Monday, January 14, 2019

January 14th Links

  • If I've been doing South Texas Gulf Coast onshore oil leases for 20 years and I know the geology and I know the sellers and I know the whole market, and you come down from New York and bid against me for a lease, if you buy that lease, if you win that auction, you've made a bad mistake because effectively, in some sense, I sold it to you. [Kenkyo]
  • Having grown up in digital scarcity or perhaps 'photo poverty', one of the things I've had to learn after getting a smartphone is to take more photos, at the drop of a hat, for anything I might want to recall later. Caption on artwork? Photo. Item at grocery store? Photo. Interesting cat posture? Photo. Where I parked in a parking garage or giant parking lot? Photos. Gives one a hint of how useful good lifelogging could be. [gwern]
  • While Trump continued to portray Marla as a loyal and loving wife, everything irritated him. His club was shackled by onerous rules he had agreed to in order to get the town council to approve it—rules that the Bath and Tennis and the Everglades did not have to follow. The Mar-a-Lago Club was limited to 500 members (the B&T had nearly twice as many), and events were limited to 390 guests. Trump wanted to go back to the town council to get the rules changed. Paul Rampell cautioned Trump that they should wait five years, until he had built the membership into a political constituency to support him. Rampell also said that making anti-Semitism a part of their argument with the town council would backfire. [Vanity Fair]
  • Naturally, the question is, "If I sell the dollar, what do I sell it against?" I don't have a good answer for you. I've done a few global tours of the world's currencies while sitting at my trading desk. Technically speaking, they all suck, but some suck a bit less than others. In any case, I have increased the non-Dollar weighting of my basket in the past few days. I don't want to name them all as I suspect I'll get laughed at. All global currencies have flaws, but so does the Dollar. At the same time, there are a whole host of businesses (particularly commodity producers) that do well with a weaker Dollar—many of these have been crushed in the past few years. Could they be the real winners if the Dollar weakens? [AiC]
  • Although landing a rocket is certainly impressive from a technical standpoint, the ultimate judge of the merits of the idea is the financial benefit; there is little mission benefit to reusability, so reusability makes sense only if there is a financial benefit to designing and launching reusable rockets. These financial considerations largely explain why most of the world's rockets are not reusable. [Reddit]
  • One school of thought is endorsed by oral and maxillofacial surgeons who contend that most third molars are potentially pathologic and should be removed. The other holds that only third molars with associated pathology should be removed. The legal system, in which decisions are generally based on norms of practice or local or regional standards of care, credits each school of thought as having equal merit, ignoring the scientific evidence base. That is why oral and maxillofacial surgeons usually prevail in malpractice suits when patients are injured during elective surgery. After all, if the expert oral and maxillofacial surgeon says the surgery is necessary, then it is necessary. The fact that most third molars, impacted or not, do not become diseased and that the risk of iatrogenic injury from such surgery is greater than the risk of leaving asymptomatic, nonpathologic teeth alone does not override the expert opinion of oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Thus, the prevalent practice of prophylactic third-molar extractions is ordained as the standard of care, even though that standard is based on an erroneous evaluation of all outcomes and costs. Malpractice in dentistry is more common than is acknowledged, but the victim's recourse to redress the physical and financial injury is severely limited. The recovery amounts involved are usually too small to cover an attorney's expenses. However, there is something the legal profession could do to protect the public: abolish the fallacy of the standard of care and 2 schools of thought, which ignores evidence-based science and perpetuates and forgives malpractice. [NLM]
  • You know how I think this problem is going to be solved – for real? That big half dead premium outlet mall in Tejon Ranch is already a pretty good internment camp... There are no neighbors out there except for the Ikea distribution warehouse. It has enough existing bathrooms and lots of empty big box type space for dormitories. And as soon as retail fails for real the parent company of the property might be happy to subcontract the storage of a bunch of sad rejects for a few million dollars a month in government transfer payments. No need to let the homeless even touch the funds themselves. I'm dead serious. [Granola Shotgun]
  • In a nation where people lead ever more busy lives and increasingly view their dogs as family members, professional dog walking is flourishing. And along with it is what might be viewed as the unusual art of dog walker communication. Many of today's walkers do not simply stroll — not if they want to be rehired, anyway. Over text and email, they craft fine-grained, delightful narratives tracing the journey from arrival at the residence to drop-off. They report the number of bathroom stops. They take artistic photos, and lots of them. [WaPo]
  • What would the Grand Canyon look like as a Grand Mountain, i.e. if its depth became its height? Not quite as Grand perhaps, but still pretty cool. For reference, the depth at the deepest part of the canyon is ~6000 feet and the top of the canyon is between 6000 and 8000 feet above sea level, so the highest point of the Grand Mountains would be somewhere between 12,000 and 14,000 feet, in the ballpark of the Rocky Mountains. It would be fun to see what an inverted Kola Superdeep Borehole would look like: a 9-inch spire rising 40,000 feet into the air from a starting point very close to sea level, more that 10,000 feet higher than Everest. [Kottke]
  • The highest asphalted road crosses Tibet's Semo La pass at 5,565 m (18,258 feet). It is used by trucks and buses regularly. The Ticlio pass, on the Central Road of Peru, is the highest surfaced road in the Americas, at an elevation of 4,818 m (15,807 feet). The highest point accessible by oceangoing vessel is a segment of the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal between the Hilpoltstein and Bachhausen locks in Bavaria, Germany. The locks artificially raise the surface level of the water in the canal to 406 m (1,332 feet) above mean sea level, higher than any other lock system in the world, making it the highest point currently accessible by oceangoing commercial watercraft. [Wiki]
  • The most remote airport in the world, Mataveri International Airport is 2,336 miles (3,759 km) from Santiago, Chile (SCL) which has scheduled flights to it on the Chilean carrier LATAM Chile. The runway starts just inland from the island's southeast coast at Mataveri and nearly reaches the west coast, almost separating the mountain of Rano Kau from the rest of the island. [Wiki]
  • The Bingham Canyon Mine, more commonly known as Kennecott Copper Mine among locals, is an open-pit mining operation extracting a large porphyry copper deposit southwest of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the Oquirrh Mountains. The mine is the largest man-made excavation in the world and is considered to have produced more copper than any other mine in history – more than 19 million tons. [Wiki]
  • All of this technocratic obscurantism concealed a fundamental truth about American conservatism, at least as far as the Buckley version of it. It was never a movement based in a core philosophy. It was just a buffet of rhetoric and policy positions borrowed from movements rejected by the Left. For example, if the Left had retained its Christian roots and enforced that morality, Evangelicals would be on the Left. Most are indifferent to economics. Their interest in foreign policy begins and ends with Israel. No doubt, Christian readers would take exception to this, because they have been conditioned to believe Christianity is a right-wing phenomenon. That's a carryover from the Cold War where the Left was identified with godless materialism. In America, the Left has its roots in Christianity. The 19th century reformers were all explicitly Christian and working from Christian morality. Go back and read the writings of abolitionists and it is clear they saw their movement as a Christian movement. [Z Man]
  • There are no evergreen investment strategies that will always work. By the time an investment approach becomes part of the landscape, the people who were using it have generally gathered assets and are rich, fat, and lazy. The 80 year old fund managers who made it big 50 years ago by being the first people to get copies of filings dropped off at the SEC offices (once a great edge!) are not hungry enough to develop tomorrow's cutting-edge technique. [CBS]
  • For example, one might try to test the Copernican vs. Ptolemaic worldviews by observing the parallax of the fixed stars over the course of a year. Copernicus predicts it should be visible; Ptolemy predicts it shouldn't be. It isn't, which means either the Earth is fixed and unmoving, or the stars are unutterably unimaginably immensely impossibly far away. Nobody expected the stars to be that far away, so advantage Ptolemy. Meanwhile, the Copernicans posit far-off stars in order to save their paradigm. What looked like a test to select one paradigm or the other has turned into a wedge pushing the two paradigms even further apart. [SSC]

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