Friday, November 20, 2020

Friday Links

  • Since during the life of the patents 'Shredded Wheat' was the general designation of the patented product, there passed to the public upon the expiration of the patent, not only the right to make the article as it was made during the patent period, but also the right to apply thereto the name by which it had become known. [Kellogg Co. v. National Biscuit Co.]
  • Imagine that Facebook begins with a positive price for both readers and advertisers (PR>0 and PA>0). Readers, however, are likely to be sensitive to the price so a small decrease in price will cause a large increase in readers (very elastic demand). Thus, imagine that Facebook lowers the price to readers and thus increases the number of readers. With more readers, Facebook can charge its advertisers more, so PA increases. Indeed, if the demand for advertisers increases enough, it can even pay Facebook to lower the price to readers to zero! Thus, the key to Facebook’s decision is how many more readers it will get when it lowers the price (the reader elasticity), how much those readers are worth to advertisers (the externality of readers to advertisers) and how high can it increase the price to advertisers (the advertiser elasticity). [MR]
  • Bitcoin believers rely entirely on the idea that bitcoin is limited in supply making it far more attractive than fiat currencies that are being printed like mad by central bankers around the world. However, bitcoin has already hard forked several times, multiplying the number and type of bitcoins in circulation. In fact, if you put together all the hard forks Bitcoin has undergone since it was first created, the number of total bitcoins has actually grown faster than the number of dollars. That’s a fact. [Felder]
  • The hedge fund sports owner hex strikes again. The latest victim: Harbinger Capital Partners’ Philip Falcone. Last week the minority owner of the Minnesota Wild ice hockey team agreed to settle civil charges with regulators, which will result in the Minnesota native winding down his hedge funds. Falcone thus becomes at least the third hedge fund manager in the past few weeks who either owns or has made a bid to buy a professional sports team who has suffered a big setback in his day job. [II]
  • Everything in biology is like this. It’s all exceptions to the rule. But biology, like computing, has a bottom, and the bottom is not abstract. It’s physical. It’s shapes bumping into each other. In fact the great revelation of twentieth-century molecular biology was the coupling of structure to function. An aperiodic crystal that forms paired helices is the natural store of heredity because of its ability to curl up and unwind and double itself with complements. Hemoglobin, the first protein studied in full crystallographic detail, was shown to be an efficient store of energy because of how oxygen atoms snap into its body like Legos, each snap widening the remaining slots, so that it loads itself up practically at a gulp. Most proteins are like this. The ones that drive locomotion twist like little motors; the ones that contract muscles climb and compress each other. Cells, too, are constantly in conversation, and the language they speak is shape. It’s keys entering locks: a protein might straddle the cell membrane, and when a cytokine (that’s a kind of signaling molecule) docks with it, it changes its shape, so that its grip loosens on some other molecule on the interior side of the membrane, as though fumbling a football—that football might be a signal itself, on its way to the nucleus. [James Somers]
  • Molecules that come close to an organelle tend to remain close to it for a while, and brush against it many times. The result of this is that if receptors for a protein p cover even a small fraction of the surface of an organelle, the organelle will be surprisingly efficient at recognizing p. As an example, if only 0.02% of a typical eukaryotic cell’s surface has a receptor for p, the cell will be about half as efficient as if the entire surface were coated with receptors for p. [A Computer Scientist’s Guide to Cell Biology]
  • That the western side of Glacier National Park was dense with bears was clear enough from the maps and signs, and clearer still from the dozen clumps of fresh scat along a nearby trail. My friend saw one just outside the campsite; so did that couple—they said it was massive. They said, too, that they heard another one poking around last night. In fact this place was so conspicuously teeming with bears that in the event of my tragic mauling my family and friends could very sensibly think to themselves, “He was asking for it.” [James Somers]
  • I began to wonder: what’s the relationship between the length of a road trip and the complexity of the route? Do most trips, long or short, require roughly the same number of steps? How many steps are there in the most complex route in the country? What’s the distribution of step counts for every possible route in the contiguous United States? [James Somers]
  • I suggest writing emails to your friends. Writing with an audience in mind makes the writing better, and writing to a friend means you won’t get hung up on how you sound. You’ll become closer, too, to whoever you share your thoughts with, and odds are you’ll draw the same thoughtfulness out of them. Your inbox will become less of a place for coupons and bullshit than for the thoughts of humans you like. Walk around with a pen and a scrap of paper. Write some meaty emails. Engage more intensely with this place. [James Somers]
  • The present study summarizes the data on Cannabis use, caloric intake, and BMI, establishing conclusively that Cannabis use is associated with reduced BMI and obesity rates, despite increased caloric intake. It then provides a theoretical, causative explanation for this paradox. This theory encompasses the causative role in obesity of dietary disruption of the eCB system by an elevated omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio. Cannabis(or THC) results in downregulation of CB1R, leading to reduced sensitivity to AEA and 2-AG, leading to significant health benefits in the context of this diet. [NLM]
  • The President is allowed to use any means that he (and again, he needs no one else) considers necessary. This includes using the armed forces (which enables him to bypass the Posse Comitatus Act) and using the militia (which we’ll discuss in more detail below). The President’s ability to use force isn’t restricted to actual rebellion or insurgency. He can act against merely unlawful combinations and conspiracies. To be clear: If the President decides that a conspiracy has deprived people of a right and believes that authorities fail or refuse to protect the right, he can send in the troops. [Alexander Macris]
  • The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means, shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy, if it so hinders the execution of the laws of that State, and of the United States within the State, that any part or class of its people is deprived of a right, privilege, immunity, or protection named in the Constitution and secured by law, and the constituted authorities of that State are unable, fail, or refuse to protect that right, privilege, or immunity, or to give that protection. [10 U.S. Code § 253]

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