Weekend reading

  1. Lebanon’s electricity mafia is hindering its development
  2. Saudi Arabia’s authoritarian pivot into modernity
  3. China’s Hayekian (market-innovative) communism 
  4. How Twitch (vlog) streamers make $20k/month (or more)
  5. The foundations of Eastern Europe’s populism? “…many eastern and central Europeans want… to rid themselves of the humiliation of having been imitators, followers of the West rather than founders.”
  6. What’s Financial Independence really about?
  7. The illness (and cure?) for American journalism
  8. It’s a miracle that peer review works as well as it does. And its function is to produce quality-controlled academic output, not to spot fakes.
  9. Risk management comes down to serially avoiding decisions that can’t easily be reversed, whose downsides will demolish you and prevent recovery.
  10. How have the farm animals of today been shaped by centuries of domestication and selective breeding?

Business models compared

I just spent 2 hours making this pretty picture for you:It shows the relative relations of 4 “business models”

For-profits make more than they spend for the private benefit of owners and customers.

B-Corps (or social enterprises) often make less and spend more because they are targeting a sub group of customers and/or spend more on their “inputs” of materials and labor because they are trying to combine social value with a sustainable business model.

Non-profits spend what they make to minimize costs to customers for providing the best service possible at that cost. (That’s the nice way to see them. Those that are abusive or corrupt can overcharge for shoddy service while overpaying their incompetent staff.)

Charities don’t earn revenue but “depend on the kindness of strangers” for support of their charitable works. Charities are more vulnerable to collapse due to a shift in donor attention, but that means that the arrival of an enthusiastic patron can produce a lot of action in a short time.

Is this figure helpful? Any other thoughts? 

Addendum (18 Oct via DC): 

Weekend reading

  1. A really great essay on the bourgeois roots of privilege.
  2. A software engineer calls for less bloat more smart.
  3. Blame consumers or manufacturers when tons of new clothes are burned?
  4. How to become great at anything? Deliberate practice
  5. Maybe Japan’s economy has been doing better than we think?
  6. How Jane Jacobs turned from pro-planner to pro-neighborhood
  7. All of life is suffering — the evolutionary edition
  8. USAID is running a comparison to see if cash helps people more than “programs,” but there’s a lot of resistance from its bureaucrats 🙁
  9. The “people’s canteens” at the center of China’s mass starvation.
  10. The President of the World Bank is pretty impressive.

Weekend reading

  1. Watch “why every social media site is a dumpster fire” as it’s the best concise analysis I’ve seen in awhile.
    My gym needs to shut one of these doors…
  2. When are you really Dutch?
  3. The WikiTribune (a crowd-sourced news website) is looking for water stories(and thus writers). At the moment, the proposed titles look more like opinion than journalism, but hopefully they will do an objective job.
  4. A fascinating history (one in a long series) on the rise of the telegraph.
  5. Cities are trying to get access to data on “scooter shares” because they don’t want to get “Uber’d” again. I don’t think they need the data, as much as a policy on parking/using common spaces.
  6. “YouTubers are not your friends” — they’re selling you stuff — or themselves.
  7. Want less frustration and more effectiveness? “Stick with first impressions. Don’t extrapolate.”
  8. The real potential of AI.
  9. The best (short) explanation of the financial crisis I’ve read.
  10. A Neanderthal warns Sapiens of our folly.

H/T to GC

Weekend reading

Now THIS is Upcycling!
  1. Some insights from the people Trump hates: Farmworkers and Abortionists.  Let’s thankful they’re helping us.
  2. Name and Praise? Cape Town’s water map shows houses that are meeting use targets.
  3. Correlation is not causation, but maybe we don’t understand causation?
  4. Looking back at 1968: “Antiwar radicals, recoiling from soullessness, challenged the church of technocratic rationality.” At some point, this goal was lost, and we’re still suffering the consequences.
  5. Design thinking: “Solving the problem without addressing the people, or focusing on the people without truly resolving the problem will only lead to frustration, alienation, and failure.”
  6. Psychoanalyzing Americans’ insecurities: “Trump’s deepest appeal lies in an unspoken promise… to undo the Enlightenment, to free us from the burdens of living rationally in a world where nothing is settled and where everything—economic well-being, national borders, gender identities, domestic arrangements—is up for grabs, let the strongest prevail.”
  7. Are the Poles taking advantage of Dutch labor laws or are the laws flawed?
  8. So maybe humans will not vanish in nuclear war or climate disruption catastrophe but because they cannot reproduce? Chemicals in our environment have already reduced male sperm counts by 50%, and it’s still dropping!
  9. “If you work a job with payroll, get products delivered from Amazon, or own a smartphone assembled from parts, you are a beneficiary of the relational-database industrial complex. And a victim of it, too…
  10. A fantastic analysis of the Trump Administration’s failures in Puerto Rico

H/Ts to FD and AM

Weekend reading

  1. The first “Nigerian scammers” were French prisoners from 100 years ago.
  2. A conversation on triggers, political correctness and free speech
  3. Fail fast for happiness.
  4. A look back from a future in which we only talk to others in our bubble.
  5. “Fox News has normalized racism, lying, scapegoating and corruption”
  6. How is (maybe) Tesla disruptive?
  7. A 1989 report from the Berlin Wall, on the future…
  8. A modern What Color Is Your Parachute? (thoughts on career)
  9. How technology will be used to control us: “In the 20th century, the masses revolted against exploitation… Now the masses fear irrelevance, and they are frantic to use their remaining political power before it is too late. [Thus]… Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump.” 
  10. “There is no controversy in calling Winston Churchill a white supremacist or in noting that the British Empire was predicated on racism.

H/T to FD

Weekend reading

Social media is not a good place to lose your cool
  1. Corruption facilitates smuggling rosewood from Madagascar to China 
  2. Can China “police the commons” with top-down, data-driven methods (rather than encouraging bottom up community self-policing?)
  3. China’s “Belt and Road” program is not just about logistics, but collecting a group of countries that is economically indebted and politically subservient. The irony is that China was abused in the same way in the past (Opium wars, etc.) 
  4. These guys are giving a second chance to the people Trump wants to ruin
  5. Cyber warfare inflicts massive collateral damage (an update on my fears)
  6. Great visualization of US/USSR(Russia) arms sales ($ for death) since 1950.
  7. How to be a “good” troublemaker.
  8. A great essay on jobs that are “useful” (creating value) vs jobs that are “bullshit” (transferring value).  Which is yours?
  9. John Oliver does economics proud explaining Trump’ ignorance on trade.
  10. How are we evolving with and changing Nature?

Weekend reading

  1. An appeal to the Dutch to accept migrants, brown, black and white.
  2. How feminism made me a better scientist.
  3. Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of SF estimate the financial crisis “cost every American $70,000.” This result is based on the permanent loss of production — roughly equivalent to the type of loss from war.
  4. LA’s palm trees are not native. They’re marketing.
  5. A Japanese working class woman writes about her life.
  6. US Wildfires are getting worse, on several dimensions
  7. I used to say that climate change would mean faster atmospheric circulation, as a means of distributing warmer air from the equator to the polls, but faster polar heating means that circulation is slowing down, bringing a different problem of stronger stationary weather. #cantwin!
  8. The US criminal “justice” system is awfully close to a mafia designed to rip off the poor. This article mistakes that system for “neoliberal capitalism” when it’s really just the State taking advantage of its citizens, i.e., corrupt politics.
  9. The legal case against advertising makes similar claims to my social case against it.
  10. Cool shit: Schrodinger’s hula hoop and the ultimate “interactive wall”

Weekend reading

  1. The Street Debater (the “yes-no-on-Brexit”-scale in the photo) gives beggars a way to engage passers-by on topics. Much better than a sign and a hat, and the design is open-source to download.
  2. Dog cloning: rich people and entrepreneur-scientists are pushing technology and ethics to the limit. Human baby cloning? When, not if.
  3. Students from poorer backgrounds can’t just use “grit” to succeed. What they need is agency, which is in short supply in the US.
  4. Americans view “economic health” through the lens of their political affiliation, a tendency that’s common in poorer corrupt countries. Bad sign.
  5. Good competition helps everyone; bad competition harms the powerless.
  6. The end of the liberal order means a return to the power politics, exploitation and conflict of the 19th century, except this time, it may be the (formerly) colonized dealing the pain and taking the gain.
  7. A fascinating discussion of autism between 1.25 autistics.
  8. John Oliver on Astroturfing (i.e., the lie behind “Americans for Prosperity”, “Latinos for water,” et al.) and the identity politics of mayonnaise (!)
  9. The real people of IAmsterdam, a city whose charms continue to seduce me.
  10. Americans “pay” an average of $1,600 per year in “the costs of sprawl.” The  worst offenders are in band from Arizona to Florida. High housing prices in SF and NY may reflect their low “costs of sprawl.”

 

 

 

 

Weekend reading

  1. All too true.
    A useful look into the statistics on cancer and how the “war on cancer” is going…
  2. Great podcast/interview with an economist who writes for The Economist on trade and tariffs. 
  3. Mr Money Mustache explains cost accounting, i.e., why avoiding is better than renting which is better than buying.
  4. China’s ban on “contaminated” recyclables (see my prior post) wrecks ambitious plans of American cities that didn’t count on paying much to recycle.
  5. Some useful insights on improving airline efficiency (I wasn’t so convinced by the big data sales pitch at the end).
  6. Physicists provide insights into GDP growth by ignoring misleading details and sticking with basic theory.
  7. Private entrepreneurs are helping Yemenis get drinking water as their government and public systems fail.
  8. Youval Hariri: “As a species, humans prefer power to truth” so some of us “speak truth to power” people have a hard job…
  9. Residents of Amsterdam’s Red Light District fight for priority over tourism.
  10. Americans view “economic health” through the lens of their political affiliation, a tendency that’s common in poorer corrupt countries. 

H/T to MV