10 Weekend Reads

The weekend is here! Pour yourself a steaming hot mug of Jamaican Blue Mountain, and enjoy our longer form reads:

• China’s Plan for Winning the Currency Wars (Bloomberg View)
• Can hipsters save the world? (The Guardian)
• The crazy, true-life adventures of Norway’s most radical billionaire (Fortune)
• Anatomy of a Hack: A step-by-step account of an overnight digital heist (The Verge) see also Meet the Dogged Researchers Who Try to Unmask Haters Online (MIT Technology Review)
• Can SiriusXM Survive Without Howard Stern? (Bloomberg)
• iSpy: The CIA Campaign to Steal Apple’s Secrets (The Intercept)
• Does Lady Luck exist or do you make your own? (Aeon)
• The Invention That Could End Obesity (Buzzfeed)
• A Letter From Black America: Yes, we fear the police. Here’s why. (Politico)
• Why Your Brain Hates Slowpokes (Nautilus) see also Who’s to blame for the digital time deficit? (Aeon)

Be sure to check out this week’s Masters in Business with Brad Katsuyama of IEX, the RBC trader who ended up being the lead character in Flash Boys.



How do you make money investing in falling stocks?

Source: Bloomberg



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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. theexpertisin commented on Mar 14

    Blacks fear the police. And vice versa.Retreating to the same old, same old stereotypes are not going to resolve this situation going forward.Firther, police need to police and not be just another tax collection and ticket money extortion tool that riles everyone, regardless of race.

    The killing in NYC of a black male that was selling untaxed individual cigs was especially despicable.Arrest stats for non violent crimes is disgraceful. Black on black crime? Time for our bros to step up and look in the mirror for a solution. Police are no help after the fact.

  2. rd commented on Mar 14

    The WSJ is pushing to have the oil export ban lifted. However, I will point out that the ban has been in place for 40 years and during that period of time major oil companies have sold off many of their refineries and closed quite a few (I have gone into quite a few refinery sites that have now been converted to terminals for transferring product). There hasn’t been a new 100,000 bpd refinery built since the 1970s, although there have been some major expansions and upgrades on existing ones.

    So here is an alternative thought for the WSJ to make jobs, lower gasoline prices, and improve the economy: the oil companies that want the ban lifted can build and expand some more refineries instead. That is a First World approach to the problem instead of the Third World resource extraction model the WSJ is pushing.



    • ch commented on Mar 14

      For 40 years, when we needed more oil, we simply printed more dollars and exported them to be he Mideast.

      By framing the debate, the Wall Street Journal is preventing a much more important question from being asked: Why would the U.S. ever export oil for dollars if the U.S. can allegedly print as many as we want?

      There is only one possible answer

  3. rd commented on Mar 14

    Economic disaster looms in China. The country is revamping its environmental laws to crackdown on pollution. This will impinge on the freedom of corporations to dump their waste and pollution on their neighbors. This lack of pollution has been proven to be economically disastrous in the US as states like California and New York with relatively stringent environmental laws are economic basket cases while other states like West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas etc. with business-friendly environmental laws have surging business climates and high household incomes.


    • rd commented on Mar 15

      Silicon Valley is on the problem. We are applying Moore’s Law to vegetables and almonds. Miniaturizing them will reduce their water demand.

      We will be working on applying the same concepts to Californians once we have it working on the vegetables.

      I am raising money for this on Kickstarter now. I figure it should be worth an easy billion as a startup.

    • VennData commented on Mar 14

      “You know what? I’m very focused, and federal issues are not my issue,” he said.

      “…Rauner was planning to take part in a fundraiser for Kirk next week…”

      Raise money for the guy signing the letter, Runer, better get up on the issues or instead of raising money for Do-nothing rubber stamper Kirk, work on Illinois.

    • rd commented on Mar 15

      Actually I don’t mind governors not paying that much attention to foreign affairs. The last thing we need is for the State Department to have to worry about being blind-sided by state governors as well as senators.

  4. Jojo commented on Mar 14

    Tying into the “Ethanol Rip-Off” article posted earlier this week, this article makes the case that the on-going bee colony collapse disorder is caused by genetically engineered CORN seeds treated with neurotoxic pesticides. Getting rid of the corn grown for ethanol might also help save the bees, which are essential to our agriculture.
    Sierra magazine
    Buzz Kill
    As corn yields rise, bees are dying worldwide

    By Patrick J. Kiger
    March/April 2015

    Not that long ago, third-generation commercial beekeeper Jim Doan was a prosperous man. He maintained as many as 5,300 hives on his farm in western New York. In addition to selling honey, he earned a good living renting out the services of his honeybees to pollinate crops such as butternut squash, zucchini, pumpkins, cucumbers, and apples.

    But around 2006, Doan noticed that something was wrong with his bees. Whole colonies were simply disappearing, leaving behind empty hives. And in those colonies that remained in Doan’s hives, the numbers were down, and they weren’t making as much honey. He began losing half of his bees every year–something that he’d never seen in more than 40 years of beekeeping.

    Doan knew that others around the country were having similar problems, and he heard that the cause might be poor beekeeping practices that allowed mite infestations. But testing of his hives showed low mite levels. He looked beyond his property to neighboring farms and realized there could be a different culprit. “There was corn all around my house,” he recalled. “There’s so much corn in western New York. Two golf courses have even been converted to cornfields.”

    It turned out that the stalks near Doan’s farm had come from genetically engineered seeds treated with a class of neurotoxic pesticides called neonicotinoids. Applied to seeds, the pesticide spreads through plants as they grow, attacking the nervous systems of a wide range of pests, from corn rootworm to flea beetles. After they first hit the market in the early 1990s, neonicotinoids–basically, a synthetic form of nicotine that attacks receptors in insects’ nervous systems–were hailed as a breakthrough replacement for previous generations of poisons. They not only worked against a wide array of insects but also could be used in smaller doses, which at least theoretically made them safer to use. Plus, they were much less expensive, allowing farmers to simply buy treated seeds rather than spray pesticides across massive fields.


    • rd commented on Mar 15

      Warnings about these types of issues with GMO crops have been out for quite a while. The impacts on Monarch butterflies have also been significant due to both the toxins and wiping out large swathes of milkweed plants they rely on. The toxin issues were getting reported in the late 90s near the beginning of the GMO revolution.


      The irony is that urban areas are now becoming major safe havens for natural bio-diversity as rural areas become mono-cultures laced with toxins.

      The subsidies for ethanol are idiotic and dangerous. However, the only way to get rid of them is to pass a law that says Iowa and other major corn-producing states can’t be at the beginning of the presidential primary and caucus calendar.

  5. Jojo commented on Mar 14

    From the poor buggy whip, unintended consequences file:
    Will Self-Driving Cars Crash the Insurance Industry?
    By Willie Jones
    Posted 12 Mar 2015

    Insurance companies have been active participants in studies aimed at figuring out how self-driving cars will work in the real world. It makes sense, considering that before robocars take to the world’s roads, insurers must firmly establish who will be held liable in the event of a crash.

    The Guardian reports that insurance companies are looking at the prospect of autonomous vehicles with trepidation. Assessing liability isn’t the problem. Instead some insurers fear that taking wheels out of human hands could make cars too safe, if that’s possible, and cut into their business.

    According to Cincinnati Financial, in its recent annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission “technology innovations such as driverless cars could decrease consumer demand for insurance products.” Two other insurers, Mercury General and the Travelers Companies, also mentioned the deleterious effect that self-driving cars could have on the insurance business.


    • rd commented on Mar 15

      There is always something to insure related to property.

      Self-driving cars will transform society as they will provide a great deal of freedom to the elderly and disabled (while protecting them and the surrounding population). DUI would largely become a non-issue.

  6. intlacct commented on Mar 15

    re: slowness rage: A very old remedy is Buddhism – acknowledging that all life is suffering, suffering comes from desire (lust) and the key is to extinguish desire.

Read this next.

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