Thursday, July 27, 2023

Thursday Night Links

  • Exercising approximately half an hour after starting a meal is an effective way to reduce postprandial glucose spikes, with the degree of attenuation increasing with both intensity and duration of exercise. [Milky Eggs
  • But here’s a sobering fact about all the talk of the “electrification of everything”: It isn’t likely to happen. At least, not soon. We can’t go all the way down the electrification road for a host of reasons—nor should we want to. For one thing, it would place unnecessary limitations on other viable solutions to rising greenhouse-gas emissions. It also ignores existing technical, regulatory and strategic constraints on electrification. [WSJ]
  • Consolidated net sales increased primarily due to selling price increases, which impacted sales by a mid-single digit percentage, and mid-single digit volume growth due to higher architectural sales volume in the Paint Stores Group. [SHW]
  • At the bank level, net interest margin for the second quarter was 3.38%, consistent with the first quarter measure of 3.37%. Yield on earning assets increased 29 basis points to 6.11%, while cost of funding increased 45 basis points to 3.05%. "Given historical industry measures of funding costs relative to Fed Funds, and the ease with which depositors can open accounts on their smartphones, we assume that the industry drifts toward commoditization of interest-bearing deposits as rates rise and stay at those levels," said Jim Rieniets, President and CEO of INSBANK. "For these reasons we have historically tried to minimize exposure to long-dated assets and focused on highly efficient operations to sustain earnings as long-term trends will see margin compress, regardless of rate cycles," Rieniets continued. [IBTN]
  • Efficiency gains also contribute to resource abundance. In the late 1950s an aluminum can weighed close to 3 ounces. Today it weighs less than half an ounce. That smaller mass represents considerable environmental, energy and raw-material savings. Market incentives motivated people to search for opportunities or new knowledge to reduce the cost of an input (aluminum) to produce a cheaper output (a Coca-Cola can). Technological improvement drives a continual process whereby we can produce more from less. [WSJ]
  • Exxon believes it can leverage its engineering prowess to become a low-cost domestic supplier of lithium, and has had discussions with battery and EV manufacturers, people familiar with the matter said. The company would also benefit from green-energy subsidies included in the Inflation Reduction Act, which allows for tax credits of 10% of the cost of producing lithium. [WSJ]
  • The player pool is insanely soft. In a previous post, I estimated that there are about 1,500 players who you wouldn’t want to see at your table in a live poker tournament — professionals or others who play at a near-professional level. This year’s Main Event had a record-breaking 10,043 entries. So do the math! The very large majority of the field is recreational players, everyone from the guy/gal who won a local bar or pub or home tournament where first prize was an entry to the Main Event, to the finance bro who dropped $10,000 like it was nothing because he thought it would make for a cool story at the office. [Nate Silver]
  • White walls and roofs are among the requirements that create the unusual aesthetic of Alys Beach, a 158-acre community on the Gulf of Mexico off Scenic Highway 30A. The look has proven popular with home buyers: Over the past several years, demand for homes there has increased and prices have ballooned, according to local real-estate agent Jonathan Spears with Compass. In the first quarter of 2023, the average sale price in Alys Beach was $5.74 million, up about 25% from $4.59 million during the same period of last year, he said. [WSJ]
  • All told, Gagosian has more exhibition space than most museums, and he shuttles among his outposts on his sixty-million-dollar Bombardier Global 7500 private jet. He’s been known to observe, with the satisfaction of Alexander the Great, “The sun never sets on my gallery.” [New Yorker]
  • Tesla years ago began exaggerating its vehicles’ potential driving distance – by rigging their range-estimating software. The company decided about a decade ago, for marketing purposes, to write algorithms for its range meter that would show drivers “rosy” projections for the distance it could travel on a full battery, according to a person familiar with an early design of the software for its in-dash readouts. Then, when the battery fell below 50% of its maximum charge, the algorithm would show drivers more realistic projections for their remaining driving range, this person said. [Reuters]
  • There was a lot of money at stake. Johnson, a Republican megadonor and part owner of the San Francisco Giants, had gotten an appraisal valuing the property at $130 million, a price higher than any publicly reported home sale in the U.S. up to that time, and five times the $26 million he and his wife, Ann, had reportedly paid 14 years earlier to buy and restore what then was a dilapidated property. The plan worked. The IRS granted the foundation tax-exempt status. That allowed the Johnsons to collect more than $38 million in tax savings from the estate over five years, confidential tax records show. But the Johnsons never opened Carolands to the public for 40 hours a week. [Pro Publica]

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