Sunday assorted links


#3 A Sheidelian catastrophe is needed to clean out the dead wood.

The same thing happened to Russia - now a corrupt oligarchy ruled by former members of the administrative state.

ok ,so if we still like elon musk and dogs but don't own a dog, didn't go to jarvard, dont like malcom gladwell and don't think dog poop should be related to childrens education what would our social credibility score be roughly? are we deadwood walking?

I just love reading Malcolm but you are dead wood with poop on your shoe.

we have too much gladwell
do you have any Oscar Peterson you wanna
trade for gladwelll?
is it really a good idea to forge a link between dog poop
and school choice? now the dog poop regulator gets to
create a narrative about what school your kid goes to?

#1 I'm sure she's also very concerned with the admissions process at top universities. More importantly, it's a pretty cheap trick to paint their argument as "our trade secrets are how we determine pay for people of different genders/races" rather than the very legitimate "compensation is a trade secret". More fine work.

'I'm sure she's also very concerned with the admissions process at top universities.'

Why? If they are public universities, the information is already public.

In exactly the same fashion that the pay of professors and staff at public universities is also public.

Public as in the equivalent of the stockholder is the tax payer is not the same thing as public as in the stockholder is the stockholder. If it were deemed an important corporate governance mechanism to make all salaries public for publicly traded companies, they would do it. To compare publicly traded companies to public universities is not really fair though.

Is that why Harvard had to be sued for details regarding the corporate equivalent of their hiring practices? Because it was public?

Harvard is not public. prior is making a false equivalence between publicly traded companies and public universities.

I am aware.

+1. What's more, Harvard and their ilk gorge at the public trough much more so than most private businesses.

Trying to keep the conversation focused, which I realize is a pipe dream. Discuss is not about subsidies, only about obligation to stakeholders and prior's false equivalence. Just waiting them to admit they are wrong.

Not likely to happen. But if we play his game, then private universities arguably are more public than a publicly traded firm and should be treated accordingly.

Harvard is public.

Everybody with basic accounting knowledge (accounting knowledge in the USA context) knows that.

That being said, it is a little sad that people think of Harvard as this place where smart people congregate.

A decade or two or so ago, smart people did, in fact, congregate in uncomfortable places with mediocre but memorable architecture where it is cold 6 months out of the year. Also, almost all the smart people were precluded from spending any real time in the parts of campus with the best architecture. Tyler and Alex know that, I know that .... and now you know that too.

That was then, this is now.

Look, everybody knows the following facts. Most public companies have very little diversity and don't really care. They really care only about money. They don't want the diversity data public because it's embarrassing (i.e., it might upset people and reduce revenue). Most universities have very little diversity, but they are very unhappy about it, and unlike most business enterprises, they earn such huge economic rents that they can afford to indulge the preferences of their managers. So they engage in enormous affirmative action efforts, which don't work particularly well. They don't want the data on either current diversity or their arguably illegal efforts to increase it to be made public, although they would prefer disclosing the former, if they must.


"Harvard" is, at its best, a dating service. And, God bless them, who does not feel a little happy when male Harvard dude and female Harvard dude get married? I mean, that is why most of us are here in this world, right, to find companionship ....?

And ... they also sponsor a pretty good math class for the second rate type of mathematician who needs to spend a few months being "challenged" by "elite math teachers" ("55" = do you know what a joke that is to real mathematicians - I know .... sorry, but I really do ..._)

but it is all so fucking sad.

this is 2018, my friends.

A hundred years from now, there will not be a single poem, a single novel, a single decent painting, and of course there will not be a single successful general who would not have been as successful if they had not said, in their heart of hearts ...

if I go to Harvard it will only be because I want to brag

the architecture is ok but it was not built for people like me


Harvard will only make you arrogant

what you really want

is to understand God, to understand the cosmos

to understand

that nobody


has lived a life really worth living

without having been a friend to a creature who never had a friend in this world

dogs, cats, hamsters, fat men with good hearts, fat women with good hearts, goats, donkeys (Mi Amigo Platero), dogs, cousins, random people who need your help, noble tarantulas, random people who need your help.

God loves you the way you are.
I know that.
God loves you too much to let you stay that way.
Wake up, my friend, wake up.

It has been a long day, and so many angels have asked about you, kindly, as is their wont. I remember so many days like this day ..... wake up, and remember those days too ....

and MI Amigo Platero quietly wonders why I have been so careful to make sure that there was more hay than he could ever have wanted, in his most blissful dreams, in the manger tonight

Chebere baby Chebere

God loves us all

I have not had a pain free hour since the summer of 1980 - that is a long time, if you think it was not a long time, I have to disagree, that was a long time ----- but I have learned this:

we must be kind to animals.

Platero mi amigo God loves you

"von Neumann"

I would like to be impressed, but I am not.

wake up
be kind to a creature who needs
your kindness

seriously, if I were impressed by 55 and von Neumann
I would say so

if you once thought that nobody loves anybody I am here to tell you

there is so much love in this world

my guardian angel is exponentially more eloquent than Falstaff

I wish I remember what my guardian angel said

something like

there is no such thing as a genius, ceteris paribus

God loves you


listen, your friends and your loved ones are your greatest blessings

chebere amigos y amigas chebere

thanks for reading.

Short version: you were born for a specific task.

You can do everything God Wants you to do.

It is not that hard, it is actually very easy.

Look at it this way --- nobody wants to be that actor or that actress who starred in a film but who could not act.

It is so easy to be the person God wanted you to be,

If it is hard to start today, start tomorrow.

I, for one, will be praying for you : God loves you, and wants your friendship.

Don't feel bad that you are going through hard times - I have gone through hard times too

where nobody cared about me

where I was mocked and made fun of

and those days are over.
Heaven, my young friends, is not only not far away, it is closer than the house next door. God created us, true, but also: God is impressed when you do the right thing. Think about it.

listen, your friends and your loved ones are your greatest blessings

and .... as God is my witness ... if you have no friends, and no loved ones (I have been there)

You, as long as you want to respond to God with kindness after all the sufferings God went through for all of us, and would have went through on your behalf alone, even if nobody else needed it ....

You have to remember God loves you as much as God loves anyone, certainly more than God loves me

Thanks for reading

Or, in the alternative ---

maybe nobody cares about anybody.
maybe God does not exist.
you hear the name of God, maybe, and think ....
look I know how important it is to you to
buy nice clothes for people you love
to keep up with the news
and think the right, kind, thoughts ....

maybe we will all die some day and that will be the end of it.
maybe there is no God, no Heaven, and even this world is just an artifact of basic chemical and physical principles, governed, of course, by post-graduate math-level complexity.

Maybe (just kidding).

Actually, there is no chance that God is not real.
There is no chance that God, if he wanted to, could write better blog comments than me,
There is no chance you have the probability skills or the mathematical skills not to be outclassed, at several exponential levels, by lifeless nature, and at several more exponential levels, by nature which includes consciousness.

So don't tell me your opinion as to whether or not my dogs will get to heaven.

I know the answer.

You can't be somebody without caring about everybody else.

God exists, he is my friend, not my "imaginary friend", he is the friend who feels sorry for you that you are dumb enough to think that even for a second.

All dogs go to heaven.

If you are reading this and you agree, that is nice.
If you are reading this and wondering why I waste my time - even though I know what I am talking about - run along, and spend a few hipster hours rereading the footnotes in "Infinite Jest", or a few hipster hours reading some banal Jesuit talk about how it is "difficult to believe"

it is not difficult to believe if you, just once in your life, have cared about someone else more than you cared about yourself

I have seen the angels walking down to earth and away from earth, and every single one of those angels is overjoyed every time someone begins a conversation with them if that conversation is based on the simple observation that

Someone cared about someone else enough to do something about it

(for example, you could start a business connecting rich people with poor young people with overwhelming (for the young people) student debt - a better investment than gold would be to pay off the student loans of ten young people, struggling, and to ask them to voluntarily pay off, if they get rich one day, the obligations of all the recipients, themselves included - on that day when that repayment would be easy)

the funny thing is, I know what I am talking about.

Don't feel bad for me, posting a few days late.

A thousand times or more, my good advice has been well received.

A thousand times or more. Chebere hermanos y hermanas chebere.

The world belongs to the meek and humble. I remember ....

la nuestra ultima esperanza esta la injusticia de Dios
la injusticia esta el nombre, entre amigos, de
justicia --- y injusticia están por los otros

los otros --- Dios, God, remember them, too ....

por nosotros
todo que permanece
esta el amistad

(billions of fireflies, flashing gently on millions and billions of June nights )(america!) (and December nights) (under the Southern Cross, how true and excellent)

watch them, in their nocturnal glory, or remember them

God loves you more than he will ever love me, and I am fine with that.

Friends care about each other, and do not seek out faults.

Seriously ---- God, who is very bright on questions of psychology, loves you
despite your faults

as always, thanks for reading

I could show you overwhelming joy in a handful of dust

not just on the right day, at the right hour, when the sun was in the right position close to the horizon

anytime, day or night, and day or night over the last 60 years or so, for sure, and probably any day or night before that

wake up

"Most universities have very little diversity, but they are very unhappy about it, and unlike most business enterprises, they earn such huge economic rents that they can afford to indulge the preferences of their managers. "

But only to the extent that it does not have a material impact on their U.S. News rankings.

Given the progressives in the United States support and have increasingly called for an equivalent to the EU GDPR law I'm excited to hear how requiring the disclosure of employee makeup squares with privacy protection.

If you can't tie specific emoloyees to the general data *by law* why bother keeping an accurate record that could only ever be used to punish you?

'ruled by former members of the administrative state'

Well, 'administrative state' is definitely a new euphemism for the KGB.

Yes, you are correct, former members of the KGB.

#2 Are there only two posts at this blog, or am I missing the rest of them?

There are only 2 because it's a new blog.

All the best! Will be on the lookout for your new posts.

I think it just started. At any rate, if TC ever closes off MR's comments section again, we can all migrate over there.

One of my favorite college professors would, on occasion, recite something he heard growing up in China. “It doesn’t matter what color a cat is. Any cat that catches mice is a good cat.” People who obsess about diversity just for the sake of diversity are focused on the cat’s color and not its mice-catching ability.

and of course China has no discrimination problem...once you get out of the "re-education" camps = I mean you or your children, if you don't live long enough. Being Han Chinese in China is very similar to being "white (European)" in America circa 1955; discuss.

Aside from its issues with minority groups inside its borders, China is also having some problems with racist behavior by Chinese outside its borders, Kenya in this case:

#1 is just incredibly silly. First off if you are successful at diversity hiring, particularly in the tech world, it absolutely will be a trade secret. Diversity hiring is a zero sum game, only some of the firms can beat the industry average and if you come upon some novel strategy then you would be an idiot to disclose it.

Secondly, if you are not winning the diversity sweepstakes, you run into the problem that a lack of minority presence begets more minority presence. If minorities believe (for any reason) that they are less likely to get jobs at your company they will interview less.

Thirdly, what exactly does this information do? This is the era of social media, your chances of having overtly racist policies, even unwritten ones, that slip under the radar are zero. The only thing this sort of data might catch are inadvertent discrimination. Yet exactly how does a lawsuit change this? If your magic sauce happens to be racist you cannot just take a minority quota (explicitly illegal) and large persistent structural defects in society are well beyond the scope of any company to offset.

Further tech has one of the more diverse workforces in the country. Something like one in three tech workers are minority if we use actual standards who was historically disadvantaged. It is only when you hand waive Asians into whiteness that tech has particularly bad numbers. As far as gender, well I will be shocked if tech is more lopsided than primary education or nursing. If we include sexual, immigrant, and religious minorities, tech may well be a majority minority industry.

"Further tech has one of the more diverse workforces in the country"

Indeed. Look at Google, which has released some of its "diversity data".

Whites are *under represented* in the tech, non-tech, and overall segments. Do we hear about this? No.

Asians are 20x over represented in the tech area compared to their proportion of the population. If there were an issue in tech this would be the one area to "correct".

Given the internal practices at companies like Google and the rigor that they use(d) in hiring it is laughable that there is any bias what-so-ever in their employment.

From the article: "Throughout history, women and racial minorities have been excluded and marginalized in the United States workforce. ... Various stakeholders have been mobilizing to improve access and equity" -- indeed, Jamillah Williams. You have no idea what you are talking about.

People like Jamillah Williams has converted tech, which has from inception been about inclusiveness, to ground zero in the "equality wars" resulting in every day terror for employees, managers, and executives.

The numbers aren't "bad." It is absurd to expect that the workforce of a firm or even an industry should be a representative sample of the population according to a narrow set of characteristics selected by the intersectional identitarians.

Just a quick note from a law school flunkout on trade secrets: anything can be a trade secret that's not already known to the public. The author of the article was wrong when they said: "To conceal this information, companies have increasingly made the novel argument that diversity data and strategies are protected trade secrets. This may sound like an unusual, even suspicious, legal argument. When we think of trade secrets, we often think of famous examples such as the Coke formula, Google’s algorithm, or McDonald’s special sauce used on the Big Mac sandwich.".

I'm also somewhat amused as to why the author thinks keeping diversity data as trade secret is wrong and not the other trade secrets they seem to be OK with, like Coke's formula, Google's algorithm, McDo's special sauce? Doesn't this author want the world to benefit via more competition with McDonald's and Coca-Cola corporations? Or do they have stock in these enterprises and have a vested interest to keep their know-how trade secret? LOL these anti-IP types are so hypocritical and inconsistent...

so the Chinese have figured out a way to link dog poop to the qualityschools your kids go to? and it appears to be working

isn't that a little passiveregressive

6. It is as if none of these lawyers have read The Innovator's Dilemma. They are all confident that they, and not somebody else, will be able to automate workflows, get rid of the boring stuff, and only do the high valued work. Perhaps they are not wrong. They are with it enough to participate in the challenge.

This isn't all that new news? When I was in law school in 2011, I was told that they redid the document discovery phase of the IBM antitrust trial, and the robots outperformed--in speed and accuracy--the human lawyers IBM had hired. And IBM had Cravath, the non plus ultra of white shoe law firms.

At a conference seminar on e-discovery, a lawyer told the story of when she was training a predictive coding algorithm on a discovery dataset, it kept returning this non-sequitur keyword even after she kept rejecting it, only to eventually conclude that the non-sequitur word was the code word being used by the company to hide behind. That broke the case open for her. The computer got it first.

This shouldn't be a big surprise. An overwhelming amount of corporate legal work is repetitive pattern matching. Corporate M&A due diligence? Read all the contracts, make sure they don't contain traps. Discovery? Read all the emails, all of the privileged documents go in one pile, all of the relevant documents go in a different pile, all documents in the intersection of those piles gets reviewed by a more senior attorney, who does a more sophisticated set of pattern matching.

The good news for lawyers is that the machines can't do the "fun" parts of lawyering. Counseling clients, nailing down tough negotiations, trial. The bad news is, the fun part of lawyering is, what, 5% of a lawyer's practice? Only having 5% of the work to do, that presents a kind of a challenge for law firm economics.

Ok, so would I rather have a lawyer make my employee handbook instead of a law form website like Rocketlawyer? Probably. But do I prefer it $4000 to $50? No. And if, say, Seyfarth Shaw (national firm, specializing in employment law, practices by six sigma principles) automates the daylights out of their process, and can get it done for $2000, wouldn't I be better served?

The test was about error detection, not contract content creation. I'll bet most of what is complex about contracts is due to lawyers desire to maintain their income rather than the inherent needs of the customers. I think most customers can be serviced for tenths of a penny on the dollar of what a contract written by a "law firm" would cost. Sturgeon's Law (everything is 90% crap) holds for any job which can be done adequately by us wet-brains. Law, medicine, programming are no exceptions.

6. I'm not sure what this means. As I understand it, it was based on the time it took to spot an issue in a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Well, there's always an issue in an NDA, or in any agreement on restraint of trade. What? NDA's are a restraint on trade. As are any restrictive covenant (as are non-competition covenants). Sure, I can identify a provision in an agreement that is a restraint on trade in seconds. Can I identify one that won't be enforced by a court. Which court? The Kananaugh Court? See, restraints on trade are very particular to the judge. Some judges believe restraints are anti-American, while others believe contracts are contracts. What do you believe?

Does Cowen support or oppose restraints on trade?

I would suspect that he supports them as promoting trade. When companies consider entering into any kind of cooperation agreement, they often have to provide technical, commercial or financial information which they want to keep confidential. In these cases the parties can conclude a non-disclosure agreement in order to keep business information, which is not otherwise protected, confidential.

Recognizing this need, The World Trade Organization promulgated The Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In principle, the 159 WTO member countries agree to a common definition of trade secrets. Additionally, TRIPS state that natural and legal persons shall be entitled to their trade secrets not being unlawfully exposed, acquired or used without their consent in a manner contrary to honest commercial practices.

Of course China violates WTO with impunity and simply disregards all of the judgments that have been made against it so far. General Secretary Xi is well-served by his useful idiot "free-trade" advocates in the US who aid and abet this practice.

Responding to a 2013 Intellectual Properthy Commission report on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, finding that trade secret misappropriation costs US businesses more than an estimated $300 billion annually, Congress enacted the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016.

Even though it is the case that most US judges decide cases based upon their particular ideological disposition of a particular morning, this is not a common law matter, but one subject to actual law and decisions would, in a better world, be based upon the law.

On #4 - of course cars are better now than they used to be. I guess the point is that transportation has only seen evolutionary improvements in the last 50 years or so, while in the 50 years that before we saw revolutionary improvements. My feeling is that we are about to experience another revolution, with the advent of self-driving. This is a bigger deal than it seems - it is not just an improved taxi - it will eventually result in a total re-wiring of our cities. Public and private transport will morph into one, cars as a consumer product will disappear and so on.

Enthusiasm is -generally- good. However, you should make an effort to recall your (apparently) unbridled enthusiasm in 20 or so years - the day your ubercar arrived late - even though you scheduled it based on its -not your-requirements, smelled of vomit, and had some sort of sticky organic residue smeared all over the seats, the windows were frosted but not by anything you could identify. and not to mention how poorly maintained it was and how questionable breaking seemed.

Probably won't be any self-driving cars because of this.

The author's complaint seems to be that cars are only incrementally better, as they do the same thing they always did only they do it better (better reliability and durability).

And, indeed, a mechanic from 1918 would be able to recognize a great deal of what's in a 2018 car, as they are still mostly powered by internal combustion engines. And therefore the pistons, valves, camshafts, crankshafts, spark plugs, cooling systems (etc.) would be instantly recognized as incrementally improved versions of what one could find in a 1918 car.

Of course, the electronics (but probably not their functions) would be a great mystery.

It's not just that the use cases are the same, but that cars themselves are (other than the electronics, both in the car and those used to produce high-precision parts in manufacture) pretty much the same.

Cars today are what computers would be if semiconductor devices had never been invented: we'd have much better (smaller, more reliable) vacuum tubes, but, they'd be used much as they were in the 1950s; they wouldn't be consumer products, and you surely wouldn't be putting one in your pocket.

#4. Outsiders in any industry look for the sexy developments. Insiders too, sometimes. In the 70's I worked for a conglomerate with a large forest products subsidiary. The macho insiders kept proposing new mills. They never made economic sense. Gradual continual refinement of existing mills improved output by 2% per annum, enough to satisfy growth in demand. These small incremental improvements are invisible to economists, but they change the world.

A few years ago, our son worked for VW and said he wished we would trade in our 2001 5 series BMW (one of the best production cars ever made to that point, andwhich we still have) for a Passat. Incremental changes in everything had made it both safer, and a better all around car.

I don't recall anyone noting the 0-60 numbers cars can get today. I'd say about 90% of cars today are faster than our 530i.

It's never really sat well with me that most discussions about automotive technology advancement or stagnation don't take into account what price level automobiles have been at for the past twenty five years.

Essentially every advancement for the past 25 years, from crash safety and infotainment to fuel economy and comfort, has been made without a cost increase to the customer. I'd call that a pretty decent!

Another big improvement involving automobiles is that they are stolen or broken into less often. When I lived in Chicago in 1988 I bought a Honda Accord with the lowest trim line (e.g., no air conditioning) specifically to avoid having a radio because I was tired of criminals smashing my car windows. My wife went out and bought a $10 transistor radio, and, sure enough, within weeks, our window was smashed and the tinny radio was gone.

I don't think this happens as much anymore. I never run into anybody these days who doesn't buy a radio to keep from having his window smashed. But car break-ins were massively common in the later 20th Century.

Car radios are no longer just radios and no longer interchangeable. Also, ignition locks are almost impossible to bypass, so when cars are stolen now, it's typically done by towing them away. The thieves than take the wheels and maybe cut off the catalytic converter and leave the car abandoned. The difficulty in 'hot wiring' cars has also, unfortunately, contributed to car-jacking.

When my car was stolen, what they were after was the seats in the car. However that was 30 years ago.

In addition to the technical changes that make radio theft more difficult, I'm guessing that the rise of IPods and IPhones and etc. may have reduced the demand for stolen radios.

We were promised dogmentation, instead we're getting a canine social credit system. #ShittyFuture

#4: how odd to make his third advantage "Entertainment". Surely a top three advantage of far more importance is 'reliability' - which is not the same as "durability".

Anyway, thank God for Honda, Toyota, Kia, and the rest.

#4. I had a long stretch with no car from 18 to 34 years of age. Going from driving an old geo prism in 1997 to a 2012 Camry was like night and day.

#6. Another AI beats humans PR stunt by a company that hopes to market their AI. Details of the task are unclear (the company web site wouldn't let me download the full study).

So, let's assume the AI does indeed work . How long before people figure out what the AI is looking for in its technique and devise ways of fooling it?

No peer review.

Too much hype.

@Arnold Layne -spoken as somebody who doesn't use spell check?

We are #1!!

Congratulations. May there be everlasting friendship between the USA and Brazil. Who's your favorite Brazilian philosopher?:

Miguel Lemos and Teixeira Mendes.

#6 As an attorney, I strongly disagree with a point made by someone reacting to the result: "Participating in this experiment really opened my eyes to how ridiculous it is for attorneys to spend their time (as well as their clients’ money) creating or reviewing documents like NDAs which are so fundamentally similar to one another." The notion that all contracts of a general type is so fundamentally similar to each other, or that lots of time is expended when they are (in the age of word processors and digital forms), is mostly wrong. For example, their are potentially significant differences in the remedies that are appropriate in an NDA and the information to be described. For example, if your client has deep pockets and the adverse party does not, an attorneys' fees for the prevailing party clause may be a bad idea, but may be a good idea if the roles are reversed or if the parties both have deep pockets.

You don't do many NDAs do you counsellor? Or probably you're going it wrong. NDAs are pretty standardized, and the test sample these attorneys dealt with was standardized. Thus the AI spotted more of these standard clauses than the humans. Case closed. You can't argue with the facts. The attorneys also correctly pointed out that you need both 'robotic' help to catch the standard stuff and humans to catch the specialized stuff. All the big law firms I worked with used either English majors (under an NDA!) or low-level associates to do 'robotic' stuff like proofreading.

I think TC liked this story because he GREP'd the term chess here:
“As a chess player and attorney I will take from Grandmaster Vishy Anand and say the future of law is ‘human and computer’ versus (another) ‘human and computer.’ Either working alone is inferior to the combination of both. I view AI and technology as exciting new tools that would allow for such drudgework to be done faster and more efficiently.” Justin Brown, Partner at Brown Brothers Law - good man!

A game of GO has been variously estimated at 10^48 to 10^(10^48) moves, and yet years ago (2016) a computer beat the world champion (although based on his pregame comments, he seems to have psyched himself out more than anything else.) Let's say that a contract lawyer does 20 contracts a week for 20 yrs. 50x20x20 = 20,000. Let's say that each of those had 10 "special circumstances" which each required evaluation of 1000 things:20,000x10x1000 = 200 million or < 10^9. It's clear to me that a 'sufficiently competent' A.I. could do this for 99% of the contracts that will ever be written. Your argument is the same as medical doctors make about their profession (the human body is just too complicated), and that could be true in a world where car mechanics needed advanced degrees and 20 years of experience to fix a car, but we're all more the same than different; much, much more.

Go is trivial compared to having to navigate real-world human complexities. Remember how IBM's Watson was going to revolutionize medical diagnosis? Years later, the reality is: not so much.

My guess is that the AI-based legal services will come across the same problems. Same with self-driving cars, which can't even detect a woman with a bicycle crossing the street in front of them.

Don't get me wrong, the self-driving vehicles are coming. But they'll only work in controlled, simplified environments. Well-maintained freeways e.g., they'll probably do great there.

In a street environment self-driving cars will run up against the problem that I've been mentioning for years: pedestrians can exploit the cars' safety mechanisms by jaywalking in front of them. Some guys on facebook came up with an innovative Coasian (but I should stress facetious) solution: pedestrians have to wear transponders that the self-driving cars can detect. If the car is faced with a Hobson's choice of going straight and hitting you or swerving and hitting the pedestrian next to you, it will make that choice based on how much you paid to have your transponder mark you as a high-value pedestrian to be saved.

Pets will have these transponders too. If you pay enough, your pet cat will have its life valued more highly than say your neighbor's toddler.

The unsolved question: can you bid to have the transponder of somebody else -- someone who you do not like -- have a lower value?

#3, I spent many years working in Ukraine and this sounds about right to me. Part of the problem is cultural -- Ukraine as currently constituted is not really a country with single language and history. I also dont think Ukrainians are convinced that the country is around for the long term so why not steal what you can while you can?

Interesting. What are your views about Ukrainian (east) vs (west)? The Ukrainian language vs Russian? The future of Austria vs Germany?

Bonus trivia: I tried to set up online dates with Ukrainian girls, even putting an ad in the paper, but they are such scammers I did not get a single legitimate hit. They're very cute but the chances of real success are almost zero (same with Russian girls actually). It's much better to go to a Third World country to find a mate. For a while I was going to go to Guatemala before I decided to settle here in the Philippines. As soon as I stepped off the plane I found a date... compare to your neck of the woods dear reader.

Our better hookers don't hang around airports.

I fully agree with what everyone has to say about the improved quality of cars. But Tyler has a good point that cars basic function of getting you from point A to point B has not changed.

However, the problem is not the car---it is the highway system.
The last big improvement in the US highway system was the
interstate system.

I moved to Boston in1974. Since than there have been two big improvements in the local highway system. One was the Big Dig that converted the elevated highway through downtown Boston to an underground set of tunnels. I also created a second tunnel system to the airport and points north. This did add some extra capacity but traffic quickly overwhelmed it and rush hour traffic in and out of Boston still moves at a crawl. Moreover,iteliminatedalot of good parking spaces below the old bridges. The other big improvement was widening route 3. But it still bogs down in rush hour.

So essentially, over the last some 40 years The highway system in eastern Mass. has barely changed. But over this time real GDP
has roughly doubled -- all this off the top of my head. So Tyler is right that ability to go from point A to point B has not improved, and actually is probably worse. But it is not the car --it is the highway system.

As far as I am concerned the biggest improvement in the Boston traffic system was extending the red line subway out to alewife so I can park ten miles out of town and take the subway in. And even at that the Alewife parking garage is completely inadequate.

Comments for this post are closed