Monday, August 31, 2020

Physics Joke


Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

There's no election for the Governor in Massachusetts this November (next election in 2022) but if there were I think President Trump would receive more votes than Governor Charlie Baker. Many are unhappy with Baker's handling of the shutdown... Learned a new word yesterday "Akrasia." It is a Greek word that translates to "weakness of will" but in practice means to know what should be done but still not doing it. I like that... "Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, or makes you happy." - Robert Tew... Cool - an epithelial cell as seen through a powerful microscope... Part of me wonders if Mark Cuban has been so out front in the "Black Lives Matter" and social justice push in part as a way to clean away all those #MeToo complaints that the Dallas Mavericks operated a toxic environment.  Is it cynical to think this is a bit like Harvey Weinstein saying he would double his efforts against the NRA?... Interesting look at Tesla's unique business model and why it is so key to the success of the company... 

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Linky Links

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

- More information and details on Neuralink and the road ahead.

- Heh Heh

- How the HawkEye 360 is busting Iranian oil smuggling

- Blows my mind that the NBA is willing to burn down their credibility over Jacob Blake. If Blake did what he's accused of to a sister or daughter of an NBA player they'd want to kill him with their bare hands.

- Wow

Quotes for Today

Here are some random quotes that I hope resonate with you.

"...if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future." - Winston Churchill

"All middle-class citizens of education have a common belief that the tendencies towards centralization and paternalism must be halted and reversed." - Dwight Eisenhower July 1949

"Never confuse education with intelligence, you can have a PhD and still be an idiot." - Richard Feynman

"A heuristic on whether you have control of your life: can you take naps?" - Nassim Taleb

"If someone despises me. That's their problem." - Marcus Aurelius 

"Little man whip a big man every time if the little man's in the right and keeps a' comin'." - Motto of the Texas Rangers 

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Not for nothing but under Dana White the UFC has become the most inclusive sport on the planet. Athletes of all colors from various nations are on almost every fight card. There's openly gay fighters and its treated as no big deal. And it is not unusual for women fighters to be the main event. Name another sport that's more inclusive... This is me on an average Sunday morning... Reportedly only 20% of NBA players are registered voters. Even if you bump that number up to account for foreign players who cannot vote in US elections, less than 50% of NBA players are registered to vote. That makes all of their "get out the vote" efforts ring a little hollow - doesn't it?... 5 ways to help independent bookstores during the lockdown... The word "gullet" doesn't get used enough. "Shut your gullet." "He keeps shoveling food down his gullet." Etc... If Mark Cuban really was supportive of racial equality in this country he'd forego his white privilege and sell the Dallas Mavericks to a black owner. Sorry but if Cuban really wants to go by the woke playbook those are the rules... 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Linky Links

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

- The India-China Rivalry: Towards a Two-Front War in the Himalayas

- First or second chair?

- Holy Shit! Chadwick Boseman has passed away aged just 43-years old. This was a shock. He died after a long battle with colon cancer. And he died on Jack Kirby's birthday.

- I'm surprised this scenario hasn't happened already

- Richard Grenell on how to remake the US foreign service and embassies for the modern world. Agree 100%.

- This is why we should just re-open the entire country. And make a combo of hydroxychloroquine and zinc available over the counter.

- Elon Musk unveils Neuralink in live demo. Game changer!

Sports and Social Justice

 Is the NBA and other pro sports leagues:

A: A competitive sport

B: Big business

C: Entertainment

I would fall into the category of A - the NBA and the other pro sports leagues should be first and foremost competitive sports. You play to win the game. The goal of the season is to make the playoffs and for successful franchises the real goal is to win championships. Many want to be naive and believe this is still true but for many sports is also a refuge from the stress and troubles of the real world. That's what makes it so appealing. Rich or poor, black or white, Republican or Democrat, we could all agree on at least pulling for our hometown team. Now that appeal is being flushed down the toilet for politics.

And yes it is politics - not social justice. When the NBA explicitly allows you to have "Black Lives Matter" and other approved social justice messages but not "All Lives Matter" or "Blue Lives Matter" to be printed on official NBA jerseys and gear. And if the argument is that "All Lives Matter" or "Blue Lives Matter" means you're missing the point of young black men and women being killed at the hands of the police then why is "Free Hong Kong" also banned by the NBA? Do yellow lives not matter? Because if that's what you're saying - guess what - you've just become the racist in this argument. It is also not lost on most that the majority of these deaths at the hands of the police seem to be happening in cities that have been run by Democrats for decades yet the outrage is being focused at a Republican President.

If you answered option B that the NBA and other pro sports are big business it would be tough for me to argue with you. I've both accepted and approve of players going to where they get the best deals in free agency. I also understand that the demand for tickets means higher prices. I don't like it but I understand. But I wonder if the NBA understands that attending their games is now beyond the financial reach of most middle class families and especially of black families. Now owners like Mark Cuban seem bent on driving away a large section of the population that can afford to attend games because of politics. I'm lucky in that I can afford to attend games and usually attend a few Celtics, Bruins, Red Sox and Patriots games a year but outside of my annual trip to Miami for the Patriots away game - I'm probably now staying away from the other venues for the foreseeable future.

I truly believe "Go Woke Go Broke" is a real thing in the business world. Just ask the CEO of Goodyear. The NBA is also now going to have to fully embrace all that being woke entails which includes zero tolerance for any domestic violence and completely cutting ties to the Chinese Communists. To do anything less will open the NBA up to claims of being hypocrites (which they are). It will be a ever downward spiral. They will learn that you can never be woke enough. 

If you answered option C that the NBA and other pro sports are entertainment then there's a long standing saying in show business that "the show must go on!" How would you feel if you bought tickets for Hamilton but instead of doing the show the cast lectured the audience on identity politics? Now that the NBA players have set a precedent of cancelling games due to the death of a black man at the hands of the police - will they also cancel future games any time this happens again (and it will happen again). To not do so would be hypocritical. And if this threat that other future games might be also be cancelled then the appeal of buying tickets to NBA games just becomes even less attractive. Again it's a downward spiral.   

And finally if Donald Trump wins re-election will all pro games be cancelled in protest on November 4th? Because this is all about politics.

Friday, August 28, 2020

A Trip Through McDonaldland

A reminder that everyone was on drugs in the 1970's.

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

"If you want to be a clear thinker, you cannot pay attention to politics. It will destroy your ability to think." - Naval Ravikant... Will be curious to see if mounting financial losses to the NBA from no fans in the stands, rapidly dropping TV ratings, and the curtailing of Chinese blood money force the owners to abandon the money losing WNBA. I can easily see the TV broadcast partners at the least to start refusing to waste airtime on any more WNBA games... Don't care what your politics are - this is funny!... Is there a more cool and heroic verb than the word "Thwart"? Think about it - the context around that word is almost always cool and heroic... ESPN could easily triple the time slot ratings of WNBA games by replacing it with almost any programming - repeats of the last SportsCenter, professional darts, Australian rules football - literally anything... 

Linky Links

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

- An interesting look at the Wuhan Virus data.

- One of my favorite Venn Diagrams

- Jason Whitlock makes a very good argument

- Nebraska football players sue the Big 10. If at the least this lawsuit gets the Big 10 to publicly release how each of the university President's voted on cancelling football - this will be a win. 

- Tesla employee forgoes $1 million payment, works with FBI to thwart cybersecurity attack. This story easily could be made into a movie.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

I'm Not Going to Argue with Dana White (especially not face to face)

Sturgis and Covid-19

It's now been almost 3-weeks since the start of the Sturgis bike rally. If there had been a massive "super-spreader" Covid-19 outbreak don't you think that would have been major news by now? Is this a dog that doesn't bark?

The best CNN can do is: Experts feared the Sturgus Motorcycle Rally could be a superspreading event. More than 70 coronavirus cases are already linked to it. OMG! More than 70 cases out of more than 500,000 people who attended the rally? Why that's an infection rate of 0.00014 - quick shut down the country! 

I've had enough of the fear-mongering.

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

NBA players and team officials echo "Enough is enough" as they cancel playoff games in protest. Many NBA fans agree but they aren't referring to the same thing. Many fans have had enough and could now care less if the NBA just went ahead and cancelled the rest of the playoffs. Let them eat cake... Not generally a fan of movie remakes but I think I'd enjoy a modern version of The Thin Man with Craig Kilborn playing Nick Charles but really playing a thinly veiled version of himself. He could play a character who marries a mystery writer who finds himself involved in a real-life murder-mystery. A welcome return to snappy dialog and on screen martini drinking... Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?... Also not a fan of police civil asset forfeitures but I would be in cases of any ships or planes found to be smuggling fentanyl. Seize the entire ship/plane and all cargo onboard including any non-related products. Make it a clear shot across the bow of any company doing business with China (the largest producer of fentanyl)... The argument could be made that Canada is trying to interfere with our Presidential election by scheduling NHL playoffs during our political conventions... 



Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Linky Links

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

- Space Junk happens to be a pet concern of mine and this article is perhaps the best I've seen at describing the problem and what is being done to mitigate it.

The Google Career Certificate program looks like a viable alternative to college for many.

- Heh Heh

- Victor Davis Hanson describes the sad and scary State of California

- James Altucher with his response to Jerry Seinfeld - Altucher is right! NYC is in very serious danger. But here's the thing - to most outsiders (like me) many of the issues plaguing NYC are self-inflicted so sympathy is almost non-existent. 

- Company claims it can use nuclear waste to make batteries that can go 28,000 years without charging.

- Speaking of California - Governor Newsom assures Californians that wildfires are "mostly peaceful"

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

One underappreciated thing about James Altucher's New York City is Dead Forever article and Jerry Seinfeld's response is Altucher reached a larger audience by first publishing online via LinkedIn while Seinfeld reached a smaller audience in the traditional old media of the New York Times. Old media's influence is waning...  4 life-threatening unintended consequences of the lockdown. A few years ago there was a epidemic of unintended overdoses but my guess is many cases from this rash of overdoses are perhaps not so unintended. The shutting down of AA and other 12-step program meetings is also a big contributor to this and to the increase in domestic violence. A 5th unintended consequence are the deaths associated with hospitals shutting down to pretty pretty much everything except COVID-19 related illness... There's many reasons why NBA's ratings are in the tank this year (including China and politics) but one potential reason that's hasn't gotten much attention is for many the NBA remains the third favorite sport behind football (NFL and college) and baseball. Some of those who aren't bothered by China or the social messaging simply are watching MLB games instead... About one in every 4 million lobsters is born with a rare genetic defect that turns it blue. One in every 30 million is yellow. About one in every 100 million is born a Rock Lobster... 

Tommy Heinsohn

Happy 86th birthday to a true New England treasure - Mr. Tommy Heinsohn!

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

When California eventually reopens many people will have trouble getting to work now that Uber and Lyft have been forced to cease operations in the State. It will be interesting to see what effects this will have. Will more people buy cars of their own? Will traffic get worse? Will people just move out of state in frustration?... "Rupcy" is such an under utilized suffix. Everyone understands "bankruptcy" which is the state of being completely lacking in money. I think the words "Whiskeyruptcy" and "brownieruptcy" among others should get more play in everyday vernacular... "I have no idea what the Democratic Party stands for because they won't tell you." - Herschel Walker. He has a point... The word "hemorrhagic" is perhaps the nastiest adjective of all. Precede any word with it and that word automatically becomes nasty. For example hemorrhagic pancakes, hemorrhagic nipples, etc... "Character - the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life - is the source from which self-respect springs." - Joan Didion... 

Linky Links

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

- The TV industry will never recover from the coronavirus. Not sure if it's correct to imply the implosion of the TV industry is related to the Wuhan virus. The same dynamics that decimated the newspaper and magazine industries just took a while longer to get to TV.

- Professor says coronavirus not as deadly as thought. "I am concerned people have become overly frightened and throughout this pandemic, the fear instilled in people has been a real problem."

- Heh Heh

- Fibonacci is truly one of the most unheralded heroes of Western Civilization

- Suicides rise sharply in US between 200-2018 especially in rural areas. And this doesn't even take into account the even bigger spike due to the lockdown. I bet more high school age kids and college kids will have died from suicide these past six months than all the deaths from Covid-19 in those age groups. 

The Liberation of the Ritz Bar

I'm a big fan of Ernest Hemingway and if you were to mention to me the liberation of Paris in WWII (August 25, 1944) - the first thing I would think of is Hemingway "liberating" the bar at the Ritz Hotel that very same day.

Today is the 76th anniversary of that day. I was curious - so I Googled "Hemingway liberate Ritz bar" and I came across this article from the San Francisco Chronicle.

The article is an interesting read - chock full of anecdotes about Hemingway and his "liberation" of the Ritz bar. However, the paragraph that really caught my attention was this:
The renowned author annoyed his colleagues in the working press. They were both awed by his fame and furious that he was playing soldier, in violation of all the standing rules about correspondents staying out of the war, even though the reporters were very much a part of the war effort.
I have no trouble picturing Hemingway having a bit of a mid-life crisis (he was 45 at the time) and playing soldier would have been his equivalent of buying a new Corvette. What struck me as odd was the description of the "working press" who in their own way "were very much a part of the war effort".

Can you imagine today's press being described that way? No the American press could not be described as part of the war effort today. The press today serves their own self interests and not the public good. Stories are slanted to match a certain bias and agendas are almost completely transparent (even though the press likes to crow about being a neutral purveyor of the simple truth - yeah as long as "the truth" matches the agenda). I wonder how the Hemingway of 1944 would view the press of today.

I'm pretty sure I know the answer.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Many have noted that Trump's Impeachment was not even mentioned at the DNC last week. This should be bigger news as the Democrats and the media played up the Impeachment for weeks. Is this a tacit admission that the whole thing was a sham? In the past people would feel shame for pulling something like that... Donate Bloob... The average death age in the US is 78 which also happens to be the average death age from the Wuhan virus. At this point I'd like to see not just the number of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths from Covid-19 but also the year over year death numbers. My suspicion is that 2020 has a higher death rate but only because suicides and overdoses are way up during the lockdown...  "Some people ask you a question with their eyes begging you to not tell them the truth." - Nassim Taleb... I wonder who owns that Antifa truck in Portland and how their insurance company is going to react if they try to file a claim for damage...  

Quotes for Today

Here are some random quotes that I hope resonate with you.

"Science is interesting. If you don't agree, you can fuck off." - Professor Richard Dawkins

"Birds born in a cage think flying is an illness." - Alejandro Jodorowsky

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

"I think in life you should work on yourself until the day you die." - Serena Williams

"A man who has committed a mistake and doesn't correct it, is committing another mistake." - Confucius

Farnam Street Knowledge

- Habits vs Goals: A Look at the Benefits of a Systemic Approach to Life

- The Observer Effect: Seeing is Changing

- Second-Order Thinking: What Smart People Use to outperform

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Linky Links

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

- Artificial Intelligence defeats human Lockheed F-16 pilot in virtual dogfight.

- Victor Davis Hanson: A sort of good-bye to Germany? I agree 100% with the US troop withdrawal from Germany. 

- Is Daily Fantasy Sports gambling? The IRS now says "Yes"

- That's some hot coffee

- Like this Machiavelli quote.

Top 5 List - Reasons Kayne May Win Vermont

 Kayne West has gotten on a number of official State ballots for the November Presidential election, including the State of Vermont. Here's my Top 5 reasons why Kayne may actually win Vermont.

1. White guilt is palpable in Vermont. The State is just under 95% white and Vermonters are well aware of that. Maine has similar demographics but Mainers don't care.

2. Many in the State feel hometown hero Bernie Sanders was robbed of the Presidential ticket top spot by the Democratic Party machine twice now. Kayne West could be a protest vote for them.

3. Orange Man Bad - Black Man Good

4. Vermont has an aging population and many of them know the clear signs of someone being mentally diminished. So between Joe Biden, Donald Trump and Kayne West - Kayne may appear as the most sane choice on the ballot.

5. Black Lives matter!

There's less than 700,000 people in the entire state so a victory in Vermont by Kayne might not be that far-fetched. I'd even be willing to bet money on it (of course I'd need at least 100-1 odds).

We May Be Getting Very Close to Flying Cars


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Linky Links

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

- Storing energy in red bricks. Common red bricks. Just "50 bricks would enable powering emergency lighting for five hours." Still trying to wrap my head around this.

- Sweden's disease expert says just wearing masks could be "very dangerous."

- Funny because there could be a grain of truth to it!

- Also funny because there could be a grain of truth to it!

- A college kid's fake AI generated blog becomes one of the most popular on the web. This is a little scary when you think of the potential ramifications and uses. I was amused by him choosing a "blog category that doesn't require vigorous logic: productivity and self-help."

- Fantastic Roger Moore story. He was such a gentleman.

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Just a reminder - there is no vaccine for stupidity... Swear I saw a couple of Tesla's on the road today and I kept thinking about how clean the cars looked. Then later in the day I saw this Tweet... There seems to be a whole generation of people who have forgotten or never knew what "Going Postal" means... Swear to God! What does Daniel Theis of the Celtics have to do to get just one, seriously just one call go his way? Make his "social message" on his jersey "REF Lives Matter"?... "I did not intend to get rich. I just wanted to get independent." - Charlie Munger... Heh Heh... Lady Bukowski would be a great name for a lesbian bar cover band... "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek." - Joseph Campbell... 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Heh Heh


Teenage Stepdad Mystery! Queef Malone will be my new go to fake name from now on.

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I believe in spooky action at a distance - as long as that distance is a Planck length (or less)... "Develop into a lifelong self-learner through voracious reading; cultivate curiosity and strive to become a little wiser every day." - Charlie Munger... Who knew? There's a sequel to Wonder Woman scheduled for release in less than a month and a half. Wonder Woman 1984 is scheduled for release on October 2nd. I haven't seen one ad or anything for this movie... You may have missed this but the Orchids of Asia case against Robert Kraft has been dismissed by the appeals court. I know Mr. Kraft probably just wants to let this quietly end but part of me wants him to go after the police involved with a massive lawsuit. Not only was this a violation of the Fourth Amendment but the police planted the cameras illegally (using a fake bomb scare) and they smeared his good name saying this was a human trafficking case (no human trafficking charges were ever filed). I support the police but these cops are just creeps who abused their power to get their jollies... Mounting evidence that lockdowns do not work. "The data suggests that lockdowns have not prevented any deaths from COVID-19." I do not know a single person who would be in support of another lockdown...  

Farnam Street Knowledge


- Niccolo Machiavelli and the four Princes of Pragmatism

- The Buffett Formula: Going to Bed Smarter than When You Woke Up

- Warren Buffet: The Three Things I Look for in a Person

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Artist Inserts Bill Murray into Famous Paintings

Linky Links

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

- Wow - the Obamas like Joe Biden but just not enough to donate any money to his campaign.

- The argument against more Federal stimulus spending. I've always felt that Federal stimulus funds are wildly inefficient.

- Interesting - Ohio State is leading the charge to have football this fall with other Big 10 colleges no matter what the league says.

- In a related story the University of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns are all cleared to play football. Ohio State (the best pro team in Ohio) is trying to join those still playing.  

- Ryan Holiday on 10 books that will blow your mind. Sadly I've only read one of the books on the list.

- San Francisco is racing NYC to see which city can have the biggest implosion.  

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Just saying but back in March the media was reporting that "experts" predicted up to 2.2 million COVID-19 deaths in the US. So only 150,000-170,000 deaths should be celebrated by the same media as a success - right?... "The Spartans do not ask how many are the enemy, but where are they." - Plutarch... So the last person to leave California doesn't have to bother to turn out the lights - the government already took care of that with rolling blackouts... Saw the headline "Red Sox Could be Sellers at Trade Deadline" - made me laugh (as if there were any other option for the team this season)... "If it's endurable, then endure it. Stop complaining." - Marcus Aurelius... I'm an awful person for thinking this but I'd love to hear some reporter ask Joe Biden the question, "Mr. Vice President you've been in politics for a long time, do you have any remembrances of your interactions with Idi Amin?" Just to hear the rambling bizarre response that you know would ensue... 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Linky Links

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

- Why Uber and Lyft are about to shut down operations in California. Hope the rest of the country is paying attention to what the meddling in businesses by legislators can do. And I hope they learn from it.

- The Press that Cried Wolf. Another fine article by Matt Taibbi.

- This house is really cool! But $2 million is a little steep a price to pay for the novelty.

- Interesting (but long) read on the Biden-Obama relationship.

- Will the future of humanity be in space caves? And will Space Spelunker be a future sub-genre of astronaut?

- This helps explain why the "expert modelers" got the data on the Wuhan virus so wrong. Be sure to stick around for the Bill Gates vaccine punchline at the end.

- Funny but sadly also possibly true!

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

I would argue that the unraveling of NYC actually started prior to the pandemic. I'd argue that AOC and her political ilk chasing away Amazon and their 25,000 jobs was actually the beginning of the end... Likewise the demise of NBA TV ratings didn't start with ridiculous "social message" jerseys or putting "Black Lives Matter" on the court - it's something that has been unraveling for years. Going to an NBA game also hasn't been affordable for an average American family for some time. Is it any surprise that many feel little interest in watching something on TV that they can't afford to see in person? That partly explains the declining ratings but now owners like Mark Cuban seem intent on chasing away the 50% of the country that votes Republican. There's a reckoning coming for NBA ratings... All Aboard Heaven's Choo Choo... I'm still surprised nobody has come out with a Tickle-Me Michael Jackson doll. That would be one of the top gag gifts of all-time... 

Farnam Street Knowledge


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

You'd have to pay me big money to watch the DNC's virtual convention but I am curious if either immigration or gun control gets mentioned. Those were two of the top issues when the primaries began just a year ago. Remember "open borders" and Beto O'Rourke bragging he was going to take your guns? I wonder what happened?... Prerecorded laugh track still doesn't laugh at Amy Schumer special. Long held the belief that Schumer's first special was only good because Anthony Jeselnik was writing or polishing her jokes... Interesting look at whether college football players could unionize or form a trade association. Disappointed that NIL (name, image and likeness) issues weren't discussed. It seems to me the best path forward would be a trade association that leverages NIL for the benefit of the players. The trade association could insist that players from other schools could not appear together in advertisements only if both players were members of the trade association. Could you imagine how eager a car dealership in Kentucky would be to pay the top recruit from Louisville and the U of Kentucky to appear in a commercial together? Or the QB's at USC and UCLA to appear in a local clothing store advertisement? That's the players' real leverage... Speaking of Beto O'Rourke - I wonder if he was even invited to the DNC... And speaking of college football - interesting article from Pat Forde. I wasn't aware the the vote (or lack thereof) of Big 10 University Presidents was never made public. Pretty sure that's because most University Presidents know that if it became public that they voted to not have football this fall the hate towards them wouldn't stop until that President was out of a job come spring...  

Linky Links

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

- Experts weigh in on how to save NYC post cornavirus. Not mentioned was the first step of getting a new fucking mayor. NYC will never fully recover.

- Victor Davis Hanson with a look back on the first 3.5 years of the Trump Administration

- US,  Poland sign Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement

- The "Lost Colony" of Roanoke was never lost - the settlers just went off to live with the natives on a nearby island. I've been hearing this explanation for a number of years now.

- Maybe there was a major change in the AP Style Book in the intervening years?

- Minnesota Governor reverses course on Hydroxychloroquine ban. The crusade against this drug that has the potential to help millions by the media disgusts me. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Really think Portland should just go ahead and re-name the city New Detroit because that's the fate the public officials have deemed for the city anyway... I support Tuukka Rask's decision to opt out of the NHL playoffs. He has a newborn child and who knows what's happening in his family life. He decided he needed to be at home now and his teammates support his decision. Now the Bruins will have to place their trust in back-up goalie Jaroslav Halak... Matt Taibbi and the 2020 DNC drinking game. Not sure my liver could survive this (and besides I have no plans to watch)... Scariest thing to me about Elon Musk's proposed Neuralink which at some point is supposed to enable non-verbal communication is Larry Miller's admonition, "If women knew what we were really thinking - they would never stop slapping us"...  It will be interesting to watch the Bruins off-season to see if they do try to trade Tuukka Rask. His contract has one more year at $6.5 million left on it... Yesterday would have been Charles Bukowski's 100th birthday. One of my life-goals is to out live him (he died at 75-years old). Here's an explanation of the epitaph "Don't Try" on his gravestone. Interesting guy... 

A Modest Proposal

 Recently I suggested some changes to higher education. One of those suggestions was that any revenue from college sports should be taxable. It occurred to me that another of my long held beliefs could help make that happen. 

That belief is that no non-profit or tax-exempt organizations should be able to pay a top executive or employee more than the salary paid to the President of the United States. That salary is currently $400,000 a year. That means a place like Harvard University that pays its President a salary and compensation of about $1.7 million would lose its tax-exempt status. 

The idea behind tax-exempt status was to promote a public good. Education is a public good but a place like Harvard has for a long time not been about the public good or even education - it's been about the brand of Harvard. If you are a "non-profit" and you can afford to pay your top executives millions you are a big business hiding in plain sight and under a cloak of tax-exempt status. That should end.

How does sports figure into this? In more than half of the States in the US the highest paid public employee is a coach at a State University Usually either a football or basketball coach. Nick Saban's $8.9 million salary to coach football at Alabama is well above that $400,000 salary of the President. Is there a single good reason why the revenue generated by Alabama football remains tax-exempt? I can't think of any. This isn't to pick on Alabama either. I could easily have made John Calipari's $9.3 million salary to coach basketball at the University of Kentucky my example.

The universities most likely would separate out the revenue generating sports programs into affiliated for-profit entities under my proposed change. For-profit businesses have to pay their employees. Suddenly the athletes get paid openly over the table. Pay the minimum wage for every hour spent in practice, working out, traveling or playing for a team. You'd suddenly see many states pushing for higher minimum wages to attract better prospects but that is a discussion for another day.

Anyway - that's my suggestion for the day.

Farnam Street Knowledge

 - The Danger of Comparing Yourself to Others

- Commitment and Consistency Bias

- The Three Buckets of Knowledge

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Now that the Red Sox delayed one of their games because of a drone - how many games will be have to be delayed or cancelled now that MIT students know this and have lots of extra time on their hands this upcoming semester?...  "Dogs bark at what they cannot understand." - Heraclitus... Wait - it's not Batman twerking?... Richard Feynman, one of the top 5 minds of the 20th century, was tested in high school as having an IQ of 125. Goes to show what IQ tests are worth... "The habit of committing far more time to learning and thinking than doing is no accident." - Charlie Munger... Had my first Pumpkin Spice (Shipyard) beer of the year last night. Every year they seem to release them one week earlier than the last...  James Altucher on why NYC will not recover from this. He makes a lot of good point (especially the one on bandwidth) and could have gone into more detail on others (like taxes). People making the argument that this industry or that industry will return to NYC remind me of those who kept believing that auto manufacturing would again boom in Detroit... 

Linky Links

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

- Ryan Holiday - 9 short quotes that changed my life and why

- AMC movie theaters to re-open August 20th with $.15 tickets

- SpaceX Starlink early adopter bandwidth speeds leaked.

- Heh Heh

- Amazing 91-year old gymnast 

- Israel, UAE reach historic peace deal

Things Freud Should Have Said


Friday, August 14, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

The disinterest in sports and the cancellation of a number of college football conferences will have another effect that will have long term repercussions. Many people cling to cable TV mainly for the RSN's (Regional Sports Networks) such as NESN (Red Sox and Bruins), YES (Yankees), The Big 10 Network, etc. Look for the number of people "cutting the cord" to greatly increase in the next six months or so largely due to people not caring about sports or not having access to games to actually watch... Victor David Hanson on Who or What Exactly is Running Against Trump?. The line I really enjoyed was about Kamala Harris "hovering and rummaging about as in impatient President in waiting"... The revenue generated from the RSN subscription fees are largely what have driven the great increase player salaries over the past two decades. Now a lot of that revenue will go POOF. Look for pro contracts in baseball, basketball, and hockey to be for less money and fewer years in the near future... History repeats itself? A hundred years ago the most popular sports in America were baseball, boxing, and horse racing. Football, basketball and hockey were very much niche sports (with college football being much more popular than pro football). Today the UFC is gaining in popularity and has been the most popular TV sport during the pandemic while it could be argued that basketball and hockey are reverting to niche sports... What does Taylor Swift think about the choice of Kamala Harris as VP? How come she hasn't spoken out? What is she trying to hide?... 

Farnam Street Knowledge


- Yes, It's Your Fault: Active vs Passive Mindsets

- The Stormtrooper Problem: Why Thought Diversity Makes Us Better

- How to Think: The Skill You've Never Been Taught. Effective multi-tasking is a myth.

Heh Heh


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Linky Links

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

- A Leftist explains why he's not exactly jazzed by Kamala Harris

- Why the US Army's V Corps moving its HQ to Poland is important

- Execupundit looks at the traits of a Fanatic. If you find that any of these traits describe yourself then it is time for some serious self-evaluation. If they describe any of the people in your circle of friends - it may be time to find new friends.

- So cool - good for him! Also love how the Aussies call them "scratchy tickets."

- Heh Heh - Kamala Harris already vetting VP picks

- NFL considering adding Friday night games. I've long predicted a Saturday night slate of games but I think trying to add Friday night as well would be a mistake in many ways.

The Wrong Enemy vs the Right Enemy


Agree 100% with the above. Hat tip to Russ Roberts.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Long Ships

 Recently finished the book The Long Ships by Frans Bengtsson. I heard about the book as a recommendation author Michael Lewis made on The Tim Ferriss Podcast (also highly recommended). I went out bought the book, read it, and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Perhaps the best way to describe it is if  JRR Tolkien wrote about Viking adventures instead of wizards and elves. Another parallel to Tolkien is that The Long Ships was originally two books about the adventures of Red Orm but was made into one longer book for US audiences. Whereas Tolkien's masterpiece was one book made into three by the publishers.  

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

A good idea for an app would be something that takes your Amazon book Wish List and allows you to compare it to the inventory of any used bookstore you visit to see if they have any of the books you're interested in. Of course the used bookstore would have to have an actual digital inventory of their books which in most cases is not the case... Scrotal Charisma would be a good name for a band... "A fit body, a calm mind, a house full of love. These things cannot be bought - they must be earned." - Naval Ravikant... My guess is that when the NBA's ratings continue to tank you will see the social justice messages disappear on the back of the uniforms and you will suddenly see lots of players doing PSA spots about supporting the police and the military...Heh Heh... How many Boston Bruins fans are calling in sick today?... For everyone excited by the prospect of Kamala Harris debating Mike Pence - they understand that the VP Debate only happens if Joe Biden debates President Trump first right? Team Biden doesn't seem too enthused about that do they?...  

Linky Links

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

Interesting look at the Master Class phenomenon

Excellent point!

New study finds Sweden's refusal to lock down saved the economy without sacrificing lives

How about NO THANK YOU!

Army V Corps HQ to be moved to Poland

California will be paying $1,250 to people who test positive for Covid-19. The people who run California have no idea how incentives work.

This made me laugh

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Top 5 - Football Predictions

 Unlike most football predictions these have nothing to do with who will win what game, end up in the championship or win the Super Bowl. Sports will never be the same again after 2020 and these predictions have to do with those changes.

1. The NFL is bleeding revenue since indications are there will be no or limited fans in the stands this season. To recoup that revenue the NFL will move some games to Saturday night and put that package of games out to bid. (I've been making this prediction since June.)

2. I expect the NFL to have a new Commissioner by Super Bowl LVI and that almost any university that finished in the Top 20 in the polls in the last two-years but who does not play football this fall with have a new University President by the Fall of 2021.

3. A number of teams (both pro and college) will utilize hydroyxchloroquine and zinc as prophylactics this fall and those teams will do much better than the teams that don't.

4. College football teams and conferences who do not play this fall will be at a big disadvantage for years to come in recruiting high school players. Not playing will cost millions not just this season but for a decade to come as top players flock to schools and conferences that decided to play this year. If you're a top high school player in California why would you go to USC if the conference or the State prohibits football this fall? Why not go to a school in Florida, Texas or Georgia that values football the same way that player does? 

5. States that allow football will vote for Republicans in the November election (Texas, Florida, Georgia) while States that vote to shut down sports in the Fall will vote for new leadership (where a choice is available). Some States that are purple right now will end up being solidly Red. Some pundits (looking at you Pat Forde) will try to blame the lack of football on President Trump but those with a grain of common sense will understand that it wasn't Trump who allowed football to be played in Texas but not in California. 

Bonus prediction: the number of people who play fantasy football will be down 30-50% year over year because of the way the NFL handled kneeling during the anthem and because football is no longer that important to people.

I'm a big sports fan (or at least I was) but this weekend I didn't watch a minute of a single game although the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics were all playing. That would have been unfathomable before 2020. Last night I was in a sports bar and it wasn't until the third inning was in progress that someone requested the Red Sox be put on the TV's. There's a big reckoning coming for sports revenue because people have learned that they can live without it.

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Dallas Mavericks owner (does the NBA still use that word?) Mark Cuban recently boasted on Twitter that the NBA's prime time ratings were better than Fox News' Tucker Carlson in the 18-49 demographic by 215%. If you told me a few months ago that Mark Cuban would consider beating a Fox News show in a certain demographic (Tucker Carlson's overall ratings were MUCH better than he NBA's) a "win" then I would have said that things were not going well for the NBA... Happy belated 92nd birthday to NBA legend and Worcester's own Bob Cousy who celebrated the big day on Sunday... "People who are brutally honest generally enjoy the brutality more than the honesty." - Richard Needham... It would be interesting to see a study of who "dosed" more unsuspecting people in the 1960's with LSD - the Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia was notorious for this) or the CIA under project MK Ultra... The word "overmorrow" means the day after tomorrow. What a great word! How come we never use the word overmorrow anymore?... "You must always be willing to work without applause." - Ernest Hemingway... It would be interesting to look back at the comedians, pundits and celebrities who mocked Ronald Reagan for being old and forgetful as he departed office. Joe Biden is basically the same age as Reagan when he left office yet these same people seem to be oddly quiet about this...

Kurt Vonnegut and the Shape of Stories

Monday, August 10, 2020

Linky Links

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

- The Spies Who Hijacked America. Must reading for anyone who has followed Russiagate. More background from Matt Taibbi here.

- SpaceX deserves to be celebrated. Agree 100%! Elon Musk and astronauts Bob Behken and Doug Hurley all deserve to be awarded th Presidential Medal of Freedom for this accomplishment.

- The mechanics of President Trump's Payroll Tax Deferment Memorandum

- Niall Ferguson makes a good point about China and TikTok

- Funny because it is so often true! Consulting Firm Recommends Keeping Consulting Firm on for 6 More Months

- Wow - for every 3 Covid-19 deaths in England, lockdown may have caused an additional 2

- Saying farewell to Pete Hamill

Farnam Street Knowledge


- The Spacing Effect: How to Improve Learning and Maximize Retention

- James Cash Penney and the Golden Rule. Some very good life advice.

- The Ingredients for Innovation

Joe Rogan on the Biggest Mistake People Make

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Jesus' First Miracle

Decades ago it was a Friday afternoon and my fraternity was having a "social" at one of the sororities. There was a problem with their tap to the keg so me and a buddy agreed to walk back to our house to get one of ours.

We filled a red solo cup for the short walk home. When we arrived there were three young men in white dress shirts and solid ties waiting for us.

"Jesus wouldn't be happy with what you are doing" one of them said nodding at our Solo cups full of beer.

"Oh really?" said I. "What was Jesus' first miracle?" The man who had spoken knew he was beat. "That's right" said I. "Now get the fuck off my lawn."

They left without a word. My friend was impressed but puzzled. "What was Jesus' first miracle?" he asked.

"Turning water into wine for a party." We grabbed one of our taps, went back to the party and had a great time.

Have a great Sunday. Drink some beer. Jesus would approve.

Brains! I Mean Masks!

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Two years ago at about this time Tesla stock dropped below $300 a share. Talk about missed opportunities... Travel mugs are basically sippy cups for adults... People with those "coexist" bumper stickers are usually the worst drivers on the road. How about learning to coexist with the other cars on the road then you can make your political statements... Friend left his laptop open and walked away so I added "Author 'Harry Potter and the Cave of Pleasures' Erotic Fan Fiction" to his business email signature. I'm sure he'll notice in a week or two... A reminder of one of the dumber "hot takes" which went along with Tesla's stock dipping below $300 a share. Also a reminder that Tesla will never advertise in Road & Track... Scott Peterson was sentenced to death in 2004 for killing his wife Laci. He's still on death row! Get it over with already! I'm sorry but I can't help but feel that if this fuck dies of natural causes it will be like he got away with it... Just kidding about my friend's laptop (or was I?)... 

Paul Dirac

Born on this day 118-years ago one of the greatest, most underappreciated minds of the 20th century - Paul Dirac.

Here's his bio from the Nobel Prize folks.

He was a man of few words but his math and equations were poetry.

His biography The Strangest Man was a fascinating read if you're a fan of physics.

Here's a link to his 1963 article in Scientific American The Evolution of the Physicist's Picture of Nature.  The article is a (very) long read but conversely it gives you both a succinct history of modern physics and a good taste of the genius of Paul Dirac.

Friday, August 07, 2020

Top 5 - Quotes for Today

No rhyme or reason for picking these quotes - just hope one or or more resonate with you:

"The game of life is the game of everlasting learning. At least it is if you want to win." - Charlie Munger

"God will not have his work made manifest by cowards." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The best place to store food is in the belly of a friend." - African proverb

"The Democratic Party in power is a standing menace to the prosperity of the country." - Republican motto from the 1888 election

"You are 99 years old, you are on your deathbed, and you have a chance to come back to right now: what do you do?" - Christopher Carmichael

Is the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything Actually 137?

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy the answer to the question of "life, the universe, and everything" is given as 42 by Deep Thought.  Douglas Adams may have had a very specific reason for choosing the number 42.

But maybe, just maybe there's a much better number that fits the answer to the big question.

"There are some fundamental constants in nature: the charge on the electron (designated as e), Planck's constant divided by 2 π (designated by h-bar) and the velocity of light (c). From these fundamental constants one can construct a number that has no dimensions: the number h-bar * c / e ^ 2. That number is found by experiment to have the value 137, or something very close to 137. Now, there is no known reason why it should have this value rather than some other number. Various people have put forward ideas about it, but there is no accepted theory." - Paul Dirac.

Thinking of making 137 my new lucky number (and the answer to any question I have no clue about).

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Flotsam and Jetsam

 Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Perhaps the common sense reason that Joe Biden hasn't announced his choice for VP is that Team Biden knows that as soon as the pick is made public that the other candidates who were not chosen will have their knives out to stab the Biden Campaign in the back (using insider knowledge gained during the vetting process). It also could be that the delay is being caused by Team Biden members trying to negotiate positions for themselves with the VP choice because they know that person will be the defacto top of the ticket... After blast, Lebanon may have only a month's grain reserve left. I hope the Trump Administration and the American people are generous in helping feed those affected... "Let all your activity be directed to some object, let it have some end in view." - Seneca... I cut the cord with cable TV over 7-years ago and one of the things I enjoy most about not having cable is not having to be bombarded by political ads incessantly every 4-years...  "Improvement begins when you have the discipline to confront the facts." - Shane Parrish... Feel sorry for any pool hall or bowling alley struggling during the lock-down. Many will never recover from this and have to close forever.. 

Linky Links

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

- Ex-Google engineer Levandowski's jump to Uber ends in prison. "Levendowski's guilty plea, after reaching a deal with prosecutors earlier this year, leaves him a bankrupted convicted felon." This seems to have the making of a good movie script.

- Detailed look at early treatment with hydroxychloroquine. Bottom line the groups treated with hydroxychloroquine had a 79.1% lower chance of death. 

The Day Bill Gates Saved Apple

23-years ago Bill Gates and Microsoft basically saved Apple from going out of business.

Steve Jobs had just come back to Apple Computer (as it was known then) and the company was almost out of cash. Bill Gates not only infused the company with $150 million but he also pledged that Microsoft would supply MacIntosh versions of Microsoft Office for at least 5-years.

This saved Apple from going out of business. The shares Gates received were market price and non-voting stock. Microsoft sold their stake in Apple in 2003 but if they had kept the stock it would be worth about $60 billion today.

Gates probably doesn't mind because he has so much money. And besides the reason he made the investment in Apple in the first place was to ward off Federal anti-trust lawsuits - which the investment in his competitor helped accomplish.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Linky Links

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

- China's failed satellite launch and some implications. This bothered me, "China will sell launch services to just about anyone who can pay, no questions asked." All it would take is one rogue pinball low earth orbit satellite to cause tremendous amounts of damage.

- The Global Environmental Apocalypse Has Been Cancelled. "On behalf of environmentalists everywhere, I would like to formally apologize for the climate scare we created over the last 30 years." 

- This letter makes a lot of good points. And raises a lot of excellent questions that deserve answers.

Flotsam and Jetsam

Miscellaneous thoughts and observations.

Would love to see Charlie Sheen take over the Ellen Show. That would be a train wreck worth tuning into... "We must love them both, those whose opinions we share and those whose opinions we reject." - Thomas Aquinas... Simple solution - the Democrats simply list their nominee for President on all ballots as just J. Biden and if elected Jill Biden (technically J. Biden) takes over the White House and Joe is put into a "home"... Bill DeBlasio threatens to lay off 22,000 city workers if Feds don't give NYC bailout money. Not to be outdone - Andrew Cuomo threatens to house the laid off workers in nursing homes if Feds don't give state bailout money... "Can someone explain to me the technical difference between anarchists and the mentally ill? Is it a branding thing?" - Scott Adams with a couple of excellent questions...