Sunday assorted links

by on June 18, 2017 at 3:05 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. “It’s almost impossible to gauge recent typewriter sales. Almost all of the original manufacturers are out of business or have been bought out and become different companies. The Moonachie, New Jersey-based Swintec appears to be one of the world’s last typewriter makers, selling translucent electronic machines largely to jails and prisons.” Link here.

2. Alt coins as a way of getting your wealth out of Bitcoins.

3. If you had ten years in your twenties, and a modest guaranteed income for that time, how would you best educate yourself?  I would put more stress on role models and who you get to meet, not to mention romantic partners.

4. Interview with Diane Coyle.

5. Personalized ads in the brick and mortar world (I am surprised it is the Germans behind this story).

1 Crikey June 18, 2017 at 3:46 am

3. I wouldn’t formally educate myself. Now is the time for a 20 year old to start building capital before the labor market becomes clogged with people put out of work by improving technology. The government in my country has made it clear they are okay with letting young people without jobs go hungry. It’s time to build up enough capital so that, as god is my witness, I will never be hungry again.

As for educating myself and building up personal human capital that will be in demand, the choice is either gambling on right and learning something few expect will be in demand, or compete with countless others all crowding into the remaining fields where humans are still employable. No thanks. I’d rather take the money now.

2 Someone from the other side June 18, 2017 at 4:09 am

So how do you make sufficient money without human capital

3 prior_test2 June 18, 2017 at 4:11 am

Be born to the right parents, of course.

4 Crikey June 18, 2017 at 5:35 am

Wrong parents, right country.

5 prior_test2 June 18, 2017 at 8:43 am

Well, that is insulting to your parents.

Notice, I did not say anything about rich or powerful parents. Having good parents is not a necessity for success, of course, but it really helps. In part, because good parents do a lot of that human capital work before a teenager is even aware of it.

6 Crikey June 18, 2017 at 9:30 am

Nah. If I lied that would be insulting. But I suspect there is a bit of a cultural difference here.

7 Dick the Butcher June 18, 2017 at 9:59 am

Be born into a two-parent family.

8 prior_test2 June 18, 2017 at 10:37 am

Sure – not all parents are good ones, no question about that.

9 Crikey June 18, 2017 at 5:35 am

We’re starting at age 20. Age 20 is 2 years into being an adult. That’s enough time to build up some human capital, and if this hypothetical me hasn’t developed any skills worth more than minimum wage, minimum wage is $14.50 US in my country.

10 Someone from the other side June 18, 2017 at 11:38 am

I really doubt minimum wage will help much at all in preparing for decades of unemployment… I am not not very convinced 1% income for a few years helps too much, you probably need 0.1% income to be really able to live of capital income

11 DanK June 18, 2017 at 10:19 am

—-> “So how do you make sufficient money…”

Yes, survival is the first priority — but this referenced “speculative fantasy” conveniently assumes that survival (short or long term) is not an issue for this specific discussion.

That distills the prime issue down to: ‘What do you want to do with your life?’

There are billions of subjective answers to that. Most 20-year-olds have no clear answer, neither do most 40-year-olds. Life buffets most all people down a well trod path formed by their initial circumstances. The final destination is exactly the same for all paths.

We can easily guess the main categories of answers for what people would say they want to do with their lives (and the part from age 20-30)– or we could do the laundry… or watch some mindless sports event.

What would you choose to do with an unconstrained Sunday afternoon?

12 mulp June 18, 2017 at 3:01 pm

“What would you choose to do with an unconstrained Sunday afternoon?”

Make plans for hiring another hundred workers to start work on a new Gigafactory that will in 2020 be the same size as Gigafactory 1 in 2020.

Make plans for my next speech to inspire over paid workers pouring the money they can’t spend paying workers to produce stuff they can consume into buying Tesla shares, instead of bidding up the share prices of Microsoft, GE, Ford where the corporate managers are both firing workers and buying back shares and burning them to reduce the quantity of shares to inflate share prices.

Note that both Elon and Jeff are quite successful in getting their share prices bid up as they plan the hiring of tens of thousands of new workers and getting the share price of competitors, planning to fire tens of thousands of workers, bid down. Jeff Bezos played the role of Warren Buffett in rescuing a founder from Wall Street demanding liquidation to create wealth. Warren Buffett has prevented many firms from becoming Sears and Kmart. Just remember, Sears was Amazon long before Jeff Bezos was born.

Thanks to Wall Street, Sears discarded mail order as a business without a future because it couldn’t be grown 10% a year by building 10% more stores. And the Post Office was too costly, and FedEx and UPS cost 3 and 2 times as much as the failing too costly Post Office.

I grew up reading mail order catalogs, and tagging along to the Sears catalog desk where they had another dozen specialized catalogs out for customers, plus massive extra special catalogs that workers used, many on swivels to show us the BOM for some appliance or tool to pick out the right part. My catalog shopping today I learned in the 50s from my mom and dad. And I got gift cards back in the 50s and 60s, pictures cut out of catalogs to be redeemed buy ordering my choice of color coat or jacket, or my choice of erector set or train addition, etc after the holiday. That was many Sunday afternoons trying to decide how to invest my limited savings in new capital assets.

13 GoneWithTheWind June 18, 2017 at 10:32 am

1. Join the military and choose a field that provides training in a trade that is in demand in civilian life. A plus is that military service will make you eligible for a tuition assistance program to attend college after you get out.
2. Take advantage of free online classes offered by colleges, this would still allow you to work full time.
3. If you have a trade or talent that allows you to work full time and live where you want you should learn a second trade as a backup or simply to advance into something better for you.
4. Take classes at a local community college in something that interests you. Like welding, auto repair, electronics, weight training, house construction, wood working, etc.
5. If you have jobs skills that allow you to work anywhere choose someplace you would like to live and move there. Hawaii, Moab, Paris, Las Vegas, whatever suits your goals.
6. Look for training programs offered by unions or governments.
7. Work seasonal jobs that allow you to travel off season. Work six months Spring and Summer and then spend the winter skiing. Or work all winter and spend the Spring and Summer hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.
8. Work at one of the National Parks and use your free time to hike and explore.

14 Anonymous June 18, 2017 at 1:20 pm

I endorse the original plan, and this plan as well.

The main thing is to mix it up, and not spend years in your childhood bedroom.

15 prior_test2 June 18, 2017 at 4:10 am

3. Living somewhere for a year does not fit this description – ‘Long-term travel is one of the most exhausting aspects of self-education and one of the most dependent on enthusiasm to successfully execute.’ Admittedly, there is a difference between enjoying and hating where you are, but that applies pretty much anywhere, even within your own country/culture. And the ‘execution’ is simply living there – experiencing the differences and similarities between people, including discovering that billions and billions of human beings do not share your language, the history you were taught, the assumptions you were brought up with, not to mention things like different superstitions (a difficult term in its way – 35 years ago, Germans were convinced that drinking an ice cold drink would lead to a stomach ache – something no longer really believed, as empiricism triumphs in the end).

What may happen is that one discovers the easy certainties one grows up with, believed by those with no experience of living in a different country, simply do not cover the reality of anywhere else. Whether one finds this exhausting is another question, of course.

16 mkt42 June 18, 2017 at 4:33 am

Ten years of education on a modest stipend? Sounds like what most PhD students are already doing. Four years of college, usually supported by their parents. Then grad school, paid for by fellowships including being an RA or TA.

Granted the role models and romantic partners that Tyler recommends will be drawn from a narrow demographic. They’re likely to be high quality though, people who are or will be leaders in their field.

It helps to go to grad school in a major city, where it’s easier to find and spend time with role models and romantic partners who are outside of one’s field.

17 prior_test2 June 18, 2017 at 4:34 am

5. I’m surprised too, considering just how extensively Real customers tend to use their Payback cards, giving Real all the information it can collect.

But then, it seems as if Echion is doing this – ‘they will be able to tell their clients exactly which target groups shop at “Real,” for example.’ Real is being paid to share data to companies without (legal) access to the Payback data, it would seem.

And let us wait until this process is over – ‘Echion CEO Kimmich stresses that he and his company highly value data protection. That’s why they are meeting with representatives of Bavaria’s data protection office on Wednesday to explain why the pilot project isn’t violating any privacy standards in their eyes.

“We want to actively support the data protection process,” Kimmich said. “Nobody is being spied on, nobody is being filmed, nobody is being recorded.”‘

To be honest, after the Lidl scandal of filming cashiers secretly, the odds of the Post and Real continuing this project are not real high, though. As someone seems to be slowly realizing – ‘Er habe gemerkt, dass das Thema stellenweise auf mehr Skepsis getroffen sei als er erwartet habe, sagte Echion-Chef Michael Kimmich und betonte: „Es ist mir ein persönliches Anliegen, dass wir uns vollständig korrekt verhalten.“

18 Just Another MR Commentor June 18, 2017 at 5:32 am

These education plans make no real sense, particularly the whole Thing about 2 years on Math/Science Six months on whatever. Most of this stuff gets QUICKLY forgotten unless you use it regularly or are inheriently interested enough in it that you think about it regularly or are on the more extreme end of the IQ curve. I took a lot of math in University, never EVER used it since, I could probably barely take an integral now let alone anything more advanced. I remember almost nothing about finite field theory. Most education is a waste of time, especially this kind – Focus on getting a professional designation of some kind for directy entry into a lucrative career. With this plan one would spend two years “mastering” higher mathematics and likely Forget 75!% of it within 6 months. Great usage of time.

19 dearieme June 18, 2017 at 7:23 am

I would study whatever equipped me to establish a business the world badly needs: call it Dearieme’s De-Indoctrination Clinic. DDC would be paid by rich people to take their near-adult children for a residential course designed to free them from all the malign indoctrination they will have suffered in their lives. The graduates from the course should have learnt to adopt a calm, sceptical attitude to everything, and have absorbed enough information about the world and its population, and enough tools for thinking with, that they should be able to lead happy, fruitful lives.

“Isn’t that what universities are for?” I hear you ask. Ha, ha, ha, ha.

20 The Other Jim June 18, 2017 at 8:09 am

Speaking strictly about self-aggrandizement: The goal of your 20s should be to spend as little of it as possible in formal education.

It’s your period of maximum energy and free time, and it’s the only period where you will get extra credit for being “so young.” If you’re smart and driven, you can climb the ranks of your profession very quickly. You can reach the salary level of a 30-35 year old when you are 26. Or you can go the startup route if you prefer, and possibly set up an early retirement plan at the same age. Either of which will be a bonus for romantic partners, by the way.

Get the hell out of college, people. This knowledge is my gift to you – enjoy it and be happier.

21 Just Another MR Commentor June 18, 2017 at 9:16 am

” If you’re smart and driven,….” Oh really?! Thanks for the banal comment. You know if you’re smart and driven you can win a Nobel Prize as well. One can do a lot by being sufficiently smart and driven.

22 Thor June 18, 2017 at 3:47 pm

I think Dearime’s institute is sorely needed on a large scale, BUT … those who need it are the masses of largely anonymous mediocrities that graduate from college or university (or enter but don’t graduate). How do we inspire them to lead reasonably fulfilling lives? UBI plus what?

23 KM32 June 18, 2017 at 7:29 am

2. He sees the market for altcoins reaching $1T in a few years and 5T shortly after that, from 90B now. This ends badly. It is an asset with no foundation. Even a fiat currency has the wealth and tax collecting ability of a nation to prop it up.

Throw in the notorious Chinese gambling spirit, and it looks like a Tulipmania waiting to happen.

24 Mark Thorson June 18, 2017 at 10:40 am

The whole piece sounds like a sales pitch for alt coins. Pooh-poohs the idea it’s a bubble and paints a picture of Chinese investors moving in and staying in unless they can sell at higher prices. Shades of a new, permanent high plateau.

25 NatashaRostova June 18, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Tulipmania comparisons are so trite. Every time an asset goes up, some pseudo-clever commentary starts going on about tulipmania. It doesn’t matter how many times it has been debunked.

Sometimes new assets do come into existence!

26 The Cuckmeister-General June 18, 2017 at 7:54 am

Neither are the mutterings of an old cuckold such as yourself on the Internet.

27 True Scotsman June 18, 2017 at 8:25 am

“It’s almost impossible to gauge recent typewriter sales.”

So we can put a man on the moon, but we can’t gauge recent typewriter sales?

28 Thiago Ribeiro June 18, 2017 at 8:35 am

1 – No, you can’t put a man on the moon, not since the 70’s.
2 – Maybe Mr. Trump should male a speech about gauging recent typewriter sales before the decade is over, not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of American energies and skills, because that challenge is one that America is willing to accept, one that America is unwilling to postpone, and one which America intends to win and the others too.

29 Roe your boat, not your spacecraft June 18, 2017 at 9:10 am

You’re right, no one has walked on the moon since Roe v. Wade! Legalizing abortion is so costly that it bankrupted NASA.

30 Thiago Ribeiro June 18, 2017 at 10:15 am

I doubt it was Roe v. Wade. I think militarism bankrupted America. As happened to the Soviet Union, the xost of the Empire for the USA has become too high.

31 Blah June 19, 2017 at 2:05 am


32 The Engineer June 18, 2017 at 8:49 am

3. Ten years?!?

Actually, to the merits of what he’s talking about, there is no reason that this could not be done on your own time while you are working. I mean, philosophy and religion are best learned on your own, outside of a formal institution.

Get your experience in foreign countries as an expat.

33 Hazel Meade June 18, 2017 at 9:44 am

#3. I kinda sorta did this – not so much that I had a guarenteed income, but I had some time to kill waiting for permanent residents visa, and the ability to get accepted to graduate schools. And the answer was: artificial intelligence, robotics, cognitive science, moral psychology, greek and roman history, fine art, and fire performance. Spent a lot of time socializing with artists and performance artists. Met and married a computer hacker who wrote poetrty and lived in an art colony, who seems to know everything about every movement in film,music or art in the past century. He’s constantly saying things like “What? You’ve never heard of Sun Ra? Well, i’m going to have to show you some youtube videos to correct this terrible gap in your education.”

34 Anonymous June 18, 2017 at 10:43 am

“permanent residents visa”

Where are you from? I always assumed you were American, but being non-American would explain your lack of knowledge about American culture, extreme even by the standards of this blog, I always thought it was just the product of an ordinary nerd bubble. Also, what’s your academic background?

35 Hazel Meade June 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm

I’m Canadian.

36 Milo Fan June 18, 2017 at 11:21 pm

You and Alex T.

I guess Canada isn’t sending their best either.

37 Hazel Meade June 20, 2017 at 10:09 am

It pleases me to know that I get on the nerves of the (alt) right people.

38 ricardo June 18, 2017 at 11:05 am

You’d never heard of Sun Ra?

39 Thiago Ribeiro June 18, 2017 at 3:26 pm

What has he done lately?

40 Faze June 18, 2017 at 5:07 pm

You’re better off knowing about Doris Day than Sun Ra. Mr. Ra was just another free jazz noisemaker with silly cosmic pretensions that allowed him to be patronized by white idiots. Doris Day was a monsterously talented singer, dancer and actress whose combination of smarts, beauty and skills so far surpass those of today’s Wonder Women as to suggest we have devolved into a different species.

41 Hazel Meade June 18, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Sadly a total lack of interest in music or music history prevented me from ever learning about that magnificant specimen of humanity.

42 Thiago Ribeiro June 18, 2017 at 11:13 am

“It made me question my conservative views, realizing that inequality is a real problem, destroying meritocracy for a lot of people”
Yep, it was this that made him believe there is inequality and it is a problem. Not the myriad problems, humiliations and barriers American poor face. Maybe some people’s political visions really can be explained by the lack of an empathy gene after all.

43 The Cuckmeister-General June 18, 2017 at 11:44 am

I find it weird that a cuckold accoutant from Ohio is so concerned about the poor in America AND pretends to be from Brazil all the while.

44 Thiago Ribeiro June 18, 2017 at 12:20 pm

“Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.” – John F. Kennedy
Basic decency does not know borders or walls. Unlike your provincialist imagination, which has chosen a state where nothing interesting ever happened to be “my” state.

45 The Cuckmeister-General June 18, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Everyone here knows you aren’t Brazilian.

46 Thiago Ribeiro June 18, 2017 at 1:16 pm

I am Brazilian, I live in Brazil and I speak Brazilian Portuguese fluently.

47 Anonymous June 18, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Yes, I believe the American poors’ “problems, humiliations” are mainly due to their own poor choices,” and, though I support some redistribution, I think the current level is about right. And what “barriers” do you speak of?

48 Thiago Ribeiro June 18, 2017 at 1:15 pm

“Yes, I believe the American poors’ “problems, humiliations” are mainly due to their own poor choices,” and, though I support some redistribution, I think the current level is about right.”
I see, your newfound annoyance at inequality is basically envying the slackers. Interesting enough, if a poor person were to display such low motivations when thinking about their betters, the far-right would dismiss the whole American inequality issue with a Sowellian “Would a poverty-stricken peasant in Bangladesh find the difference between the average American’s standard of living and that of a millionaire to be something to get excited about? “.

“And what ‘barriers’ do you speak of?”
Educational, occupational (I doubt people from the Rust Bell’s former steel toewns just decided to be unemployed), legal ( ) America’s poor have become second class citizens, they have becomes strangers in a strange land.

49 bruce June 18, 2017 at 11:48 am

Six months devoted to music, learning an instrument and composition? Dream on.

50 Todd K June 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm

The same with learning a killer language like Japanese as he mentioned Japan as a possible place to live a year.

51 Anonymous June 18, 2017 at 1:24 pm

3. As I search at 10:21 PST there are no mentions of “books” on this page. A generation or two ago The Great Books would feature prominently.

Perhaps the difficulty in doing this now vs then is that book tolerance is low, and a ten year plan has to work with a social media stream instead.

52 Anonymous June 18, 2017 at 3:40 pm

Why was my comment deleted? All I said was that the Left is batshit insane on cultural and racial issues. If that crosses a line, this blog is dead.

53 Thor June 18, 2017 at 3:53 pm

Is it a passing phase akin to a fad or are we entering a new normal wherein the most fanatical SJWs drive the agendas?

Postmodernism for example has largely disappeared…

54 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ June 18, 2017 at 4:38 pm

It is certainly not productive to say the “right” or “left” is insane.

The test for sanity is your ability to identify the subgroups right and left of center who actually are.

55 Hazel Meade June 18, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Pretty sure that BOTH the left AND the right are batshit insane on racial and cultural issues.

56 NatashaRostova June 18, 2017 at 4:37 pm

I put 15% of my discretionary investments portfolio into Ethereum last month. Planning on holding on to it for 3-10 years, with the understanding it is very high risk and could plausibly go to zero.

I think Ethereum though represents a novel and interesting way to gain exposure to a potentially revolutionary firm and young CEO in the tech-space, in a way that is normally impossible for a pre-IPO firm. The currency dynamics are also poorly understood, which could mean incredible returns, at the risk of it going to zero.

57 A clockwork orange June 18, 2017 at 10:31 pm

your eyes still look young to me

58 June 19, 2017 at 12:08 am

#3 Many people said that university degree has signalling value. Why is this value so low in USA?

Traditionally it is assumed that university graduates have IQ 1 SD above the population mean, i.e. IQ 115. The fraction of graduates in any country will depend on the national mean IQ. If too many people have degress, that will degrade the signalling value SRatio=Frac115/FradGrad of degrees. The higher the SRatio the better the signalling value. Some countries like KR, JP and DE stay close to the ideal condition but many do not. The IQ data from Lynn, FracGrad from OECD.

Rank IQLynn FracGrad Frac115 SRatio Country

2 102 0.142 0.193 1.36 IT

4 106 0.278 0.274 0.99 KR

5 105 0.263 0.252 0.96 JP

6 99 0.151 0.143 0.95 DE

10 98 0.175 0.129 0.73 FR

22 100 0.286 0.159 0.55 UK

24 99 0.268 0.143 0.53 CA

30 98 0.308 0.129 0.42 US

37 87 0.116 0.031 0.27 BR

38 88 0.162 0.036 0.22 MX

USA at SRatio=0.42 explains the low opinions for graduates. Simple bell curve mathematics show that the minimum graduate IQ is 105.5. That agree with the empirical data for US university student selections . May be it requires 2.5 points higher to complete the course. The bell curve result is pretty accurate.

59 Larry Siegel June 20, 2017 at 12:21 am

3. No literature? Seriously?

I agree with the comment that most of the math and science will be quickly forgotten unless used, but the idea of what math is, what it’s for, how science is done, how it can go astray, etc. will not be forgotten.

60 will June 20, 2017 at 5:35 pm

Depends on what kind of math and what kind of science. A store of knowledge is easily forgotten. A method of reasoning will stay with you. i.e: proof techniques and intuition will likely stay with you. You may forget methods to compute integrals without use, but you will be able to recall how to derive them in short order. Goes doubly for discrete math as it’s more intuitive.

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