Stanford study into “Zoom Fatigue” explains why video chats are so tiring

Fascinating article on the science of so-called “Zoom Fatigue”…
A new study from Stanford University communications expert Jeremy Bailenson is investigating the very modern phenomenon of “Zoom Fatigue.” Bailenson suggests there are four key factors that make videoconferencing so uniquely tiring, and he recommends some simple solutions to reduce exhaustion.

Negative derivatives pricing

In my “Properties of Stock Options” lecture note, a particularly important theorem relates to the notion that derivatives (options) prices must be non-negative.  Interestingly, back in April 2020, prices for oil futures contracts actually turned negative; see the Wall Street Journal article entitled “U.S. Oil Costs Less Than Zero After a Sharp Monday Selloff” (an ungated PDF version is available at https://bit.ly/oilpriceshock). Quoting from that article, “The unusually large difference in price between oil for delivery in May and later has traders filling up tankers and setting them adrift.” Basically, if you had the means to store oil in the meantime, (e.g., offshore in a very large crude carrier) it made a lot of financial sense to be paid to assume ownership of the (negatively priced) May 2020 contract, and sell a later dated futures contract at which time you could deliver the goods! Apparently, somewhere off the coast of South Africa was an especially popular place to anchor due to its relatively equidistant access to markets in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

In closing, the following related video from wsj.com is well worth 95 seconds of everyone’s time!

U.S. oil futures plunged below zero for the first time in history, signaling the little storage capacity there is. WSJ’s Spencer Jakab explains how we got here and what to expect next.

Change of plans for this Tuesday’s Finance 4366 class meeting

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (AKA “ERCOT”) issued a press release earlier today (see http://www.ercot.com/news/releases/show/225151) warning of possible “rotating outages” statewide for today, Monday, and Tuesday. Rather than roll the dice that we (students and faculty alike) will all have online access on Tuesday, from 11 am – 12:15 pm, I will post a recorded lecture based on my “Properties of Stock Options” lecture note in place of a real-time, synchronous class meeting that day. This recorded lecture will be made available in the Media Gallery section of the Finance 4366 Course Canvas page sometime tomorrow.

In the meantime, if you have questions about any aspect of Finance 4366, point your device’s browser to “appointment.garven.com” and set up a Zoom appointment with me there. Given the current statewide climate event (which I have nicknamed “Icepocalypse 2021”), I figure that the odds of just two people having a successful synchronous Zoom meeting (particularly on Tuesday) are much better than the odds of a couple of dozen people doing so.