Monday, September 10, 2018

September 10th Links

  • Positive returns to scale. The more you learn, the easier it is to learn. You can start skipping over stuff you've read before, because you're familiar with the ideas or the methods of argument. (Do we still need to read that paragraph explaining, say, comparative advantage?) Thus one skips over the familiar stuff to get straight to the unfamiliar ideas. Okay, maybe these are saying the same thing: they boil down to a claim that knowledge can compound. [Wang]
  • I think we should try to hold on to process knowledge. Japan's Ise Grand Shrine is an extraordinary example in that genre. Every 20 years, caretakers completely tear down the shrine and build it anew. The wooden shrine has been rebuilt again and again for 1,200 years. Locals want to make sure that they don't ever forget the production knowledge that goes into constructing the shrine. There's a very clear sense that the older generation wants to teach the building techniques to the younger generation: "I will leave these duties to you next time." [Wang]
  • Returning to South Africa specifically, I do hope the farmers there have stayed strategically leveraged to the hilt. All they can steal is your equity, and if that has been cashed out in a mortgage, I'd hand the marauding Africans the key on the way out and remind them what day the payment is due. Those farmers are surely prudent enough to have kept their wealth out of easily pilferable assets and preferably in foreign accounts. [Kaki]
  • The company was established first as Reading Glove and Mitten Manufacturing Company in Pennsylvania in October 1899 by John Barbey and a group of investors. The H.D. Lee Company (now Lee) was acquired by the company in 1969 and the corporate name was changed to VF Corporation to reflect the more diverse product line. Blue Bell Inc., the owner of such brands as Wrangler and JanSport, was acquired in 1986, effectively doubling the size of VF and making it the largest publicly held clothing company. [Wiki]
  • Why won't those angry, extremist Swedes listen to the wise advice of Somalis about for whom they should vote? After all, Somalis, unlike Swedes, are known worldwide for their political genius at forging workable political compromises. The only sensible solution is to bring in more Somalis until Swedes can no longer tip Swedish elections. We call that Democracy. [Sailer]
  • There's another aspect that reflects the new ownership. They try to squeeze two dimes from every nickel. This is becoming true of all sportsball events. The games are more marketing than game. Everything that can be monetized in some way is exploited to the point where the presentation is grubby and offensive. Watching a game at home is like being stuck in a room full of carnival barkers. There is something unseemly about billionaires trying to squeeze their middle-class customers out of their last dime. [Z Man]
  • The plaintiff, as the owner of a certificate for "one hundred shares interest in one-half the gross proceeds of the sale of the use of lots in Pinelawn Cemetery," a domestic corporation, brought this action to compel an accounting for the moneys received by the defendant for the sale of lots and to recover his share thereof. [Casetext]
  • Try to keep this on the down low. There's a road about an hour and a half north of Los Angeles that is nearly empty every weekday, and it's one of the best any of us has driven. Oh, and here's a map and directions, but, again, let's just keep this between us. Come on, be cool. [Car and Driver]
  • Yes, it is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall soon flow in inexhaustible streams the most abundant and most marvelous liquor that has ever flowed to relieve the thirst of man! A spring of pure truth shall flow from it! Like a new star, it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine among men. [Gutenberg]
  • Google had changed the way people sought information. "They only want information based on the information they think they want," he said. As a rule, he said, archivists at the library should give you the box you've asked for — but also suggest another box. There are fewer opportunities, now, to stumble into a world you don’t already know. "It's important to look outside of your own existence." [link]
  • That's the promise: you will live more curiously if you write. You will become a scientist, if not of the natural world than of whatever world you care about. More of that world will pop alive. You will see more when you look at it. [Somers]
  • Being fast is fun. If you're a fast writer, you'll constantly be playing with new ideas. You won't be bogged down in a single dread effort. And because your to-do list gets worked off, you'll always be thinking of more stuff to add to it. With more drafts in the works, more of the world will pop alive. You will feel flexible and capable and practiced so that when something demanding and long arrives on your desk, you won't back down afraid. [Somers]
  • What about radiation resistance? Here's a case in the literature where radiation resistance was improved 100,000-fold. 10-fold using e14-deletion. 50-fold using recA. 20-fold using yfjK. And 10-fold using dnaB. See Ecoli, Byrne et al, eLife 2014 ("Evolution of extreme resistance to ionizing radiation via genetic adaptation of DNA repair"). This only requires 4 mutations. There is a wide variation in natural organisms, but the only difference here is those 4 mutations. [link]
  • A Russian Course does not equip its learner with survival Russian, unless she's trying to survive in an extremely ideologically motivated concrete factory. A large portion of the material is set in the fictional Concrete City, where the author illustrates the principles of Russian grammar using the classic battle of good versus evil. In this case, the embodiment of good are the udarniki, or shock-workers, model Soviet citizens who love achieving efficiency in industrial settings. They always work with enthusiasm. They never sit on the grass in parks. They stay away from the "Hanky-Panky Club" in West Blinsk, where people listen to "wild jazz." They understand that "happiness is to sit by the Great Blinsk Sea and build hydroelectric power stations." [LARB]
  • Typically, the first person you meet at Patagonia's headquarters, in Ventura, is a receptionist and former freestyle Frisbee world champion who goes by Chipper Bro. When I visited, in May, he invited me to surf with him at dawn the next day. When I left reception, he said, "Nice hanging with you." [New Yorker]
  • As with stracciatella gelato, I make the coating for homemade Klondike Bars using a combination of chocolate and refined coconut oil. Cutting the milk chocolate with oil lowers its melting point, so it won't sit on your tongue like a waxy lump when frozen; meanwhile, using a saturated fat like coconut oil helps create a crunchy snap. [Serious Eats]
  • My first impression: On top, the judges, the best of German Jewry. Below them, the prosecuting attorneys, Galicians, but still Europeans. Everything is organized by a police force that gives me the creeps, speaks only Hebrew, and looks Arabic. Some downright brutal types among them. They would obey any order. And outside the doors, the Oriental mob, as if one were in Istanbul or some other half-Asiatic country. [link]
  • In an alternate world where humans and tailless anthropomorphic animals live side by side, BoJack Horseman, the washed-up star of the 1990s sitcom Horsin' Around, plans his big return to celebrity relevance with a tell-all autobiography that he dictates to his ghostwriter Diane Nguyen. [Wiki]
  • Phil Knight was not some jock (as I would have expected) but rather a scrawny kid who loved books. His main partner who helped him build the business barely had enough space for a bed in his place, as he had books and shoes strewn everywhere. Ever since I read that Charlie Munger quote about not knowing any wise people who didn't read all the time, I see the evidence for it everywhere. (Confirmation bias?) Another thing that shocked me was Knight's view towards marketing: he saw it as fairly useless. I think of Nike as purely a marketing company, but maybe it evolved into this or maybe I'm totally wrong. Knight is a product guy who appeared to belittle the marketing guys. [Karsan]

No comments: