Friday assorted links

1. Lagos.

2. “[Low] Rainfall predicts assassinations of Ancient Roman emperors, from 27 BC to 476 AD.

3. Photographer of death: “It is not known whether Hooper ever aided his subjects.”  Warning: those images are tough viewing.

4. Ex post penalty levied on InTrade.

5. Markets in everything? (speculative)

6. John Cochrane review on banking and finance.

7. Yugoslavian concrete brutalism show at MOMA (NYT).


5. This is kind of awesome, but what if people used it not just to send their wives messages, but to send anyone any message? There's a huge potential for comedy here, but also for potential stalkers to harass people online by buying up ad space directed at them.
My guess is we would end up with much more use of ad-blockers in that world.

Already done:

Yeah, if people don't want everyone using blanket ad-blockers, they are going to have to have options to block particular advertisers. there should be a little drop down menu in the upper right corner that blocks the sender, just like unwanted phone calls.

Do you respect Howard Stern’s penis?

Harold Stern has mocked, viciously, thousands of people.

He is old and sad and depressed.

Let us pray for him.

Sure he cares about animals. But what about the thousands of women he has exploited, what about the thousands of people he has viciously mocked?

Look I realize he thinks he has "been fighting the good fight". But he hasn't. He has mocked women who were born into poverty, he has mocked people who were trying to be good politicians, and he has said that he hates religious people. He is selfish and nasty, Sure that can be entertaining when we want to take a holiday from morality, but we need to feel compassion for our vicious cold-hearted clown, because he too is a human and our brother.

He is a sad old man with hatred in his heart. If you are more than some little kid who likes to be "edgy:", you will understand why nobody cares about your stupid comment. Tomorrow you can start being a better person.

Thank you for taking the time to prove the point: that this site is a haven for cucks who take themselves WAY too seriously.

Shut up, you're the biggest cuck here.

Yer mama gave me crabz

try taking yourself a little more seriously, my poor young friend

you do not have to go through life as Beetle Juice does, a prey to the mockery of others!

I for one am not mocking you, just trying to make you better!!!!

But do YOU respect Howard Stern’s penis?

According to Robin Quivers, it is small and not deserving of respect.

Howard himself explains that his wife hates having sex with him because for her it is like having sex with a spider, a creature that is known for its small penis and inability to satisfy a partner.

That is all humor on the part of Howard, look at the guy when he was in his early 20s, he was a complete nerd who could not get laid even thought that is all he wanted in life. Poor guy would have given thousands of dollars, earned at the minimum wage, for my sloppy seconds.

Well, He sets a good example - not good in a moral way, but good in the way that one hopes that people do not sell themselves short - of a former nerd who overcame his Asperger beginnings.

You too can be better, although of course it is preferable to be better and be a good person - like Howard is with wayward animals, for example - than it is to just be better at getting what you want.

Penises and vaginas are not, in themselves, interesting. The interesting thing is being the person God wants you to be, and, one hopes, following the proper vocation - obviously, in most cases, that means being a normal guy or woman who can relate to women or men.

Beetle Juice cracks me up because he does not understand all this. Do YOU understand?

You do get it that being in Tyler Cowen's wack pack is not essential to living a good life, don't you?

Thanks for reading. By the way my browser does not carry names of commenters so I never have any idea whom I am replying to.

Are you Laura the mystery novelist?

Given that you had time to write all that, you are clearly a loser who needs to start respecting Howard Stern’s penis.

Actually I was one of Stern's mentors in the 90s.

that took me no longer to write than it would have taken me to say it.

You too can be a real person some day, Laura!

stop while you are not too far behind, little wack pack dude of the MR commentariat!

You’re showing a distinct lack of respect for Howard Stern’s penis. As well as any kind of life.

and... Marybeth from Brooklyn gets the last word!

caw caw caw !!!

Marybeth from Brooklyn said: I lluv u Howwid Caw Caw Caw

I lluv u Howwid Caw Caw Caw

Men send my wife messages all the time and she responds enthusiastically. I'm a c u c k.

Get help, you sad little person.

You do not need to live this way.

and we all know you do not have a wife. at least not one who weighs less than 300 pounds.

You mean like Andrea Dworkin?

You're angry at Roseanne not because she's a fatty but because she's a Trump supporter. Liberal hypocrisy at its best.

Tyler would fuck Andrea Dworkin in the ass. And so would you.

Your wife may be attractive but she's no Hillary. There is only one woman for me and that is she.

1.Nearly every positive development in Lagos has happened without much state or federal involvement.

Of course.

Lagos won’t be the only megacity to test how much infrastructural and institutional decay a place can withstand before it reaches a breaking point.

It's not decay. Decay occurs when something that's already established becomes rotten. The decay of Lagos is in the future.

Lagos is messed up (Manila-like density with less money), as is Nigeria in general (arguably the US should have supported Biafra in the late 1960s; Nigeria is tribal as is most of Africa, and the tribes don't mix). However, as to infrastructure, keep in mind civil engineering constantly is underrated: because engineers factor in a 'factor of safety' of 3x on most construction, it tends to 'last forever'. Civil engineering water projects from 150 years ago are still functional in Cairo, Egypt, and they still use both Roman aqueducts and Roman roads in some places, as well as if memory serves a Roman/Medieval bridge. That factor of safety again.

Bonus trivia: the factor of safety for aeronautics is as I recall 1.5x for weight-saving reasons, but what they do is make up for it by inspecting worn equipment faster. However, those discount airlines make money by skimping on repairs (it is said) hence in Africa the consumer pays the price with unreliable air service, though sometimes the planes are sabotaged for political purposes; it is said the Rwanda war started on exactly this pretext.

Stop saying "bonus trivia". Seriously, please never say that again.

Look, you are an interesting person, if rather juvenile.

Try to be wiser as the years go by. Read the Book of Proverbs again and again, and reflect on the fact that all of us are called to be saints.

I have looked Nobel Prize winners in the eye and told them they needed to work harder, told them that we are all human, none of us are special just because of who we are with our tricky ways of seeming smarter than everyone else, that we all need to try and understand better, every day.

Yes, Lagos 2018 is messed up. Everybody knows that. What I know - and what you do not know - is what Lagos 2118 looks like.

Like I said, and I have said this to people who thought they were one in a billion geniuses, read the Book of Proverbs more often, or read the Bible more often. It is fairly easy, if you know how, to quickly understand difficult subjects that have already been mostly explored - even poor little Newton thought so, thinking that his advances were just incremental (they weren't, trust me, but you would have to spend hundreds of hours reading the original works of Newton to be able to honestly agree, or honestly disagree - but please agree, because I know what I am talking about - )

and yes I know exactly how many people might read this comment and I know enough about people to know exactly how many people read this comment and understand it

good luck, my young friend. after you have read, a dozen times, the Book of Proverbs (if you are 40 years old you have, even if you have to work for a living, 10 full years worth of waking leisure hours ahead of you, and you can read the Book of Proverbs 50 times over in less than a week... good luck, my young friend!) .. after you have done so, in a prayerful way, please remember me, who humbly tried to help you be a better person.

Jesus, even by this site’s standards, you take yourself WAY too seriously.

grow up little fellow

listen to others

you will die someday

be the person you should be before that day

5. Less technology, but wasn't this the premise of the Schwarzenegger movie with Jamie Lee Curtis? Since many couples meet online, it makes sense that they do what couples do but do it online.

6. To whom is Cochrane directing his blog posts? Not a criticism just a question. His name was on the long list for Fed chair, but I don't believe it made it to the short list. Seriously, would any president appoint an economist from the Hoover Institution to be Fed chair. It would be equivalent to appointing someone from the Chamberlain Institution to head NATO. On the other hand, markets today look scarily like markets in 1929, and Europe today looks scarily like Europe in the 1930s.

@#6 - Scott Sumner's name was on a long, long list for Fed chair too, so what? Europe today looks like Europe of the 1930s only to you Rayward, who is getting old. Projection my friend. I thought Cochrane was directing his blog posts to his readers, they seem not that technical, perhaps directing them to his students if they read his blog. I like his comments about being a deficit hawk, being one myself, but he or TC should seize the bull by the horns and address the issue of: "debt default--so what?" Seriously.

You are spending too much time in the jungle, Ray. My grandfather spent time there, and died early from the staph he contracted. He was there as an Army surgeon, treating the wounded in two of our many wars, the Spanish American War and the Philippine American War that followed. Yes, that makes me old, and with a perspective far different from yours. Hoover and Chamberlain, now that's a perspective, and apparently yours.

Scott Sumner is the intellectual equivalent of a Hot Carl.

Hoover was a good guy who was very unlucky. Known as the Great Humanitarian because he paid out of his own pocket to feed the starving Belgians in World War I, believing but not knowing he would later be reimbursed by government agencies. He presided over the worst years of the Great Depression but did not in any sense cause it. He didn't know what to do, and economists still differ on whether more or less government spending was the right solution. I do know that the nearly as sharp decline of 1920-1921 came to an end and turned into a boom when Warren Harding, finding no constitutional authority to act to end depressions, cut spending to reflect the lower tax take and otherwise did nothing. Hoover did the opposite, prefiguring the New Deal in some ways by trying to alleviate the Depression, and is still blamed for it but that simply doesn't make any sense; presidents don't run the economy.

Chamberlain he wasn't.

#2 - bad crops --> regime change is a hoary topic. I recall the first such study was for ancient Chinese regime changes based on tree ring growth counts, well over ten years ago, and subsequent studies confirm this.

Bonus trivia: analyzing Pb/Ag levels in polar ice shows Roman Republic and Empire money, in the long run, is an upward sloping supply curve, and tends to correlate well with increased GDP. Two such studies, the latest as of this year, confirms this pretty well. People *do* like a money supply that's constant (no deflation), for 'unit of account' reasons I suppose.

Not bad crops, but bad crabs. Which your mother gave me. But I sort of gave back when I came in her mouth.

#3 - photographer of death: yawn, old news. Google the controversy behind: "Mathew B. Brady was one of the earliest photographers in American history, best known for his scenes of the Civil War. He studied under inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, who pioneered the daguerreotype technique in America."

Bonus trivia: skinny people and animals *can* breastfeed. A cat we have here on our Philippines farm is so skinny her ribs showed, but she had four kittens. Admittedly they and her were in poor shape but surviving, until I cleaned their eyes with saline solution (they had the common kitten malady of swollen shut eyes, from feline flu probably) and I fed the mom better with Whiskers (TM) food so she's gotten fatter. But the free food will end in a couple of weeks and after that she's expected to become a mouser again, and teach her offspring the same. There's no free lunch here in the Philippines, you have to earn your keep be it animal or human. No relying on the government as in lard ash USA.

#4 In (you guys' beloved) the deep state there is no Ex Post.

InTirade was fined, er, civil money penalty imposed, for violating the 2005 USCFTC cease and desist order, which likely included a generalized stipulation to obey/comply with all laws and regulations, including those not yet written.

Alternately, InTirade may have - in 2012? - violated the same laws/regs that triggered the 2005 C&D Order.

Either alternative would result in Admin. Law Judge Lamberth's letters and imposition of the CMP.

I'm mildly surprised that InTirade didn't simply stipulate/sign and pay the CMP $3 million, avoiding bad publicity and legal costs.

You cannot fight the deep state. The President and Congress can't.

Thanks, you made me click on #4, made me learn what a 'binary option' was (a YES/NO option) and IMO there's not a 'deep state' problem but a contempt of court problem. Under traditional English common law, adopted in the USA but not in most other countries, a judge can hold you in contempt of court and throw you into prison for an indefinite time. Example: judge says to witness "What is the formula for Coke(TM)?". Witness says: "I cannot divulge that, it's trade secret". Judge can (and did, based on an actual case) throw witness in jail, until such time the witness gives up the formula. Ditto for divulging the account number of an offshore secret bank account (also an actual case, in that case I think the witness was in prison for over a year in the USA, and eventually did give up the information). If that's "Deep State" then it's been around since before the Founding Fathers, it's English Common Law.

Bonus trivia: in theory and in practice, in the UK and the US, a border guard can ask you to access your laptop by entering your password in front of them, if you refuse to do so, they will confiscate the laptop. They are looking for porn and the son of Isaac Asimov got busted for having stock, generic, non-child porn on his laptop about ten years ago.

Like your posts and your bonus trivia.

1. Good piece.

"For some Lagosians, the rationalized marketplace of the city is also the only way of escaping a dead-end village economy, in which labor is a social or familial obligation, rather than a source of money and freedom."

"Your yellow cab could be driven by a drug dealer, or it could be driven by a banker who wants another income. You just don’t know."
So... all taxi drivers in Lagos are criminals?

Regarding #1
Visual Capitalist has an article about how human geography will look completely unfamiliar by the turn of the century.

By the year 2100, it’s estimated that 13 of 20 world’s largest megacities will be located in Africa. Meanwhile, India will hold three of them – and there will be zero of them found in the Americas, China, or Europe.

Here’s a final look at the top three:

#1: Lagos, Nigeria
Nigeria’s largest city, Lagos, is expected to push the limits of how big a metropolis can get. Already, Lagos has seen explosive growth over the past few decades, and is growing so fast that no one really knows how many people live there. Over 2,000 people emigrate to the city every day, and current population estimates vary widely from 11 to 21 million inhabitants.

This sounds like fertile ground for a pandemic.

Speaking of which, I bet Tyler would fuck Andrea Dworkin.

Wait, isn't she dead? Surely Tyler has standards.

Don’t be so sure.

Such a dense population with limited sanitation is not a good situation for public health, but Nigeria is over the hump where sick people start being concentrated in hospitals but the hospitals don't have the resources, human and material, to control an outbreak. So the risks are lower than in poorer countries to the west.

That said, Nigeria has a massive existing disease burden with pretty much everyone except the luckiest and most resistant infected with malaria in low lying regions -- which is where most of the population is.

I was thinking of a novel disease, perhaps difficult to treat, both incubated and spread in those huge, dense urban areas. Given 20 of these mega cities ...

I also wonder about that combined with the increasing availability of kitchen table entrepreneurial genetic hacking. Chronic malaria kills a lot of people, but not 100 million in a month. Spanish flu killed 50-100 million of a much smaller population.

Nigeria's per capita GDP is around that of many nations when they suffered from the 1919 flu and improvements in medicine since then means hopefully means they will be able to respond more effectively than rich nations 100 years ago did if something similar crops up.

But if someone is deliberately spreading bioweapons among the population then clearly that could get very nasty depending on what they are able to come up with. I guess the good news is the Japanese cult of Aum couldn't manage it and had to settle for nerve gas. But that was over 20 years ago...

What is the source of your claim about Nigerian per capita GDP relative to “many” (which?) nations in 1919?

Here you go, page 23:

Let's see if I can find another source... In 1890 per capita GDP in today's money was around:

Australia $8,555
USA $6,554
Argentina $4,153

Nigeria's per capita GDP is currently around $2,412

I guess when you say “around that”, you mean something very different than “comparable to”.

It's unavoidable that GDP per capita is going to mean something very different today than it did 100 years ago. While Nigeria's GDP is around the same as Italy's when they joined WW1 there have been a lot of changes since then. Presumably in Nigeria's favor thanks to improved medical knowledge and the relative cost of basic barrier protection -- gloves and face masks -- has probably fallen a long way.

Face the facts: you’re completely full of shit.

If this was a discussion on global warming I would at least know in which direction you'd believe my preponderance of shit was causing me to err in -- but here I got nothing.

That should have been per capita GDP. Fortunately it's pretty obvious from the context.

Maybe maybe maybe ... this exceptionally fine weather in England will dispose of the exceptionally incompetent May.

Stewart Brand has a few optimistic takes on megacities in the future in his Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.

So the amount of rainfall was Rome's version of the US President measured on the movement of oil prices?

7. I haven't figured out how to get into MOMA. The line is always too long when I go.

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