Sunday, August 8, 2021

Sunday Night Links

  • At home on this evening, it was too early for dusk, but smoke from a nearby wildfire dimmed and dulled the summer light. Barry stood at the far end of our deck, double-masked, refusing to step closer to me in case I’d been infected by the niece I’d hugged, the daughter who drove with me, a gas station attendant, the man who took my mother’s burial clothes from me at the mortuary. Barry and I had both agreed that it was too risky for him to go to Idaho, but now that I was back, I was aching to be held, aching to spool out my version of the disorientation one feels after losing a parent. I wanted my husband to ignore the coronavirus rules, this once, but he wasn’t ready to take the chance. [Debra Gwartney
  • Barry Lopez: "This is a land where airplanes track icebergs the size of Cleveland and polar bears fly down out of the stars. It is a region, like the desert, rich with metaphor, with adumbration. In a simple bow from the waist before the nest of the horned lark, you are able to stake your life, again, in what you dream." Trees in the Arctic: "A cross-section of the bole of a Richardson willow no thicker than your finger may reveal 200 annual growth rings... Much of the tundra appears to be treeless when, in many places, it is actually covered with trees - a thick matting of ancient willows and birches. You suddenly realize that you are wandering around on top of a forest." Niche space: "These Tununiarusirmut men... knew beyond a shadow of a doubt what made them happy, what gave them a sense of satisfaction, of wealth. An abundance of animals." [CBS
  • Momentum is intellectually lazy and not a strategy in the same way that seeing people queuing outside a building and deciding to join the end of the line to see what happens is not a strategy. It's also a logical fallacy, "Argument from Authority", with the authority being the crowd and the argument being whatever they happen to be throwing their money at. How many REAL business people form businesses to chase momentum? No, I am not talking about chasing the profits that one believes are available for serving a popular consumer demand, I am talking about chasing the momentum purely of what most other entrepreneurs are perceived to be doing. Are yogurt shops opening all over town? Then you'll open a yogurt shop! (And so will all the potential yogurt consumers.) Are entrepreneurs buying up land and drilling for oil? Then get prospecting! (Etc.) What happens, each and every time? Glut of supply, dearth of demand. Margins are crushed, profit collapses and the momentum chaser is found expired, facedown in a gutter after being stampeded by everyone attempting to flee the soon-to-be ghosttown. Besides, do you even know how to make and sell yogurt, or drill for and market oil? Nevermind... [TC]
  • I have noticed in the last few years that many Paleo Dieters believe that potatoes can be regularly consumed without any adverse health effects. Part of this misinformation seems to stem from writers of blogs and others who are unfamiliar with the scientific literature regarding potatoes. So should we be eating potatoes or not? The short answer is no. The long answer begins with my personal experience and scientific research into the spud. [Loren Cordain]
  • And then over time I slowly fell under the rather special spell of cashmere, of the humanity with which the goats of the “Hyrcus” breed are reared; I was fascinated by the warm hues of brown and grey of the soft and enveloping yarn that can be obtained from their undercoat. I became firmly convinced that a very paramount quality of cashmere, besides its velvety softness, is its ability to last. And the concept of long duration was part of me, of my way of conceiving the world; a very high concept and meaning, namely, and from then on I approached every single creative and productive aspect of the business bearing this in mind. A cashmere garment lasts forever, you never throw it away, you must pass it on to your children, its ability to last is the symbol of its value. [Brunello Cucinelli]
  • After treatment with berberine, there was a significantly greater increase in LVEF, exercise capacity, improvement of the dyspnea–fatigue index, and a decrease of frequency and complexity of VPCs compared with the control group. There was a significant decrease in mortality in the berberine-treated patients during long-term follow-up (7 patients receiving treatment died vs 13 on placebo, p <0.02). [link]
  • The town of Jackson is as busy as it’s ever been, with record visitor numbers already reported in May and June. Coffee shop lines stretch out the door, trailheads fill up before 8 a.m. in Grand Teton National Park, and driving the eight miles from Jackson to Wilson now takes up to 40 minutes instead of the usual 10. But although the town is bustling, local shops and restaurants are being forced to reduce hours or close for the simple reason that they have no one to staff them. [Outside]
  • Two days later, each of us armed with his own bento, as befits two friends on an outing, we met early in the morning in front of the train station in Kokura, ready for our trip to Hiroshima. In a little over an hour and a half, we arrived at the station in Hiroshima, and 10 minutes later we were standing before my first Hibakujumoku. The consul had led me through a magnificent garden—whose name I unfortunately don’t remember—to “meet” three trees that had survived the bomb. I remember them very well: a ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba), a Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii), and a muku (Aphananthe aspera), three very common trees in any classical Japanese garden. [Stefano Mancuso]


Stagflationary Mark said...

Momentum is intellectually lazy and not a strategy in the same way that seeing people queuing outside a building and deciding to join the end of the line to see what happens is not a strategy.

More than 30 years ago, a friend and I showed up to watch a movie. There was a very long line, so we got in it. As we looked to the front, there seemed to be another person who could be selling tickets, but there was no one in that line. I held our space in line as my friend went to investigate. When he made it to the front, he waved for me to come. We then bought our tickets from the second cashier and went inside.

What makes it especially memorable to me is that even as we were buying the tickets, nobody else from the long line came to join us.

I’m also reminded of a Far Side cartoon from about that same time period. Shows cows lined up to be slaughtered. Caption said, “Hey! You! … No cutting in!”

Standing in line is an investment. The longer you stand, the bigger the investment. Doesn’t mean that there will necessarily be a good return on that investment though. Go figure.

CP said...

I see that you bought platinum:

Very interesting that the platinum/gold ratio is near a 30 year low:

The chart above shows the platinum gold ratio from 1880 through 2016. By closely examining the graph, there are a few important observations we can make. For example, the platinum gold ratio has been extremely volatile. Over the past 135 years it has been as low as 0.05 in 1885 and as high as 6.63 in 1968. However, within the last 40 years, the ratio has traded in a far more constrained range, generally hovering between 0.8 and 2.0.

Although it may seem odd to us today, the platinum gold ratio was extremely low in the late 19th century. This was because the relationship between platinum and gold was fundamentally different before the 20th century. Before 1900, platinum was something of a scientific oddity while gold was universally considered money.

Stagflationary Mark said...

The platinum/silver ratio was the one I found hard to resist.

It is just a minor speculation, far less than the precious metals that I held from 2004 to 2006.

It would be interesting for me to know how many holders of one bitcoin, if any, would defect to platinum coins if they were to hold one bitcoin’s worth in their hands. If the answer is none, I have chosen poorly. In any event, the allure of platinum is certainly not lost on me. Gold is rare and dense, but platinum is more rare and more dense. Seems like the poster child for real substance over virtual hype, but maybe that’s just me.

I’m clearly getting older and more cynical. First utilities, then tobacco stocks, and now platinum. Old school thinking in a new age world. I’m fine with that though.

Stagflationary Mark said...

The PPLT to $WTIC ratio:

PPLT holds physical platinum (net expense ratio: 0.6%).

CP said...

Platinum/gold and platinum/silver both near all-time lows: