Expert Witness
Austin Pryor on Investing Strategies

[Note: The Expert Witness series is an occasional Friday feature that allows guest bloggers to write about a topic in which they have a particular interest or expertise. This week’s article “Six Principles for a Solid Investing Strategy” is by Austin Pryor from Sound Mind Investing]
A well-defined investing strategy is one of the cornerstones of a successful financial life. While investing techniques vary widely, all good strategies are built on the same foundation. For example, SMI offers two main investing strategies for our readers, Just-the-Basics and Upgrading. Their approaches are very different, but both are built upon six core principles which you should keep in mind as you plan for your own strategy.
Principle #1: Success in investing comes not in hoping for the best, but in knowing how you will handle the worst. Always remember: nobody really knows what’s going to happen next. Some things can be predicted; most things can’t. Since nobody really knows what is going to happen, your plan must allow for the fact that the investment markets will experience some unexpected downturns every now and then. That’s where diversification comes in. The idea is to pick investments that “march to different drummers.” This means your strategy involves owning a mix of investments that are affected by different economic events.
Surprisingly, it is possible to assemble some lower-risk investment combinations that give pretty much the same returns over time as higher-risk ones. Both of SMI’s core strategies offer you portfolios that combine stocks and bonds in various combinations in order to reduce volatility and risk while still achieving attractive long-term returns.

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Austin Pryor on Investing Strategies

Expert Witness:
FMF on Chess

[Note: The Expert Witness series is a regular Friday feature that allows guest bloggers to write about a topic in which they have a particular interest or expertise. This week’s entry is by the pseudonymous blogger FMF.]
While personal finance is my main hobby, chess is a “fun” passion. And while it’s said that chess takes “a moment to learn; a lifetime to master,” I’m going to at least try and give you an overview of the Royal Game.
Why Play Chess
I started playing chess four years ago when I read how chess exercises your mind. The article noted that people who keep their minds active have less of a chance of developing Alzheimer’s. So I decided that just as I exercise my body to stay healthy, I should also do the same with my mind. And since chess provides an on-going challenge and I could pay it alone if need be (with a computer), it seemed to be a perfect choice.
You Know the Basics
One assumption I’m going to make in writing this post is that you know the basics of the game — how to set up the board, how to move the pieces, how they capture, and the like. Just in case you don’t and would like a little primer, here are some links:

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FMF on Chess

Expert Witness:
Austin Pryor on Investing

[Note: The Expert Witness series is a regular Friday feature that allows guest bloggers to write about a topic in which they have a particular interest or expertise.]
Having lived through the thrill of victory (the late 1990 bull market) and the agony of defeat (the 2000-2002 bear market), many people today are finding it increasingly difficult to know which is the “right” step to take. They wonder:
“Is this a good time to buy stocks?”
“Should I sell some of my employer’s stock in order to diversify?”
“How much of my retirement plan should I put in stocks versus bonds?”
“If I sell this losing investment and buy something else, will I be better off?”
Since we cannot know the future with certainty, it’s obvious that no investment portfolio that any of us comes up with will ever be perfectly positioned to profit from upcoming events. As the future unfolds, it will always be possible to point to ways we could have made more money than we did – and some of them will appear incredibly obvious in retrospect! This means that it’s pointless to think of the “right” investment portfolio simply in terms of maximizing profits. If that is your approach, you will always be frustrated and second-guessing your decisions.

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Austin Pryor on Investing

Expert Witness:
FMF on Personal Finances

[Note: The Expert Witness series is a regular Friday feature that allows guest bloggers to write about a topic in which they have a particular interest or expertise.]
If any of you have ever visited my site at Free Money Finance you’ll know how I dislike the term “expert.” But, since this is the name of the column and I’m a guest, I guess I’ll have to live with the Expert Witness name. But I don’t have to like it. :-)
Why I Dislike Financial Experts
Seriously, there is a reason for my dislike of the term. The current state of personal financial media/information/data (or whatever you want to call it) is dismal. The industry is full of sales people (who call themselves “experts”) who:

1) Overcomplicate the facts so the average person thinks he/she can ‘

Expert Witness
John Schroeder on Comic Books

When Evangelical Outpost began this “Expert Witness” series he started with Bill Wallo of Wallo World on graphic novels. Bill did a great job, and I, in a vain attempt at humor, left a trackback to my usual Saturday post on “Comic Art,” with a rather petulant link back to that post. As a result, Joe has quite kindly and needlessly offered to allow me to do this post on comic books — but given how I love the medium, I cannot turn the opportunity down.
So first I should address the difference between graphic novels and comic books. The short answer is often not much. If you go to a book store these days you will generally find a section dedicated to graphic novels; however, most of what you will find there is soft cover compilations of the numerous comic books that comprise a story arc. It’s kind of like someone took the old RKO serials and put them on a single real, editing out only the credits associated with each episode.
Comic books are stories, told graphically and episodically. A graphic novel is also a story told graphically, but when well done, it has a different narrative structure, lacking the numerous cliffhangers and gimmicks designed pull you back for the next episode. It’s a subtle differentiation that obviously most people are oblivious to since so much of what is sold as graphic novels is really just a compilation.
Here I am addressing comic books, and most importantly, art in comic books. I am concentrating on the graphical part of the medium for one very good reason — I buy comics far more because of how they look than the story they tell. So what do I look for?

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John Schroeder on Comic Books

Expert Witness:
Macht on Technology

In his essay, “The Question Concerning Technology,” Martin Heidegger says that the primary question concerning technology is the question of “what it is.” Many answers have been given to this question and there is not a definitive answer to the question. There is, however, agreement about many aspects of what technology is. The rest of this essay is going to explore various answers to the question.
A Definition (or Two) of Technology
One definition of modern technology given by the authors of Responsible Technology is

“a distinct human cultural activity in which human beings exercise freedom and responsibility in response to God by forming and transforming the natural creation, with the aid of tools and procedures, for practical ends and purposes.”

Carl Mitcham’s theory of technology includes four parts or, rather, four ways to view technology.

  1. Technological objects (e.g., automobiles, hammers, computers, pencils, plastic bags, medication, chain saws, etc.)
  2. Technological activities that produce these objects (e.g., designing, inventing, manufacturing, etc.)
  3. Technological knowledge required to perform these activities (e.g., techniques, theories, rules of thumb, etc.)
  4. Technological volition (the human desire to create these objects)

Under his view, a human with both the requisite technological knowledge and the will or desire can perform the technological activities required to produce technological artifacts.

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Macht on Technology