Category: Food and Drink
John is one of the smartest people I know, and one of my favorite people to talk to, here is the transcript and audio. Here is the opening summary:
Raised in the Philippines and taught to be a well-rounded Catholic gentleman, John Nye learned the importance of a rigorous education from a young age. Indeed, according to Tyler he may very well be the best educated among his colleagues, having studying physics and literature as an undergraduate before earning a master’s and PhD in economics. And his education continues, as he’s now hard at work mastering his fourth language.
On this episode of Conversations with Tyler, Nye explains why it took longer for the French to urbanize than the British, the origins of the myth of free-trade Britain, why Vertigo is one of the greatest movies of all time, why John Stuart Mill is overrated, raising kids in a bilingual household, and much more.
Here is one bit:
NYE: In fact, one of the things I do know about the 19th century is that there’s no evidence that either unilateral free trade or multilateral did very much.
Almost all the free trade in Europe in the 19th century was a product of, initially, the bilateral trade agreement between Britain and France, sometimes known as the Anglo-French Treaty of Commerce of 1860, in which they each agreed to much more liberalized trade on a most-favored-nation basis. Once they accepted this, then what happened is, anyone who signed on to either Britain or France on the most-favored-nation basis then bought into, in some sense, this system.
Here is another:
COWEN: Particular mistakes aside, what were the systemic mistakes the Western world was making in, say, 1910, 1912?
NYE: I think the systemic mistake really boils down to how do you deal with the problem of power? How do you deal with the problem of different groups, different cultures wanting their place at the table? It’s clear that, if you look, a lot of the fight of imperialism was great-power competition.
If you look in the Far East, for example, some people may know that the United States took the Philippines from Spain at the end of the period of Spanish control of the Philippines in 1898, and partly this was due to Perry’s decision to sail into Manila Bay.
One of the things that’s not discussed — most people are unaware of — is that the German and British fleets were waiting in Hong Kong. They were waiting to see what the Americans did. And it’s quite likely that, had the Americans not steamed into Manila Bay, that the Germans or British would have intervened in the Philippines once the Spanish collapsed.
COWEN: And if there’s an underlying political subtext or import of Hitchcock, what do you think that would be? Not what he necessarily intended as his politics, but what’s in the movies in terms of human nature and political man?
NYE: Well, I think there’s this question of suspicion and the tendency to not appreciate how much is going on under the surface. I think people tend to see these things narrowly in terms of Cold War paranoia. But Hitchcock was a political conservative, and he was much more of the very old British conservative view that one should be wary in times of —
COWEN: Suspicion is metaphysical, right?
Definitely recommended, I am very honored to have had the chance to do this with John.
The DAWN Café is an upcoming trial project that will test an inclusive working environment. The café will seemingly be staffed with robots that will wait on you by bringing you your coffee and asking if you need anything. But if you think this is another example of robots coming for our jobs, you would be mistaken. Embedded within the robots are real intelligence: they’re operated remotely by people with severe disabilities who often can’t leave their bed.
Here is the story, via Dustin Palmer.
When the popular BBC TV program The Travel Show introduced Taiwan to its viewers, it failed to mention the island’s food, the Liberty Times noted Thursday.
The show visited the Anping Fort in Tainan, the brand new Weiwuying arts center in Kaohsiung, the sunrise and the tea plantations near Alishan, and the lanterns of Pingxi, but the presenters did not mention a word about Taiwanese food or even the night markets, according to the Liberty Times.
That is from a Taiwanese news site, via Salar al Khafaji.
In November 1931 Churchill also published an article entitled ‘Fifty Years Hence’ in Maclean’s Magazine, in which he made some absurd predictions — that we would grow only those parts of chickens we wanted to eat, for example — but also some astonishingly accurate ones. ‘Wireless telephones and television…
I will be doing a Conversation with her, here is her home page:
Professor of Philosophy and Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University
Also: amateur powerlifter and boxer and certified sommelier
I live in the middle of Washington, DC, with my 13-year-old son Eli and my two Portal-themed cats, Chell and Cube. My research focuses on social epistemology, philosophy of medicine, and philosophy of language.
This interview is an excellent entry point into her thought and life, here is an excerpt from the introduction:
[Rebecca] talks about traveling the world with her nomadic parents, her father who was a holocaust survivor and philosopher, hearing the Dream argument in lieu of bedtime stories, chaotic exposure to religion, getting a job at and apartment at the age of 14, the queerness of Toronto, meeting John Waters and Cronenberg, her brother who is the world’s first openly transgender ordained rabbi, getting into ballet, combating an eating disorder, the importance of chosen family, co-authoring an article with her dad, developing an interest in philosophy of mathematics, the affordability of college in Canada, taking care of a disabled, dramatically uninsured loved one, going to University of Pitt for grad school, dealing with aggravated depression, working with Brandom, McDowell, the continental/analytic distinction, history of philosophy, how feminism and women—such as Tamara Horowitz, Annette Baier, and Jennifer Whiting–were treated at Pitt, coping with harassment from a member of the department, impostor syndrome, Dan Dennett and ‘freeedom’, her sweet first gig (in Vermont), dining with Bernie Sanders, spending a bad couple of years in Oregon, having a child, September 11th, securing tenure and becoming discontent at Carleton University, toying with the idea of becoming a wine importer, taking a sabbatical at Georgetown University which rekindled her love of philosophy, working on the pragmatics of language with Mark Lance, Mass Hysteria and the culture of pregnancy, how parenting informs her philosophy, moving to South Florida and the quirkiness of Tampa, getting an MA in Geography, science, philosophy and urban spaces, boxing, starting a group for people pursuing non-monogamous relationships, developing a course on Bojack Horseman, her current beau, Die Antwoord, Kendrick, Trump, and what she would do if she were queen of the world…
And from the interview itself:
I suspect that I’m basically unmentorable. I am self-destructively independent and stubborn, and deeply resentful of any attempt to control or patronize me, even when that’s not really a fair assessment of what is going on.
So what should I ask her?
Here is the audio and transcript. Here is the summary opener:
Not only is Ben Thompson’s Stratechery frequently mentioned on MR, but such is Tyler’s fandom that the newsletter even made its way onto the reading list for one of his PhD courses. Ben’s based in Taiwan, so when he recently visited DC, Tyler quickly took advantage of the chance for an in-person dialogue.
In this conversation they talk about the business side of tech and more, including whether tech titans are good at PR, whether conglomerate synergies exist, Amazon’s foray into health care, why anyone needs an Apple Watch or an Alexa, growing up in small-town Wisconsin, his pragmatic book-reading style, whether MBAs are overrated, the prospects for the Milwaukee Bucks, NBA rule changes, the future of the tech industries in China and India, and why Taiwanese breakfast is the best breakfast.
Here is one excerpt:
COWEN: Why should I want a tech device in my home at all? Take Alexa — I don’t have one, I’m pretty happy, my life is simple. I don’t want anyone or anything listening to me. What does it do for me? I know I can tell it to play me a song or buy something on Amazon, but that’s one-click shopping anyway, could hardly be simpler. Why do devices in the home have any future at all?
THOMPSON: The reality is — particularly when it comes to consumer products — is that in the long run, convenience always wins. I think people will have them in their homes, and they’ll become more popular because it’s convenient.
You can be doing whatever you want; you can say something like, “Set a timer five minutes,” or “What temperature should I grill my steak to?” And you’ll get an answer with your hands busy, and altogether it’s going to be a more convenient answer than it would’ve been otherwise.
COWEN: How bullish are you on India’s tech sector and software development?
THOMPSON: I’m bullish. You know, India — people want to put it in the same bucket as, “Oh, it’s the next China.” The countries are similar in that they’re both very large, but they’re so different.
Probably the most underrated event — I don’t want to say in human history, but in the last hundred years — is the Cultural Revolution in China. And not just that 60, 70 million people were killed, or starved to death, or what it might be, but it really was like a scorched earth for China as a whole. Everything started from scratch. And from an economic perspective, that’s why you can grow for so long — because you’re starting from nothing basically. But the way it impacts culture, generally, and the way business is done.
Taiwan, I think, struggles from having thousands of years of Chinese bureaucracy behind it. Plus they were occupied by Japan for 50 years, so you’ve got that culture on top. Then you have this sclerotic corporate culture that the boss is always right, stay in the office until he goes home, and that sort of thing. It’s unhealthy.
Whereas China — it’s much more bare-knuckled competition and “Figure out the right answer, figure it out quickly.” The competition there is absolutely brutal. It’s brutal in a way I think is hard for people to really comprehend, from the West. And that makes China, makes these companies really something to deal with.
Whereas India did not have something like that. Yes, it had colonialism, but all that is still there, and the effects of that, and the long-term effects of India’s thousands of years of culture. So it makes it much more difficult to wrap things up, to get things done. And that’s always, I think, going to be the case. The way India develops, generally, because they didn’t have a clear-the-decks event like the Cultural Revolution, is always going to be fundamentally different.
And that is by no means a bad thing. I’m not wishing the Cultural Revolution on anyone. I’m just saying it makes the countries really fundamentally different.
Soon I will be having a Conversation with my esteemed colleague John V. Nye, one of the smartest people I know. John is an economic historian but also a polymath with broad-ranging interests, including travel, classical music, chess, education, “institutions,” Asian food, the Philippines (his home country), and much more.
So what should I ask him?
I strongly recommend eating at Husk (get the vegetables plate) and Chauhan Ale and Masala House (the Indian-Mexican fusion version of a chile relleno is one of the best courses I have had all year). Station Inn is good (and comfortable) for bluegrass music, visit Fisk University, Helen’s Hot Chicken serves spicy fried chicken without the tourists or the lines, and the east side of town has some funky shops and boutiques.
Grand Ole Opry is a well-oiled machine, but it makes country music feel old and bankrupt. The famous strip on Broadway, with the noisy bars, music shows, and restaurants, might as well be hell, but it offers the great joy of being able to leave it. The “Gulch” part of town is presented as cool, but it’s really just a few boring shops in a homogenized setting.
Nonetheless I now think of Nashville as one of the most successful cities in the South — remarkably few neighborhoods are run down and dumpy, and the residents seem happy. There is new construction all over, plenty of health care facilities, and Vanderbilt is a quality university.
What might be the most successful southern cities, circa 2018?
— the NC Research Triangle deserves mention, even though neither Durham nor Chapel Hill is well-developed enough to make this list (why is that?).
— Maybe the boring Charlotte?
— p.s. Miami is not the south.
What do the success stories have in common? Other than not being Memphis?
What to do, where to eat, and is there a decent day trip around? Is there a good church outside town for hearing gospel music on a Sunday morning?
I thank you all in advance for your counsel and wisdom. Nashville is in fact the largest U.S. city I never have visited, but soon this will change.
In Scotland, you can buy a 16th-century castle for a little more than a million dollars.
On Wednesday, someone paid a similar amount for a 750-milliliter bottle of single malt whisky described as “the Holy Grail” of the dark alcoholic spirit: just over $1.1 million, a record.
The 60-year-old Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 is “one of the rarest and most desirable bottles ever produced,” according to a specialist at Bonhams, the auction house in Scotland that made the sale. The price included a bid of 700,000 pounds, or about $900,000, plus a £148,000 sales premium.
The identity of the private buyer was not revealed. But a Bonhams spokesman said on Wednesday that the person was from Asia and had made the bid over the phone.
That is from Anna Schaverien at The New York Times. Do note that it is harder to steal a castle:
If the new buyer chooses to preserve the bottle untouched, the fate of the world’s most expensive bottle of vodka serves as a cautionary tale.
The gold and silver bottle, with its diamond-encrusted cap, which was said to be worth $1.3 million, was stolen from a bar in Copenhagen in January.
After days of searching, the police found the bottle dented — and empty.
Booking.com is making your Willy Wonka dreams come true with its new chocolate cottage (you read that right, chocolate) in Sèvres, France.
No, this isn’t simply a cottage filled with chocolate treats. Instead, it’s a cottage made entirely of the sweet stuff located at the glass house L’Orangerie Ephémère in the gardens of the Cité de la Céramique.
“Designed and manufactured by Jean-Luc Decluzeau, the renowned artisan chocolatier who specializes in chocolate sculptures, this unique, 18-square-meter chocolate cottage will be crafted out of approximately 1.5 tons of chocolate,” Booking.com shared in a statement.
Alcohol is responsible for over one in 20 of all deaths worldwide, according to the most recent edition of a World Health Organization (WHO) report that comes out every four years.
The Guardian writes that the report found that roughly three million deaths in 2016 can be attributed to alcohol, of which 2.3 million were men and 29 percent were caused by injuries (including everything from accidents to car collisions and suicides) rather than health problems. Other recorded causes of death included digestive disorders (21 percent) and cardiovascular diseases (19 percent), as well as “infectious diseases, cancers, mental disorders” and other conditions caused by alcohol intake, CNN added.
According to the WHO data, approximately 7.2 percent of premature deaths worldwide are linked to alcohol, and as well as 5.3 of all deaths in general.
Obviously murky and multiple causalities will make any of these numbers debatable. Still, I guess this explains why debates over alcohol so command the headlines these days and make alcohol the number one social issue?
Jaroslav Bobrowski knows a good deal when he sees one. Accordingly, an all-you-can-eat offer at one sushi restaurant is no longer available to him.
The triathlete follows a special diet in which he fasts for 20-hour periods. So when he does sit down for dinner, he tries to make up for lost time.
But after devouring a staggering 100 plates at the Running Sushi restaurant in Landshut, Germany, as part of its $26 buffet deal, the restaurant declared him persona non grata…
Depending on the serving, a piece of sushi contains, according to fatsecret.com, an average of 40 to 50 calories. This means that Bobrowski could have consumed around 4,000 calories in the one sitting. Eater reported that he may have eaten as much as 18 pounds of sushi.
Bobrowski is 5’7″, weighs 174 pounds and has less than 10 percent body fat.
Here is the full story, via John Chamberlain.
While most accounts trace prohibition’s demise to widespread noncompliance and the graft it generated, we argue that elite congressional support for prohibition gave way when civil service reforms removed federal prohibition agents as patronage resources. We also argue that by giving states control of designing state conventions, and thereby risking state malapportionment of conventions, Democrats succeeded in overcoming the traditional fissures that divided their southern and northern wings.
That is from a new paper by Aaron J. Ley and Cornell W. Clayton. Maybe I got this from somewhere on Twitter?
There are three tables, all close enough to chat, and at them there was TC, a Saudi family with a husband, two kids and a woman in full burkha, and a woman from a fine New York City neighborhood, perhaps 65 years old. Suddenly, the NYC woman paused from her chat with me:
NYC woman, to Saudi table: (With a strong NYC accent) So where are you all from?
Saudi Man: Saudi Arabia.
NYC woman: Is that your wife in there?
Saudi Man: Yes.
NYC woman: Is she driving yet?
Saudi Man: No
NYC woman: Why not?
Saudi Man: She does not need to.
NYC woman: I was just wondering, because they made such a big deal out of it on TV. And I was thinking maybe they aren’t all driving yet.
Saudi Man: She does not need to.
NYC woman: But why not?
Saudi Man: Madam, you live in New York City. Are you driving yet?