rarely do commentators say 'These events are totally unpredictable; I haven't the slightest idea what caused them to occur.'"...MORE
Did I ever make a career mistake. Mr. Smith [more likely Dr. Smith -ed] gets paid for doing this stuff and probabably has tenure to boot.

*They used to have a problem with typo's, back when they were the Manchester Guardian and were given the satirical nickname Grauniad.

Journo volk being reasonably sharp, Guardian Media Group owns the web domain grauniad.co.uk.
If you copy and paste it into the address bar on your computer you'll go to the paper's homepage.

Go ahead, I'll wait.
I think it's hilarious.
[you really should find a hobby -ed]

Some of our previous posts via Improbable Research:

"WARNING: Physics Envy May Be Hazardous To Your Wealth!"

"Springfield police charge one-armed man with unarmed robbery" and "DNA Faking for Criminals and Murder Novelists"

"Largest Group Of Nobel Laureates To Remove A Sword From Someone's Throat"
Largest Group Of Nobel Laureates To Remove A Sword From Someone's Throat

On October 1, 2009, during the 19th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony in Cambridge, Massachusetts, eight Nobel Prize Laureates removed a 22-inch solid steel sword from Ig Nobel Prize Laureate sword swallower Dan Meyer's throat.
The Nobel Laureates involved:
Rich Roberts - Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine, 1993
Wolfgang Ketterle - Nobel Prize in Physics, 2001
Dudley Herschbach - Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1986
Paul Krugman - Nobel Prize in Economics, 2008
Roy Glauber - Nobel Prize in Physics, 2005
Frank Wilczek - Nobel Prize in Physics, 2004
Martin Chalfie - Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2008
William Lipscomb - Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1976