Friday, May 29, 2020

Friday Night Links

  • I felt, for the first time, that I understood what it was like to be a dog. Or any animal, really, because I was part of it all, because surely the hyenas, the leopards, the lions that roared in the evenings, assessed me in the same way. It was as if the world was gray, and everything edible glowed in color. [...] The four of us, who were animals, who were the only people in the world, lay around the fire and swallowed lumps of pork until our stomachs ached. We boiled chunks of meat in scummy water and passed the saltless broth between us, forcing ourselves to take one more swig, one more bite. I took a piece, chewed, passed the pot. When it came around, I did it again. This is ancient, I thought, this experience of starving until a kill, then gorging. This is how everything lives, everyone, unless we're drenched in luck. [Outside]
  • Don't even ask the question. The answer is yes, it's priced in. Think Amazon will beat the next earnings? That's already been priced in. You work at the drive thru for Mickey D's and found out that the burgers are made of human meat? Priced in. You think insiders don't already know that? The market is an all powerful, all encompassing being that knows the very inner workings of your subconscious before you were even born. Your very existence was priced in decades ago when the market was valuing Standard Oil's expected future earnings based on population growth that would lead to your birth, what age you would get a car, how many times you would drive your car every week, how many times you take the bus/train, etc. Anything you can think of has already been priced in, even the things you aren't thinking of. You have no original thoughts. Your consciousness is just an illusion, a product of the omniscent market. Free will is a myth. The market sees all, knows all and will be there from the beginning of time until the end of the universe (the market has already priced in the heat death of the universe). [Wall Street Bets]
  • I think you need to seize the assets of the leadership throughout the world, in Switzerland, in London, Belgravia, Midtown Manhattan, and the eight princeling families. All of their assets have to be seized. You have to start this with lawsuits around the world, from both citizens and governments. This could be tens of trillions of dollars. And we ought to talk about our debt. We ought to wipe out our debt. We ought to, quite frankly, seize their companies here in the United States. It has to be aggressive. And I'll say this: It's going to get there, even if people on Wall Street or American corporations don't think we're going to get there. This is the age of recrimination against the Chinese Communist Party, not the Chinese people but the Chinese Communist Party. We're just beginning. When people understand the full nature of this, whether it's in Italy, France, South Africa, India, or the United States, people are going to demand retribution. [Bannon]
  • Dead drops from Russian drug web marketplaces were first reported in 2014, but under the auspices of Hydra the system has proliferated. At any given hour in Russia's cities and towns, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of suspicious-looking characters scurrying around parks and city centers burying stashes of drugs such as mephedrone, cocaine, MDMA and weed, ready to be picked up by buyers. These dead drops can be anywhere from tree hollows, street bushes, round the back of apartment blocks or electrical transformer boxes, in crowded public locations, near metro stations or local forests. On completing the online transaction, buyers are sent coordinates, photos, and directions where to find the buried treasure. For example: go to the north entrance of the park and look under the third tree on your left. After going on this little quest, buyers have got 24 hours to confirm they have the goods and leave a review. And with business booming, Hydra has created a whole new profession for young Russians. [Vice]
  • Flynn lawyer Sydney Powell just revealed on Fox Business that Obama had a massive and widespread secret surveillance system called the Hammer. I've always said, surveillance rolls out as a package. If you get database pulls, you get tech deployment and monitoring. If you get tech deployment and monitoring, you get observation posts. If you get observation posts, you get physical coverage. If you get physical coverage, you get infiltration into your social circle. If she is right and the Hammer is getting revealed, it will be more than just a boring computer screen with meaningless databases amassed in one place. It will basically be a domestic CIA with operations divisions, tech divisions, logistics, direct action, data centers, slush funds, and all the parts of an intelligence outfit, times one hundred –  and ultimately run by a foreign power, and present in almost every nation, cataloging everyone. [link]
  • I sometimes fantasize about a parallel universe in which President Trump has two brain cells to rub together, and as a result is actually capable of educating the American people and making them understand concepts like "moral panic" and "selective reporting". The president is the one person in America who can't be shut down or ignored if he chooses to talk about things like that. But alas, Trump is an idiot who is totally incapable of doing this, and that makes his presidency a tragic missed opportunity, one that may never come again. (Excuse me, I think I'm going to retreat to my parallel universe again for a little while...). [Greg Cochran]
  • We've been looking for historic cases of discontinuously fast technological progress, to help with reasoning about the likelihood and consequences of abrupt progress in AI capabilities. We recently finished expanding this investigation to 37 technological trends. This blog post is a quick update on our findings. See the main page on the research and its outgoing links for more details. We found ten events in history that abruptly and clearly contributed more to progress on some technological metric than another century would have seen on the previous trend. Or as we say, we found ten events that produced 'large', 'robust' 'discontinuities'. [Less Wrong]
  • The soviet system had two kinds of money. There was cash (nalichnye) that was the banknotes and coins, used for wages. Then there was non-cash (beznalichnye) which was a quasi-money that the government would distribute as subsidies to factories. There were extensive regulations on the use of each, and for a factory manager to convert non-cash into cash was prohibited. The purpose of a system like this, although the book does not explain this, would have been to reduce the inflationary impact that the subsidies would have on prices of goods in cash rubles. Using a combination of bribes and loopholes that are unclear to this day, Khodorkovsky apparently found a way to convert beznalichnye into nalichnye. They were nominally both rubles, but a beznalichnye could be had for something like a tenth of a nalichnye, and there were "arbitrages" because pricing of goods were not consistent in both. Minus bribing and other expenses, you are talking about a corrupt Russian equivalent of the Buffett cocoa bean trade. [CBS]
  • North American Helium Inc. ("NAH" or the "Company") today announced the Company has closed a non-brokered common share equity financing of approximately $39 million. Proceeds from the financing will be used to purchase and construct the Company’s second helium purification plant at the Battle Creek field in Southwest Saskatchewan, to fund an active drilling program, and for general corporate purposes. [BW]


Stagflationary Mark said...

As always, enjoy the links!

For your amusement, here’s a chart of initial claims showing the path we’re currently on.

Illusion of Prosperity: Initial Claims

Should the trend continue, expect an additional 10 million claims over the next 10 weeks. And then, in theory, things will be pretty much back to normal when it comes to initial claims. Of course, we may still have the pesky problem of making sure most of these many million unemployed actually make it back to work. Baby steps, I guess.

CP said...

Mark - glad to see you posting again:

Stagflationary Mark said...


I was content to sit on the sidelines in peace but it was you who suckered me back in. Seriously. I don’t know whether to thank you or blame you. Ha! ;)