Friday, September 9, 2022
When people lose the connection between their actions and their consequences, they lose their hold on reality, and the further this goes the more it looks like madness.
But the experience still reminded me of the amazing variety of spending levels we all have available to us here in the United States. It is simultaneously one of the cheapest industrialized countries in the world to live in, It all depends on the choices you make in your shopping, because everything in the world is available right here for your buying convenience.
-Mr. Money Mustache from this post on grocery bills
Thursday, September 8, 2022
The world is bursting with wonder, and yet it's the rare productivity guru who seems to have considered that the ultimate point of all our frenetic doing might be to experience more of that wonder.
-Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
What focus means is saying no to something that you, with every bone in your body, you think is a phenomenal idea and you wake up thinking about it, but you say no to it because you’re focusing on something else.
-from this Farnum Street essay discussing the ultra-focused Steve Jobs
This American government,—what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity?
-Henry David Thoreau, from his essay Civil Disobedience
When was the last time you had to remember someone's phone number? I'm dating myself here, but I'm part of a generation that when you wanted to call your friend down the block, you needed to know their number. Can you still remember some of your best friends' numbers from childhood? What about the number of the person you talk or text with everyday? You no longer have to, because your mobile remembers it for you. This is not to say anyone wants to or should memorize 200 phone numbers, but we've all but lost the ability to remember a new one, or a conversation we just had, or the name of a new potential client, or something important we need to do.
Neuroscientist Manfred Spitzer uses the term digital dementia to describe how overuse of digital technology results in the breakdown of cognitive abilities.
One of my deepest concerns is that while educational systems around the world are being reformed, many of these reforms are being driven by political and commercial interests that misunderstand how real people learn and how great schools actually work. As a result, they are damaging the prospects of countless young people. Sooner or later, for better or worse, they will affect you or someone you know.
-Sir Ken Robinson, Creative Schools (2015)
Wednesday, September 7, 2022
You are apt to keep on and on, forgetting that while you try to make the wherewithal to give you leisure, you are neglecting to learn how to use the leisure when you have it.
Everything needs it: bone, muscles, and even,
while it calls the earth its home, the soul.
So the merciful, noisy machine
stands in our house working away in its
lung-like voice. I hear it as I kneel
before the fire, stirring with a
stick of iron, letting the logs
lie more loosely. You, in the upstairs room,
are in your usual position, leaning on your
right shoulder which aches
all day. You are breathing
patiently; it is a
beautiful sound. It is
your life, which is so close
to my own that I would not know
where to drop the knife of
separation. And what does this have to do
with love, except
everything? Now the fire rises
and offers a dozen, singing, deep-red
roses of flame. Then it settles
to quietude, or maybe gratitude, as it feeds
as we all do, as we must, upon the invisible gift:
our purest, sweet necessity: the air.”
But Thoreau never faltered. He was a born protestant. He declined to give up his large ambition of knowledge and action for any narrow craft or profession, aiming at a much more comprehensive calling, the art of living well. If he slighted and defied the opinions of others, it was only that he was more intent to reconcile his practice with his own belief. Never idle or self-indulgent, he preferred when he wanted money, earning it by some piece of manual labor agreeable to him, as building a boat or a fence, planting, grafting, surveying, or other short work, to any long engagements. With his hardy habits and few wants, his skill in woodcraft, and his powerful arithmetic, he was very competent to live in any part of the world. It would cost him less time to supply his wants than another. He was therefore secure in his leisure.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, Thoreau
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Sarah Bancroft envied those fortunate souls who believed they controlled their own destinies. For them, life was no more complicated than riding the Underground. Insert your ticket at the fare gate, get off at the correct stop—Charing Cross rather than Leicester Square. Sarah had never subscribed to such drivel. Yes, one could prepare, one could strive, one could make choices, but ultimately life was an elaborate game of providence and probability. Regrettably, in matters of both work and love, she had displayed an uncanny lack of timing. She was either one step too fast or one too slow. She had missed many trains. Several times he had boarded the wrong one, nearly always with disastrous results.
-Daniel Silva, The Cellist
The average human lifespan is absurdly, terrifyingly, insultingly short. Here's one way of putting things in perspective: the first modern humans appeared on the plains of Africa at least 200,000 years ago, and scientists estimate that life, in some form, will persist for another 1.5 billion years or more, until the intensifying heat of the sun condemns the last organism to death. But you? Assuming you live to be eighty, you'll have had about four thousand weeks.
-Oliver Burkeman, Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals
majority of mortals, Paulinus, complain bitterly of the spitefulness of Nature, because we are born for a brief span of life, because even this space that has been granted to us rushes by so speedily and so swiftly that all save a very few find life at an end just when they are getting ready to live.
-Seneca the Younger, De Brevitate Vitae
Science is an especially sweet and nutritious fruit of the Enlightenment. But an even sweeter and more nutritious fruit is the recognition that truth – including, but not limited to, scientific truth – is only reliably approached without ever being absolutely and forever secured, and approached only through open inquiry, discussion, debate, and tolerance for dissenting opinions and perspectives.
Too many elite intellectuals and public officials today – and, I fear, also too many ordinary men and women – have lost sight of the fact that science and reason are tools for improving our understanding and for supplying us with some information that’s useful for making the complicated and inescapably value-laden trade-offs that, in this vale, we must make. The belief that science is a source of complete and godlike knowledge is not merely mistaken, it’s a toxic fuel of authoritarianism when it’s combined with the false understanding of social problems as being a science project to be ‘solved’ by persons in power.
-Steven Koonin, as culled from here
.....................with John Henry Newman:
I sought to hear the voice of God and climbed the topmost steeple, but God declared: "Go down again - I dwell among the people."
Doing is at a far greater distance from intending to do than you at first sight imagine. Join.
In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.
We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe.
If we insist on being as sure as is conceivable... we must be content to creep along the ground, and never soar.
Fear not that life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning.
There is a knowledge which is desirable, though nothing come of it, as being of itself a treasure, and a sufficient remuneration of years of labor.
Growth is the only evidence of life.
Good is never accomplished except at the cost of those who do it, truth never breaks through except through the sacrifice of those who spread it.
...........when there is no other way to get people to act as you want. This one should be interesting:
California is working overtime to prove something that is obvious to most middle-class Americans: electric vehicle mandates are something of a scam.
-Joel Kotkin, from here
The housing market has been unbelievably unbalanced over the past two years. Probably has not been this difficult to buy a new home since three million GIs came home from World War II, got married, and started a baby boom. If you don't build very many new houses for a dozen years, and a generation coming of age finally decides they want a home, well, at that point no supply meets excess demand. Anyone trying to buy a house in the past two years is painfully familiar with the story: very few choices, inflated prices, multiple competing offers, sale prices well over list price. To call this housing market chaotic might be charitable. Rising interest rates may have started a cooling trend. Buyers needing mortgages suddenly can't afford to pay as much as they could have six months ago. Will sanity (from the viewpoint of those of us who prefer calmer markets) return? Tough to say. There is still a significant lack of supply to meet any kind of demand.
Michael Batnick, a fairly bright finance guy, takes a stab at understanding what is going with this blog post. Love his conclusion:
Eventually the market will find an equilibrium, but right now the housing market is drunk and needs time to sober up.
Monday, September 5, 2022
Think of it this way: The structure of information sets the stage and arranges the props of the human drama. The digital medium, for example, looks like the studio of a Marx Brothers movie. Violent slapstick comes naturally there. Pomposity gets mocked without mercy. Of course, important people—our elites—hate this structure. Since pomposity is their reason for living . . .
Opening your mind to different perspectives is good and necessary. But when fundamental, unshakable views that used to be contained within tribes expose themselves to different tribes, people become shocked to learn that what’s sacred to them isn’t always a universal truth. The range of political opinions has always been extreme, but what we’ve seen over the last decade is what happens when the warm blanket of ideological ignorance is removed.
-Morgan Housel, from this post, chock full of good stuff
You get all kinds of happiness advice on the internet from people who don’t know what they’re talking about. Don’t trust them.
Actually, don’t trust me either. Trust neuroscientists. They study that gray blob in your head all day and have learned a lot about what truly will make you happy.
-Eric Barker, from another one of his really good blog posts.
Adding more people to the internet has accelerated science, politics and every element of culture. The echos happen faster, the learning is exponential, and connected communities heat up and morph ever faster.
-Seth Godin, from here
Sunday, September 4, 2022
A society that is inherently not curious about the outside world and unwilling to challenge its own assumptions is one that does not innovate. A society that does not innovate cannot advance or prosper.
- William J. Bernstein, The Birth of Plenty: How the Prosperity of the Modern World Was Created
.........of a subdivision: Episode 27: Progress Report
From time to time one should check one's work. We started this project in early Spring of 2021 when we purchased, annexed, re-zoned, and planned out a 55 acre tract of land in the north end of Newark, Ohio.
Development work, bulldozers dozing, actually started on the first phase of Conor's Pass (49 building lots) at the end of the first week of August in 2021. Thanks to the dedication (read: a lot of overtime) of the nice people at Layton, Inc., the construction of the infrastructure (water lines, sanitary sewer lines, storm water lines an outlets, curbs, gutters and paving) was completed in the second week of November, 2021. The weather man also helped, the weather last summer and fall was perfect for building roads. We recorded the final plat (which actually creates the individual lots according to the County Auditor) in early December, 2021. D. R. Horton, the home builder who is buying all of the individual lots, purchased their first thirty lots just in time for those sales proceeds to be included as income on our 2021 federal tax return,
Sometime in late spring of 2022, construction of the second phase of Conor's Pass (64 building lots) started. All the pipe is now underground and the concrete curbs and gutters are poured. Weather permitting (spoiler alert: weather people are calling for rain) the asphalt paving will start late this week. Hopefully, Horton will be buying more lots in 2022.
Feels like we have made pretty good progress.
|The subject land in 2020|
|As of 9/1/22: At the top, 44 houses coming out of the |
ground in Phase 1. At the bottom, part of Phase 2
with the curbs and gutters in.
|Phase 2 of Conor's Pass awaiting asphalt paving|