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I'm fascinated by BP's attempts to stop the oil leak, especially today with the Top Kill operation underway. I've had multiple nerdgasms following the story. I mean, seriously, I'm sitting in my home office in California and watching an oil leak a mile below the surface, on a live submarine cam, as scientists try to save the Gulf from destruction. You know this will someday be a movie, and I'll watch it again.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I bought some BP stock recently because I liked the odds that the top engineers and scientists in the solar system, with unlimited funding, presumably somewhat freed from management meddling, could plug a hole. And yes, I averaged down.

I also assumed that the liberal media's coverage of the oil damage would depress the stock more than necessary. It's a catastrophe, no doubt, but even catastrophes have levels. I'm betting the financial damage will be very, very, very bad and not very, very, very, very bad.

This is also a test of my theory that you should buy stocks in the companies that you hate the most. In general, you hate the companies that have the most power. And BP is the frickin' Death Star of companies. They're in the process of destroying an entire region of the world and there's still no talk of cutting their next dividend. I admire them in the same way I admire the work ethic of serial killers. There's an undeniable awesomeness about BP. I hate BP, but I still want to have their baby.

Note: Do not take stock advice from cartoonists who want to have babies with oil companies.

 
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+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 7, 2010
Scott expounds upon his investing in hatred theme in Saturday's (June 5's) Wall Street Journal. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704025304575285000265955016.html
 
 
Jun 2, 2010
Plugging this kind of leak hasn't been done before. That's research. Is there a high pressure, low temperature fluidics lab anywhere that could help with this?
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Jun 1, 2010
The leak is serious bussiness so I think you should try the russian way out of it.

Nuke it!

http://trueslant.com/juliaioffe/2010/05/04/nuke-that-slick/
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
May 31, 2010
Your comment about the "liberal media" is interesting, because pretty much every time I see a report from scientists - you know, the ones who are supposed to know about this stuff - they say it's WAY WORSE than anyone thought. But of course, since this is usually reported in the media, I guess that makes them "liberal." How dare the media report what scientists think? They should, I guess, just report directly from the BP mouthpieces in order to avoid being labeled "liberal."
 
 
+5 Rank Up Rank Down
May 31, 2010
The problem with investing in the company you hate most, for us common folks, is the company we hate most is more than likely going to be the company we work for, since we can see the evil up close. But we'll be damned if we're going to invest in them, since we can see the incompetence and corruption up close too.
 
 
May 31, 2010
As said, BP is being pushed by the US government and pressure groups to "do something", so they do what they can as quickly as possible despit uncertainty about whether it will work (and in some cases knowing it won't work but will look like it should to the press and general public).

If they (their technicians and scientiest that is) were left to come up with a solution they'd likely come up with something simple, unobtrusive, and quite unremarkable that just works in relatively short order.
As is, they're being pushed into coming up with spectacular plans like Top Kill that they know in advance have a good chance of failure because of the sheer complexity of it all.
It's no different to your average disaster movie, except here the people who prevent a real solution aren't the scientists but the politicians and media critters (in the movies, usually represented by a janitor or someone's girlfriend who comes up with the idea of plugging a leak with someone's underwear and a bottle of instant epoxy glue).

They're pushed to "do something" so use the dispersal agent they have at hand, then get blasted for using a dispersal agent that's toxic (they all are).
The engineers would, left to their own devices, probably have suggested another agent (if any) which would have required some time to deliver.
 
 
May 30, 2010
Unfortunately, the company I currently hate the most is a private company called GoGrid (www.gogrid.com). I think they are pure evil, which mean they will probably perform well if they ever go public. If they ever go public, I'll try your theory and purchase 1 share of stock and monitor from a distance.
 
 
-3 Rank Up Rank Down
May 30, 2010
Hmmmm...

Stock in Mengele Agrartechnik is looking mighty good now....

(Josef Mengele is the infamous "Angel of Death" from Auschwitz. The Mengele family still lives in Germany, and produces agriculture equipment. Betting on the Devil, as you say?)
 
 
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 30, 2010
Oh well, at least it's British Petroleum, so the U.S. won't take any of the blame.....right?
 
 
May 29, 2010
Your bet's looking pretty grim. "Top Kill" has failed.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_gulf_oil_spill
 
 
-2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 29, 2010
Hey Scott, I thought you would have made your own strip on this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everybody_Draw_Mohammed_Day. Did you make one? It would be interesting..
 
 
May 29, 2010
i laughed out loud twice at this days blog, and it wasn't the laugh from conditioned expectation.

(you know when jay leno does punch line, and drummer signals this by hitting symbol thingy, and the crowd laughs--this tells you something was funny and you should laugh, if you are on auto pilot, usually your subconscious laughs for you)
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
May 29, 2010
On the downside...that would be one HUUUUUGE baby.
On the upside...lots of lubrication to deliver it.
And you could make lots of puns like, 'Just look at the cute little squirt!'

Still...
 
 
May 28, 2010
I'm out here and directly involved, and just like any job, it's not as impressive once you're actually witnessing it. Impressive wore off about 5 years ago, but it makes for some interesting conversation at dinner parties...
 
 
May 28, 2010
@Zowie

International law would prohibit the nationalisation of BP without compensating shareholders. Also as ericgorr mentioned BP's liability is legally capped and although they've voluntarily agreed to foot the whole bill, shareholders would still be able to challenge any attempts of what they'd claim was theft.

Interestingly though Iran nationalised BP's operations at the time of the revolution and never provided compensation, it would be interesting for America to follow in the steps of the Ayatollahs.
 
 
May 28, 2010
"I bought some BP stock recently because I liked the odds"

Ok - so you now own a piece of the the Death Star (albeit probably not more than a wing nut in the hypermatter reactor).

Just wondering...

Doesn't that make you as morally bankrupt as the rest of the profits-at-any-cost corporate gangsters who run the company?
 
 
May 27, 2010
Warren Buffet has recommended investing in companies facing a one-time huge and solvable problem.
Of course, Scott makes it sound a lot more sexciting.
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
May 27, 2010
I owe you a 1% management fee. Where do I write the check?

Fricken' brilliant.
 
 
+10 Rank Up Rank Down
May 27, 2010
And I suppose managers feel the same way abou the Gestapo. "Such efficiency..."
 
 
-12 Rank Up Rank Down
May 27, 2010
Scott, I think your brain might be slightly mis-aligned. Nothing too serious. Perhaps some medication might help.
 
 
 
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