Monday, April 20, 2020

April 20th Links

  • The preprint is not very informative on methods, but, it seems to me, that, if this was the only evidence we had about Santa Clara County, it would barely be enough, according to the traditional standards of scientific evidence for the authors to claim that anyone in Santa Clara got infected. In any case, the prevalence reported is likely an over estimate.[Luis Pedro]
  • "I think the authors of the above-linked paper owe us all an apology. We wasted time and effort discussing this paper whose main selling point was some numbers that were essentially the product of a statistical error." [Stat Modeling]
  • It was not until middle age, and serious collecting that I noticed a narrative displayed by our coinage that was wildly at odds with the narrative of the average American. One piece stands out, the fugio cent, minted during the Articles of Confederation and prior to the adoption of the Constitution. It said "time flies" and "mind your business." The constitution put and end to that sort of thing. Thereafter, our U.S. coinage contained images of "Lady Liberty" borrowed from the French Revolution on the obverse and, curiously, the imperial eagle on the reverse. Our coinage during the 19th century screamed militant and expansionist egalitarian revolution. Even more curiously, at the very same time Indian massacres of Whites were occurring from 1850 onward throughout the frontier, (rural routes throughout Texas are replete with stone markers of these events) the powers that be placed busts of Indian Princesses on our coinage, and especially the gold coinage, throughout the final half of the 19th century. Images of white males were never allowed to appear on our coinage until early in the 20th century. Our coinage screams that the U.S. identity has been married to an aggressive ideology, and not to a people. In short, our coinage for over one and a half centuries was a perfect predictor of the events that began in the 1960s as improving technologies of control empowered the imperial state, free of any allegiance or sense of obligation to its inhabitants as individuals or as a people, and bathed in sense of moralistic superiority, to dominate the world and level the living standard of U.S. citizens to the average of the rest of the planet. It was all coined long in advance. [CBS]
  • "[H]e who is the most bullish on the market, or has the lowest cost of capital, or has some other personal motivation for doing a deal, or ideally all three, wins the ship. Everyone else does nothing but talk about the very good and rational reasons they have for not doing deals. The simple fact is that you must take a view on the market." [CBS]
  • This calamity must be sold to the peasants as a causeless, inexplicable natural disaster, like a hurricane or an epidemic. A banker's neck is soft and delicate. Anything tighter than a tie might chafe it. But in a protected Bagehot scheme, the calamity never happens. A central bank or other cash-rich player (the first Anglo-American artists in this medium were Charles II's goldsmiths) realizes that, by maintaining a cash buffer which can replace even a small fraction of this duration demand, it can not only stop the bank run but profit from it. If the protector steps into the bank run and "lends freely" — by buying high-quality long-term assets — it can stably corner the market for duration. If it can "restore confidence" by bailing out the banks, it pulls off a successful Texas hedge. Buying these assets makes their price go up — and when "confidence" returns, the market can easily reabsorb them. And the central bank shows a profit. Just like in 2008! [Moldbug]
  • Especially if the Chinese created a bioweapon based on your 23andMe data that was meant to kill only Caucasians but they blew it as the Chinese will. They got a "best minds" problem like us, the smartest most driven people are also money-worshipping selfish hustlers, the kind who worm into government contracts to build collapsing hospitals rather than diligently work to sterilize all Caucasians by splicing together their bat meat virus with HIV. [Delicious Tacos]
  • Serpentine soil is a magnesium rich, calcium, potassium and phosphorus poor soil that develops on the regolith derived from ultramafic rocks. Ultramafic rocks also contain elevated amounts of chromium and nickel which may be toxic to plants. As a result, a distinctive type of vegetation develops on these soils. Examples are the ultramafic woodlands and barrens of the Appalachian mountains and piedmont, the "wet maquis" of the New Caledonia rain forests, and the ultramafic forests of Mount Kinabalu and other peaks in Sabah, Malaysia. Vegetation is typically stunted, and is sometimes home to endemic species adapted to the soils. [Wiki]
  • Three possibilities: 1. I am wrong, and the economy will bounce back quickly. 2. I am not wrong about the dislocation, but small business will take nearly all of the hit. The stock market will hold up, because the major publicly-traded corporations will feed on the carcasses of the small-business sector. Corporate restaurant chains will buy up every eating establishment. In other areas of retail and services, "Software eats everything" will become "Amazon, Google, and Apple eat everyone." 3. I am not wrong at all, in which case you ought to load up on put options on the S&P 500 and, while you're at it, pick up some inflation-indexed bonds. [Arnold Kling]
  • The banks in San Francisco (and even banks "back home" in St. Louis and New York) were getting in constant jams because of fractional reserve banking. One thing I hadn't realized is that San Francisco business conditions were levered to the amount of gold coming in from the mines, and the amount of gold mined was, in the short run, a function of rainfall. (Water being used to separate the gold from dirt.) In the long run, of course, the gold production decayed steadily as the most easily discovered and extracted deposits were mined. The "Hubbert's Peak" for California gold was in 1852, before Sherman's bank was even set up. [CBS]

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