Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Thanksgiving Eve Links

  • Let’s look at a few bank management teams who respect investor capital and deserve thanks this holiday season, vs. a few burning the turkey. [Colarion]
  • The community of institutional investors who focus on bank stocks has struggled this year. Many bank stock investors focus on small-cap banks with less liquidity. We observed forced selling by this group of investors from March to September as these funds had to raise cash to meet investor redemptions. In talking with other bank investors, there is consensus that bank stocks are cheap, but everyone is already fully invested. This community is looking for new capital to put to work. [Gator Capital]
  • In terms of numbers, beetles are the most successful creatures on earth: about 350,000 species of beetles have been described since 1758. They range from tiny to gigantic, occupy sundry habitats, and eat everything. [Inordinate Fondness]
  • Participants were randomised to receive daily 60 000 IU of cholecalciferol (oral nano-liquid droplets) for 7 days with therapeutic target 25(OH)D>50 ng/ml (intervention group) or placebo (control group). [BMJ]
  • I’ve talked about the tenancy and eviction statutes in MA before. After going though six months to a year or more of struggle to evict a tenant while maintaining all the utilities and other service obligations (trash/recycling/snow removal), paying for lawyers, paying for Constables, paying for Sheriffs, and paying to store the evicted tenant’s belongings, I know of several people who simply gave up and decided never to to rent their available space again, or renovate it and seek more upscale tenants who have spotlessly clean criminal background checks and credit ratings. In MA you are less a “landlord” and “property owner” than you are a “provider of housing” under the law. Once you hand over the keys and sign the lease, the tenant takes “legal possession” of the dwelling with a “right to quiet enjoyment” and the only person who can return legal possession to the property owner and order an eviction is a judge. P.S.: This concern becomes particularly acute for a landlord if a minor child is involved. Housing court judges can be extremely reluctant to order the eviction of a delinquent tenant when there are one or more children involved. In cases that I know of personally, the soon-to-be deadbeat tenant knows this and uses the child as a shield against eviction. Move in, pay three or four months, stop paying rent, and then ride out the rest of the year or more for free while the landlord pays and jumps through the hoops. Once you’ve been on that rollercoaster once, do you don’t want to risk it again, so you decide: “No Children!” [Phil G]
  • There’re a bunch of useful qualities in founders, but I’ve narrowed it down to the 3 most important. The most important quality is determination. There’s got to be at least one founder who's super determined. I've seen so many smart and talented people fail because they couldn't stick with it when things got tough. Startups are really hard and take a really long time. There has to be at least one founder who's just a tower of strength. Part of being determined is being able to withstand rejection. People will think your idea is lame, customers won't be interested, investors will say no, reporters won't care. And they might not be polite about it either. But you can't let rejection discourage you. This is really hard for a lot of people. [Jessica Livingston]
  • The Aztek was noted for its styling, which was instantly controversial. Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive critic and syndicated columnist Dan Neil, in naming it one of the 50 worst cars of all time, said the Aztek "violate(d) one of the principal rules of car design: we like cars that look like us. With its multiple eyes and supernumerary nostrils, the Aztek looks deformed and scary, something that dogs bark at and cathedrals employ to ring bells. The shame is, under all that ugliness, there was a useful, competent crossover. [Wiki]
  • What is fascinating to me is that these tobacco stocks seem cheap at the same time that nicotine is making a huge comeback. Nicotine is a drug that, like ethanol and caffeine, has stood the test of time. Does society crave it now after having cut back so sharply? Maybe people will resume consuming nicotine at very high rates, but in a different form.  It is a concern that MO paid such a high valuation for its stake in Juul. On the other hand Facebook paid what seemed like high prices for two investments to defend its monopoly - and it worked. [CBS]
  • Remarkably, despite New York’s lofty number 1 rank, legislation was recently introduced in Albany to hike the state cigarette tax by another $1.89, to $6.24 per pack. If adopted, our model indicates that the state’s smuggling rate would leap to almost 61% of the market and cigarette tax revenue would actually decline by 15% as a result of increased tax avoidance and evasion. [Mackinac]
  • It often happens that of the forces in action in a system some vary as one power and some as another, of the masses, distances, or other magnitudes involved... the strength of an iron girder obviously varies with the cross-section of its members, and each cross-section varies as the square of a linear dimension; but the weight of the whole structure varies as the cube of its linear dimensions. It follows at once that, if we build two bridges geometrically similar, the larger is the weaker of the two, and is so in the ratio of their linear dimensions. [CBS]
  • Powell thought that only a tiny proportion of western lands - closest to water sources - were suitable for agriculture. He proposed to irrigate as much as could be irrigated economically, and to redraw the western states' boundaries based on their watersheds. His proposed map is great but would never appeal to people who like straight lines. For those lands that couldn't be irrigated economically, he thought that they should either be "conserved" or grazed with cattle. [CBS]

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