Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve Links

  • "Ichinomiya City Hotel offers up a basket of all-you-can-eat hard-boiled eggs with waffles and coffee for 600 yen. If you're ever looking to feast on a basket of eggs, now you know where to go." [Eater]
  • Lately off shore "international" or "print on demand" book copiers have been dumping books into the market place. These books have color copies of original covers ( in the ads) and under inspection I find the following: Weak non-stitched spines, poor paper quality (laser paper) Black and White reproductions (poor quality scans or photocopy) pictures that are difficult to see details, This make it impossible to read because your seeing three pages of text or pictures - or worse, no ability to put on a projector for educational purposes or loss of eye sight assistance. Trimming errors up to a 1/8 inch or more and duplication's or missing sections. Technical support said because of their volume they could not tell me if the book I was buying was the genuine or these sham books. If you don't have a policy - get one! I will not waste my time returning books after I have done your quality control. [Baidarka]
  • Late in life, going dotty (or dottier than usual), my father contemplated returning to the battle zone of the Ardennes and seeking out German privates who had fought on the other side. He wanted to test his theory that they had hated their officers as much as he had hated his—whose sole aim, from his perspective, was to squander the lives of their men. I recounted this plan to the German painter Anselm Kiefer, who was born in 1945. As I recall, though he doesn't, he said, "Don't tell your father. Our men loved their officers." [New Yorker]
  • You know full well that Vice President Biden used his office and $1 billion dollars of U.S. aid money to coerce Ukraine into firing the prosecutor who was digging into the company paying his son millions of dollars. You know this because Biden bragged about it on video. Biden openly stated: "I said, 'I'm telling you, you're not getting the billion dollars'...I looked at them and said: 'I'm leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you're not getting the money.' Well, son of a bitch. He got fired." Even Joe Biden admitted just days ago in an interview with NPR that it "looked bad." Now you are trying to impeach me by falsely accusing me of doing what Joe Biden has admitted he actually did. [NY Times]
  • Unless you can have reason to believe that the decline in customer losses is about to stop, there does not seem to be a margin of safety in the unsecured debt. If 13% of customers (net - more after figuring churn) left over the past two years, they probably went somewhere, since they are not likely just canceling their internet entirely. There must be competitors in Frontier's markets that are better or cheaper and are eating their lunch. For all we know, the most alert or savvy customers are the ones who just left and it is the beginning of an S-curve of the slower to react customers leaving too. [CBS]
  • The fundamental problem is that the unusual crimes that obsess the press are, by definition, unusual, and thus their profilers must draw upon much smaller sample sizes than routine crimes like crack dealing. For instance, in an even more important case, the post-9/11 anthrax murders that helped drive the Intelligence Community so nuts that it argued for invading Iraq, the FBI spent six years tormenting bioweapons expert Steven Hatfill before paying him about $5 million for their abuse. Remarkably, Eastwood is likely a more consistent director now in his later 80s than in his early 80s when he made some forgettable movies like Hereafter and J. Edgar before his 2014 comeback American Sniper. We hear constantly these days about Baby Boomers, but I keep seeing movies directed by or starring amazingly old yet still competent pre-Boomers such as Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Al Pacino, and Christopher Plummer. When will they shuffle off and finally allow us poor Boomers our moment in the spotlight? [Sailer]
  • The board of directors of a Delaware corporation has a fundamental duty and obligation to "protect the corporation enterprise," and to defend stockholders "from harm reasonably perceived, irrespective of its source." This case involves a board that is purposely letting half of its members – including the known repeat fraudster who founded the company – buy a controlling stake in the company through open market purchases at depressed prices, without paying a fair price, much less a control premium. Instead of adopting a poison pill or taking other defensive measures to protect public stockholders in the face of a change of control transaction executed in the open market, this board helped turn a slowly developing creeping takeover into a modern street sweep. [OBS]
  • The hydrofoil usually consists of a wing like structure mounted on struts below the hull, or across the keels of a catamaran in a variety of boats (see illustration). As a hydrofoil-equipped watercraft increases in speed, the hydrofoil elements below the hull(s) develop enough lift to raise the hull out of the water, which greatly reduces hull drag. This provides a corresponding increase in speed and fuel efficiency. [Wiki]
  • With any software start-up, there is a non-zero probability that you wake up the next day and find that a better-resourced firm (Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, Adobe) has deployed 200 engineers to copy your product, bundle it with their stack for free, or near free, and ... welcome to zero. I believe this is happening to Slack, but more slowly than Netscape, as Microsoft’s General Counsel has likely coached Satya to charge a nominal fee for Teams and let Slack bleed out, instead of putting a bullet in its head and stirring the DOJ from a 3-Ambien slumber. [Galloway]
  • High-powered shootouts are not unusual in Brazil. Despite tighter gun regulations than the U.S., in the poorer neighborhoods of many Brazilian cities, armed gangs and police trade fire with high-caliber assault rifles, machine guns, pistols, and sometimes even grenades and rocket launchers. Rio averages 24 shootouts per day. Large hours-long gun battles often don’t even make the headlines. Yet the shootouts leave a mark: piles of dead bodies. [link]

1 comment:

eahilf said...

Lately off shore "international" or "print on demand" book copiers have been dumping books into the market place.

Yeah, I noticed their appearance a few years ago, e.g. on abebooks.com -- the reported quality issues are no surprise: I'd already decided I would never order one, since I couldn't imagine the product would actually resemble a "book" as understood by most people -- in fact, many must feel the same, as I noticed abebooks.com now has a filter you can enable to eliminate "print on demand" offers from your search results; there was probably a big demand for that, because the "print on demand" offers can comprise a large fraction of the search results, and take a long time to wade through -- re most any book, there is almost always an alternative, even if you have to pay more than you'd like.

... after I have done your quality control.

With this bit he did some "quality control" too, of a sort -- so thanks.