Assorted links

1. Indian ferris wheel (video, recommended; at least five different aspects of this material fascinate me).

2. A critical view of seasteading.

3. Japanese underground bicycle parking, more interesting than it sounds.

4. John Nye on James Buchanan.

5. 12 earth scars.

6. The economics of Netflix expansion.

7. Kaiser’s preemptive behavior with California rates.


Will just guess that Kaiser, being the market leader in California, knows more than it's competitors.

How does cannibalization work? Would I, as a current Kaiser subscriber, be tempted to convert to the exchange rate?

I think Kaiser will be perfectly happy to have it's sicker clients be taken away by competitors who aren't charging enough to cover the costs. One can argue the less sick will also be peeled away, but I think they are making the assumption that the less sick will just not buy at any price, so it will be better to price high the first round. It will be fascinating watching the iterations of this process over the next 3 years.

What I'm saying is, Kaiser, as a big California insurer, would not want a bunch of us to cut our rates by going to Kaiser again, but via the exchange. Perhaps the "high" rate is representative of my current rate.

#1 The USA and its tort law puts a damper on all the fun.

I can't decide if the right analogy is the Cirque du Soleil or a 5 horespower motor.

Is "tort law" the problem, or is the problem the opportunistic victims (and their lawyers) who try to exploit the tort system?

#1 Indian Ferris Wheel:

Tyler writes, “at least five different aspects of this material fascinate me.” Here are some that interest me:

1) The way that being a daredevil takes a form that also serves the interests of the non-daredevils.

2) How much do the jump-and-dangle guys enhance the revolving motion, and, if it is a lot, how can we understand that?, -- what is analogous?

3) Whether partakers are charged, and, if so, how. Unclear. What is motivating the two guys who seem to be responsible for keeping it revolving? If they are responsible, from where does that responsible derive?

4) How long can those guys keep that up?

5) What is it about the legal environment there that enables a “poor” “unfree” country to have an activity so totally animal that the land of the free/home of the brave would never have?

Any other fascinating aspects?

Watch closely as the guys climb up to the top of the ferris wheel, and then jump on it as it is going down to propel it. Now, at the same time, the ferris wheel is taking people up and down while the guys have to constantly climb up the wheel. Obviously the wheel has enough energy to bring people back up, so why don't the guys just take a ride up the wheel, then jump on it again as it is coming down?

to answer your #2, It's just like spinning the wheel in wheel of fortune, gravity*mass is the force spinning the wheel.

I think it has to do with physics. If they got on at the bottom, they wouldn't contribute any energy to the wheel. By doing the work of climbing to the top and then riding down, they add energy to the wheel, and increase its speed, at least somewhat.

If they could ride up the wheel, they'd either be relying on the central pushers to effectively push them up (imagine adding 200 lbs of steel to all the seats), or they'd have invented a perpetual motion machine and could retire. Climbing is how they create the potential energy that they transfer to the wheel by jumping on it for the ride down.

I wanted to put that I was being facetious in angle brackets, but I realize now, things in angle brackets get swallowed up by the comment system thinking it's html markup =P.

If they have to jump, it's not a perpetual motion machine. Have you ever heard of a pogo stick?

Ah, yes, the climbing! It's like a water wheel.

How do they get the thing started?

In my experience, the difficult part of a human-powered ferris wheel is loading people onto it. When it is full, it is balanced and anyone can turn it. But when one person is on it, you must lift the first person to get another person on, at least if the new person wants the easy entrance at the bottom. The solution I saw was to have someone very strong. Maybe this wheel can use climbers as a counterweight instead.

The first thing I thought of is the relative price of capital and labor in the Indian economy must be very different from the USA.

I get the impression (possibly mistaken) that when the danglers are all on the ground and stripey shirt is doing all the work, the whole thing works better... or at least faster.

I wonder if it's a way of attracting girls?

Young gentleman wearing orange pants just aren't very common in North America

From #2:

It’s no coincidence that members of the online Reddit community, all male, made plans independently of the Seasteaders to take over an island in the Caribbean. The project failed.

I would have paid good money to watch that happen. It's like the planet of telephone cleaners in HHGTTG.

It’s like the planet of telephone cleaners in HHGTTG.

You mean Earth? Yep, true dat.

#1 is so awesome!

1. It's not that dangerous for the danglers. They might turn an ankle if they fall from the highest point and it's no more risky than the stuff US kids put themselves through when they're having fun with skateboards and bikes etc.

2. I don't think working for an amusement park has ever been so much fun and these guys must be the most fit amusement park employees ever.

It isn't the fall, it is the steek chair in the head that gets you.


I feel we're not rich enough for those shennanigans yet. Like, an order of magnitude off. And when we're rich enough we can do it in space, anyway.

#6 and here is the geographics of Netflix expansion.

The switch between "The Reader" and "Revenge of the Fallen" was amazing. Interesting to see pockets of very different cultures remaining within areas of much, much larger areas of the opposite culture.

On Chicago's north side, it's an almost perfect inversion. And funny that you can look at it and say things like "huh, I didn't know Hispanics didn't like James bond.

I was not a Netflix subscriber until I was a cable-cutter, in one fell swoop. From my perspective, I don't feel "cheated" if enough good new stuff shows up each month. The Arrested Development hype satisfied that, with anticipation of the new stretching back a ways. I think Netflix could do it cheaper though. Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars (not on Netflix) is a good example of simply done but good content. Surely Netflix can do similar "light" shows. (The cents/minute quote really makes no sense from a cable-cutting perspective. It's about a reduction of $888 per year for me.)

(The cents/minute quote really makes no sense from a cable-cutting perspective. It’s about a reduction of $888 per year for me.)

+2, it makes no sense at all. No one decides to buy cable by totaling up the number of channels and their air time and dividing by time and cost. If you are strictly concerned with cost to that level, you watch 'free' over the air broadcasts with an antenna (probably at a friends house).

You buy cable because it's got shows you want to watch and it's cheaper than other means of watching them. Netflix is just trying to build a business moat by creating solely owned product.

I've read fliers from the cable companies very carefully to see if any "*" leads from the "for the first 12 months" rate to the permanent one. Shockingly, no. The final rate is not mentioned. That means to me that cable sells completely on the introductory rate, and by pushing buttons for short-term reward.

I have an unrelated question.

If I am a capitalist in a area with a fixed gold standard and only one coin of gold...And I take that piece of gold and split it into two pieces, half for labor, half for materials. Then if I sell my commodity on the market there is no way I am going to get more gold than I started with, (no profit)...How is this overcome?

"Then if I sell my commodity on the market there is no way I am going to get more gold than I started with"

Why not? Hopefully you are producing a commodity of value greater than the inputs used to create it.

Barter, I suppose

Then if I sell my commodity on the market there is no way I am going to get more gold than I started with, (no profit)

That's an obviously false statement, there are any number of scenarios whereby you could profit in such a transaction.

The most straight forward:
1) You sell your gold coin to buy X amount of stored food.
2) Winter comes, the value of stored food, skyrockets and you sell 0.90X food for your gold coind
3) You now have your original gold coin and 0.10X stored food. You have turned a profit.

As more goods are produced and the amount of gold remains fixed then the costs of goods will fall, so you won't have more gold but you will be able to buy more with your gold. Growth through deflation.

Anyone have a brief summary of the Seasteading article they could post here?

2. Well the turquoise nail-polish was clear foreshadowing, you knew the end was nigh as soon as that happened.
I wouldn't have called the piece a review, exactly...

#4 -- I appreciated John Nye's short retrospective on the work of James Buchanan -- he correctly points out the internal contradiction in JB's work: self-regarding political actors vs. disinterested, pro-public constitutional actors -- I have taught Constitutional Law since 1998, and JB's work on public choice has really informed my view of ConLaw -- indeed, my theory of "ideological rent-seking" was inspired by JB (and Gordon Tullock), see

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