Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 1, 2017 Links

  • When Adam Neumann pitches potential investors on his startup, WeWork Cos., he likes to rev them up with a jaunt through his company's shared office spaces. Before arriving, the 38-year-old chief executive typically sends staffers a directive: "Activate the space." WeWork’s employees swarm a lounge to host an impromptu party with pizza, ice cream or margaritas. When Mr. Neumann and his guests walk in, he often remarks how the office always seems filled with life, according to several former employees. [WSJ]
  • According to a memoir written by Thomas Hoving, the Met director from 1967 to 1977, when Arthur established the Sackler Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to house Chinese antiquities, in 1963, he required the museum to collaborate on a byzantine tax-avoidance maneuver. In accordance with the scheme, the museum first sold Arthur a large quantity of ancient artifacts at the deflated 1920s prices for which they had originally been acquired. Arthur then donated back the artifacts at 1960s prices, in the process taking a tax deduction so hefty that it likely exceeded the value of his initial donation. [Esquire]
  • What killed the trees in the ghost forest was saltwater. It had long been assumed that they died slowly, as the sea level around them gradually rose and submerged their roots. But, by 1987, Atwater, who had found in soil layers evidence of sudden land subsidence along the Washington coast, suspected that that was backward—that the trees had died quickly when the ground beneath them plummeted. To find out, he teamed up with Yamaguchi, a specialist in dendrochronology, the study of growth-ring patterns in trees. Yamaguchi took samples of the cedars and found that they had died simultaneously: in tree after tree, the final rings dated to the summer of 1699. Since trees do not grow in the winter, he and Atwater concluded that sometime between August of 1699 and May of 1700 an earthquake had caused the land to drop and killed the cedars. That time frame predated by more than a hundred years the written history of the Pacific Northwest—and so, by rights, the detective story should have ended there. [New Yorker]
  • Asking about blockchain is now a standard question I ask company executives – "In what ways – good or bad – might blockchain impact your business over the next 5-10 years?" It’s not a good sign if they haven’t considered that question yet. [AR]
  • Switzerland is unique among rich countries because its bank notes—from the 10-franc bill all the way to the mighty 1,000-franc bill ($1,025)—lose all of their value 20 years after they are replaced by new ones. The series from the 1970s was replaced in 2000, so their value vanishes in 2020. Franc coins are always usable. It is tough to pinpoint exactly where the one billion in old francs is. Some notes likely vanished naturally, accidentally discarded or lost. Some could be with tourists or workers who left Switzerland with cash and never returned. In recent years, around 30 million to 40 million francs's worth of notes have been exchanged annually. There were still 1.1 billion francs of the 1970s-series notes in 2016. [WSJ]
  • Most people can't follow long chains of economic reasoning. Actually, most people can't follow short chains of economic reasoning. Most people also love to see whatever they own as an investment asset get subsidized by the government. So, gold bugs abandon all traces of free market theory, and they call for more gold purchases by central banks. They don't care which governments buy the gold. As long as governments are buying gold, they rejoice. I do not. Gold is a tool of monetary stability, but only when it is in private hands. It is a tool of production, but only when it is in private hands. Gold is an economic asset, which is why I do not want governments or central banks to have vaults full of gold. [Gary North]
  • Bar none marketing was the single best investment we made. The small iterations of the product just didn’t compare to the return on our marketing investments. I imagine this is the case with most startups. Withstanding some meaningful pivot of an idea, the first iteration of a product delivers the kernel of value that delivers for years to come. Small iterations in the product just deliver marginal returns. [link]
  • Draper told Reuters that cryptocurrencies are commodities like pork bellies, and characterized acquiring Tezzies as a purchase rather than a donation. Asked this month how much he donated during the Tezos fundraiser, he replied via email, "You mean how much I bought? A lot." [Bloomberg]
  • He keeps his courtroom significantly colder than the rest of the building; it's rumored that the air conditioning is cranked up high to keep the jurors awake. If someone coughs in the gallery, Alsup pauses the trial to demand to know who did it. Once the cougher is identified, the judge produces a cough drop — he keeps them by the judge's bench for such eventualities — and the cough drop of shame is passed down through the ranks of attorneys and into the gallery. If the cough persists, the cougher must exit the courtroom, as swiftly and as quietly as possible. [link]
  • More than 8000 men of Japanese ancestry were followed for 28 years with repeat examinations and surveillance for deaths and incident clinical illness. Of 6505 healthy men at baseline, 2524 (39%) died prior to the final exam. Of the 3263 available survivors, 41% remained free of major clinical illnesses, 40% remained free of both physical and cognitive impairment, and 19% remained free of both illness and impairment. The most consistent predictors of healthy aging were low blood pressure, low serum glucose, not smoking cigarettes, and not being obese. Beyond the biological effects of aging, much of the illness and disability in the elderly is related to risk factors present at midlife. [NIH]
  • Everyone involved in maintenance whom we talked to said that Americans coming to classes get less intelligent and less diligent every year. In theory a 20- or even 40-year-old plane can do every mission that a typical new airplane can, but in practice there are fewer and fewer shops with the capacity to keep an old plane airworthy. "In the 1970s if you needed an aircraft to operate reliably in Africa or Latin America you would have to send a new one," said one expert, "because they didn’t have the supply chain and technical capabilities to ensure a high dispatch rate on an old plane. The U.S. is the new Africa." [Greenspun]
  • For tax year 2011 (the most recent year available), an estimated 43 million taxpayers had IRAs with total reported FMV of $5.2 trillion. About 42.4 million (99 percent) of those taxpayers had aggregate IRA balances of $1 million or less, with a median accumulated IRA balance around $34,000. Around 600,000 taxpayers had aggregate IRA balances exceeding $1 million, with a median of around $1.4 million. As shown in table 1 below, few taxpayers had aggregated balances exceeding $5 million as of 2011. A number of taxpayers had IRA balances exceeding $25 million though our estimates varied from around 115 to more than 600 taxpayers. Some of these taxpayers had very large aggregate IRA balances. [GAO]
  • Getting to this modest forest colony is only possible via the Pacific Coast Highway that wiggles its way along the eroding cliffs and treacherous landslides of the California coast for 665 miles. In spots the terrain is relatively flat and well connected to towns and cities from Orange County in the south to Mendocino in the north. But for long long stretches it’s one endless retaining wall with non stop reconstruction. My friends call it the Full Employment for CalDOT Highway. All it does is connect a smattering of remote homes to civilization far far away. Any rational society would let this road fall in to the sea. But so long as the money keeps flowing from the state capital and D.C. it’s a sweet deal for folks with weekend cabins in the sticks. No chip seal here. [Granola Shotgun]
  • When the vast majority of manufacturers reach the end of this process, their polysilicon is as much as 99.999999 percent pure, or '8n' in industry parlance. This means that for every 100 million silicon atoms, there is but a single atom’s worth of impurity... What the Mitsubishi plant in Alabama produces, by contrast, is 11n polysilicon, marred by just one impure atom per every 100 billion silicon atoms. [Greenspun]
  • Coates' extremely hazy conception of the events of the past fifty years, when liberals have largely been in charge of everything race-related, has helped make him vastly popular with liberal whites looking for reasons to blame conservative whites for blacks continuing to screw up. For example, Coates is much appreciated for his assertion that the reason blacks in 2017 have on average saved so little wealth has nothing to do with what has been happening over the past half century since the civil rights revolution, but instead is the direct result of the FDR administration’s redlining in the 1930s. This doesn't make much sense, but few care. White liberal gentrifiers want rationalizations for why blacks should be driven out of potentially valuable inner-city properties and foisted upon suburbs and small towns. To them, Coates' redlining theory is a license to print money. [Taki]
  • Back in my distance running days I could consistently get in the top 5-10% of finishers, but the differences between me and the elites was the difference between me and the bottom 1%. I was a passionate runner. I ran 50+ miles a week. I pushed myself to excel. To excel within the boundaries of the time and life-balance I had set for myself. To achieve elite status would take a life sacrifice that I wasn't willing to make. It would mean running at the expense of all other experiences. [link]
  • Who remembers that, during the Spanish War, the whole Atlantic Coast trembled in fear of the Spaniards’ feeble fleet that all New England had hysterics every time a strange coal-barge was sighted on the sky-line, that the safe-deposit boxes of Boston were emptied and their contents transferred to Worcester, and that the Navy had to organize a patrol to save the coast towns from depopulation? [link]
  • Concerns about B-vitamin supplements and cancer have been percolating for years. They came up quietly in a large trial in Norway that concluded ten years ago. Starting in 1998, researchers assigned 6,837 people with heart disease to take either B vitamins or a placebo. The researchers then watched as people died and contracted diseases in ensuing years—and the vitamin group raised concerns. In 2009, the researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that taking high doses of vitamin B12 along with folic acid (technically vitamin B9) was associated with greater risk of cancer and all-cause mortality. [Atlantic]
  • Like colorectal cancer, these B vitamins may have a double-edged sword effect on lung cancer by possessing dual modulatory effects that are time and dose dependent. Most people in the United States should have sufficient intakes from diet, particularly for folate, which has been added to foods. Nonetheless, half of the US adult population uses one or more dietary supplements. Our study found that consuming high-dose individual B6 and B12 vitamin supplements over a 10-year period is associated with increased lung cancer risk, especially in male smokers. Consistent with prior evidence of harm for other vitamin supplements on lung cancer risk in smokers, the associations we observed provide evidence that high-dose B6 and B12 supplements should not be taken for lung cancer prevention and, in fact, may increase risk of this disease in men. [JCO]
  • If you are a company that spends millions and millions of dollars on marketing, wouldn’t you be better off handing that money to the customer versus handing it to a third-party who has nothing to do with the future life-time value of the customer? Providing a better value-proposition to the customer is much more likely to endure goodwill than spending on marketing. A heavy marketing spend necessitates a higher margin (to cover the spend), and therefore a higher end user price to the customer! So the customer is negatively impacted by the presence or "need" of the marketing program. Plus, a margin umbrella now exists for competition that chooses to undercut your margin model with a more efficient customer acquisition strategy (such as giving the customer the money). [ATC]
  • The boxer’s endorsement of Centra, along with a similar endorsement from the popular rapper DJ Khaled, lent a patina of credibility to a project that has ended up with more than a few problems, including a chief executive who does not appear to have been a real person and a shaky, fast-shifting business plan. [NYT]
  • According to witnesses, Wieseltier was soon bringing to the office another habit that he also enjoyed outside the workplace: frequent cocaine use. A person familiar with Wieseltier's indulgence estimates that at one point in 1993 he was snorting—from a petite silver spoon, dangling from a chain attached to a vial—an entire gram a day. To support this expensive pastime—all but impossible on his salary, which is in the high five figures—he regularly loaded dozens of books he received as literary editor into the trunk of his Honda Accord and hauled them to Washington bookstores, selling them to finance purchases of "truth serum." [VF]
  • Chinese immigrants, in turn, tended to feel that the Kaplans of America were genetic arrivistes at test prep, compared to the Chinese who had been evolving under the Imperial mandarin exam system of Darwinian selection for high test scores for dozens of generations. The Kaplans and Schumers are soft and do not understand what it is to eat bitter rice. [SS]
  • A genetic study has revealed European-specific mitochondrial DNA at ancient sites throughout Xinjiang Province in China, suggesting that Westerners travelled and settled there during the time of the First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang (259 – 210 BC), and even before. In fact, European contact may date back as far as 3,800 years ago, as a number of mummies were found in the Tarim Basin in China with distinctly Caucasian features, and a genetic study in 1993 revealed they had European DNA. [link]
  • On November 9, 2016, Scott Guggenheim, a longtime American adviser to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, rose early with the sun, got into an armored vehicle and headed across Kabul’s fortified Green Zone to the U.S. Embassy. Afghanistan is 8½ hours ahead of the East Coast of the United States, and the American expatriates, Afghan elites and others who had managed to scare up invitations had gathered in the basement of the embassy—a city block-sized, blast-resistant compound as charmless as it is spotless—to watch the results of the American presidential election. The basement was dominated by State Department employees, who are officially barred from political activism while living abroad but tend to support Democrats; some, anticipating a Hillary Clinton victory, were even calling the occasion a party. On the wall hung a Donald Trump piƱata. [Politico]
  • Bezos, for example, owns the Washington Post. Gates founded Slate and MSNBC. Carlos Slim rescued the New York Times. They aren’t getting rich off these investments, of course. But if your goal is to protect your wealth, there are few more direct ways to mold the climate of opinion than to invest in opinion journalism. For example, say you make inordinate profits by squeezing illegal aliens by charging them exorbitant fees for their phone calls to their loved ones in Mexico. And say you married into a genuine Fascist clan. But you’d rather that Americans talked about something else, like how the Russians spent One Hundred Thousand Dollars on Facebook ads. If so, bailing out the New York Times for a few hundred million bucks is a smart investment. [SS]
  • "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear what I would describe as the greatest canon of music for solo instrument by any composer" [link]
  • Amazon won a $600 million cloud computer contract from the CIA. That was the difference – more than the difference. Later that year, Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million. To put that another way, Bezos used less than half the money he got from the CIA to buy the Washington Post. Do you think that was a sweetheart deal? [WND]
  • My name is Richard Bobo and I've been waiting my whole life for two things: a manned mission to Mars, and a subcontrabassoon. Sadly, I am not a rocket scientist, an astronaut, or a trillionaire and Mars remains outside my reach. I am, however, a professional contrabassoonist with a solid understanding of the mathematics and physics of musical instrument design, years of practical experience with machining and computer-aided-design, and (perhaps most importantly) I'm tired of waiting. [link]
  • I am quoting a few lines from "Red Famine," Anne Applebaum's brilliant new history of the deliberate policy of mass starvation inflicted on Ukraine by Joseph Stalin in the early 1930s. An estimated five million or more people perished in just a few years. Walter Duranty, The Times's correspondent in the Soviet Union, insisted the stories of famine were false. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for reportage the paper later called "completely misleading." [NYT]
  • Dietary added fructose intake (as found in sucrose or high-fructose corn syrup) when consumed in excess is likely a principal driver of NAFLD and its consequences. Considering that the consumption of added sugars has increased from just 4 lb per person per year in the 1700s, to approximately 120 lb per person per year, added fructose-induced NAFLD should be considered a public health crisis [BMJ]
  • A real question future historians will have about our era is how many of the social Lefty pushes were led by people who were constantly high as a kite and/or suffering from mental problems that put them out of touch with reality. [SS]
  • I looked at the tiny monochrome display on the bitcoin wallet and noticed that a countdown timer had appeared. It was making me wait a few seconds before I could try another PIN. My heart fluttered. I went to the hardware wallet manufacturer’s website to learn about the PIN delay and read the bad news: The delay doubled every time a wrong PIN was entered. [Wired]
  • First, our crypto-heroes thought they’d get a generous payout: a large part of the loot (currently around $40 million), plus many Tezzies. They’d worked hard on the blockchain, put 2 or 3 years of time in (while working other jobs for a while) so a large percentage seemed only natural. Second, the fine folks who sent their cash from everywhere in the world thought they’d get magic beans too (though they were told there'd be no guarantee). [link]
  • Unfortunately, due to a self-inflicted wound (Trump is merely a symptom), the US couldn't be in a worse position to counter this effort. Decades of blind adherence to economic and social neoliberalism has shattered US cohesion along all three vectors: moral, mental, and physical. The result has been intractable economic stagnation, social turmoil, and political chaos. [GG]
  • In addition to Americans' strong projection for their outlay on gifts, consumers are exhibiting an unusual willingness to admit that their overall spending will be on par with or higher than a year ago. When asked to say how their expected spending compares with last year, a record-low 16% say they will spend less and 17% say they will spend more. As is typical, the largest share, now 65%, say their spending will be about the same. However, this is the first year since 2000 that roughly equal percentages plan to spend more vs. less. More often, a much higher proportion of consumers have said they plan to spend less rather than more. [Gallup]
  • The takeaway here is simple: people are dramatically less interested in viewing Beatles videos on YouTube. In the past ten years, search volume for The Beatles has tanked more than 50%, according to the data set. [link]
  • We exploit changes in the residential and social environment on campus to identify the economic and academic consequences of fraternity membership at a small Northeastern college. Our estimates suggest that these consequences are large, with fraternity membership lowering student GPA by approximately 0.25 points on the traditional four-point scale, but raising future income by approximately 36% [SSRN]
  • Carter bonds are a series of Treasury bonds issued by the United States in 1978 to prevent a fall of the US Dollar. The name comes from the US President Jimmy Carter. It was enacted under the Exchange Stabilization Fund. In contrast to typical Treasury bonds, which are denominated in US dollars and so do not expose the US Government to currency risk, Carter bonds were denominated in West German Deutschmarks and Swiss Francs. [wiki]
  • "A study of 90 ice-hockey players found that a wider face in which the cheekbone-to-cheekbone distance was unusually large relative to the distance between brow and upper lip was linked in a statistically significant way with the number of penalty minutes a player was given for violent acts" [link]


St Croix said...

Giving women the vote cut off the supply of smart babies.

Populations differ hugely in their naivete. Scandinavians are the most naive of all. It has something to do with distance from the invention of farming, ambient temperature, weakness of light, low density of population, fewness of ecological niches, simplicity of economy...

Lefty leaders and lefty followers both are abnormal, but in different ways.
Lefty leaders are cruel, dishonest, disloyal and cowardly. Lefty followers are inadequate and gullible. Stalin, Lenin, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Bill and Hillary Clinton, both George Bushes are/were psychopaths. Leon Trotsky and Obama both have/had narcissistic personality. Stalin had a paranoid personality. Stalin was a physical coward, too, as was Lenin. Lyndon Johnson was bipolar. Lefty followers have no realistic path to wealth, except by looting wealth makers.

The biggest result of Jewish parasitism/predation on the United States will be that it becomes a colony of China, following the secession of California organized and financed by China.

Anonymous said...

St Croix said...

lol, thanks for the alt-right mad libs