Wednesday assorted links

by on January 20, 2016 at 11:37 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Ray Lopez January 20, 2016 at 11:44 am

First from Hong Kong, where I am visiting. It’s more expensive than I thought, and that includes the street food. But it’s a modern city. Just spent $1k USD in Disneyland with me and my hot, twenty-something girlfriend half my age.

2 ricardo January 20, 2016 at 11:53 am

Your girlfriend has been half your age for some time now. Do you trade down (up?) every year?

3 Ray Lopez January 20, 2016 at 11:56 am

She was less than half my age but now catching up. Thanks for asking. She’s so attractive that I wonder if she wants to ruin her body by getting pregnant as she says she does.

4 Ray Lopez January 20, 2016 at 11:54 am

Thailand street food is nasty. The two times I got food poisoning–and I have a ‘cast iron stomach’ and can eat anything without getting sick–was in Thailand. Simply put, their hygiene is not up to par, they use ‘fresh ingredients’ which is troublesome, and they have too many tourists which encourages slack habits since they don’t care if their customers get sick, since they’ll be leaving the next day anyway. Eating Filipino food is better, since they cook their food better and they don’t eat “fresh” but cured meats, canned stuff like Spam, lots of ‘sugar cured’ foods that can stay out in the tropical sun forever and not go bad, and generally they don’t eat ‘fresh vegetables’ in the Philippines. Not as healthy but it’s often the fresh coconut salad that makes you sick. Hong Kong is also a ‘safe city’ to eat in, since the food is super expensive but good and up to First World standards.

5 Jodi January 20, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Hi Ray, I wrote the post and respectfully disagree, having eaten street food in Thailand for years without issue. It’s a culture of street food for locals, so it isn’t for tourists that they make the food. If you’re eating in the tourist areas that could be part of the problem (Khao San road area). If turnover for locals is fast, and food is fully cooked, it’s often quite safe even in Isaan with fresh ingredients like young papaya. I’m sorry you had a bad experience there, but please don’t give up on Thai street eats entirely!

6 Millian January 20, 2016 at 12:35 pm

This ray individual is a fictitious personality! Do not worry!

7 Jodi January 20, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Hah. Noted thank you.

8 Cliff January 20, 2016 at 2:40 pm

Millian is also a fictitious personality though.

9 Ray Lopez January 20, 2016 at 8:40 pm

Jodi I’m posting under a nym but not fictitious. I have many enemies here due to jealousy. You may be familiar also with the several scandals in Thailand where bad news about tourists was swept under the rug, including tourist deaths. Tourism is very important to Thailand and I seriously doubt that you would wish to jeopardize that, living in Thailand, whether you are Thai or non-Thai. In fact Jodi, without exaggeration in these trying Red/Yellow times in Thailand, which borders on civil war, I would even say, depending on the traffic that your site gets, you might even be harassed if you wrote an anti-tourism piece. Not anything serious, since it’s not about the King, but you would probably get negative verbal sanctions of some sort. The old joke is that foreigners get treated with less respect than the family dog, and foreigners bad-mouthing Thailand and not promoting it even less IMO. It’s one of the reasons (besides the fact I’m not a Buddhist but a Christian) that I left Thailand. And the fact it’s an “old country” demographically, not unlike China. Good luck though.

10 cp January 21, 2016 at 11:03 am

The trials and tribulations of a sex expat.

11 anon January 21, 2016 at 1:56 am

Tyler visits so many exotic places, it’s a wonder he doesn’t have some parasite residing in him. Tyler, what has been your GI experience with street food? Suggestions?

12 Kai-HK January 20, 2016 at 8:48 pm


Welcome to HK. Though street food here is good, it is not s good as the mainland in my opinion. I recommend that you try Under the Bridge Spicy Crab if you happen to like crab. Their other Chinese dishes are pretty good but their crab is fantastic. Get the shelter crab style, and go mild to mild-to-medium spicy depending on how much you like spice. Above medium and the heat obliterates the taste of the crab.

While you are at it, enjoy the most economically free market in the world…low unemployment, high per capita GDP, great privatized infrastructure and airport, more millionaires than the US, and a poverty rate on par or lower than the US.


13 Ray Lopez January 21, 2016 at 11:39 am

@K – she-she! We just went to Macao and saw the “Dancing Water” show at City of Dreams, very nice. I am very impressed by HK, even though it is expensive. And, much to my surprise, the people are very polite. Even the street vendors, except one old crazy lady who kept cursing me to stop taking pictures and cursed a Korean customer for being too cheap, but that was the exception. Nice city! They like to wear black here, so I bought a black coat too for the unusual cold weather, that I will throw away once I return to tropical Philippines, LOL.

14 Jeff R. January 20, 2016 at 11:56 am

#4 was amazing. Mostly in its pointlessness, though.

15 Rock Lobster January 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Unintentional pun?

16 Thor January 20, 2016 at 1:19 pm


17 Ray Lopez January 20, 2016 at 8:46 pm

No, it’s: #..

18 Jeff R. January 20, 2016 at 1:26 pm


(See what I did there?)

19 Rock Lobster January 20, 2016 at 8:34 pm
20 dan1111 January 21, 2016 at 6:24 am

Amusing puns aside, yeah, I found it dumb. What is supposed to be interesting about it? What is it supposed to show about the book? Just a big wheel of dots.

21 Andrew M January 20, 2016 at 12:01 pm

1. In some parts of the world it is considered poor manners to eat standing up. It’s also easier to enjoy your food when seated.

22 Ray Lopez January 20, 2016 at 8:43 pm

In ancient Greece, it was considered kosher to eat food lying down on one’s side, which would give me indigestion.

23 prior_test January 20, 2016 at 12:05 pm

According to one inflation calculator, 18 dollars in 1987 is worth $37.56 in 2015 –

24 XVO January 20, 2016 at 4:39 pm

We’re really lucky to have cheap oil. Hopefully all energy follows suit so we can achieve utopia.

25 Thiago Ribeiro January 20, 2016 at 12:08 pm

#3- Will this algorithm. make America great again?

26 ZZZ January 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm

It can’t be worse then the Al Gore rhythm speeches.

27 Thor January 20, 2016 at 1:30 pm

I wonder if we can pare these speeches down a bit?

Democratic speech: “Rich white elites took your money.”

Republican speech: “Liberal elites took your values.”

Sailer: “Low IQ foreigners stole your future.”

Prior speech: “Koch funding means we can’t turn America into Germany. Because Mercatus.”

Marxist speech: “See this barrel of a gun?”

28 joe January 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm

$18 dollars in 1987 is work $38 today

29 Donnie January 20, 2016 at 12:22 pm

I’ve got eighteen dollars, Walter.

30 Richard Besserer January 20, 2016 at 12:14 pm


“Since only 15 of the 50 known commercial oilfields in Saudi Arabia have been developed, the Saudis could, according to calculations made by Prof. M.A. Adelman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, easily push their capacity to 23 million barrels a day by 1995.”

Questions for anybody who knows the answers (or knows where to find the answers):

1. How close to 23 million barrels did Saudi Arabia get?

2. How many of the 35 remaining oilfields remain undeveloped?

31 prior_test January 20, 2016 at 2:04 pm

1. Less than half of that figure –

2. Tricky – the fields tend to get redefined, and whether a production area and/or reservior is a field, or whether the same pool of oil onshore and offshore is two fields or one is certainly debatable. The other thing to note is that some of the Saudi fields now being tapped require special refining facilities (though such facilities are also available in the U.S.) – Manifah’s crude contains a lot of vanadium and hydrogen sulfide.

32 Jason Bayz January 20, 2016 at 12:18 pm

5. I looked up the background for those numbers, 79.5 seemed too high, and it was. It appears to be a result of a typo in this article which cited a unrwa report, making it go from 75.9 to 79.5:

Note what “life expectancy” in this context means, it means if someone is born now and goes through their entire life in a Syria where the war continues being just as deadly as it is now, they can expect to live 55.7 years. I wonder what the life expectancy was in France and Germany in 1916. There, military age men who left would have been seen as possible traitors.

33 rayward January 20, 2016 at 12:34 pm

3. I suspect that successful political speeches have more to do with the speaker than the words. President Reagan is considered one of the great political speakers, but his greatness (as a speaker) was lost on me; the tone of his voice and monotone fell flat even if the words inspired. MLK was considered a great political speaker, but his speeches, when read, lose the impact of the cadences with which MLK spoke the words. As for JFK, his speeches are known for their inspiring words (written by Ted Sorensen) but those words are not as inspiring as the person who spoke them, his listeners moved by the young, rich, and handsome war hero who, like Reagan, projected optimism. Of course, that was Reagan’s greatest strength, that he projected optimism, that and the impression he made that he really enjoyed being president; it’s no coincidence that FDR’s greatest strength was that he projected optimism, that and the impression he made that he really enjoyed being president.

34 dearieme January 20, 2016 at 5:15 pm

A lot of the gush about JFK happened after he died. Retrojection, much of it.

35 cove77 January 20, 2016 at 1:46 pm

#6. when the banks start serving booze, we’ll start cashing cheques

36 Angus January 20, 2016 at 2:12 pm

#4: Meh. The results mostly look overfit. 6 is a large value of n for n-grams.

Here is the “automatically generated Democratic speech” in the article:
> “Mr. Speaker, for years, honest but unfortunate consumers have had the ability to plead their case to come under bankruptcy protection and have their reasonable and valid debts discharged. The way the system is supposed to work, the bankruptcy court evaluates various factors including income, assets and debt to determine what debts can be paid and how consumers can get back on their feet. Stand up for growth and opportunity. Pass this legislation.”

And here is an excerpt from the Congressional Record*:
> “Mr. Speaker, for years, honest but unfortunate consumers have had the ability to plead their case to come under bankruptcy protection and have their reasonable and valid debts discharged. The way the system is supposed to work, the bankruptcy court evaluates various factors including income, assets and debt to determine what debts can be paid and how consumers can get back on their feet. The bill before us preserves that right for those individuals who simply get in over their heads and have no other way


37 Angus January 20, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Whoops. That should begin “#3,” not “#4.”

38 Floccina January 20, 2016 at 3:51 pm

#2 Julian Simon you win!

39 ohwilleke January 20, 2016 at 4:27 pm

It is interesting that in Ireland, banks were widely unionized, which is why the banks repeatedly closed for long periods of time, while in the U.S., bank employees have generally not unionized and banking is one of the very few big business industries in which that is the case. I wonder why?

40 Dzhaughn January 20, 2016 at 4:33 pm

There’s a call for Victor Borge on line #4

41 The Anti-Gnostic January 20, 2016 at 5:07 pm

#3 – there’s already a Thomas Friedman OpEd Generator.

42 BC January 21, 2016 at 12:20 am

When I hit “Generate New Column”, it produced a column about the problem of high gas prices. Timing is a little off.

43 JVM January 20, 2016 at 8:30 pm

Saudi production has indeed been steady around 9M barrels per year ever since

44 BC January 21, 2016 at 12:36 am

#3) Combine with speech synthesizer and lifesize cardboard cutout of a Senator to make a filibuster machine!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: