Sunday, September 11, 2022

Sunday Night Links

  • The Central Bank never raises interest rates high enough. As inflation rises the central bank never accounts for the true inflation rate. Inflation on the street will seem like it is 20%, but the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will say the official number is 7%, or it seems like several hundred % and the RBZ will say it is 50%. The official number is always too low. Also the RBZ is always too afraid to raise rates to the required level because they fear it would crash the economy. For example, the RBZ states the current inflation rate is 66%, while bank deposit rates are 26% p.a for a 3 month savings account. No wonder the equity market goes to the moon and the currency is always crashing. [Erik Renander]
  • Biden's sales from the SPR are obviously unsustainable. Oil producers are working through a backlog of previously drilled but uncompleted wells (DUCs), which is also unsustainable. Once the SPR releases and DUC wells are exhausted, oil producers will need an incentive to invest in new production to replace this very low marginal cost supply. This will need to take the form of a higher oil price and also higher valuation multiples for producers, who would otherwise continue share buybacks instead of making capital expenditures on production. [CBS]
  • Any creation with a budget has trade-offs. We wanted to build a house with a historic feel and at least some quality materials, working with the elements when possible, while keeping costs down. This makes the process something of a balancing and cutting act, and if you have a bigger budget you’ll almost certainly have a lot more liberty than we did. Deciding what we could forgo was one of the first things we decided on, before getting any estimates, since we figured we could always embellish a very basic design if estimates turned out cheaper than expected. We began by thinking of everything we could do without, regardless of what was typical for new construction in the area. [Simon Sarris]
  • What good is a word that now means both “perturbed” and “unperturbed”? This democratic inclusiveness of delusion effectively knocks “nonplussed” out of the language’s functional vocabulary. If it means two opposite things, it ceases to communicate. If I say I’m “nonplussed,” what do you know? I’m either dumbfounded or indifferent. I might as well have said nothing. So, given the pervasive misunderstanding of “enervated,” any day now online dictionaries are bound to start listing an accepted meaning of the word as “excited and keyed up,” and that will be the end of “enervated.” If the adjective ever formally means either “energized” or “without energy,” we’ll have to chuck it on the trash heap. [Lionel Shriver]
  • The most distinctive feature of the Merritt is its collection of bridges, designed by George Dunkelberger. Each of the 69 bridges built along the highway is unique. Most employed some of the Art Deco ornaments popular at the time, with beveled chevrons and pilasters meant to simulate full columns. Several feature the Connecticut state seal engraved in their facades. Drive the Merritt and you'll stumble upon bridges with boxy statues of eagle's wings, reliefs of human faces, and classical scrolls. [The American Conservative]
  • The ostensible premise of The Godfather, the film version of which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, is that American society is so prejudiced against Italians that extraordinary men such as Vito and Michael Corleone have no choice but to turn to crime. In a way, then, author Mario Puzo was a kind of goombah Ibram X. Kendi, director Francis Ford Coppola the dago Ava DuVernay, and The Godfather the guinea 12 Years a Slave. [Michael Anton]
  • At one extreme, we find Judge Frank in Guttmann v. Illinois Cent. R.R. Co. (dismissing the preferred claim with consummate individualism: "[P]referred stockholders are not-like sailors or idiots or infants--wards of the judiciary."), excerpted in BRUDNEY & CHIRELSTEIN, CORPORATE FINANCE, supra note I, at 181. The counter-balancing strain of altruism finds only weak expression-a Delaware district judge expressed concern about the treatment accorded the preferred but felt bound to be tough under state law in Barrett v. Denver Tramway Corp., and the Rhode Island Supreme Court found a fiduciary duty owed to the bondholders but did not manage to apply it so as actually to protect them in Bove v. Community Hotel Corp. [link]
  • One interesting aspect of the Russo-Uke war so far is the inability of either side to use air power very effectively. Russian air power should have made short work of advancing Ukrainian columns but did not. The Ukrainians should have had air power to harass retreating Russian troops, but no evidence they have really done so. Drones seem to be about where air power was in WWI. Apparently we have reached an inflection point where even fairly cheap air defense systems can intimidate pilots from flying low level missions. A lack of effective air power should make river crossings easier for both sides, if they can move quickly enough to avoid artillery. Up to now Ukrainians have been held in place by Russian artillery but HIMARS appear to be neutralizing that. [Sailer]
  • Generally speaking, the electric aircraft folks who showed up to Oshkosh 2022 had the same promises that they were making at Oshkosh 2018, e.g., “we’ll be certified and flying commercially in three years.” It doesn’t seem as though any progress has been made. The batteries are the same as in 2018. The computers and software that enable autonomy and/or idiot-proof human piloting are functionally the same as in 2018. The overall aircraft architectures are the same as in 2018. What these folks are doing with their $billions is a mystery. [Phil G]
  • It’s no secret to readers of this column that I think altering the balance of signal molecules in blood plasma is the most promising road to anti-aging in humans. There are now two competing approaches to this project. The Katcher school says that there are youthful factors missing in the blood of old animals, while the Conboy school says that there is an excess of pro-aging factors. Both are quick to say that yes, it is a balance of pro-aging and anti-aging factors in the blood that ultimately determines the animal’s fate. But Katcher says that if you deliver the right combination of youthful factors, they will reprogram the epigenetics so that the pro-aging factors retreat as a side-effect; while the Conboys claim that if you dilute the blood, removing equal proportions of pro-aging and anti-aging factors, that dilution is sufficient to reset the aging clock, and stimulate new production of the youthful factors. [Josh Mitteldorf]
  • Modern doomsayers have been predicting climate and environmental disaster since the 1960s. They continue to do so today. None of the apocalyptic predictions with due dates as of today have come true. What follows is a collection of notably wild predictions from notable people in government and science. More than merely spotlighting the failed predictions, this collection shows that the makers of failed apocalyptic predictions often are individuals holding respected positions in government and science. While such predictions have been and continue to be enthusiastically reported by a media eager for sensational headlines, the failures are typically not revisited. [Competitive Enterprise Institute]
  • These specialized producing and refining assets are therefore "hostage" to the pipeline owner. At the "gathering end" of the pipeline, the monopsonist pipeline could and would purchase all its oil at the same well-head price regardless of the distance of the well from the refinery. This price could be as low as the marginal cost of getting oil out of the ground (or its reservation value for future use, if higher) and might not generate a return to the oil-well owner sufficient to recoup the initial investment of exploration and drilling. [Armen Alchian]
  • Persons randomly assigned to receive zinc either alone or in combination with antioxidants compared with persons not randomly assigned to receive zinc (placebo or antioxidants alone) had significantly improved survival from all causes. The positive association of zinc with decreased all-cause mortality did not seem to be due to reduction in deaths involving cardiovascular / circulatory disease or cancer. Other researchers have reported a beneficial effect of moderate doses of zinc and selenium in improving immunity and resistance to infections in an elderly institutionalized population. It is possible that the beneficial effects of zinc on mortality in this study may be related to an improved immune response, which is known to decrease with aging. A separate cause-specific analysis found that the zinc effect was in the protective direction for respiratory-specific mortality compared with no zinc, but this finding was not statistically significant (RR, 0.78; 95% CI, 0.41–1.47). We know that in the AREDS population, an intake of 80 mg of zinc oxide and 2 mg of cupric oxide, with or without antioxidant vitamins, for 5 years resulted in a median increase in serum zinc levels of 17% compared with 2% for participants not assigned to receive zinc. Whether zinc supplementation has an effect on mortality cannot be determined from this study alone. Additional studies are necessary before any conclusions can be made regarding the health benefits of zinc supplementation. [NLM]


Anonymous said...

Maybe a more effective strategy would be for Putin to stop calling his soldiers “soldiers,” disarm them, and call them “migrants.”

In case nobody has noticed, a racially motivated invasion without guns is just a “migration.”

Mexico has taken over large swaths of entire cities in America, and they’re increasing their “migration” numbers dramatically, post Trump. 4 million since he left office, and still growing.

Let that… sink in.

War is just demographics in a hurry. All the ethnicities with an ultimate will to power are doing it. If exploiting stupid people’s retarded value system works, ie “lookit those poor obese immigrants looking for a better life,” of course that’s what the poor passive/aggressive countries will do.

If you were the head of a country, wouldn’t you want your loser class to leave your country, reducing the chance of revolution, while your losers work in another country and send money back into your economy? What’s not to like?

Anonymous said...

Typical the best talent with the hardest work ethic leave to get ahead. The losers stay where they are because that’s what losers do.