10 Weekend Reads

Good Saturday morning. Pour yourself a hot mug of Kenya AA coffee‎, and enjoy our longer form weekend reads:

• Deconstructing ShadowStats. Why is it so Loved by its Followers but Scorned by Economists? (EconoMonitor)
• How tech billionaires are using money and data to solve for death (Washington Post)
• The Secret Sauce: How Buffalo Wild Wings Turned the Sports Bar Into a $1.5 Billion Juggernaut (Bloomberg)
• How Athletes Get Great: Just train for 10,000 hours, right? Not quite. Top-shelf athletic performance may be a more complicated formula than we’ve recently come to believe. (Outside)
• Satirized for Your Consumption (The Baffler)
• How a bee sting saved my life: poison as medicine (Mosaic)
• Inside the Kremlin’s hall of mirrors: Fake news stories. Doctored photographs. Staged TV clips. Armies of paid trolls. Has Putin’s Russia developed a new kind of information warfare – fought in the ‘psychosphere’ rather than on the battlefield? Or is it all just a giant bluff? (The Guardian)
• The Pentagon’s $10-billion bet gone bad (LA Times)
• How To Be Alone: Musicians Confront Solitude (NPR)
• The True Story of Pretty Woman’s Original Dark Ending (Vanity Fair)

Be sure to check out this week’s Masters in Business podcast with Rick Ferri of Portfolio Solutions.


Why the CA Drought Will Be Worse Than Everybody Thinks

Source: MarketWatch

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. ilsm commented on Apr 11

    The star wars boondoggle is $10B a year since 1983 wasted.

    Space based X Band Radar (SBX) can see a softball 3000 miles away. But what they don’t say it is “looking through a straw” that takes a long time to “see” the softball after it took a long time , of hit or miss to find it. It also does not make sense to try a bigger array to “fix” aegis, that is put it on bigger ships.

    SBX is one of $350B worth of fallacies in star wars.

    Complex kill chains far above the competence of waste to solve.

    • VennData commented on Apr 11

      As First Husband, Bill won’t be looking to triangulate, but for a more hour-glass-shaped approach.

  2. hue commented on Apr 11

    BS reports:

    Brian Glazer, opie and richie cunningham’s partner http://es.pn/1CFREgO

    NBA gambler Haralabos Voulgaris, he watches and bets on NBA games for work, imagine what he does for fun. harabob got a programmer, he’s also big data http://es.pn/1FKScX3 the spurs the beautiful game (youtube http://bit.ly/1O2m9ny) football has peaked, kinda like 2001 for the nasdaq

  3. Jojo commented on Apr 11

    Pesticides Probably More Harmful Than Previously Thought, Scientist Group Warns
    APRIL 8, 2015

    PARIS — An influential European scientific body said on Wednesday that a group of pesticides believed to contribute to mass deaths of honeybees is probably more damaging to ecosystems than previously thought and questioned whether the substances had a place in sustainable agriculture.

    The finding could have repercussions on both sides of the Atlantic for the companies that produce the chemicals, which are known as neonicotinoids because of their chemical similarity to nicotine. Global sales of the chemicals reach into the billions of dollars.

    The European Commission in 2013 banned the use of three neonicotinoids — clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam — on flowering plants after a separate body, the European Food Safety Authority, found that exposure to the chemicals created “high acute risks” to bees.

    But the chemicals continue to be employed on an industrial scale in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing their use after President Obama last year established a national Pollinator Health Task Force amid concerns about so-called colony collapse disorder, a not fully understood phenomenon that has devastated commercial apiaries.


  4. Jojo commented on Apr 11

    Nature is so fascinating! Hit the link to view the video.
    Hermit Crabs Line Up By Size to Exchange Shells
    By Carl Engelking | March 9, 2015 1:08 pm

    Anyone with an older brother or sister knows that clothes “shopping” often meant begrudgingly sifting through hand-me-downs rather than perusing the latest fashions at the mall.

    But for hermit crabs, the hand-me-down system isn’t second-best, it’s a matter of life and death. And as a new clip from the BBC show Life Story shows, the swapping process is remarkably orderly.
    Constantly Renovating

    Hermit crabs need shells: without them, the critters will bake under the sun’s punishing rays, if they aren’t eaten first. The problem is hermit crabs are continually outgrowing their shells and the local real estate market is incredibly competitive. So when a spacious new shell washes up on shore, there’s a big to-do.


  5. VennData commented on Apr 11

    Re ShadowStats. That’s like asking why heroin is loved by its users and hated by the rest of non-pushing society.

    Of course the Drug Enforcement Agency loves it. Gives them something to do.

    Back to Shadowstats. The info is uninvestable. Useless and has cost rightwing nuts a fortune, so it’s all good

  6. CD4P commented on Apr 11

    The American male doesn’t look too good in this documentary. For example, the guy at the 30:44 mark wearing his finest t-shirt, “Bubbe Gump Athletic Dept.”, while on a trip to presumably meet his future spouse (the producer could’ve filmed him in finer dress at a different time…)

    That said, I admire the courage (to be filmed) of the guy (named Tony) who likes rap and attended the Motley Crue concert, Tony aka “Special Forces of the Dating Service” (14:33 mark of the video). Then there’s the guy (think he’s from South Africa…) at the 20:00 mark who admits to telling women he lost his whole family in a recent accident to gain their affections and sympathies…

    And to think the women are motivated to gut it out at the bar scene meet & greet by a *special prize* raffle if they stick around until the end (as opposed to running for the hills!!!) I’m surprised the United Nations hasn’t condemned the “clothes pins” removal exercise…

    Buried at the 25:09 mark is the local feminist viewpoint. Gal knocks it out of the park.


  7. rd commented on Apr 12

    Re: Shadowstats and CPI

    I think all of these economists are missing something fundamental at the micro-economic scale. Retailers have a certain amount of floor space and they need to sell a certain dollar amount per square foot. Manufacturers need to ship their goods and so they need to sell a certain value per truckload. They also need to package their goods (permanent cases, shipping boxes etc.) which will have a somewhat fixed cost.

    So a new technology (PCs, plasma/LCD TVs etc.) can have a very high entry price point for early adopters but have to quickly approach the price of the object they are replacing before they can sell large quantities to consumers. As things get to commodity level, the basic costs of manufacturing permanent cases, shipping, and retail floor and shelf space start to dominate the actual prices for the good. That is why you almost never see old models of something being sold for low prices. Instead, they are phased out and the next improvement replaces it at the same price point (NEW! and Improved!). The same thing happens in cars where a modern car is nothing at all what was available in 1981 but the prices (adjusted for inflation) look familiar.

    So the price of these types of goods largely rises with the cost of retail space and shipping. Improvements in technology and fuel efficiency means that retailers have fewer people and lower fuel usage, so inflation in wages and energy don’t get fully passed on to consumers. As a result, the actual CPI that consumers see if more complex over multi-decade periods than shown by either BLS or Shadowstats.

    Cost of housing is difficult to evaluate because people buy and rent bigger homes that people can afford because of lowering interest rates. They are also much more energy-efficient which reduces that cost. University/college tuition and healthcare seem to be the two biggies that have been inexorably climbing at more than CPI for long periods, mainly because of the distorting effects of student loans and employer-paid healthcare protecting the consumer from immediate cost impacts – but they are causing subtle, major impacts on consumer debt loads and declining disposable income due to slow wage rises..

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