Friday assorted links


The Switzerland post has a lot of dubious and some flat out wrong information. I did a reply there covering some of it (still in moderation) and some of the other commenters have pointed out other pieces.

This is kind of a stupid question but what is the underlying theme of Crooked Timber? Like, why do they all blog together? At first I thought it was a Marxist-themed blog but that's not the case. I did really enjoy that Switzerland post.

I think at this point not that many people want to maintain a headline blog. People blog together so that when they do feel like putting something up it's on a highly followed blog. And the CT folks are all comfortably on the left and aligned on a few issues.

I did a Road of Death bicycle trip several years ago. It was a lot of fun, a little scary, and pretty amazing that so many people do it without getting hurt (especially so many people like me who don't normally mountain bike). To be fair, it is dirt-road biking, not single-track mountain biking.

I suspect it is both scarier and safer to travel that road with a group on a bike tour, as opposed to riding in a bus.

Throughout this financial debacle, Martin Wolf has been my favorite columnist. Thanks for the post. And if commenters on this blog have books or writers they enjoy, post them. I, for one, might well read them.

#2: It's true, he didn't rely on the taxi driver but William Tell story ;)

#3: There's something strange around the Bitcoin mine. A month ago I removed a Bitcoin miner trojan from my wife's laptop. Is it more cost effective to build those warehouses, buy the hardware and pay electricity for CPUs and fans compared to write a trojan and distribute it?

It's actually the GPU (graphics card) that does most of the work for serious bitcoin miners. Your wife's laptop was probably not mining all that much compared to a dedicated rig.

From what I gather, these days it's custom ASICs all the way

Just want to say hello to my fellow commenters who are unfortunate enough to still be at work right now (for the US at least).

#1 I bet you WOULD travel down that Death Road if there was a great meal waiting at the bottom! Maybe with purple potatoes and some awesome llajwa.

Directions to Ambrosia: Go to the end of Death Road and look for the restaurant with the ugliest women...


"Each warehouse measured about 150 meters in length, by perhaps 20 meters wide… that’s around 3,000 square meters ... The mine operators told me that each warehouse took fifteen days to construct, and an additional ten days to fill up with hardware and get it all hashing away."

I expect it would take three times as long to build those buildings in North America - after you spend a year getting building permits.

Alas, America has lost its edge in cybercurrencies due to building permits, architectural review boards, etc. Perhaps we need special economic zones where you can construct whatever you want whenever you want.

I expect there is a lot of light industrial space available that could be used for Bit Coin mining (it may require an electrical upgrade). I care nothing for the opportunities in Bit Coin mining per se since I believe Bit Coin to be a scam but excessive permitting processes are a problem in North America.

An example of American permitting gone mad is the proposed Windsor / Detroit bridge. Detroit is dying economically. The Canadians want to pay to build a new bridge but American approvals have been proceeding at a snails pace for a decade. Opponents are still trying to get the courts to stop the bridge.

And there's been absolutely no downside to allowing people to put up factories wherever they want in China!

Not that I disagree with the sentiments above but I think China is likely to see a huge wave of zoning rules in the next few decades.

Re: Detroit/Windsor bridge. It is opponent (singular), Matty Moroun. He owns through a corporation the current Ambassador Bridge and invests in it minimally and guards his monopoly in the courts. He recently lost a ballot proposal and a court case, and the new bridge is on track.

There is some typical protests from those who will be displaced by the bridge approach, but they do not have much power.

Despite Detroit's moribund status, the Detroit-Windsor crossing is the busiest in North America by trade volume.

It is also the best route to decent dim sum if you live in southeast Michigan.

Re: #5 So do Microscopes.

#3 What's the point of useless burning electricity in electronic circuits? Calling it 'mining' doesn't make it any useful.

It's expensive and much a placebo but it's proven to be the best treatment we've seen for treating paranoia in monetary cranks.

Define useful. These guys do it because it makes a profit (for now).

it is the only known and relatively time tested way of decentralized time stamping that doesn't rely on trusted parties. That has value to some people. Your mileage obviously varies.

1: An esteemed group such as this, and I'm the only one who has ever seen Ice Road Truckers? Consider your credibility shot.

Track down the episode "Ice Road Truckers, Deadliest Roads: Bolivia."

There are bits of it on youtube.

I will definitely be reading Martin Wolfe's book, he's the best financial journalist in the world.

re: #1

Can't be any worse than the I-95 corridor from DC-MD through to Prince William Cty, VA.

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