Monday, May 7, 2018

May 7th Links

  • Everything in your life is your fault, whether you want to admit it or not. Every problem you have has been overcome by a man with the same circumstances as you, yet his attitude was positive, and one of growth and strength. Having an internal locus of control is essential for achieving goals. It’s an absolute baseline requirement. And can you guess what is 100% within your control? Can you throw a wild stab in the dark as to what nobody can take from you? It is, of course, your health and fitness. It is the ONE thing that only relies on your actions, nobody else’s. Nobody can force you to be fat. Nobody can stop you from going to the gym in your free time. Nobody can prevent you from gaining muscle. With money, business and women, you need other people to act a certain way at least some of the time. With fitness, it is 100% down to you, and nobody else. [Western Mastery]
  • After decades of obsessively documenting the subway system, Coppola is finally getting his due. [link]
  • George Hopkins, executive director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, said he met with Mr. Kaluzny and committed $25 million to Sycamore's new fund. "I was ashamed when I walked out of that room about how little I knew about the retail space," he said. "I always know when I'm outmatched." [WSJ]
  • Subject to the terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement, Seller hereby agrees to sell, transfer, and deliver to Buyer, and Buyer agrees to purchase, one used Gulfstream IV aircraft, Serial Number 1140, Registration N77WL, together with all parts, items of equipment, instruments, components, and accessories installed therein or thereon, including the Rolls Royce Tay MK 611-8 engines having manufacturer's serial numbers 16388 and 16387, as defined by Exhibit "A" attached hereto (collectively the "Aircraft"). Purchase Price; Terms of Payment. The purchase price of the Aircraft shall be Eight Million Two Hundred Fifty Thousand U.S. Dollars (US$8,250,000.00) which shall be paid as follows at the Closing. [EDGAR]
  • Your time is valuable. You want to make sure you are spending your time around the right people. Don't hang around blue-pilled men without a damn good reason. Either spend your free time hanging around winners that will help you achieve your goals, or spend time around nobody at all while you aim to constantly improve and take yourself to the next level. Only add people to your life that provide value to you. [Western Mastery]
  • I last talked about Vulcan International in September 2015, since then a lot more information has come spilling out about this secretive company. For the uninitiated, this is a company that is extremely secretive and refuses to release financials to shareholders without a signed NDA. When this happens it's usually the case that management is either stealing outright from shareholders, or trying to hide an enormous amount of value. [Oddball Stocks]
  • The role of industry in a company's position is so substantial that you'd rather be an average company in a great industry than a great company in an average industry. The median pharmaceutical company (India-based Sun Pharmaceuticals), the median software company (Adobe Systems), and the median semiconductor company (Marvell Technology Group) all would be in the top quintile of chemicals companies and the top 10% of food products companies. [McKinsey]
  • Nothing about climate science reeks more of confirmation bias, than the changes scientists make to their own data sets over time. They all show exactly the same pattern of monotonically cooling the past and warming the present, regardless of the instrumentation. [Goddard]
  • On March 29, 1986 almost the entire country was over 70 degrees, with temperatures above 100 degrees in California. CO2 was below 350 PPM. The only other years with similar warmth on March 29 were 1910, 1946 and 1968. [Goddard]
  • The more America is opened up to immigration by the other seven billion people on Earth, the more the billionaires of America will prosper and the less the American people will enjoy high wages and low rents. Bernie Sanders had the right instincts in 2015 when he derided Open Borders as a way for the Koch Brothers get even richer. But by 2016, he shut up about that because he realized that the political hopes of the Democrats are so tied to a strategy of importing millions of ringers from abroad to demographically crush the GOP. [Sailer]
  • Sometimes I feel like the only person excited about higher short-term rates. I attended a social event last weekend and no one, I mean no one, was talking about the sharp run-up in short-term yields. They should be. Just look at the 2-year yield chart — it’s beginning to look more impressive than most FANG stocks! [Cinnamond]
  • Some $4.3 BILLION worth of infant formula was sold in the United States last year, a vast majority of it in powdered form. Between factory and baby aisle, its cheap ingredients (dehydrated milk and vitamins) become steeply, even mysteriously expensive. Basic types run about $15 for a 12.5-ounce can, amounting to perhaps $150 a month for a fully formula-fed infant. Specialty recipes like EleCare can cost two or three times as much. Strict Food and Drug Administration regulations govern formula production, and three companies dominate. Abbott Laboratories, which makes Similac, and Mead Johnson, which makes Enfamil, each control about 40 percent of the market. The NestlĂ©-owned brand Gerber holds a roughly 15-percent share. [NY Times]
  • To take one example, one of the dynamics I've talked about before that's driving higher and higher list prices, is the system of rebates between payers and manufacturers. And so what if we took on this system directly, by having the federal government reexamine the current safe harbor for drug rebates under the Anti-Kickback Statute? Such a step could help restore some semblance of reality to the relationship between list and negotiated prices, and thereby boost affordability and competition. But beyond discounting, a web of rules and restrictions – some implemented as a result of industry lobbying – prevent truly market-based pricing and competition. [FDA]
  • Like a stray piece of driftwood, a James Perse outpost has washed up on a well-trafficked corner of SoHo, facing the Gourmet Garage, formerly the very apex of Manhattan discount gastronomy, with its shrink-wrapped Camembert. [NY Times]
  • Back in the kitchen, chefs prepared two foie gras parfaits, two steak frites—two of everything Sietsema's table ordered. The nicer-looking plate was sent out, while at least four senior staff sampled the duplicate to reassure themselves that nothing tasted amiss. A manager and the executive chef also photographed each dish, then texted the images to corporate honchos in Philadelphia. [link]
  • Rountree makes the very powerful point that the skin-protective effect of the sulforaphane in broccoli cannot be explained by its inherent chemical antioxidant properties. He cites a Johns Hopkins study in which broccoli extract applied to the skin of nude mice prevented oxidative damage from UV light for a period of several days, even after it was washed off the skin. The absorbed sulforaphane could only act as an antioxidant for 30-60 minutes, at best a short-term effect. However, the induced upregulation of antioxidants in the skin protected the skin from UV for two days! To put it in chemistry terms: antioxidants are stoichiometric and used up quickly, whereas the endogenous antioxidant enzyme system is catalytic and long-lasting. [Getting Stronger]
  • Dr. Naiman suggested that "the sweet spot for intermittent fasting" occurs between 18 and 24 hours of fasting, since this is the time period that sees the greatest drop in insulin and increase in lipolysis – the breakdown of fat. Eyeballing the graph and comparing it to the one above from Volek shows that at an insulin level of about 40 pmol/L, lipolysis should be proceeding briskly. [Mangan]
  • Any competent nuclear physicist would have come out with very similar answers to ours if he had been asked: "What is the likely fission cross-section of pure U235? What critical size for separated U235 follows from this? What will be the explosive power of such a mass? How much industrial effort would be needed to do the separation? And would the military value be worthwhile?" The only unusual thing that Frisch and I did at this point was ask those questions. [Wiki]
  • Buried in stacks of periodicals and manuscripts, he found what he was looking for—an academic paper titled "Searching for Positive Returns at the Track: A Multinomial Logit Model for Handicapping Horse Races." Benter sat down to read it, and when he was done he read it again. The paper argued that a horse's success or failure was the result of factors that could be quantified probabilistically. Take variables—straight-line speed, size, winning record, the skill of the jockey—weight them, and presto! Out comes a prediction of the horse's chances. More variables, better variables, and finer weightings improve the predictions. [Bloomberg]
  • An Excess Male is an interesting novel by Maggie Shen King. She posits a Chinese society in which "plural marriage" is the adaptation to the fact that there are more men than women. Except this is not plural marriage quite as Brigham Young might have envisioned. The book opens with a meeting arranged by a matchmaker. At the table are a 22-year-old woman’s two current husbands, the candidate third husband, and the candidate's two fathers. [Phil G]
  • The kind of social insecurity this exhibits is characteristic of Massachusetts, going back almost 400 years. What makes your liberal friends slightly worse off than their Puritan 10-greats grandparents (also applies if their ancestors were in shtetls) is their lack of awareness of the nature of their belief system; when there is an official book of rules one is not quite as terrified of breaking them inadvertently and being shunned by the tribe. [Phil G]
  • So the analysis that you need to do (some have, most haven't) is this: If consumer cohort A can afford X price level, what is the probability they can afford X+10k? X+20k? X+50k? I'll give you the punchline. A 50k EV is in trouble. [MUGATU]

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