Thursday, February 22, 2018

End of February 2018 Links

  • "[V]irtually every large city, notable landscape feature, creature and weather pattern of North America — as well as myriad other words, concepts and images — has been snapped up and trademarked as the name of either a brewery or a beer." [Harvard Law Review]
  • Blue Bottle Coffee director of training Michael Phillips, who was the 2010 World Barista Champion, says that when a customer asks a Blue Bottle barista for a flat white (and it's only Aussies and Kiwis who ask for them, he says), the protocol is to not make a fuss, but to serve a modern American cappuccino, which he says it "incredibly similar" to the flat whites you'll get in, say, New Zealand. "We'll simply say, 'Absolutely!' but we'll make them a drink that's pretty much our cappuccino," he says. "And if they get the drink and say, 'No, no, no, that's not a flat white,' we'll work with them on it. But in general, they get it and say, 'This is the best flat white I've had in the States.'" [Bon Appetit]
  • "Obama never used the Oval, but Trump is different," the president would say, referring to himself in the third person as he often does [NY Mag]
  • This former warehouse was transformed with an eye for quiet privacy and grand entertaining, hosting the likes of John Lennon and Norman Mailer. The ultimate New York City secret -- "you never know what is behind the façade." [link]
  • I played around with a ton of different filler materials for the cinder blocks, but pure cement just broke so easily. I finally settled on a secret formula using cement and a few other materials that look and feels identical to real cement. [link]
  • Over the next few weeks, we showed up each day and tapped away on MacBook Airs to the sounds of Portuguese house music and old-school hip hop piped in through speakers. ("Rap is urban, and so is WeWork") [link]
  • "I know there are minimum costs required to be a public company, but don't really think a hot breakfast at the Fairmont for the shareholder meeting meets that criteria." [CoBF]
  • I simply couldn't find much evidence that distributed ledgers are useful for any real-world applications (other than speculative asset bubbles). Once you understand that blockchains are bad at solving real-world problems, then you will understand why Bitcoin will fail. The blockchain imposes limitations that makes Bitcoin a bad version of something that has been tried in the past: e-gold (description here and Wired profile here). A company's stance on blockchain can also serve as a test of a company's management. In my view, companies pushing blockchain technology (e.g. IBM, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle) are disconnected from customers' actual needs and have mediocre management. Companies that don't talk about blockchain (e.g. Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple) are more likely to produce sensible technology that will work in the real world. [Glenn Chan]
  • "You've formed an opinion on the cap toe — a crude and inappropriate way to finish the toe of a boot. The ultimate crutch of for the impatient, unskilled bootmaker. The blended scotch of shoemaking — a real patch-up job." [link]
  • Apparently Wahlberg's regular morning rounds at Riviera are no less zany. He starts on the 10th tee after one of three caddies has greeted him in the parking lot and another looper handles the clubs and raking. A third is there to do sprints with Wahlberg in between shots. These extraordinary bagmen are well compensated for their brief time—two Benjamins at least—to keep Hollywood’s busiest man active. [link]
  • These were heady days for the victors. In 1947, a carton of American cigarettes, costing fifty cents in an American base, was worth 1,800 Reichsmarks on the black market, or $180 at the legal rate of exchange. For four cartons of cigarettes, at this rate, you could hire a German orchestra for the evening. Or for twenty-four cartons, you could acquire a 1939 Mercedes-Benz. Penicillin and 'Persilscheine' (whiter than white) certificates, which cleared the holder of any Nazi connections, commanded the highest prices. With this kind of economic whammy, working-class soldiers from Idaho could live like modern tsars. [link]
  • There's been so many things – so many things – but me tell you about the canary in the coal mine. Let me tell you how I know saving Barnes & Noble is not in the home office's plans. [link]
  • At the peak of the waterbed craze, in 1987, more than one out of five mattresses purchased in the U.S. were waterbeds. [link]
  • Starting with Carbonell's notebook, tickets from an old till and data from the gin and vermouth brands he worked with, de las Muelas calculated the total drinks already sold and created a counter which would tally whenever a dry martini was served. Dry Martini celebrated its millionth dry martini in May 2010: the recipient, a lawyer, is entitled to a dry martini every day for the rest of her life. [link]
  • "Ethiopia is at a pleasant altitude. The current capital, Addis Ababa, is at 7,700 feet elevation. It's average high temperature ranges from 69 degrees during the July rainy season to merely 77 in March." [Sailer]
  • And when she's feeling worn down from all the negativity in the world, she'll turn off her television and her phone, light some candles, and blast Duke Ellington so loud that it reaches every nook and cranny of her $12.6 million Massachusetts Avenue Heights home. [link]
  • During my formative years back in the Fifties, I was the kind of kid who was secure in the belief that God wore buttondown shirts and madras Bermuda shorts. The worst villain passed my inspection if he wore trousers with a vestigial little belt in the back or possessed the skill to tie a bow tie. Good and bad were simply a matter of tweedy and non-tweedy. [link]
  • Yoshimichi Nakajima was waiting for the train one day at his local station in Tokyo when he politely asked the station attendant to lower the volume on his microphone. He was told that would be "difficult," so Nakajima lent a hand by grabbing the mic and throwing it onto the track. He then recounted all of this to the station master, who was speechless. Nakajima, a rare breed of Japanese anti-noise crusader, has also taken a speaker from a liquor store and tossed it outside as well as seized a megaphone from a police officer. [link]
  • The back-up plane Spirit provided was only half-filled as most people who were scheduled to go to Fort Lauderdale were too freaked out to get in the sky and must have decided if there was ever a time when you should press your luck in Atlantic City, you probably couldn't top the day you emergency landed there. [Quora]
  • "We're getting requests for service that are just astounding," said Steve Wright, general manager of the Chelan County Public Utility District, which includes Wenatchee. "We do not intend to carry the risk of bitcoin prices on our system." [WSJ]
  • As it stands, public blockchain is very much a kludgy solution looking for non-existent problem, namely lack of trusted intermediaries in finance and accounting. Unfortunately for this central value proposition of blockchain, there is no lack of trusted enough intermediaries in the financial/accounting sector. [link]
  • In the three weeks leading up to Feb. 14, 30 cargo jets make the trip from Colombia to Miami each day, with each plane toting more than a million flowers. [WaPo]
  • Someone has to make sure that "Who is Harriet Tubman?" isn't the answer to more than one clue a game, or even more than one clue a week. [link]
  • When Orwell speaks about the cathedral of Barcelona, he is talking in fact about La Sagrada Família temple, designed by Antoni Gaudí: "I went to have a look at the cathedral—a modern cathedral, and one of the most hideous buildings in the world. It has four crenellated spires exactly the shape of hock bottles... I think the Anarchists showed bad taste in not blowing it up... though they did hang a red and black banner between its spires." [Wiki]
  • Former aides say Bush would have loved a big parade, but they recognized a problem: The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan never ended. Such subtleties — the United States is now dropping bombs in seven countries — don't seem to have factored into Trump's calculations. [WaPo]
  • As I've mentioned many times, a large fraction of America's intellectual history has been entirely "disappeared" over the last sixty or seventy years, and there are absolutely fascinating lacunae that I'm hoping to reveal when I've finally finished my current software work. [Unz]
  • South America is the victim of a bad start. It was never settled by whites in the way that they settled the United States. All the European blood from the Caribbean to Cape Horn probably does not exceed that to be found within the area inclosed by lines connecting Washington, Buffalo, Duluth, and St. Louis. The masterful whites simply climbed upon the backs of the natives and exploited them. Thus, pride, contempt for labor, caste, social parasitism, and authoritativeness in Church and State fastened upon South American society and characterize it still. It will be yet long ere it is transformed by such modern forces as Industry, Democracy, and Science. It would be unpardonable for us ever to be puffed up because we enjoy better social and civic health than is usual in South America. If our forefathers had found here precious metals and several millions of agricultural Indians, our social development would have resembled that of the peoples that grew up in New Spain. Not race accounts for the contrast in destiny between the two Americas, nor yet the personal virtues of the original settlers, but circumstances. [Sailer]
  • An Alaskan might forgo a latte to pay $5 for a single perfect Sumo mandarin orange, flown in by New Sagaya, the city's largest gourmet market. [NYT]
  • Keep your exclamation points ­under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. [link]
  • You realize you probably wouldn't be able to relate to most humans if you were the sort of person who bought Italian Kangaroo boots. [link]
  • Some of the outfits in the South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, location trade in worldly goods, like Conscious Step, a sock company that donates a share of its proceeds to charity; Carvana, an online used-car dealership; Motorino, a pizza micro-chain; and Visual Magnetics, which sells idea boards. Others are entirely ether-based, such as One Door, a company that offers cloud-centric "merchandising execution"; Mish Guru, a Snapchat-focused "management & analytics platform"; and DevTribe, a social-media consultancy seeking "influencers looking to increase revenue through personal branding." There's at least one self-employed "vlogger and design consultant," as well as Turnkey & Bespoke, which manages retail construction projects, be they pop-up shops, promotional booths, or, yes, offices inside WeWork buildings. There's also a company called NSFW, whose function might be described as "facilitating curated gratification." (It puts on swingers' parties.) [Esquire]
  • If we exclude the folks who bought Bitcoin in 2010, I used to think that the smartest Americans were those who maximized leisure and social time without the tedium of work, e.g., by bubbling to the top of the waiting list for public housing in San Francisco, Manhattan, Cambridge/Boston. There are, of course, some crazy rich people who have even better material lifestyles than folks on welfare in these parts of the U.S., but they may have (a) inherited money from a parent, (b) worked like a slave, or (c) taken a lot of risk such that they might easily have ended up middle class and exiled to the suburbs. [Greenspun]
  • By the late nineteen-sixties, ownership of the Miss Universe Organization had passed to a lingerie company called Kayser-Roth. Cindy Adams, who was an assistant at the company, and her husband, the comedian Joey Adams, were friends of Roy Cohn, the New York lawyer and fixer who had been a close aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy. "Roy used to invite us everywhere, and once we went to a party on Long Island, where I happened to be seated at a small table with this tall young guy with blond hair," Adams told me recently. "Roy told me at that dinner that one day Donald would own New York. I said, 'Yeah, pass the gravy.'" [New Yorker]
  • Then we had the response to the Section 220. To force two people to travel to Kentucky, to put them in a room with a card table and some chairs, give them binders of documents, and then say "copy them yourselves on the copier," is discourteous, disrespectful, and unnecessary. It is inconsistent with how anyone actually handles 220 demands and the production of records pursuant to 220. It's essentially a gratuitous power trip by the incumbents to attempt to show a party they believe to be their adversary who is really in control. [EDGAR]
  • The candidates were then knighted with a petrified grapevine root brought from Burgundy, France. They were kissed on both cheeks and signed their names into a large book, sang a song in French, and joined their ''elders'' in a procession past admiring guests. [NYT]


Anonymous said...

"Righteous indignation is the defensive response of people who don't have self-perspective and who operate from a position of privilege where they're essentially used to exercising power and not being held to account."

Excellent, and an excellent transcript in general.

CP said...

That's a great court case now for activist investors.