There's a scene in the great 1995 Michael Mann movie Heat where the high-end armed robber, played by Robert De Niro, sits at the counter of a diner and, while waiting for his food to arrive, takes out a book he just bought. A woman sitting to his right, played by Amy Brenneman, leans over to see what he's reading. She reads the title of the book aloud: "Stress Fractures in Titanium". After briefly being annoyed at the intrusion, De Niro's character, who is lonely and decides he is attracted to the woman, introduces himself, by way of explanation, as a salesman who works in metals (this line becomes the set-up for a great line later in the movie that I won't spoil in the event there's anyone reading this who hasn't seen Heat yet).
I was reminded of this scene recently when reading Daniel Wahl's blog. I first became familiar with Daniel from his posts (as "DanielW") on GuruFocus. Daniel has had some big winners over the last year with options on Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan (POT) and stock in Hemisphere GPS (HEM.TO, or HEM on the TSX). A couple of primary sources of research that Daniel links to on his blog (and, I assume, influenced his decision to invest in these companies) are a precision agriculture forum (where farmers chat about high tech equipment that helps them farm) and the USDA's Economic Research Service. The web is full of sites on investing, of course, and your local Barnes & Noble has plenty of books and magazines on the subject as well. But seemingly mundane sources of real-world information can sometimes be better sources of successful investment ideas, as Daniel's examples show.
I could write a ham-handed sentence here connecting the dots between the two paragraphs above, but I trust the sort of reader who will find this blog interesting will have already connected those dots himself.