Monday, January 28, 2019

January 28th Links

  • Have the idle rich replaced the working rich at the top of the U.S. income distribution? Using tax data linking 11 million firms to their owners, this paper finds that entrepreneurs who actively manage their firms are key for top income inequality. Most top income is non-wage income, a primary source of which is private business profit. These profits accrue to working-age owners of closely-held, mid-market firms in skill-intensive industries. Private business profit falls by three-quarters after owner retirement or premature death. Classifying three-quarters of private business profit as human capital income, we find that most top earners are working rich: they derive most of their income from human capital, not physical or financial capital. The human capital income of private business owners exceeds top wage income and top public equity income. Growth in private business profit is explained by both rising productivity and a rising share of value added accruing to owners. [Eric Zwick]
  • Over 140,000 pass-through owners with over $1.6M in income. That is the threshold for the top 0.1%. Is there any significant amount of workers in that bracket who are not pass-through owners? I guess a few tens of thousands of pro athletes, artists, public executives and bankers? I kind of new this bracket of people was a substantial untold part of the top 0.1%, but had no idea it was such an overwhelming percentage. [Marginal Revolution]
  • More than 130 years after their debut at the ceremonial entrance to the University of Notre Dame's Main Building, murals illustrating the life of Christopher Columbus will soon be covered up. To many, the 12 murals were "blind to the consequences of Columbus' voyage," university President Rev. John Jenkins said in a letter Sunday announcing his decision. At their worst? "Demeaning." [CNN]
  • The fact that people are going to college for vocational reasons goes completely against the liberal ideal of college as a humanist place where minds are expanded, and you can self-actualize by studying the world's greatest works of literature, philosophy, etc. What college students really want is to major in something like plumbing or HVAC, but less blue-collar. [LoTB]
  • The range of these devices varies with topography. In a perfectly flat landscape with no obstructions (a corn field in Nebraska – or across San Francisco Bay) it could reach about five miles. In hilly terrain or a city with lots of buildings it might be as little as half a mile. I live in the center of San Francisco which is seven miles wide. There are existing goTennas all around and they daisy chain encrypted text messages from one to another until the texts reach their intended destination. It's possible to communicate across the city in this completely mobile ad hoc network – or MANET – without ever interacting with a cell tower or WiFi. And unlike established infrastructure that becomes slow or stops entirely when too many users pile on, the Mesh actually gets better the more people join in. [Granola Shotgun]
  • I don't see the Chinese government allowing their economy to simply unravel. In the longer run, the economy will have to shift towards a more services-oriented economy—however, this take time. Short term, the Chinese will go with Plan A, the only plan they seem to know—bridges to nowhere funded by risky loans to dubious SOEs, facilitated by lax government oversight and money printing. How do you play this? You own the stuff that goes into this infrastructure; commodities. You want coking coal, iron ore, copper and all the other components of heavy infrastructure. You want natural gas as LNG which will be the preferred fuel-source for this growth. The switch from coal to natural gas electrification certainly qualifies as a giant make-work program—with the added benefit that cleaner air means fewer citizen protests. Finally, you want to own the supply chain—the pipelines, rail and boats that will transport all this stuff. [AiC]
  • Cons of Boeing: All real engineering (in my group) was outsourced to subcontractors. LOTS of dead wood. Very, very, very specialized. I know people who spent their entire careers on hydraulic brackets. Or landing gear actuators. Or whatever. In a massive company, it pays to specialize. As a young engineer, I hated the lack of variability. Frustratingly flat pay structure & slow promotional opportunities. [Bogleheads]
  • He was, in the best sense of the word (truly the best to an interviewer anxious to learn the innermost secrets of political maneuverings), totally amoral. He cared for nothing. Once, on a morning that we had an interview scheduled, I picked up the Washington Post over breakfast in my hotel room to see his name in big headlines and read a huge story about his role in a truly sordid Washington scandal. I expected to find a broken, or at least a dejected, man when I was ushered into his office. Instead, he gave me a big grin—he had the most infectious grin—and, when I didn't bring up the subject of the story but he could tell it was on my mind, he said, "It's just free advertising, kid, free advertising. Just as long as they spell my name right." [Robert Caro]
  • You get a Keurig, and you hate it, but Vine keeps sending K-cups, and so you keep drinking them. "Eventually, I think Vine caught on that I wanted a Nespresso from my search history," she wrote, "and I was finally offered a Nespresso." [NY Times]
  • Let me start off by saying: I love the car. Buying a Tesla seemed like the logical step at that time. But honestly I am regretting the fact that I did not do due diligence. I am entirely to blame but would still like to share my experience of 6 weeks with the Model 3. I work in a different city about 75 miles away from home. Mostly highway miles. So I felt Tesla might be perfect for the $150 mile round trip. Now I had heard that in cold weather, you might get 10-20% less from battery. So I got the long range. I figured that even if I use 90 battery miles one way, I'm good. Boy was I wrong. First of all they recommend not to "full charge" battery because it reduces battery life. I still charged above recommended level, at 293 miles overnight. Temperature was -5 today morning when I left for work. By the time I reached work, I was down to 140 battery miles from 293! Which means that the car consumed 153 battery miles to cover 75 miles! When I decided to leave work in the evening, the battery miles had further decreased from 140 to 127 miles due to the cold. Now I knew there is no way I could reach home with 127 battery miles. So I decided to head to local supercharger. Here's the next kicker. I was hoping to charge at 480 miles/hr. But due to extreme cold, it won't even start charging for 20 min after plugging despite of keeping heat running per Tesla's recommendations. Finally, the car started charging at super slow rate. Gradually picked up to 80 miles/hr. I was annoyed. I wanted to get home. I thought this is not normal. Called Tesla support. They told me that in fact for the current temperature, charging speed I am getting is fine! Seriously, 80 mph supercharging speed is fine?! After 2 hours at the supercharger, I finally left for home. [Reddit]
  • Mercedes is somehow getting people to part with $130,000 for an experience that I'd liken to an old Jeep with a 454 V8 greased-and-rammed into the engine bay. Oh, hell yeah it rips if you jump on the throttle. But it can't corner safely, it's not comfortable, and just about everyone is laughing at you or giving you the finger when you roll by. The G 63 does one thing really, really well; tells the world you're fuckin' rich and superior to everyone in earshot of its four side-exiting exhaust tips. Yeah, nobody is happy to see a G 63 AMG. Peace-loving country folk shake their heads in disappointment, city traffic honks mercilessly and figures you've paid for your vehicle by stepping on the backs of the working man. [Jalopnik]
  • Legalization advocates have squelched discussion of the serious mental health risks of marijuana and THC, the chemical responsible for the drug's psychoactive effects. As I have seen firsthand in writing a book about cannabis, anyone who raises those concerns may be mocked as a modern-day believer in "Reefer Madness," the notorious 1936 movie that portrays young people descending into insanity and violence after smoking marijuana. A strange disconnect has resulted. With large studies in peer-reviewed journals showing that marijuana increases the risk of psychosis and schizophrenia, the scientific literature around the drug is far more negative than it was 20 years ago. Comparing two major reports from the National Academy of Medicine, the nonprofit group that advises the federal government on health and medicine, makes the difference clear. [NY Times]
  • To set the stage, the specific energy of gasoline—measured in kWh per kg, for instance—is about 400 times higher than that of a lead-acid battery, and about 200 times better than the Lithium-ion battery in the Chevrolet Volt. We should not expect batteries to rival the energy density delivered by our beloved fossil fuels—ever. [...] Rephrasing: the physics we currently understand is not sufficient to deliver the kind of battery we need to make the future work without fossil fuels. Red flags go up for me when it is our understanding of physics rather than practical engineering challenges standing in the way—as serious as the latter can be. Physics limitations instantly present a much taller order to overcome. [Do The Math]
  • From the data, I see that the battery capacity is at about 85% of its original condition. While extrapolation is highly risky, it would seem that I can expect zero capacity on the scale of six years, based on its accelerating decline. At this point, we have put about 500 full-cycle-equivalent charges on the battery in about 700 charge events (just shy of one per day, typically about 70% depth). So perhaps it's not surprising: few batteries can withstand more than 1–2000 charge cycles before giving out. [Do The Math]
  • Table 2 describes the ED evaluation and injury characteristics of patients presenting with injuries associated with standing electric scooter use. The majority of patients (200 [80.3%]) received imaging in the ED, with the most common imaging studies being radiographs or computed tomography of the distal upper extremity (36.5%), computed tomography of the head (29.7%), and radiographs or computed tomography of the distal lower extremity (20.1%). A total of 8.4% of patients underwent a trauma-protocol computed tomography scan (head, cervical spine, chest, abdomen, and pelvis), indicating high concern for serious injury. Two hundred thirty-four patients (94.0%) were discharged home from the ED. [JAMA]

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