A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: December, 2017

Read — 2017/12/23

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Rural Kansas fights to save grocery shops“, by Tracy Moran (OZY). Food deserts are real, and they have a real (detrimental) effect.
  2. The insane true story of how ‘Titanic’ got made“, by Sarah Marshall (BuzzFeed). “Level 3 crush pandemic” sounds about right.
  3. 19 people whose handwriting is so good it might actually calm you down“, by Keven Smith (BuzzFeed). Wow. As advertised, so good.

Read — 2017/12/22

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The SEC’s crackdown on cryptocurrencies is about to get serious, former chairman says“, by Michael Sheetz (CNBC).

And a recipe for the holidays (I tried these, and attest that they are delightful!):

  1. Chewy ginger molasses cookies“, by Ali (Gimme Some Oven).

Read — 2017/12/21

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Big hedge funds want in on bitcoin“, by Gregory Zuckerman (Wall Street Journal).
  2. Venezuela’s brutal crime crackdown: executions, machetes, and 8,292 dead“, by Juan Forero & Maolis Castro (Wall Street Journal). W.T.F.
  3. China’s Didi cashes up to go global in next stage of Uber battle” (Bloomberg).
  4. LaVar Ball plans to start league for high school graduates“, by Darren Rovell (ESPN). Face it, America: We bemoan violations on “living wages” and “tax evasion”, but we’ve happily let higher education turn into the worst violators of workers’ rights and tax law in all of history. American universities run their own sports leagues without paying their athletes, run their own hedge funds without paying taxes,… WAKE UP!!!
  5. Wedding plus-one etiquette: rules for bringing a date to weddings“, by Marissa Miller & Jamie Lincoln (Vogue).
  6. From blackboard to bedside: high-dimensional geometry is transforming the MRI industry“, by David Donoho (American Mathematical Society).
  7. My father André Weil“, by Sylvie Weil (American Mathematical Society).
  8. So you think you want to upgrade your compact digital camera“, by Dan Wallach. NOTE: Article from 2011. Dr. Wallach is a professor of computer science and electrical and computer engineering at Rice University, focusing on computer systems and cybersecurity. He is also a “serious amateur” photographer.

Investing — 2017/12/20

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. A handful of tech stocks have absolutely crushed FANG this year (SQ, BABA, NVDA, AAPL, FB, AMZN, NFLX, GOOGL)“, by Seth Archer (Business Insider).
  2. What you should know about Tencent“, by Liang Zhao (Seeking Alpha).

Read — 2017/12/20

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Are your taxes going down or up?” (Wall Street Journal). A “closer look” at the effect of the U.S. tax reform on various groups. While it’s good to know how legislation affects you, let’s not get caught up in the effect on “our” group, remembering to consider the grand effect of a law on our community and society more generally.
  2. Glow in the dark sharks: new species discovered in Hawaii — and it glows“, by Lauren Smith (The Guardian). Arguably way cooler than sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads.
  3. The Soviet era’s deadliest scientist is regaining popularity in Russia“, by Sam Kean (The Atlantic). A sobering reminder to each of us not to let political allegiances control our judgment.

Read — 2017/12/19

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. What needs to happen before electric cars take over the world“, by Jack Ewing (NY Times).
  2. Chasing the next bitcoin, investors shell out $700 million for coins with ‘no purpose’“, by Paul Vigna & Peter Rudegeair (Wall Street Journal). What exactly are investors (or speculators) paying for when they buy cryptocurrency? The answer depends on the currency, but for a general answer (and an accessible explanation of the technology underlying cryptocurrency), check out this 26-minute YouTube video by 3Blue1Brown.
  3. The bitcoin boom: in code we trust“, by Tim Wu (NY Times). When humans and human institutions fail, it’s time to put our trust in machines. (But who makes the machines?)

Plus, several intriguing articles in the 2017 Christmas double issue of The Economist.

Read — 2017/12/18

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. The future of grocery shopping has arrived in China“, by Karen Hao (Quartz). Unmanned stores are a cool development. But let’s be careful not to conflate “the future” with “machines” and reduced interpersonal interaction.
  2. The Pentagon’s secret search for UFOs“, by Bryan Bender (Politico).
  3. Uh, so the Pentagon spent $22 million on a mysterious UFO analysis program“, by Tom McCay (Gizmodo).
  4. Warren and Sanders: Who is Congress really serving?“, by Elizabeth Warren & Bernie Sanders (NY Times). Let me venture the following: In a representative democracy, politicians are elected to represent and to serve their constituents. Power resides in the people, and the people know it. In America today, politicians are career specialists, who ultimately serve themselves and their personal career interests. Power resides in the politicians, and the people vote for one politician or another in the hope that the politician will solve their problems. Fools! Do you not see that the power is yours?

Science — 2017/12/16

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. When intuition overrides reason“, by Gilbert Chen (Science).
  2. Too much alike to be receptive“, by Sacha Vignieri (Science). A recent study suggests that animals — at least horses — have inherent biases against mates too much like oneself.

Read — 2017/12/16

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Will they take me, too?“, by Brooke Jarvis (New York Times). Safe havens for the children of undocumented immigrants in the U.S., one person at a time.
  2. Rocket men: the team building North Korea’s nuclear missile“, by Choe Sang-Hun, Motoko Rich, Natalie Reneau, & Audrey Carlsen (New York Times). The pageantry and power of North Korea’s nuclear progress.
  3. What’s next after the repeal of net neutrality“, by Cecilia Kang (New York Times).
  4. What may happen to the internet in America“, by G.E. (The Economist).
  5. The final G.O.P. tax bill is a recipe for even more inequality“, by John Cassidy (The New Yorker).
  6. Estonia, the digital republic“, by Nathan Heller (The New Yorker). Two insights in this article:

    whoever offered the most ubiquitous and secure platform would run the country’s digital future

    I asked Kaevats what he saw when he looked at the U.S. Two things, he said. First, a technical mess. Data architecture was too centralized. Citizens didn’t control their own data; it was sold, instead, by brokers. Basic security was lax… The U.S. had backward notions of protection, he said, and the result was a bigger problem: a systemic loss of community and trust.

A good distinction:

A cool word (and word history!):

And a few cool gadgets (Warning: This site tries to sell you stuff!):

Read — 2017/12/15

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Disney’s acquisition of Fox could change streaming forever“, by Angela Watercutter (Wired).
  2. A Christmastime tax cut for some, a lump of coal for others“, by Richard Rubin (Wall Street Journal).
  3. FCC votes to dismantle net-neutrality rules“, by John D. McKinnon (Wall Street Journal).