Friday assorted links


#3: I am curious to see how far this trend will go. I don't doubt that all kinds of drugs have medicinal benefits. What I am very skeptical about is exactly how this will disrupt / improve the current situation where people abuse these drugs for "recreational" use. Look at opioids. Did opioid based medicine help some people? It looks like it (not clear). Did that improve the situation of addicts? It looks like that has actually worsen. Pot might be an exception here since it is mostly mild and it has close to no risk of overdose. Everything else is a gamble.

Addicts need professional treatment. For everybody else, all this stuff should be over the counter. We need to break the monopoly channels that make supply too restrictive and too expensive.

Psychadelics are non-addicitve and have completely different risk profiles than opioids. And criminalization of drugs isn't very helpful in general.

"It looks like it (not clear)."

Opioids definitely help a lot of people and the second sad aspect of the problem over the past few years is that those who need the relief are often having a much harder time getting opioids.

Imagine how much good you'd do if you could come up with an effective pain medicine that wasn't addictive.

I've been working on it.

Addictive but cheap and not unhealthy would also be good.

4. The real estate market being described is the Rene Girard Del Boca Vista Phase One Hundred Fifty Six: where every house looks exactly like every other house. Why would the price differ for these houses. And this is "innovation" in the real estate market?

I only scanned the article. The one-design RE development isn't the meat of the thing.

I've sold two houses without RE agents. It's not easy. Most people can't do it. But, most people can't do their own, short-form 1040 income tax form, either.

The authors review the role of technology in bringing together buyers and sellers with less or without reliance on high-commission RE brokers/professionals.

Uniform house RE developments have been around at least since the late 1940's when on Long Island Levitt built thousands of houses of two models a one-level ranch and a two-story cape cod.

Negative externality? Without automation/technology, the too-big-to fail banks could not have put together those disastrous collateralized debt obligations (CDO's) which, among other financial catastrophes, brought down the World economy in 2008.

brought down the World economy in 2008.

The rate at which goods and services were produced in this country declined by about 5% over a nine month period. The 'world economy' was still there at the end of it. The places which suffered severely were Greece and Spain. Neither had cowboy bankers. Greece piled up foreign debt denominated in functionally German currency. Spain has long had dysfunctional labor markets attributable to their regulatory regime.

#3 I don't think stockmarkets need psychedelics to get high. Brazil's stockmarkets are in a record high. Brazil's economy has been growing so fast, American government has, recently, decided to call it a developed country. After just one year of Brazil's President Captain Bolsonaro's benevolent rule. It has never happened in history before. We probably won't see something like that again.

The whole story is here:

Wow. This is amazing. Truly, one of the greatest stories of our times. I would like to read a blog post about that.

This is indeed very impressive. If only Mr. Cowen would help us understand more about Bolsonaro's miracle.

Indded, Mr. Bolsonaro's economic policies (Bolsonomics) seem to be bery conducive to high growth and political estability. Compare and contrast with America's South American teacher's pets, Argentina and Chile, that seem to be collapsing. I think we have much to learn from Brazil's policies.

At one point, a man with an eye patch tapped Jane on her shoulder. “Jane, right?” the man said.
“Yes, here she is, and where might you be?” she said, turning around.
“I’m Rudolfo. Remember the Kandinsky’s Knees exhibit in March?”
“Oh, Rudolfo!” she exclaimed. “I thought those were apes,” she said. “tell me something,” she said, like waving a flag, a very small one. “Is poker an art?”
“As much as a piece of pie.”
“What’s happened to your eye?”
“It has become enflamed,” he said, revealing a yellow and orange snarl for a black eye.

Brazil is still the shithole of Latin America. Be sure to bring lots of toilet paper.

No, it is not. While the Argentinian regime is collapsing, Brazil is prospering mightly.

6. In junior high school, sharing the same piece of chewing gum was a way of showing affection. Is that more disgusting than kissing? As an adult I recall an incident at a restaurant with a group of friends where I took a few bites of food off my friend's plate and she took a few bites off my plate, much to the shock of the others at the table. Apparently, it signaled that we were more than "friends". Was it disgusting? Signaling: that's what we do, even when we don't know we are doing it.

But, you were in junior high with Custer.

It's different now.

5. My money is on some kind of tax or other incentive leading to fraudulent or fraud-adjacent age claims. What kind of documentation are these companies providing to demonstrate their age?

We see the Age of Cynicism

54% of the 'cultures' surveyed do not kiss. The smart money says what they don't tell you is that not one of those cultures has a population over 200,000 and many of them have 3-digit populations. The Triobrand Islanders (one mentioned by name) number about 12,000.

What is the function of intellectuals, but to tell us that things are not as ordinary people perceive them?

5. I've heard that Japanese inheritance and tax laws favor family businesses, but the "family business" part of it is the real key here. Run the business relatively conservatively and well and it can last a really long time (especially if it's small- to medium-sized, with limited competition). The "adult adoption" factor makes that even easier, since the business is less likely to run aground due to lack of children or a failson/faildaughter taking over.

To add to this, we see a similar thing with some big partnership firms in the US. Goldman Sachs is 151 years old, and for most of that time - during which it survived multiple bad depressions and a major overhaul of financial sector regulations - it was a partnership.

#6 - They make a count of cultures, but do not weigh this by the number of people within those cultures. Kissing might be prevalent in 55% of all cultures on record, but 95% of the total human population. If so, I'd call it pretty close to universal.

But, hey. Happy Valentine's Day.

#2 - The incentives for sell side analysts are different than robo-analysts

Most sell-side equity analysts are not actually giving investment advice when they rate a company 'buy' vs 'hold' - their actual value to institutional investors is to provide access to executive management at the companies they rate, which dries up when they give an unfavorable rating. Robo-Analysts don't care about access to management, so not surprised to see differences in following 'recommendations'.

I am not a sell-side advocate, just noting that 'buy' ratings doesn't always really mean 'recommendation to buy'

Since robo-ratings don't open access to executive management, the in

I was going to make a related point, that any piece of software can be designed to seek any particular goal. A "robot" could be totally selfless and dedicated to the customer, or it could be tweaked to benefit some second or third party.

I believe the history is that robo advisors were first adopted by direct fee (rather than commission or management fee) advisors. Thus in the beginning they might have had fewer perverse incentives, and might have offered better advice.

But if everyone gets into the business of robo advisors, that means every incentive will be in play.

6. How universal is romantic kissing?
Dog and bears do it.

That would explain the existence of beardogs.

#1: I was going to say why link to this article, a commenter had done the same calculations and made the same evaluation and posted them as a comment to Tyler's original post.

But now I see that that commenter and the author of this post are the same, Raghuveer Parthasarathy, so yes good commentary and critique of the original article.

There's some agreeable dishing in the comments ... The writer mildly chides MR for throwing lots of bogus spaghetti links on the wall without much concern for whether they ultimately stick, contending that economic matters are an exception, treated with more circumspection and scrutiny; Andrew Gelman weighs in in support of this, well, "Gell-Mann"-ish assertion.

I agree - difficult to see how "Nature" could have published this - but then again I am not surprised. For example I have seen very very sloppy science and journalism when it comes to the "climate" - indeed the more alarming the conclusions, the higher the probability it will get published in "Nature" or "Science" (the other good journal). I can only speculate that someone in "Nature" thought that this may be a solution to "global warming" or some such. Michael Crichton once wrote a piece about a paper in "Science" that was so one-sided that it was a joke - but it was published because it supported the narrative about how evil humans are and how we change the climate and how all life as we know it will end on earth (and so on and so on) (OK. a bit exaggeration here - but you get the idea). There are some subjects where rational thought is out the window and I wonder if that happened here.

Regarding romantic kissing... back in the 1970s when I was in high school, an anthropologist / ethnographer who worked in sub-Saharan Africa quoted a very similar observation from one of the tribes he'd studied.

Apparently the term the tribe used to refer to Europeans--that is, white men--literally translated as "eaters of each other's saliva."

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