A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: January, 2018

Read — 2018/01/31

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Fact check: Trump’s State of the Union address” (NPR).
  2. The mistakes you make in a meeting’s first milliseconds“, by Sue Shellenbarger (Wall Street Journal).

In crypto news:

  1. U.S. regulators subpoena crypto exchange Bitfinex, Tether“, by Matthew Leising (Bloomberg, 2018-01-30).
  2. The Lightning Network could make bitcoin faster — and cheaper“, by Sandra Upson (Wired, 2018-01-19). Exciting idea. In a nutshell, pay once to open a private channel on top of a crypto-asset network, and (!) be able to connect that private channel to other private channels.
  3. Hong Kong to educate public on crypto and ICOs“, by Wolfie Zhao (CoinDesk, 2018-01-30). In theory, an admirable if paternalistic use of public funds and public power. In practice, it sounds like the campaign is the government using people’s funds to remind them they must mind their taxes and regulations.
  4. German regulator orders crypto exchange to halt brokerage business“, by Sujha Sundararajan (CoinDesk, 2018-01-30).
  5. Cryptocurrency scams are just straight-up trolling at this point“, by Louise Matsakis (Wired, 2018-01-30). Disgusting greed.
  6. A debate about bitcoin that was a debate about nothing“, by Erin Griffith (Wired, 2018-01-29). Sad times.
  7. Inside the group chats where people pump and dump cryptocurrency“, by Paris Martineau (The Outline, 2018-01-23). Remember, in most regulated markets in most developed countries, market manipulation is illegal. And even if it weren’t, do you really want to get rich by screwing your neighbor?
  8. South Korea won’t ban crypto trading, says minister“, by Daniel Palmer (CoinDesk, 2018-01-31). South Korea’s Minister of Finance Kim Dong-yeon is quoted as saying “there is no intention to ban or suppress cryptocurrency”.

Bande dessinée

A comic I sketched years ago (and still find amusing).


Read — 2018/01/26

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Kentucky school shooting: 2 students killed, 18 injured“, by Holly Yan, AnneClaire Stapleton, & Paul P. Murphy (CNN). Let’s be direct: Does it take your kid being shot to death to convince you that something drastic has to be done?!
  2. The mass shooter name game misses the point“, by Caren Lissner (OZY).
  3. When #MeToo becomes catch-22“, by Joann S. Lublin (Wall Street Journal). Society needs to be aware of all aspects of this issue.
  4. Yes, lots of people are getting flu symptoms. No, this season isn’t unusual. Here’s why.“, by Donald G. McNeil, Jr. (NY Times). A “bad match” of vaccine to circulating strains is to blame. Surprising (to me) to learn that the CDC estimates that the flu kills 12,000 – 56,000 Americans each year.
  5. Young, seemingly fit Pennsylvania man dies of flu complications“, by David Chang (NBC Philadelphia). Listen to your body.
  6. Price war pressures consumer-goods giants“, by Sharon Terlep (NY Times). Companies cited include Procter & Gamble (PG), Kimberly-Clark (KMB), and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ).
  7. In California, where cancer warnings abound, coffee is next in line“, by Sara Randazzo (Wall Street Journal). The culprit: acrylamide.
  8. Meg Whitman to lead mobile-video startup NewTV“, by Erich Schwartzel (Wall Street Journal).
  9. Review: ‘Mary and the witch’s flower’ chases a girl and her broomstick“, by A.O. Scott (NY Times). A review of the latest film directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi.
  10. When trading in bitcoin, keep the tax man in mind“, by Tara Siegel Barnard (NY Times). Basically, always keep the tax man in mind, for everything.
  11. The programmer at the center of a $100 billion crypto storm“, by Paul Vigna & Jim Oberman (NY Times). Is it a sign of bubble that a (negative) change in the prices reported by an aggregation site may have sparked a massive sell-off? (Answer: Yes.)
  12. Everyone is getting hilariously rich and you’re not“, by Nellie Bowles (NY Times). Scary.
  13. Hedge funds grow wary of cryptocurrency mania“, by Gregor Stuart Hunter & Laurence Fletcher (Wall Street Journal).

Read — 2018/01/18

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Lost luggage? Why airlines can be slow to help“, by Scott McCartney (Wall Street Journal). In short, incentives. The article includes packing tips to help avoid issues and to resolve them when they occur.
  2. North Korea brings pop singer to talks with South“, by Andrew Jeong & Jonathan Cheng (Wall Street Journal).

Read — 2018/01/11

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. No college kid needs a water park to study“, by James V. Koch (NY Times). Agreed. Interestingly, I don’t recall the author once addressing students’ mental health…which they do need to study.
  2. In France, some say #MeToo has gone too far“, by William Horobin & Sam Schechner (Wall Street Journal).

    “Insistent or awkward pickups aren’t a crime…This fever for sending ‘pigs’ to the abattoir [slaughterhouse], far from helping empower women, in reality serves the interests of the enemies of sexual liberation.”

    I don’t agree with the letter (English translation), but I respect its authors for calling attention to an aspect that they must realize will make them unpopular. See also this response by Caroline De Haas, which argues that flirting and harassment is not a difference of degrees but a difference of nature (with this I strongly agree. But how is nature measured? By the solicitor’s testimony? This may not be honest… By the response elicited? This may not be fair…); CNN’s article (CNN); and “French feminists blast Catherine Deneuve & Co over #MeToo slam“, by Nancy Tartaglione (Deadline).

  3. Bigger companies once meant much bigger pay. No more.“, by Theo Francis (Wall Street Journal).

In a separate pen, today’s selection of articles on crypto-assets:

  1. Bitcoin plunges as South Korea crafts cryptocurrency crackdown“, by Eun-Young Jeong & Gregor Stuart Hunter (Wall Street Journal, 2018-01-11).
  2. China quietly orders closing of bitcoin mining operations“, by Chao Deng (Wall Street Journal, 2018-01-11).
  3. It’s only a matter of time before China lifts crypto exchange ban, entrepreneur says“, by Dan Murphy (CNBC, 2018-01-03). To be determined. The entrepreneur is Bobby Lee, CEO of crypto-wallet company BTCC. So he presumably knows the market, but he also has a personal interest in his statement becoming (or at least being viewed) as true.
  4. China’s interference on bitcoin tests currency’s foundation“, by Chao Deng (Wall Street Journal, 2017-09-18).

Read — 2018/01/10

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. If you want to live to be 20, the US is a terrible place to be born“, by Dan Kopf (Quartz).
  2. Silicon Valley reconsiders the iPhone era it created“, by Tripp Mickle (Wall Street Journal). What’s inside the box? Pandora…
  3. Kodak catches crypto fever“, by Erik Holm & Paul Vigna (Wall Street Journal). Eastman Kodak, the latest company to capitalize (literally) on the ICO hype.
  4. Jamie Dimon: I ‘regret’ calling bitcoin a fraud“, by Paul Vigna (Wall Street Journal).
  5. Ethereum cocreator Steven Nerayoff says the cryptocurrency’s value could triple in 2018“, by Chloe Aiello (CNBC).
  6. Some Great Barrier Reef turtle populations produce nothing but females“, by John Timmer (Ars Technica). Another victim of climate extremism: sex ratios in turtle populations.
  7. The psychology of inequality“, by Elizabeth Kolbert (The New Yorker). Kolbert notes that “feeling poor made people more willing to roll the dice”. A possible explanation for lottery participation…and recent cryptomania?

Read — 2018/01/08

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Don’t trust Dow 25,000. The economic cycle is broken“, by James Mackintosh (Wall Street Journal).
  2. Trump’s immigration priorities complicate ‘dreamer’ talks“, by Laura Meckler & Kristina Peterson (Wall Street Journal).
  3. Mark Zuckerberg resolves to ‘fix’ Facebook in 2018“, by Deepa Seetharaman (Wall Street Journal).
  4. Bitcoin is a hit in countries where locals face currency troubles“, by Matina Stevis-Gridneff & Georgi Kantchev (Wall Street Journal).
  5. Video game stars have fans, fortunes — and utterly baffled parents“, by Sarah E. Needleman (Wall Street Journal).
  6. This is the largest known prime number yet“, by Mika McKinnon (Smithsonian).
  7. The shirtless Tongan Olympic flag-bearer is now a cross-country skier“, by Tom Ley (Deadspin).
  8. Keep people safe in New York City emergencies“, by Patricia R. Olsen (NY Times).
  9. Farhad and Mike’s week in tech: another huge security flaw“, by Farhad Manjoo & Mike Isaac (NY Times).
  10. Can an algorithm tell when kids are in danger?“, by Dan Hurley (NY Times).
  11. Jimmie Holland, who cared for cancer patient’s mind, dies at 89“, by Sam Roberts (NY Times).
  12. Is your child lying to you? that’s good“, by Alex Stone (NY Times).

Read — 2018/01/07

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. I was a skeptic of mindfulness…until I tried to make my case“, by Chadwick Matlin (FiveThirtyEight).
  2. How actual smart people talk about themselves“, by James Fallows (The Atlantic). Whoah there, “actual” in the title? That smarts! “[T]he clearest mark of intelligence, even ‘genius,’ is awareness of one’s limits and ignorance.”
  3. Against intellectual monopoly“, by Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine. A book (freely accessible online) that argues against intellectual property.

Read — 2018/01/04

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Why Oklahoma has the most women per capita in prison“, by Elizabeth Winkler (Wall Street Journal).
  2. Iran accuses ‘enemies’ as US seeks emergency UN session“, by Hassan Rouhani (Al Jazeera).
  3. Why unplugging should be your most important resolution for 2018“, by Bridget Read (Vogue).
  4. Dating apps are awful — here’s how to make them work for you“, by Katherine Bindley (Wall Street Journal).
  5. Spotify files to go public through direct listing, cutting out underwriters“, by Maureen Farrell & Anne Steele (Wall Street Journal).
  6. Rush to fix ‘serious’ computer chip flaws” (BBC).
  7. The science behind psychopaths and extreme altruists“, by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee (National Geographic).
  8. Chess’s new best player is a fearless, swashbuckling algorithm“, by Oliver Roeder (Five Thirty Eight). With links to the arXiv paper and the singularity.
  9. Meet the woman risking it all for the perfect shot“, by Adrian Brune (OZY).

Investing — 2018/01/02

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Orders pile up for Tesla semi that doesn’t yet exist as rival electric trucks get rolling“, by Alan Ohnsman (Forbes).
  2. Tesla Model 3 ramp: 5,000 to 10,000“, by ValueAnalyst (Seeking Alpha).