Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Tuesday Night Links

  • In 1998, on O’Brien’s late-night show, Macdonald moved over a seat to make room for “Melrose Place” actress Courtney Thorne-Smith. Then he took over her segment. She was trying to promote her new movie, “Chairman of the Board,” with Carrot Top. “I bet board is spelled B-O-R-E-D,” Macdonald snapped at one point, leaving the host doubled over in laughter. [WaPo]
  • In a life of busyness and ambushes on our attention, dog walks air out the brain. Sometimes they might seem like an inconvenience, but only in the way G. K. Chesterton defined inconvenience—an adventure wrongly considered. Considered correctly, the daily dog walks are a regimen of escape and pause. They enlarge our sympathies and sweeten our disposition. They pry open the day when it balls up into a little fist. The walk is the basic unit of the human-and-dog commerce of unconditional love. We take care of George and George takes care of us. No matter how awful the day, or how awful I am behaving at any given moment, George doesn’t care. He finds me smoldering in my chair and dashes to my lap. Every dog is a rescue dog. [The Atlantic]
  • We’ve made significant progress in the months since, working diligently to better understand these products and, as of today, taking action on about 93% of the total timely-submitted applications. This includes issuing Marketing Denial Orders (MDO) for more than 946,000 flavored ENDS products because their applications lacked sufficient evidence that they have a benefit to adult smokers sufficient to overcome the public health threat posed by the well-documented, alarming levels of youth use of such products. [FDA]
  • While I’ve occasionally written about the crisis of the day, most of my intellectual output consists in defenses of radical libertarian positions. The Myth of the Rational Voter shows why markets far outshine democracy. The Case Against Education defends the abolition of public education in all its forms. Open Borders calls for full deregulation of immigration. My impending Build, Baby, Build advocates the full deregulation of the housing industry. Even my Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids has a libertarian stealth agenda: To get the people who read me, disproportionately libertarian, to be fruitful and multiply. [Econlib]
  • “Pittsburgh blue” or “Pittsburgh rare” is the lowest degree of doneness for steak in the United States. It’s meat that’s been thrown on the grill only as a formality—just a second or two on each side, keeping the inside completely raw. This practice originated in the Pittsburgh steel mills of the mid-20th century. Pittsburghers—or is it Pittsburghians?—would bring slabs of meat to work and slap those babies onto blast furnaces, which were kept at temperatures over 1000 degrees Celsius. The outside of the steak would instantly char, while the inside would remain cold and raw. [link]
  • At US$67 WTI, Cenovus was projected to generate CAD$7.5 billion of operating cash flow and CAD$5.7 billion of free cash flow. The recent increase in oil price (to $75/bbl) should significantly augment the cash flow if it holds up. The current market capitalization is CAD$23.6 billion and the net debt is CAD$13 billion for a total enterprise value of CAD $37 billion. (Or $30 billion in USD.) So, the FCF/EV yield before the latest increase in the oil price was around 15%. Also impressive with the mature Canadian oil sands giants is the level of FCF conversion. If Cenovus spends $1.8 billion on capital expenditure and has $7.5 billion (or more) in operating cash flow, that is 75% FCF/OCF conversion which isn't bad. Conoco got a lot of CVE stock when the 2017 acquisition took place (Conoco owns 10%), and they are selling it. When Cenovus was spun off in 2009, it traded for $25. Thanks to the long commodity bear market, it trades for a little more than a third of that price more than a decade later. Something else you may notice is that the enterprise value of Cenovus per barrel of net 2P reserves is about US$6. [CBS]
  • He was offered nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in nicotine patches (21 mg/day) and inhalators (15mg cartridges, six cartridges/day). He also used e-cigarettes continually (one 3 ml cartridge/day, 18mg/ml) instead of his normal cigarettes. In addition to parenteral nicotine, he inhaled 120-150 mg of nicotine daily after also borrowing e-cigarettes and inhalators from other patients. [NLM]
  • I advocate reading books in cluster – the author can be the clustering factor, it can be the topic, it can be the historical period – but you really get into a person’s mind if you re-read everything they’ve done within the span of a few weeks or months, and then watch them on YouTube, and just try to think about and write out notes, “What am I going to ask them?” One of the very best ways to read is to have your own podcast. You want to start with a problem or question when you’re reading. And again you want to read books together in groups, and you want one of the early books to make the whole thing real or emotionally vivid to you. If you travel to a place that’ll do it automatically, but if you’re not travelling you want the book to do it, so your early book choice is quite important. [MR]
  • Gensler fashions himself a progressive. He’s the first SEC chief to fully reject the “chairman” title in favor of the gender-neutral “chair.” (Mary Schapiro, the agency’s first female head, is still listed as chairman in her official bio.) He had his team contact The Wall Street Journal to ask for a correction when it used the old title, which the paper refused to make on grounds of editorial style. Gensler also resolutely refers to Satoshi Nakamoto, the unknown creator or creators of bitcoin, as “she” — as well as “Nakamoto-san,” out of reverence for the innovation. [NY Mag]
  • I think people take comfort in compartmentalizing specific signs that inflation is getting out of control by attaching a unique explanation to each event. It’s as though the specificity of each explanation eliminates the risk of things evolving into a trend. The spike in used car prices is because of the chip shortage. Grocery prices are higher because of meat processors. Housing prices are exploding because of migration from the cities. Labor costs are soaring because people are being paid to stay home. Uber prices are double or triple what they were because they need to stop hemorrhaging cash. Plastics costs have spiked because of the Texas freeze. Consumer goods prices are up because of logistics. In the end, the water is getting much, much warmer. The frog might take comfort in such specificity, but this chicken is getting out of the pot. [Doomberg]
  • I’ve found that there is an instant litmus test for trust in American politics. Any member of the squad, or any member of congress for that matter, could earn my trust tomorrow. And not any sort of fleeting trust, a permanent ride or die trust. The ‘I will take a bullet for you’ trust. To do so does not require any great or impossible action. They could do it in a tweet or an instagram story, and I know tweeting and making instagram stories is not something the squad finds difficult. The only thing any politician has to do to earn my trust is this: Just say just one fucking word of truth about 9/11. [seanpmccarthy]
  • The main reason restaurants weren’t already letting you order a single bacon, egg, and cheese from 50 blocks away for almost no charge is that it’s a terrible business model. Expensive, wasteful, labor intensive — you would lose money on every order. The apps promised to solve this problem through algorithmic optimization and scale. This has yet to happen — none of the companies are consistently profitable — but for a while they solved the problem with money. Armed with billions in venture capital, the apps subsidized what had been a low-margin side gig of the restaurant industry until it resembled any other Silicon Valley consumer-gratification machine. [Curbed]
  • The current state of George Floyd Square. The attached audio is just one minute of just one of three gun battles in George Floyd Square last night. I have lived adjacent to 38th and Chicago for over 20 years and I, as well as some neighbors I've spoken with, believe last night was the worst night of gunfire ever. But no one was murdered so it doesn't make the news. One person was shot but that doesn't make the news. Perhaps over 100 rounds were fired in 4 hours but that doesn't make the news either. [FB]

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