Monday, November 16, 2020

Monday Night Links

  • That moment was notable not just because the McLaren had finally been beaten. It marked the arrival of a new era of performance cars, one in which software would play an ever larger role. The McLaren requires its driver to conquer a challenge. The Veyron is as much computer as car, incorporating a dual-clutch gearbox, all-wheel drive, and launch control. This phenomenon cascaded. Supercars became quicker and easier to thrash. More accessible cars became faster than they had any right to be. When five-second 0-to-60 runs became leisurely, and times under three seconds grew common, stats became less impressive. After all, smaller numbers are harder for humans to perceive and are therefore less intuitive. And as cars rely more on computers to hit baffling figures, involvement and engagement are sacrificed. Instead of managing the car, drivers manage laws: the laws of society on the road and the laws of physics on the track. [Road and Track]
  • There’s another game genre that has become popular recently. These are games like Football Manager or Europa Universalis 4. Games that require immense time investment, thinking and strategizing. These games were fun when I played in them university or grad school. But I tried to play them recently and I couldn’t. They resembled jobs to me. And I already had a job. I was burning out trying to keep my team winning, scouting talent in obscure places in latin America and Africa. Europa Universalis is basically a spreadsheet simulation manipulating your dormant nationalist and religious impulses. If you take these games seriously as an adult you’ll burn out and lose your real job. That’s not fun. [Paul Skallas]
  • Yglesias explained why pushing back against the “dominant sensibility” in digital journalism is important to him. He said he believes that certain voguish positions are substantively wrong—for instance, abolishing or defunding police—and that such arguments, as well as rhetorical fights over terms like Latinx, alienate many people from progressive politics and the Democratic Party. [The Atlantic]
  • While researching the paper I found this quote from Neely and when I read it I knew we were going to be published in a good journal: "As long as I am allowed to redistribute wealth from out-of-state companies to injured in-state plaintiffs, I shall continue to do so. Not only is my sleep enhanced when I give someone’s else money away, but so is my job security, because the in-state plaintiffs, their families, and their friends will reelect me." That is what you call anecdotal gold. To be clear, when Neely was looking for a law clerk he advertised: "America’s laziest and dumbest judge” seeks “a bright person to keep (the judge) from looking stupid,” and gave preference to University of Virginia law students “who studied interesting but useless subjects at snobby schools." [Marginal Revolution]
  • Participants were randomised to receive daily 60 000 IU of cholecalciferol (oral nano-liquid droplets) for 7 days with therapeutic target 25(OH)D>50 ng/ml (intervention group) or placebo (control group). Patients requiring invasive ventilation or with significant comorbidities were excluded. 25(OH)D levels were assessed at day 7, and cholecalciferol supplementation was continued for those with 25(OH)D <50 ng/ml in the intervention arm. SARS-CoV-2 RNA and inflammatory markers fibrinogen, D-dimer, procalcitonin and (CRP), ferritin were measured periodically. Greater proportion of vitamin D-deficient individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection turned SARS-CoV-2 RNA negative with a significant decrease in fibrinogen on high-dose cholecalciferol supplementation. [BMJ]
  • For the last four years half the country was all “Trump is illegitimate! He’s not my president! He stole the election!” so on and so forth, and that was all based upon nebulous ideas about “Russian Interference”, The Russian Interference mostly boiled down to them buying ads on Facebook, or having fake bots trolling on Twitter last time. This time the actual giant megacorporations, Facebook, Twitter, and Google themselves have actively censored stories in order to protect their candidate. So you think after this pile of suspicious election clusterfucks that makes the game look totally rigged, the other half of the country is going to accept Joe Biden as legitimate? [link]
  • I think mature adults should have the freedom to undergo medical transition. But teenagers are another matter. Social contagions exist, and teen girls are particularly susceptible to them. The book takes a hard look at whether the sudden spike in transgender identification among teen girls is yet another social contagion to befall girls who, in another era, might have fallen prey to anorexia or bulimia. [WSJ]
  • Other friends who are still stuck abroad (unable to get a flight or a visa) are missing a succession of delicacies: the crayfish season, the lychee season, the waxberry season, the durian season, the gordon euryale seed season, the sugar fried chestnut season, the pork mooncake season have all gone by. Will they catch the end of the mitten crab season, or will they have to wait another year? [LRB]
  • For instance, Zoom Communication's peak market capitalisation was recently about US$200bn. Even to trade on a relatively high 20x earnings, it would need to earn US$10bn after tax. Are investors aware of how few companies there are in the world that actually make US$10bn? It's about as much money as Coca-Cola and Visa make, for instance - two of the world's finest enterprises. Very few companies make more than US$10bn, because that is a lot of money, and the world is not infinitely big. [LT3000]
  • Some Tesla skeptics think that the S&P 500 selection committee can be talked out of adding Tesla to the index. I doubt it. The market cap is now $350 billion and growing. What are they going to do, not have a top ten (by market cap) company in the index? To exclude it on the basis of skepticism or suspicion would be an active choice of security selection. It would imply that the market could be hugely inefficient, that the entire philosophical predicate of indexation was wrong! No, the whole philosophy of the S&P 500 index is one of freeloading: the active participants in the market are supposed to set prices, which passive investors can then take as fair. So if the market says that Tesla is worth $350 billion, that is not something for index investors generally or the S&P committee to second guess. [CBS]
  • There are dozens of entities also hoovering up coins, many of which are not likely sellers in the near term. Almost every week, we learn of a new vehicle with big marketing resources behind it. Do you think Fidelity is launching their Bitcoin vehicle without a substantial marketing campaign? In their mind, unless they raise a few billion dollars, their fund has been a failure. Just think about what that sort of inflow would do to such an illiquid market. [AiC]

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