Monday, March 26, 2018

Late March 2018 Links

  • In Hicks's three years in the spotlight, she has only spoken on the record a couple of times. And even those interviews seem designed to obscure. In a Forbes "30 Under 30" feature last year, she drops bombshells including the fact that her favorite take-out order is coffee, and her favorite app is Uber. It's the Proust questionnaire as filled out by a block of tofu. [Slate]
  • Even his personal policeman was roped in to cater to his comfort. If the Prince had to attend a function, the policeman would arrive with a flask containing a pre-mixed Martini. This would then be handed over to the host's butler along with a special glass that Charles insisted on using. [Daily Mail]
  • "You probably don't give much thought to the yield on the three-month Treasury bill." [NY Times]
  • I'd never been in a drugstore when the fire alarm went off. There was no smoke and no fire. [link]
  • This increase in capability is astonishing—boosting the overall killing power of existing US ballistic missile forces by a factor of roughly three—and it creates exactly what one would expect to see, if a nuclear-armed state were planning to have the capacity to fight and win a nuclear war by disarming enemies with a surprise first strike. [BAS]
  • Late one night earlier this year, I followed a link, which someone had shared on Twitter, to a YouTube video that featured the studio recording of Toto's "Africa," edited to sound as though it were playing in an empty mall. [New Yorker]
  • Pursuant to the Exchange Offers, approximately $214 million aggregate principal amount of Old Senior Unsecured Notes and approximately $170 million aggregate principal amount of Old Senior Secured Notes were validly tendered, accepted and cancelled and a like amount of New Senior Unsecured Notes and New Senior Secured Notes, as applicable, were issued in respect thereof. [SHLD]
  • The Tithonus fallacy has been outlined elsewhere (1). Basically, it's the belief that an extension of lifespan will lead to an extension of frailty and suffering. Why this is wrong, as a rule, is obvious to a biogerontologist but not to a layperson: The diseases of aging and their underlying molecular pathologies are aging. A large extension of maximum lifespan is impossible without a delay of diseases.The 'area-under-the-curve' of health will always increase, so to say. [link]
  • If you project forward into the future based today's accident rates, you'll find that an ageless human sustained by biotechnologies of cellular and biochemical repair has a life expectancy in the range of 1,000 to 5,000 years. [link]
  • I observed Dunia as she studied the Roman numerals on the dial, harking back to a distant, ancient time. As I watched her, my uncertainty about the future gave way to the certainty of the present, and I was overcome by the notion that she and I were moving through time together, like musicians playing from the same sheet music. A duet not yet completed, partially composed but largely improvised. [NYT]
  • Some of the documentary's best footage wasn't shot by writer and director Jed Rothstein, but by a camera that David planted outside a factory in Xi'an, China. The time-lapse sequence shows the place idle, except when investors toured. David thought he'd make a business of offering such due diligence to the American lawyers and bankers who were serving up these deals. They didn't want to know. Indeed, he claims in the film, they threatened to sue him if he told anyone what he'd found. [Barrons]
  • There will always be people who are ahead of the curve, and people who are behind the curve. But knowledge moves the curve. [Wiki]
  • Nazi Germany never became as totalitarian as England and the United States did. In England and the United States it was a kind of voluntary totalitarianism. People were really committed to the war, so they were willing to give up the normal freedoms. You know, you had wage and price controls and so on, and they could carry out very effective mobilization. In Germany, they couldn't do it, because they didn't trust the population. They haven't got that same degree of commitment. So as a result, Nazi Germany had to fight a kind of "Guns and butter" War. [link]
  • My portfolio looks like poop this morning. Down over 2% and falling. And falling. Looks like my worst day ever. Thank you, Donald Trump. [TI]
  • After dark, free booze flowed from makeshift bars and attendees lit up high-end cigars. Mr. Bezos held court around the fire pit Sunday night, tumbler of whiskey in hand. He wore the down Patagonia jacket given to each guest — a style that has become a sort of tech-industry uniform — with jeans and cowboy boots. [NYT]
  • The Humanity Star was designed to have a brief orbital lifespan. It was placed into a low perigee elliptical orbit of 300 x 500 km, where its altitude dropped with every pass at perigee. This, combined with a low surface to mass area, meant the Humanity Star experienced significant atmospheric drag, pulling it back into the Earth’s atmosphere in a matter of weeks. [link]
  • Pipistrel, a Slovenian pioneer in this area, is cranking out 60+ electric-powered trainer airplanes a year now (could save the industry as the last of the piston-competent mechanics retire). [Phil G]
  • For the entire session, I deadlift with my left foot ahead, or what's called a "staggered stance." It can take a little getting used to, but using staggered stances can be a nice wrinkle to add to your training. [link]
  • He did have a satellite phone, and he texted with Arminski, who, as his trip navigator, sent a regular forecast for wind and weather. Doba also called his wife, twice. But after she got the bill for $500, she says, "the desire to talk" decreased. [NY Times]
  • The 2018 white male map income mobility map explains a lot about the 2016 Republican primary contest between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. Cruz did well in the prospering Great Plains while Trump did well east of the Mississippi (plus among his own people, the bridge-and-tunnel folk of Greater New York). [Sailer]
  • [Lampert's] critics see things differently. Robert Chapman, a California-based hedge-fund manager, calls Sears Holdings "a total shit show" that is in "secret liquidation" mode. He says he recently came out of a Kmart in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that offered so many bargains he couldn't believe his eyes. "He's not calling it a liquidation sale," he says of Lampert, "but if you've gone into one of the stores, it’s a liquidation deal." [VF]
  • The mimids are the New World family of passerine birds, Mimidae, that includes thrashers, mockingbirds, tremblers, and the New World catbirds. As their name (Latin for "mimic") suggests, these birds are notable for their vocalization, especially some species' remarkable ability to mimic a wide variety of birds and other sounds heard outdoors. [Wiki]
  • Some members of Ardea are clearly very closely related, such as the grey, great blue, and cocoi herons, which form a superspecies. However, the great egret, in particular, has been placed in other genera by various authors as Egretta alba and Casmerodius albus. Nevertheless, this species closely resembles the large Ardea herons in everything but color, whereas it shows fewer similarities to the smaller white egrets. [Wiki]
  • Tesla is our largest position, long or short. The company cannot survive the next twelve months without access to capital from Wall Street Banks or private investors. We estimate that Tesla will need roughly $8 billion in the next 18 months to fund operating losses, capital expenditures, debts coming due, and working capital needs. However, it appears that due to past SEC investigations and current investigations (which terrifyingly have not been disclosed by the company), it will likely be difficult for Tesla to access public markets. [link]
  • I think Tesla is going to crash in the next 3-6 months, partially due to their incompetence in making and delivering the Model 3, partially due to falling demand for the Model S and X, partially due to the extreme valuation, partially due to their horrendous finances that will imminently require a huge capital raise, partially due to a likely downgrade of their credit rating by Moody's from B- to CCC (default likely) which should scare their parts suppliers into requiring cash on delivery (a death knell), partially due to the market's recent falling appetite for risk, and partially due to our suspicions of fraudulent accounting activities, evidenced by 85 SEC letters/investigations and two top finance people leaving in the last month. We are doubtful that they can raise a meaningful sum in the face of these material issues. If the fall happened quickly, it could add substantially to the Fund (+30 to +50%), in part due to our purchase of put options. [link]
  • Well, one time when things was lookin' bright; I started to whittle it on a stick one night; Who said, "Hey! That's dynamite!"; Nobody. [Johnny Cash]

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