Saturday, May 27, 2017
....................................in a world generally described as "unfair:"
"....despite appearances to the contrary, there is no evidence that people are bothered by economic inequality itself. Rather, they are bothered by something that is often confounded with inequality: economic unfairness."
-from this paper, Why People Prefer Unequal Societies, as pointed to by Greg Mankiw
The hard way, because it is the only way left, we (the “we are the world” we) may gradually learn that abject dependency upon computer networks was a dumb idea.
-David Warren, from here
............................................................this one was mighty fine:
We all believe that the system of checks and balances is a good idea for a well-functioning and prudent government. But where are the checks and balances in our own thinking — the check that whispers, “You could be wrong”; the balance that suggests, “There’s another way of thinking about it”?
Gardening is the handiest excuse for being a philosopher. Nobody guesses, nobody accuses, nobody knows, but there you are, Plato in the peonies, Socrates force growing his own hemlock. A man toting a sack of blood manure across his lawn is kin to Atlas letting the world spin easy on his shoulder. As Samuel Spaulding, Esquire, once said, ‘Dig in the earth, delve in the soul.’
Friday, May 26, 2017
Thursday, May 25, 2017
Sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour, twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week, fifty-two weeks in a year. Reacher ballparked the calculation in his head and came up with a little more than thirty million seconds in any twelve-month span. During which time nearly ten million significant crimes would be committed in the United States alone. Roughly one every three seconds. Not rare. To see one actually take place, right in front of you, up close and personal, was not inherently unlikely. Location mattered, of course. Crime went where people went. Odds were better in the center of a city than the middle of a meadow.
-Lee Child, from his short story Too Much Time
"Whatever I want, whatsoever problems confront me and my family, no one is going to solve them but me. The only way I will change my circumstances for the better is through good sense and hard work."
-Steven Pressfield, as excerpted from here
Never give up, which is the lesson I learned from boxing. As soon as you learn to never give up, you have to learn the power and wisdom of unconditional surrender, and that one doesn't cancel out the other; they just exist as contradictions. The wisdom of it comes as you get older.
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
....................(although I'm a bit surprised they haven't offered help re-cycling all the damn boxes around here):
Amazon’s laser-like focus on creating value for consumers and keeping them satisfied with low prices, huge selection, speedy delivery and great customer service goes a long way towards explaining its phenomenal success as a retailer, which gets reflected in the meteoric rise in its stock price and market capitalization.
-Mark J. Perry, as excerpted from here
Some of you young folks been saying to me, "Hey Pops, what you mean 'What a wonderful world'? How about all them wars all over the place? You call them wonderful? And how about hunger and pollution? That aint so wonderful either." Well how about listening to old Pops for a minute. Seems to me, it aint the world that's so bad but what we're doin' to it. And all I'm saying is, see, what a wonderful world it would be if only we'd give it a chance. Love baby, love. That's the secret, yeah. If lots more of us loved each other, we'd solve lots more problems. And then this world would be better. That's wha' ol' Pops keeps saying.
“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. …"
-Jeff Bezos, as taken from this post on the dominance that is Amazon
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
“What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.”
-Robert E. Lee
History moves in cycles. The plague of political correctness and assaults on free speech that erupted in the 1980s and were beaten back in the the 1990s have returned with a vengeance. In the United States, the universities as well as the mainstream media are currently patrolled by well-meaning but ruthless thought police, as dogmatic in their views as agents of the Spanish Inquisition. We are plunged once again into an ethical chaos where intolerance masquerades as tolerance and where individual liberty is crushed by the tyranny of the group.
-Camille Paglia, from the Introduction to Free Women Free Men: Sex - Gender - Feminism
The quant funds do less of that. The computers abstract out most of the human drama and just quietly go about picking stocks. Their understanding of human behavior is statistical, not personal; they don't befriend corporate executives on the golf course to pump them for information, but they do notice that executives with low golf handicaps tend to produce lower stock returns.
-Matt Levine, as borrowed from this post
Monday, May 22, 2017
............from Nick Romeo's read-worthy essay, Platonically Irrational: How much did Plato know about behavioural economics and cognitive biases? Pretty much everything, it turns out.
Intellectual humility and overconfidence can stem from purely cognitive processes, but they are also correctly understood as moral achievements or failings. Someone who always thinks that he is right about everything, however little he knows, is making a moral as well as a mental mistake. Similarly, the cultivation of intellectual humility is, in part, the cultivation of an ethical virtue. Many of the early Socratic dialogues end in uncertainty: the characters are reduced to what in ancient Greek was called , and is often rendered in English as ‘perplexity’, ‘bafflement’, or ‘confusion’. Socrates’ interlocutors search for a satisfying answer to some question only to find that every proposed answer fails to satisfy tests of logical consistency. Characters react in different ways to this process – some become flustered, some threaten violence, some run away, and a few recognise that they have been improved, and express gratitude to Socrates. Their false steps in the arguments dramatise errors in reasoning, but their emotional reactions are the stuff of literature: they reveal hubris and arrogance, modesty and generosity, and the dynamic struggles between these opposed impulses – what the novelist William Faulkner in 1950 called ‘the human heart in conflict with itself’.
At the very core of the belief in trade protectionism is a misguided desire for power, cronyism, and control and coercion over your neighbor’s buying choices.
-Mark J. Perry
We all benefit from the ability of a political minority to stifle the will of the majority. The U.S. Constitution restricts the power of the majority because an unchecked majority can be just as threatening to liberty and justice as a dictator or tyrannical oligarchy.
-Kyle Scott, leading off this essay
Our Founders created a frustrating, muddleheaded, compromised, gridlock-prone system. We should thank them for that gift every day.
It’s possible that the productivity increases are appearing as lower prices rather than as higher incomes. If the price of oil falls from $100 per barrel to $50 per barrel due to increasingly cheap and efficient methods of production, then everybody in the industry is more productive in terms of barrels of oil per hour of work, but since the oil price has gone down, that productivity increase won’t be captured by statistical methods that calculate productivity in terms of money.
And that is just part of the larger story: that the extraordinarily deep and sustained collapse in the price of information is disguising the enormous increase in the productivity of everyone who works with the defining product of our time. ... At the same time, the collapse in the cost of information helps disguise the enormous increase in living standards for most people.
-Walter Russell Mead, as collected from this essay