Monday, July 06, 2020

Nassim Nicholas Taleb

"In your prayers substitute 'protect us from evil' with 'protect us from those who improve things for a salary.'" - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

So true.

It also reminds one of Ronald Reagan's famous quote, "The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Farnam Street Knowledge

- Why You Feel at Home in a Crisis

- The Work Required to Have an Opinion

- Strategy vs. Tactics: Why the Difference Matters. "In order to do anything meaningful, you have to know where you are going."

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Looking back at JAWS perhaps the most unbelievable thing in the movie today would be the opening - people drinking and having a good time at the beach while having a bonfire. I mean that clearly requires an immediate suspension of disbelief in today's America... Cool "Impostor Syndrome" anecdote from Neil Gaiman... Prediction - would not be surprised if Mitt Romney is asked to host SNL prior to the November elections just to take some gratuitous shots at President Trump... "Eloquence is logic on fire." - Lyman Beecher... Heh Heh - a little mask humor... "We've noticed you're using an ad blocker" - translation: the script we run in the background has been identified and foiled. Can you please turn your ad blocker off because we promise we are up to mostly good. Trust us!... The FCC formally names Huawei as a national security risk yet Twitter allows them to promote themselves as someone "You might like" - WTF Twitter? What happened did the Taliban's check not clear?... "I, and I alone, am responsible for everything I think and feel." - Naval Ravikant. A very powerful quote to ponder. Literally could be life-changing...

Peter Thiel

"Even a Marxist thinks that you have to first get the capitalists to do things before you can redistribute stuff." 

- Peter Thiel

Friday, July 03, 2020

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Interesting look at how the Space Force command will be organized.

- This is very disturbing. Communist China is evil.

Cornell is opening for in-person classrooms in the fall because the data shows that online classes actually result in higher infection rates. I was saying that since March!

- Nortel was once a huge technology company - then it was hacked by China. I remember when Cisco, Nortel and Lucent were the dominant tech equipment companies. "Don't trust China. China is asshole!"

- Treatment with Hydroxychloroquine cut death rate significantly in COVID-19 patients

Naval Knowledge

Two essays from 4-years ago that in hindsight were prescient and help explain our political climate heading into the 2020 Presidential Election.

American Spring

American Fall

Charlie Munger's Iron Law

I have what I call an iron prescription that helps me keep sane when I naturally drift toward preferring one ideology over another. And that is I say “I’m not entitled to have an opinion on this subject unless I can state the arguments against my position better than the people do who are supporting it. I think that only when I reach that stage am I qualified to speak.” 

Thursday, July 02, 2020

Farnam Street Knowledge

- Coordination Problems: What It Takes to Change the World

- Five Percent Better: The Compounding of Consistent Incremental Progress

- The Map is Not the Territory

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The last time an Ivy League student won the Heisman Trophy was Princeton's Dick Kazmaier in 1951. Maybe sometime in the future we'll have a trivia question about the last time an Ivy Leaguer was elected President... This was cute... I have a good feeling that this year may finally be the year that People Magazine names me "Sexiest Man Alive." I've got my fingers crossed... It would be funny if it weren't so true... On a recent Joe Rogan podcast with Jocko Willink the suggestion was raised that police should all be at least purple belts in Jiu Jitsu. That way they would know proper choke holds and have the experience of being choked out themselves (so they know how it feels). I really like this idea. I believe Joe gave original credit for the idea to Andrew Yang...  This is hopeful - URI engineering professor helping ALS patients use their brains to communicate. Nice to read some good news for a change - isn't it? And Doug Sawyer should be an inspiration for us all. (Hat tip Liberty Man)...

Charge of the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment

Col. Joshua Chamberlain at Little Roundtop at Gettysburg 157-years ago today. Gives me chills - every time. 

Give It a Try

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Interesting - Climate advocate: "I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare." Can't help but think that Michael Crichton predicted this in his State of Fear close to 16-years ago.

- Here's why the "Russian Bounties" story is the new "Russian Collusion" hoax. A pox on the NYT and anyone associated with them.

- FCC formally designates Huawei and ZTE as national security threats. Good!

- Without firing a shot, China has killed Hong Kong

- Napping and weekend catchup sleep do not fully compensate for high rates of sleep debt. Getting a good night's sleep should be everyone's top priority if you want to be healthy.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

You are not supposed to be allowed to yell "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater but didn't the New York Times just do that with that anonymous "Russian bounties" story? At the very least they should be forced to reveal their source (if one actually exists)... Sugar Bear was the Post Super Sugar Crisp mascot who spoke just like Bing Crosby. Kids today don't know Bing Crosby, Sugar Bear or Sugar Crisp. Man I'm old... Seriously upset by the NYT and their apparently bogus Russian bounties story. As far as I'm concerned if you support the NYT you no longer can seriously claim you also support the troops... The penis makes it extra funny... My mind works differently than most but I actually think Leviticus would be a good name for a gay bar... Perhaps the best argument I've seen yet for wearing a mask...

Linky Links

Stuff I found interesting or amusing and thought I'd share.

- Sunlight inactives the Wuhan virus. Yet elected morons will close beaches, parks and golf course.

The Situation Today

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Carl Reiner

Entertainment and comedy giant Rob Reiner has passed aged 98.

Alan Sepinwall - Carl Reiner: Exit Laughing

Ken Levine on Carl Reiner

The Hollywood Reporter on a life of accomplishment lived with humor and humility

Cam Newton

A number of people have asked me what I think about the Patriots signing Cam Newton. The truth is - I'm not sure. Yes I wanted to see what Jarrett Stidham could do as New England's starting QB but then again "In Bill We Trust."

This is a very low risk move by Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Newton is reportedly signed to a veteran's minimum contract. If he works out then the Patriots have cap space next year to re-sign the QB. If not then if Newton has to be cut and released, for whatever reason, there will be little roster or cap impact.

You wonder will Cam be able to pick up the Pats offense in such a short time-frame? In comparison Tom Brady has had a couple of months now to get to know Tampa's offense. Also, unlike Brady, Newton has some physical issues namely shoulder and foot injuries from which he's returning. Nobody is 100% sure how game-shape healthy Newton really is.

Bill Belichick likes competition at all positions if possible. Now he has a legitimate competition at the QB position. Josh McDaniels can feel comfortable designing an offense that highlights the skills of both Stidham and Newton. It will be interesting to watch the competition unfold.

Just hope Cam Newton is not still a vegan.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

"What can be added to the happiness of the man who is in health, who is out of debt, and has a clear conscience." - Adam Smith... Heh Heh... I'm really hoping that the "woke-police" come for Yale - trying to insist the school change it's name. But in the back of my head I keep thinking this could be the most elaborate MIT prank ever... "When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love." - Marcus Aurelius... Really don't see how The Washington Post thought that this was a good rebuttal to President Trump's claim... Almost Soft would be a good name for a line of discount toilet paper... "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete." R. Buckminster Fuller... No doubt in my mind that if were left to an Internet poll then Yale University would be re-named as Discount Harvard. All those rich Crimson alums would make that happen...

Remembering Gettysburg

One hundred and fifty-seven years ago to this very day Confederate forces under the command of General Robert E. Lee were massed on one side of a small Pennsylvania town called Gettysburg while Union forces under newly appointed General George Meade were amassed on the other side of the small town. Over the next three days these forces were to fight arguably the most important battle in the history of the United States. Yet today you will hear very little mentioned of the battle in either the newspapers or on TV. 

Why was this the most important battle in the history of the United States? 

General Lee had come North out of Virginia to find the Army of the Potomac and to beat it in open battle. If he was able to accomplish this – then Confederate President Jefferson Davis was to give Abraham Lincoln an offer of peace. 

If Lincoln accepted this offer of peace then the country would have forevermore been divided into two nations. If Lincoln refused the offer of peace (which he would have) – then chances are that Lincoln would have lost his bid for re-election to the Presidency. His opponent General McClellan would have accepted the peace plan if elected and again – the nation would forevermore have been divided. 

Think of the implications: 

· How much longer would slavery had survived? Would it still exist today? 

· Would a Spanish Mexico and an English Canada have taken over what are now the Western States? 

· Would Nazi Germany been stoppable in WWII without a “united” United States? 

· Would Communism have been defeated without a “united” United States? 

Luckily we did not have to find out because Jeb Stuart did not return in time to inform General Lee of the Union’s strength; because General Heth ignored Lee’s order to not engage the enemy on the first day; because General Ewell lost his nerve and did not attack and take the high ground when he had the chance and because Colonel Joshua Chamberlain and the 20th Maine made their heroic stand on Little Round Top. 

The North won the battle and went on to win the war. For that we are thankful. 

Months later after the battle, on November 19, 1863, a somber President Lincoln made the following speech: 
Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war. . .testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated. . . can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate. . .we cannot consecrate. . . we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us. . .that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion. . . that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom. . . and that government of the people. . .by the people. . .for the people. . . shall not perish from the earth.
Now it’s a 157 years later and you would be hard pressed to find mention of the battle anywhere. Funny – Lincoln thought we would remember the battle and forget his speech but the opposite has occurred. 

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The United States has always been a forward-looking nation. We tend to dream of the future instead of dwelling on our past. It is one of our strengths. 

Still - we should remember the sacrifice men made today and the next three days 156 years ago to preserve for us the great Nation we have today.