Monday, August 12, 2019

August 12th Links

  • If you want to make big improvements in communication, my advice is – hire physicists, not communications people from normal companies and never believe what advertising companies tell you about 'data' unless you can independently verify it. Physics, mathematics, and computer science are domains in which there are real experts, unlike macro-economic forecasting which satisfies neither of the necessary conditions – 1) enough structure in the information to enable good predictions, 2) conditions for good fast feedback and learning. Physicists and mathematicians regularly invade other fields but other fields do not invade theirs so we can see which fields are hardest for very talented people. It is no surprise that they can successfully invade politics and devise things that rout those who wrongly think they know what they are doing. Vote Leave paid very close attention to real experts. [Cummings]
  • The huge (but poorly understood) impact of quantum mechanics on modern life is an example of the tremendous long term impact of fundamental research. There is every reason to think that increased world research expenditures would enhance productivity and quality of life, with very high ROI. However, there is little careful thinking about the "right" level of research investment as a fraction of GDP. [Hsu]
  • The observation of individuals attaining remarkable ages, and their concentration into geographic sub-regions or 'blue zones', has generated considerable scientific interest. Proposed drivers of remarkable longevity include high vegetable intake, strong social connections, and genetic markers. Here, we reveal new predictors of remarkable longevity and 'supercentenarian' status. In the United States, supercentenarian status is predicted by the absence of vital registration. The state-specific introduction of birth certificates is associated with a 69-82% fall in the number of supercentenarian records. In Italy, which has more uniform vital registration, remarkable longevity is instead predicted by low per capita incomes and a short life expectancy. Finally, the designated 'blue zones' of Sardinia, Okinawa, and Ikaria corresponded to regions with low incomes, low literacy, high crime rate and short life expectancy relative to their national average. As such, relative poverty and short lifespan constitute unexpected predictors of centenarian and supercentenarian status, and support a primary role of fraud and error in generating remarkable human age records. [biorxiv]
  • One job of a central bank is to periodically pull the rug out from under would-be elites by tightening money when their me-too investments are coming online, so that the real elite can buy them at auction. The Canadian housing market is tough to figure without knowing the politics there. Are they going to let the upper class lose their shirts, and have all their banks go under, by allowing housing prices to fall back to "sensible levels"? Or will they bail out / devalue / quantitatively ease? Or will there be a bear market that purges some of the nonsense while setting up the elite to make massive profits? [CBS]
  • I don't love packing; it's inside work and mostly tedious. I do enjoy packing stemware, china, sculpture, and fine art, but that stuff is getting rarer in American households. Books are completely disappearing. (Remember in Fahrenheit 451 where the fireman's wife was addicted to interactive television and they sent fireman crews out to burn books? That mission has been largely accomplished in middle-class America, and they didn't need the firemen. The interactive electronics took care of it without the violence.) [longreads]
  • Nearly every German city is now undergoing accelerating disastrous demographic change -- und München ist keine Ausnahme -- a while ago a short video made the rounds of some guy walking down a pedestrian mall in München, secretly filming people he encountered, and you saw a shockingly large number of Africans and muslims, including women in burkas -- at the end he says: 'Tja, liebe Leute -- das ist München'. [eahilf]
  • Or not? What are the incentives here? Surely not "be careful with your investors' money and work hard to maximize their returns." It's more like, goofiness leads to notoriety, which leads to attention, which leads to user growth, which leads to fundraising at high valuations, which leads to personal wealth and career longevity, something like that. Everyone makes fun of MoviePass constantly, but somehow it has made Spikes famous as a successful founder. If you start a modestly successful company, or a modestly unsuccessful one, you will have a hard time getting meetings with venture capitalists, but if you start a notoriously, nonsensically money-losing one, you will be a celebrity and investors will be happy to meet you. "This guy really knows how to hack user growth," they will think, and they will not be wrong, though it might be even more accurate to say "this guy really knows how to hack VC attention." [Levine]
  • The Po River Valley in Italy is richer. The Loir Valley in France is also richer. The southern Chinese provinces of Hunan, Jiangxi and Fujian are richer – feeds literally a billion people with an area slightly larger than Texas. If we are talking agricultural lands that have been discovered, the Bacia del Plata in Argentina is richer than any land in America. So is the region in Brazil that goes from Goiás to Paraná in the south. You, of course, completely omitted that the same area you mentioned has one of the most horrible climates on Planet Earth, with wet and humid summers where the temperature goes up to 104 F, then to drop to blistering -22 F during winter time. Face it: America's topography and climates sucks. America has like 3% of its territory in good weather: the San Francisco Bay in California, and the northern part of Florida(southern Florida is scorching hot year-round), and small patches of good weather in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina(most parts of these states still have bad weather with very hot summers. Winters are not too bad, almost as mild as western Europe, although for the most part still colder. [Sailer]
  • The hearing on confirmation of the Plan (the "Confirmation Hearing") is currently scheduled for August 16, 2019—only four days after the current Exclusive Filing Period expires on August 12, 2019. Accordingly, out of an abundance of caution, by this Motion, the Debtors are seeking another modest two-month extension of the Exclusive Periods to complete prosecution of the Plan. [SHLDQ]
  • It turns out that Waitt was right. In fact, subsequent research indicates that 80 or more floods ravaged the scablands near the end of the last ice age. Repeatedly over a two- to three-thousand-year span ending roughly 13,000 years ago, the Cordilleran ice sheet advanced to block the Clark Fork river, a new iteration of Glacial Lake Missoula formed, and then the ice dam broke, each time unleashing such a torrent of water that if it were to happen today, most of Portland's skyline would be submerged by the floodwaters. [National Geographic]

1 comment:

eahilf said...

There is every reason to think that increased world research expenditures would enhance productivity and quality of life, with very high ROI.

Productivity of what? -- and quality of life how?

There are probably 200m+ American with an IQ < 100, and reproductive trends in terms of 'who, whom' (are having the kids) is dysgenic -- these are the people committing mass suicide by opiates today, several hundred every daily -- I don't really see how "research expenditures" will benefit them -- soon enough, anyway.

That said I like Steve Hsu.