Monday assorted links

1. An interesting post on differing measures of wage growth, some showing more optimism than the usual story.  I interpret these data as showing overall productivity stagnation, and that we are near full employment, but that finally some terms of trade shift toward less skilled workers can be observed.  Other interpretations are possible, though.

2. The Parfitian lawsuit: “you made me exist!”

3. What happened to Jim Carrey?

4. “A society hospitable to the down and out will not be afraid to dress up.

5. “Staff at the Bank of England studied the writing style of Dr. Seuss as part of a push to make its communications more easily understood by the general public.

6. I was surprised to learn that the world’s largest bus terminal is in Tel Aviv.  The link presents nine other “largest buildings of a particular type” around the world.

7. Why are Tesla insurance rates going up so much?

8. The cut-off that is Qatar.


7 is unsurprising. Tesla pretty explicitly makes users beta testers. That was fun for a while, rebellious and avant-garde, but now tired.

I'll bite. In what way do you find that they treat their customers as beta testers and further, how do you think this affects insurance rates?

The feature that is in beta, enhanced autopilot, is explicitly called out as improving safety.

Tesla would never, ever use their drivers as beta testers, if only for the following reason - 'Over the weekend, Tesla CEO Elon Musk clarified the automaker’s use of the word ‘Beta’ in reference to the Autopilot system after Germany’s Federal Office for Motor Vehicles (KBA) said that it wouldn’t approve a feature on German roads if it is described as ‘Beta’. The agency said that the ‘beta-phase’ could mean ‘an incomplete status of the software’.

Elon Musk claimed that the word “beta” is not used in the “standard sense” of the word, but to make sure drivers “don’t get comfortable” with the system.'

Fashion is fickle, and Tesla was more of a fashion company than many understood. Combine that with "the owner community knows there are maintenance issues" and .. trendy people will move on to other cool cars. We now see more new Porsches than Teslas. YMMV.

Another example of growing pains.

I agree, the early run model X's were pretty terrible. I don't know how they compare to the 1st 10,000 of any somewhat complex car, however.

The model S, OTOH, is pretty stable and works quite nicely.

Without reading the article, isn't every new product like that? The early adopters, middle adopters, late adopters, with the former subsidizing the latter and all the while price going down and volume going up.

I think that the problem is the Tesla S doing 3 seconds from 0 to 60. This is a powerful car, not a car that can be driven safely by everyone.

So, lots of HPs/KW or low insurance rates, chose one.

I'll have to disagree about using their customers as beta testers. I know someone who's got a Tesla Model X, and they're quite clearly using their customers as alpha testers. He has tons of problems with the thing, which he expected going in. He was expecting to be a beta tester. He's highly technical, quite smart, and has worked QA. He's tried to file all sorts of bugs with Tesla over the thing, but they pretty much ignore him.

8 says to me that it would be a good time to have a functioning State Department, NSC, and President pulling together.

I am sure that the Saudis would emphatically disagree with that idea.

Ahh, a blast from the recent past
"Clinton's charity confirms Qatar's $1 million gift while she was at State Dept"

The problem is that the State Department has been functioning, not that it hasn't.

And, apropos of Tyler's weekend post "Trump and the collapse of America’s global role (POTMR)", this is the type of actual corruption he favors over Trump's (so far) imaginary corruption.

$1 million might be a bit less in 2017 than you realize.

Shakes head that two people on this page think this is a significant distraction.

Comrade, the story here isn't about what was paid, its about what was bought.

5 minutes with Bill, in exchange for $20M investment in Haiti?

Good work Bill.

“Qatar—Would like to see WJC (William Jefferson Clinton) for ‘five minutes’ in NYC, to present $1 million check that Qatar promises from WJC’s birthday in 2011,” Desai wrote. “Qatar would welcome our suggestions for investments in Haiti—particularly on education and health. They have allocated most of their $20 million but are happy to consider projects we suggest. I’m collecting input from CF Haiti team.”

It really doubly disgusting that you are (1) down on good works by your enemies, and (2) using their good works to distract from the power (and thought) vacuum at the center of our government.

Who would even do that? How crazy do you need to be?

"5 minutes with Bill, in exchange for $20M investment in Haiti?"

That's not what the story says.

But your idea that it wasn't really a bribe because she was just protecting the money from the bad men who used to have it, is funny though, thanks for that.

Not a bribe also because no significant change from GWB policy.

Things are changing now and the Qataris don't seem to like it. Has it occurred to you that no change is what they were buying?

'and the Qataris don’t seem to like it'

CENTCOM was moved to Qatar under Bush's presidency - I'm not sure what Bill Clinton had to do with it, to be honest.

But the question was not actually answered - can CENTCOM personnel still freely travel between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, or not?

A similar thing is occurring in Turkey and NATO forces, in its way.

And let us be honest - the Gulf governments don't consider a million dollars to be worth picking up off the street. Just ask Tillerson - ExxonMobil has massive investments in Qatari natural gas - ' ExxonMobil has partnered with Qatar Petroleum to develop the North Field, the world’s largest non-associated natural gas field, through our RasGas and Qatargas joint ventures.

Through these ventures, we have participated in 12 of the 14 LNG trains, 27 of the world’s largest LNG ships, three receiving terminals in Europe and the United States, and Qatar’s largest condensate refinery. Additionally, ExxonMobil is the only foreign participant in two domestic gas projects – Al Khaleej Gas and Barzan Gas.'

‘and the Qataris don’t seem to like it’

Because pissing off random people, military allies, whomever, is the new goal of conservative America.

We are going to back the Saudis and Egypt. Not too hard to figure out.

That looks like the momentum, but is this strategy for us or a random walk?

Except the U.S. won't be leasing space in Khobar Towers this time.

8. One trusts that CENTCOM personnel will be able to move between KSA, UAE, and Qatar - 'Of all six American regional unified combatant commands, CENTCOM is among the three with headquarters outside its area of operations (the other two being USAFRICOM and USSOUTHCOM). CENTCOM's main headquarters is located at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Florida. A forward headquarters was established in 2002 at Camp As Sayliyah in Doha, Qatar, which in 2009 transitioned to a forward headquarters at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.'

Strange how the Saudis, after not being able to prevent a major terrorist attack against American military personnel are now seeming to find where CENTCOM is located to be a problem zone. Almost as if the KSA has its own interests, and is happy to lead anyone willing by the nose who is unaware that the Saudis are noboby's friends, unless they are Wahabist/Salafist.

"Almost as if the KSA has its own interests, and is happy to lead anyone willing by the nose who is unaware that the Saudis are noboby’s friends, unless they are Wahabist/Salafist."

No one is under any illusions about Saudi Arabia. We all know it is a backstabbiing two faced cesspool.

We need them so everyone [left and right, GOP or Dem] holds their nose and pretends.

Well, you need them to tear down your buildings.

WTF do you 'need them' for?

KSA is no longer the 'swing' producer for oil.

The [fracking] USA is.

7. Hype sells. There's so much hype around Tesla that its capitalization exceeds that of GM. And Tesla loses money, lots of it. And doesn't sell very many cars. And doesn't know if it wants to be a company that makes quality electric powered cars or a company that makes quality autonomous cars. GM's CEO, a woman, has eyes to see. And what she sees is hype sells. So she is now touting GM as the leader in autonomous car technology. If the hype works, GM's stock price will rise, she will save her job, and GM can get on with making real cars that are sold for real profits. In today's topsy-turvy market, losses are in and profits are out. Go figure. Maybe it's time for Glenn Turner to stage a comeback, maybe as CEO of GM. After all, he convinced millions to invest in a slogan (Dare to be Great). Who needs an actual product to sell.

"...and GM can get on with making real cars that are sold for real profits."

The automobile of 2037 will be as different from the automobile of 2017 as the automobile of 2017 is from the automobile of 1937.

"The automobile of 2037 will be as different from the automobile of 2017 as the automobile of 2017 is from the automobile of 1937."

Yes but none will be called a Tesla.

"The automobile of 2037 will be as different from the automobile of 2017 as the automobile of 2017 is from the automobile of 1937."

A Chevy Tahoe is not that different from a '37 Chevy. Body on frame, live rear axle, V8 engine (Okay, the Chevy had a I6, but Ford made V8's), pushrod valve actuation, largely steel construction.

Cars to this point have been evolutionary products. Still a steel shell on top of 4 rubber tires.

Isn't losing lots of money at the heart of capitalism?

How else can you build bigger and bigger factories without losing money?

Amazon took two decades to get as big as it did by failing to lose enough money, instead only building more and more of its factories using its free cash flow instead of selling more shares of stock as Tesla does.

Note, I'm using today's business theory in computing profit/loss: every penny building productive capital assets is money losing wasted spending.

Google lost money building more and more servers until it could deliver the most number of search results to far more users than any other search provider. Today, they have so many servers all over the world, no one can compete because they would need to lose ten billions in order to open for business, building all the data centers and servers.

Note, Amazon simply lost money becoming Sears circa 1940. Today, Sears is losing money selling off all its pre Amazon global everything store capital assets. Sears was run on the basis that paying for capital assets was just money losing. Instead of losing money expanding its mail order, it shut it down. Instead of losing money building a better logistic system, it didn't letting Sam Walton build his.

Ford has replaced it's CEO because he was losing money building new product lines instead of clinging to the past.

8. Trump, a known con man, was conned by the Saudis. What's Trump going to do now, admit that he was a sucker? Never. Trump was considering building a hotel in Qatar. He got knee-capped by his Saudi friends. So what does Trump do now? He does what he always does: he doubles down. Indeed, Trump is indebted to the Saudis for having bailed him out of the Plaza Hotel and bought his yacht when his Atlantic City casinos were struggling and he needed cash, not to mention all the condominiums Trump has sold to Saudis over the years. And the Saudis stuck it right in Trump's face, claiming that Qatar supports terrorists when it's the Saudis who do. When it's a choice between America's security and Trump's wallet, is there any doubt he will choose his wallet.

Qatar is no better than Saudi Arabia. US policy towards Saudi Arabia has not changed in 40 years.

But why is the USA so fucking dumb?

Trump is president precisely because 63 million American voters were turned against dysfunctional politicians that down-play terror.

I'll give you the AC casinos. What "genius" would build three casinos to compete against each other and against the ten other AC casinos? FYI I make my cash drops at Borgata.

Life is good. I woke up this morning and Hillary (Refugees Welcome Here!) is not President. Because getting massacred by Muslims is simply part and parcel of living in a country that is committing national suicide.

She sold America for chump change and now those buyers will realize zero return and 100% write-off.

Whenever someone, in this case rayward at his most sophomoric, ends his "analysis" with something about Trump's wallet, I realize there's nothing on offer that is more interesting than my Facebook feed, which is just shrieks about impeachment. (It's as if people cannot decide if Trump is a Hitlerian genius or a money grubbing rube.)

It should be obvious that every ally (or should I say "ally") and every would-be ally and every enemy in the Middle East requires careful managing. Each is a relationship fraught with complexity. The area is a snake pit. But some things never change: the need to know what is actually going on, and the need have sort of, kind of allies, if only to help in the machinations against others.

I'm not happy about the Saudis, but unless you are Jimmy Carter, you shouldn't think you can alienate everyone at the same time.

Are you ready for a truth bomb?

If anyone told you last year that Trump's attack on the character of John McCain was all you needed to know, that it showed exactly why Trump was unsuited to be President of the United States, he was right. In that moment we knew that Trump was only thinking in the moment and of himself. He attacked not just McCain, the man who sacrificed for his country, but everyone who ever sacrificed for his country. "I like people who weren't captured.” And presumably people who weren't killed. And now, as Trump attacks London's Mayor, for no good reason, we see exactly the same misadventure.

Trump does not think 10 minutes ahead. He attacks those he feels angry with (as he watches TV and with no deeper study), even when those people are actually acting to a higher purpose, for a higher good. He undermines his future self, not to mention the future for all of us.

Impeachment, I don't know. But I think I can guess what Paul Ryan's prayer is as he goes to bed every night. "Please, please, Russia, and tie in Pence."

Trump's counterattack on McCain was a bit unfair, but McStains struck the first blow (he called Trump supporters crazies). The attack at being captured was a blow at the heart of McCain's reputation and it drove him nuts. McCain hasn't done much since then, except being the go to guy for trashing Republicans. He was also a failed Presidential candidate, so Trump's success must also drive him crazy. Ha!

he called Trump supporters crazies

There were a lot of reasons to vote for Trump. It is apparent now, but not quite admitted, that all of them were bad. When that moment of clarity/acceptance comes "temporary insanity" might not be such a bad defense. Or perhaps more generally, "I was conned."

McCain quit campaigning in 2008 to help pass a bailout for the banks. And lost the election.

I think that was a bad idea. So did Trump. He insulted the author of that silliness.

Wtf derek, if you are mad about bailouts (or 'crazies') you talk about that.

You don't lash out like a 5 year old at all American prisoners of war. You don't degrade POWs in the eyes of your followers.

To listen to the side that believes that marines are murderers, the American military is an occupational force, military members are all rapists-in-waiting, the culture of patriotism is shameful, etc, etc... now suddenly care about treason, veterans, etc. It's laughable. The left hates the military, hates American exceptionalism, and hates patriotism.

Do you think Trump doesn't care about his wallet?

I bet he does. A lot.

The odds of being killed by a refugee terrorist is about 1 in 46 million.
Care to try again?

Sounds like a good thing to maintain. Let's worsen the odds even more.

Qatar's $1 million donation to the Clinton Foundation lands with a thud.

Sorry boys - no refunds!

That's a pittance by the standards of both sides. It's like a handshake or an exchange of Christmas cards -- just enough to say hi.

One million dollars would have been enough for Bill and Hillary to sell out we the people.

Gawd, this is government by and for doddering old Fox viewers.

If Trump or any of his associates took $1,000,000 from Qatar as a "birthday gift" it would receive non-stop news coverage and you would be acting psychotic about it for the next four years. Try not to be so dishonest.

Trump would sell out the country in twitter fight.

So you agree she was for sale. Now we are arguing about price.

6. Surprised to find that Dubai Airport Terminal 3 was once the building with the largest floor space

2) I'm fascinated by cases of mass paternity, mostly because it happens so rarely. Or, at least, is reported so rarely.

Here's an opportunity that men have fought for, sometimes to the death, for millions of years, yet nobody talks about it or is even conscious of its existence. We remain fascinated by the old formalities that have traditionally been involved in reproductive success, like art, music, and war - but when a door opens to reveal the grand prize, there for the taking, uncoupled from any significant effort or competition, it's weirdly unappealing. Men are like snakes who will only eat live prey; an already dead mouse, though equally nutritious, just doesn't count as food.

Except for a tiny number of observant and opportunistic individuals, who will have an outsized influence on our genetic future.

"After supplying a fertility clinic with only his own sperm, Dr. Cecil Jacobson (John Goodman) is sentenced to raise 75 unwanted children and star in a popular sitcom with them. This week, Cecil tells the kids where they came from."

Impregnating women is one of Julian Assange's fetishes. I'm sure he's kicking himself right now that he failed to set up that Ecuadorian fertility clinic. It's the perfect cover.

Isn't the (alleged) fantasy to have sex with 75 different women, rather than to actually sire -- let alone have to raise -- 75 children?

But why the fantasy? Hint: Sex is not the goal. We are merely descended from people for whom sex was a convenient means to that end. Men who like sex may be, in the future, an evolutionary dead end, outcompeted by cool-headed technicians with an agenda. Sperm banks are not the only way to achieve this, and many new methods of controlling the genomes of future generations may emerge, some of them perhaps so indirect as to be almost undetectable.

But most human males have no instinctive desire to have lots of children, only an instinctive desire to have sex. Why would it make sense to figure out evolutionary reason behind an instinctive desire and satisfy that? It wouldn't be fun, it wouldn't be moral, it wouldn't make you happy.

Men have a very strong instinctive desire to have children, if all the men looking to settle down and raise a family are any indication. They tell each other that the reason is "to not die alone" or "because kids are fun", but would you really turn yourself into a wageslave and spend a million bucks for shallow reasons like that?

The average post modern male may have rationalized away his instinct to pass on his weak genes. But the majority of males in the rest of the world are quite intent on having children, lots of children.

@Sonja Tyson: not really, birthrates are plummeting almost everywhere on earth. Humans are not animals, ultimately due to being conscious of their reproduction (and eventual death).

In human history, birthrate reduction is a new trend (I think it fell from 6 to 2 children per mother in the last 100 years) while humans have not changed that much in such a short period.
I thought the prevailing theories explaining this were:
- health (child mortality reduction)
- technological (availability of contraceptive)
- social (women empowerment and child education)

Birthrates are plummeting because women don't want to have as many children. Not because men don't. Men don't really have to do much of the work of childbearing and rearing, so it's relatively cost free in non-Western countries.

3: guy was never really as funny as everyone wanted him to be, and too long in the spotlight turns some people weird. I hope he doesn't turn into Randy Quaid, though.

There was nothing in there about vaccines, unfortunately.

My expectations were never that high. He made a few very solid movies (The Truman Show is not bad at all) and he was amusing when it works, but he spoke out of his ass. That was childish, not funny.

I disagree - talking out his ass was hiliarious!

De gustibus non est disputandum.

#4...I long for the days when men peed, rubbing elbows and jostling, into one long urinal. Now, each man peering into his own personal urinal, so to speak, has led to a loss of common goals and manners. That's my sweeping statement of the day.

In that case, I strongly encourage you to visit some of the South of Market leather bars in San Francisco. The Eagle in particular. Gay men carry the torch when straight men cannot.

Come to think of it, things really started going downhill when women started exposing their hair in public. The Muslims might be onto something with the whole hijab thing.

Isn't parfit a dessert?

#4. Your need to feel special does not impose upon me any obligation to dress according to your standards. Why don't you do you, and let me do me, OK?

I think the point is not that you or me or Tyler. It is for newcomers, young people. Social mobility. Having a suit and tie as dress code, even informal, makes it easy for someone to dress to fit in.

I don't care, because I don't need to fit in. But the young man I talked to this morning who has another year of engineering will need to fit into an organization to work, dealing with people from all over. How should he dress? He won't have any issues, because his family is stoutly middle class. He is lucky, he knows.

But the dress code is not always obtainable to everyone, even if they know what it is. People will notice if you're wearing a suit that is 20 years out of date, is wrinkled, or doesn't fit properly. The wealthy can always afford news suits, tailoring, and dry cleaning, but not everyone else can.

It's the same with formal rules of etiquette. You can say it's nice to have formal rules, because then everyone knows exactly how to behave properly in public. But then in reality, the formal rules start getting baroque and become class membership signifiers. As an aside, the way the left uses PC language tends to work the same way - it's great to say everyone should use good manners and call people by the terms they prefer, but how the heck are you supposed to stay up to date on what the correct language is this week? It evolves into tribal membership signaling. If you don't know that "biological sex" or "male genitalia" are a transphobic phrases, you're obviously ONE OF THEM.

"People will notice if you’re wearing a suit that is 20 years out of date, is wrinkled, or doesn’t fit properly. The wealthy can always afford news suits, tailoring, and dry cleaning, but not everyone else can."

That hasn't changed. Now it's casual looking but very expensive designer T-Shirts and jeans with a healthy golf tan.

Sure. I think Tyler's point is that social mobility is easier when there are simple norms for dress and grooming. Get a haircut, get a job. Has worked for many people. Gives them a start. Now everything goes, and the very idea is defended vigorously, but the social mobility isn't there.

I don't think it is as simple as that. There are far more things going on, as you say. During my lifetime jeans went from useful work attire to a status marker. Kids at school judge each other by the labels on their clothes. That never happened when I was at school. It hasn't made for an improvement in society.

If the true goal is social mobility, lose the jacket at least and let men wear trousers they can throw in the washer and dryer. Dry-cleaning is not cheap.

On #4, I cannot help but think that the moral panics of the 50s onwards (see books like "Sex Crime Panic" or "The Boys of Boise" for details) must have had some effect on the public/private distinction. That, more than anything, seems to me what led to a "let it all hang out" style, because anything kept private became a vulnerability in the obsessively prying and judging eyes of the public gaze. It seems logical to resist that by rejecting the idea of a public persona outright, and asserting the private persona as not just OK but wholly suitable for public consumption.

On that note, maybe the behavior of Trump, the alt-right, etc. is similarly a rejection of the need to project a politically correct public persona and asserting that private racism/sexism/whateverism is wholly suitable for public display.

"private racism/sexism/whateverism is wholly suitable for public display."

The entire Democrat party is sold on this.

#1 crickets. This analysis fits none of the bellyacher narratives.

#6. This bus terminal​ is an absolute NIGHTMARE! Navigating it's gargantuan interior is next to impossible as it is literally a maze. Entire sections are completely abandoned or too dangerous to enter. A sense of dread permates this building and I avoid it at all costs!

Tours are offered.

7. Because Tesla owners pay for it. Insurance companies have worked out they can charge higher and still keep them as customers, so they do. Surely you don't think insurance is all about spreading risk efficiently.

But there's competition.

Who all need to extract their revenue from the same market, and who are all much better at filtering customers than customers are at filering insurance companies.

3. Robin Williams had a similar style. Life is rough for the constant showman.

5. Perhaps they could use Dr. Seuss to simplify the legalese on their paperwork also.

6. Pot meet kettle. What irony that the GCC is calling out another country for supporting terrorists. I tire of these thugs.

6. The palace is said to be in Brunei but picture shows Kuala Lumpur in the background, a 2500 km difference. I wonder what else on that list is just false.

The largest store (as per their own definition where they are including multiple shops under one roof) should be the new century centre at Chengdu. Infact, it is the highest by floor space as well.

Former home* to the world's largest parking gargage:

Worcester, Massachusetts

*former in that, (a) I assume it's been surpassed, and (b) it's finally gone.

#5 Bank of England ? The home base of the """ "And" theory of conservatism """ ??

"""The 'And' theory has been embraced by several leading conservative politicians in the UK, including the former Conservative Party leader and Prime Minister, David Cameron[7] (although the term 'the And theory' tends not to be expressly mentioned due to its clunky and potentially confusing name)."""

I could have sworn #1 read 'The Pastafarian lawsuit: “you made me exist!”' and was excited to see who a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster might be suing for bringing them into the world. Alas, it's just another modern-tech-breeding-strategy story.

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