Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October 1st Links

  • It is really difficult to make precise measurements. Everyone who has examined the way the best values of the fundamental physical constraints have varies with time has noted that there is usually a "fashionable" value that is often many standard deviations away from a later value more precisely known. This phenomenon, which I call intellectual phase lock, occurs partly because no one likes to stand alone. [Luis Alvarez]
  • Measure fasting insulin, fasting glucose (a lab test), then go to "Calculate HOMA-IR score" website, plug in fasting glucose, fasting insulin and site calculates HOMA-IR score. 0.5-1.4 is healthy; above 2 is early insulin resistance; above 3 is significant insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease. If you avoid insulin resistance you avoid type 2 diabetes and the increased risk for most age-related disease. Knowing your HOMA-IR score is very important as this is best indicator of good metabolic health. High HOMA-IR score causes increase in insulin, increase in TOR and accelerated aging. Dietary ways to reduce TOR are caloric restriction, intermittent fasting, and keto diet. Moderate alcohol reduces TOR. Metformin reduces TOR. Rapamycin is the most direct way and most effective way to reduce TOR. [Mangan]
  • I paid for my kids College by buying big tobacco when Obama passed the bill which caused the stock prices to drop sharply. I read the bill and saw that it entrenched the oligopoly so I purchased. Maybe this is another such opportunity for young parents. Watch for the bill. You have to be patient with big tobacco but you can't beat the effect of those massive cash flows have on compound growth rate of stock when the monies are used for dividends and share buy-backs. The trouble here is impatient management who took too long to get into vaping then panicked and failed to put sufficient trust in their friends in Congress. [CoBF]
  • Cities need a good location. This is a debate I had with Paul Romer when he was interested in charter cities. He had decided that he could create 50 charter cities around the world. And my reaction — maybe I'm wrong — but my reaction is that there are not 50 very good locations for cities around the world. There are not many left. Maybe with Belt and Road, maybe the opening of Central Asia. Maybe the opening of the ocean route on the northern, following the pole, will create the potential for new cities. But cities like Singapore, Malacca, Mumbai are there for a good reason. And I don't think there's that many very good locations. [MR]
  • I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history. I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a U.S. occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaida. I am not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars. [NPR]
  • What goes unsaid eventually becomes inconceivable. If you are no longer allowed to mention in public that it's a good thing for the British that they possess a nice island with a Channel protecting them from invasion by the rest of the world, then, after awhile, the Labour Party platform declares that there should be no caps on how many get to inundate Britain. [Sailer]
  • Less well publicized, however, are the various ways in which Shaw has applied his fund's risk-averse, quantitative approach to nearly every aspect of his life. Employees tell stories about Shaw wanting Chinese food or a comfortable mattress, and Shaw staff exhaustively researching and testing the options in advance. It was company lore that before Shaw traveled, an assistant would take the exact same trip — same car service, same airport, same seat on the plane — to eliminate any inefficiencies. Shaw has been said to purchase tickets for several different flights on the same day in case his plans change. [Nymag]
  • I believe that we have seen a narrative in the late stage private markets that as software is eating the world (real estate, music, exercise, transportation), every company should be valued as a software company at 10x revenues or more. And that narrative is now falling apart. If the product is software and thus can produce software gross margins (75% or greater), then it should be valued as a software company. If the product is something else and cannot produce software gross margins then it needs to be valued like other similar businesses with similar margins, but maybe at some premium to recognize the leverage it can get through software. But we have not been doing it that way in the late-stage private markets for the last five years. I think we may start now that the public markets are showing us how. [A VC]
  • We bought a house in the Hill Country and they had an old F150 with 200,000 miles on it at the house. I asked to have it included in the purchase and they agreed. It is a real farm truck but man I love heading in to town with it to get stuff from the feed store or Home Depot. The truck shakes some and has a droopy headliner but it is a really nice feeling having it. I don't use it a lot. Kind of like you maybe twice a month but I don't plan on letting it go as long as it keeps starting. [Jalopnik]

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