Friday, June 19, 2020

Friday Night Links

  • DHS created DACA during the Obama administration without any statutory authorization and without going through the requisite rulemaking process. As a result, the program was unlawful from its inception. The majority does not even attempt to explain why a court has the authority to scrutinize an agency's policy reasons for rescinding an unlawful program under the arbitrary and capricious microscope. The decision to countermand an unlawful agency action is clearly reasonable. So long as the agency's determination of illegality is sound, our review should be at an end. [SCOTUS]
  • At the outset of the pandemic, public officials declared that the only way to prevent the spread of the virus was for everyone to stay home and away from each other. They ordered citizens to cease all public activities to the maximum possible extent—even the right to assemble to worship or to protest. But circumstances have changed. In recent weeks, officials have not only tolerated protests—they have encouraged them as necessary and important expressions of outrage over abuses of government power. For people of faith demoralized by coercive shutdown policies, that raises a question: If officials are now exempting protesters, how can they justify continuing to restrict worshippers? The answer is that they can't. Government does not have carte blanche, even in a pandemic, to pick and choose which First Amendment rights are "open" and which remain "closed." [5th Cir]
  • One of the very few persons who had the guts to openly criticize Wirecard was Dan McCrumm, who via FTAlphaville published some critical articles who were very well researched. If I am not mistaken, the earliest articles were published in 2015 before more substantial coverage came in in 2018 and 2019. In typical fashion, Wirecard reacted in suing McCrumm and managed taht even the German regulator BAFIN to go after McCrumm as a market "manipulator". Nothing came out of this other that an official short selling ban for a period of time. Interestingly again, no one from BAFIn or the Police actually bothered to look at Wirecard itself. Personally, the FT for me gained "hero status" to not back down despite the massive effort to discredit them. [Value and Opportunity]
  • There's a capital allocation problem in every company run by agents, but there's some reason to believe that the oil and gas industry is especially bad.  There are a total of 1,042 public companies in the Oil & Gas Exploration & Production industry (GICS:10102020). There are 429 with market capitalization between $5 million and $250 million. Of those, only 72 have positive retained earnings. Just under 17 percent.  Glenn Chan has figured out how oil and gas managements work. Read his posts: How would a sociopath fleece investors in oil and gas? and Why would anybody want to invest in independent oil and gas? [CBS]
  • I've written in the past about low carb, which I think is the way to go. But some people claim to have good weight loss results (though not necessarily good health results overall) with diets that aren't low carb, or are even high carb - such as eating only potatoes. If this works, even just for some people, a good explanation of the mechanism is that monotonous diets are also effective for weight loss. [CBS]
  • All societies have the ability to embrace mass delusions that simply aren't true - we have efficient market hypothesis and warmism among others that are too dangerous to mention - but China seems worst because of the absence of unfettered channels of communication. He does meet one man who admits to being a bit more perceptive, an English speaking teacher at his college. [CBS]
  • The "planned birth" (abortion/infanticide) policy is not the eugenic master plan that we have been led to believe. Rural Chinese, Mongolians, and other minorities are allowed to have 2+ children and the urban Han Chinese are limited to one. If you're not too proud to do business with people who execute babies, shouldn't you at least worry about how they'll steward your investments? The government continues to sabotage economic progress by failing to create a system of private land ownership. Anyone who predicts that China is going to become an economic rival to the west is showing their Marxist colors by believing that economic progress can be imposed from the top down without a system of price signals between private owners. The country is incredibly corrupt. From the horse's mouth: "You know how China is: toushui loushui - stolen taxes and leaked taxes." Something naive western investors don't realize about these corrupt countries is that you have two choices: you either comply with the laws and pay the taxes that your competitors don't, making you the highest cost producer, or you pay the bribes and cheat, in which case you are corrupt and can be blackmailed. [CBS]
  • Don't just take our word for it - do your own research. Call the LICOA executives listed below and ask whether they put minority shareholders' interests first when making decisions. The company told State of Alabama insurance examination staff that they hired Rosalie F. Renfrow Causey because her "presence insures continuity in further company management by the Daugette family." How does this serve the interests of shareholders who are not Daugette family members? Can we trust that when management decides who to hire or whether or not to sell the company they put shareholders' interests first, as they are legally required to do? [LICOA Shareholders]
  • This week shareholders in Scheid Vineyards received the annual report in their email inbox. They've had a few rough years, but this year was a wallop to the gut for shareholders. Initially I was going to break down their results in a Twitter thread, but decided a blog update was more appropriate. [Oddball Stocks]
  • By 120,000 miles (approx 8 years), pretty much everything on my 1998 discovery 1 that could break, broke. Switches, the metal in the wires corroded into green jelly, both head gaskets, backfiring, transfer case frozen, cruise control, cd changer, death wobble up the yin yang. Doors not opening / latching, AC broken.. By comparison my dad's 2007 FJ cruiser has 150k, and he just had to take it in for a slight vibration on the highway.... Other than that just brakes, oil and other consumables... [Kinja]
  • Stop giving money or time to any Woke-supporting group. Stop supporting Woke universities or businesses. Stop watching Netflix and the NFL. Just stop. Starve them to the greatest extent possible. And push to defund any such groups that receive public funds. Just as importantly, support any ally that has started his own platform or business to compete with such organizations. Donate to them. Spread the word about them. Write good reviews about them. Such support is easy to do and pays dividends. [American Thinker]


Stagflationary Mark said...

If this works, even just for some people, a good explanation of the mechanism is that monotonous diets are also effective for weight loss.

I think that has a lot of merit.

1. If Costco has sales on a variety of different foods all on the same shopping trip, that’s just asking for trouble. The most dangerous period is right after I get home from the trip. That’s especially true if I bought a variety of foods that I’ve never eaten before. It also doesn’t help matters if I’ve loaded up on a variety of free samples (appetizers) while shopping there.

2. I like making a particular simple soup. I’ve made it many, many times. It’s chicken broth, chicken, carrots, french cut green beans, dried chopped onions, rice, poultry seasoning, and black pepper. There’s a lot of volume but not many calories (not much chicken or rice). If not for the excessive salt (which I love) restricting how much I should eat, I would definitely lose weight eating nothing but that everyday.

I’ve been trying to lose weight. At age 55, it’s not been easy. The pandemic isn’t helping. I’ve lost 7 pounds since April. Saw an interesting trick. I put one 16oz bottled water in a crate every time I lose a pound (or more accurately, when my 7-day moving average loses a pound). The crate sits near the fridge. It reminds me how much weight I’ve lost. I don’t ever want to take a bottle back out. Seems to be working, at least so far. Very motivating. Just lift the crate and ask myself if I really want it back around my waist. Um, no! ;)

And if that isn’t enough, I just ordered a bicycle online. It’s back ordered. Won’t be here until early August due to everyone and their dog wanting a bicycle right now. But when it gets here, that should help too. My feet could really use a break. I’ve been walking a lot (averaging about 7 miles per day since April).

CP said...

From my Q1 book reviews

The Boring Diet (5/5) Emphasizes grabbing the low hanging fruit of improving diet: avoid sugar in all its forms (soda, juice, candy) and err on the side of feeding the body boring but nutritious foods when it claims that it is hungry. Successful without being dogmatic (i.e. "keto" "paleo" etc), the method is consistent with the hypotheses of Stephan Guyenet; essentially that too much food variety and palatability are key contributors to obesity. As S.G. says, "the most seductive foods are combinations of dopamine-releasing nutrients, especially carbohydrate + fat. Sugar alone is tasty, but sugar + fat is delightful." From the book: "Pick one breakfast and stick to it. Breakfast, because it is not typically a social meal, is your one opportunity to hit 100 percent adherence to the program, and it sets the tone for the rest of the day. The more you treat meals like a menu instead of boring nutrition, the less effective the neurocognitive retraining will be." As readers probably know, I am an egg maximalist - very bearish on breakfast cereals and sugary yogurts. Warren Buffett still lives in a world of breakfast cereal, and his food investments will probably end up getting crushed - not that they are that big of a proportion of Berkshire's assets. (More by @whsource: "Froot Loops play a special role in The Hungry Brain. They're the food that suggested to researcher Anthony Sclafani in the 1970s that human palatable foods might be a particularly effective way to fatten rats.")

Stagflationary Mark said...

The “Wondrous” Diet

1. Thanksgiving dinner is always filled with a variety of highly palatable foods that most people don’t often eat.
2. Spent the day after one such Thanksgiving in the emergency room having my gallbladder removed.

No joke. It was certainly an adventure but I do not recommend it. ;)

So, yeah. I think the Boring Diet has merit.

On the one hand, it seems kind of sad to seek out boring nutrition. On the other hand, it seems more sad to go through life feeling weighed down. Literally.

whydibuy said...

I agree with the woke action.
There has to be a penalty invoked. A price has to be paid to try these woke stunts. Otherwise the woke crowd will just get bolder and bolder.
It seems hard though. So many cucks still watch the NFL even though the group would piss in their mouths if given the chance. These cucks just have no discipline to push back and the wokes count on it.

Anonymous said...

"We're *living* the Great Filter as we speak. Who'd have thought it was composed of things like BLM and AOC? Nature is always cleverer than we can anticipate."

Mapping Earth as a graph with continents as nodes and connections as edges from a human migration perspective Earth looks like this: Africa - Eurasia -- Americas -- Oceania.

Spaceflight capable intelligence is almost certainly not going to develop on the continent of origin; intelligence is an adaptation that has to give fitness returns in exchange for the biological cost of larger brains and slower time to maturity.

On the continent of origin everything there is evolutionarily linked - all in an arms race. The intelligent species wants to eat everything to turn it into biomass and the microscopic parasites want to crack that single species' immune system to convert that biomass.

Result? Equilibrium - strong selective filter on the immune system, strong filter to mix it up with lots of children with slightly different immune systems to beat the parasites. On the other hand, can't beat the animals who you're unintentionally breeding to be wise to your tricks. You can stick in that state until the star engulfs the planet.

Contrast with what happens when the species moves to an open continent with seasonal variation. Everyone is familiar with the "cold winters" hypothesis of intelligence and it's almost certainly true to some extent (neanderthals did have larger brains ~1410 cm^3) - that's definitive proof of selective pressure.

Ok, so go back to that graph - this species moves out of the continent of origin to the one continent it's linked to, spreads out across it, discovers lots of animals with generations of selection for things that aren't "can survive human predation".

Result? Rapid conversion of biomass from large herbivores to humans - mass extinctions of large animals of all kinds. Uh oh. That's a lot of biomass of humans that don't have their prior food source. What's the next step?

Speculation but probably a huge die off in humans as fewer bands survived - those that branched off earlier and started doing weird stuff like controlling the breeding of prey animals and protecting them as you use them to convert all the uneaten vegetation to milk and meat.

Now another race is on because that tribe over on the next hill might be successfully protecting sheep from wolves but the men of your tribe are more clever than wolves. Homō hominī lupus est.

Why stop at taking the sheep though? Why not take the women too? The "total Y chromosome replacement event" stage begins.

By the nature of humans evolution for conflict isn't evolving bigger claws or teeth or thicker hide; it's evolving the ability for men to cooperate more successfully in a war band.

More successfully than what? The men you're raiding. They're under the same pressure. Bam! The most powerful evolutionary force has been unleashed - the arms race. In this case the arms race is for cooperation.

Anonymous said...

Eventually the land gets filled to capacity of herders. Next step? You can pack in people more densely if you switch to agriculture so that's what happens.

Agriculture -> cities which are only really possible because of the breeding for cooperation that took place in the earlier steps.

Now the selective pressure is different again; selecting for intelligence again, selecting for enough docility to avoid being enough of a danger to others that your genetic line ends via execution, enough cooperation that your city doesn't fall too cohesive raiders.

That was another big step; cooperate enough with a wide enough group of men that you can produce wealth to produce weapons for armies that are equipped with increasingly sophisticated arms and armor.

Without going into the more recent steps, this process seems to have bred in the weakness that has allowed what is basically social cancer to grow - cancer in that individual cells are prospering while killing the host.

Touching on one point from earlier though. The nodes that are connected via an edge from the second continent are subject to the same broad forces as the Eurasian continent but the process starts many 1000s of years later. Re-introduction has entirely predictable results.

Counterfactual speculation - if the graph doesn't have more nodes away from the Eurasian node does the cancer spread? You could make a case that it doesn't - that the evolutionary arms race forces are too strong, constantly pushing to a new local maximum.

So maybe the filter is: Life, etc. needs isolated continents. Can't have isolated continents that branch off only edge of the origin continent

Who knows what the probability of development like that is? Time to start studying exoplanet-plate tectonics.