Looking Backwards from This Week at 24, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1, 1/2, and 1/4 Years Ago (August 7-August 13, 2019)

Fairly Recently: Must- and Should-Reads, and Writings... (August 15, 2019)

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  1. Wikipedia: Charlie Dent

  2. Duncan Black: Healthy Country: "I really don't see a way forward which isn't 'no deal Brexit' though no deal Brexit isn't a real thing. It just means 'we didn't bother to solve all the problems we have to start solving piece by piece now'...

  3. Appian: The Macedonian Wars: "Flamininus came into conference with Philip a second time at the Malian gulf.... The Greeks asked the Roman Senate to require Philip to remove from their country the three garrisons which he called 'the fetters of Greece': the one at Chalcis, which threatened the Boeotians, the Euboeans, and the Locrians; the one at Corinth, which closed the door of the Peloponnese; and the third at Demetrias, which lay, as it were, in ambush for the Aetolians and the Magnesians. The Senate asked Philip's ambassadors what the king's views were respecting the garrisons. When they answered that they did not know, the Senate said that Flamininus should decide the question and do what he considered just. So the ambassadors took their departure from Rome. Flamininus and Philip, being unable to come to any agreement, resumed hostilities...

  4. Simon Wren-Lewis: There Is No Mandate for No Deal

  5. Wikipedia: Ferghana horse

  6. Visit Faroe Islands

  7. Wikipedia: War of the Heavenly Horses: "The War of the Heavenly Horses or the Han–Dayuan war was a military conflict fought in 104 BC and 102 BC between the Chinese Han dynasty and Dayuan (in Central Asia, around Uzbekistan, east of Persia). The result was Han victory...

  8. Paul Krugman (1987): Adjustment in the World Economy

  9. Fred Hoyle: Ossian's Ride

  10. Wikipedia: Li Bai: "Li Bai, Li Po, Li Bo, Ri Haku have been all used in the West, but are all written with the same characters. His given name, (白), is romanized by variants such as Po, Bo, Bai, Pai. In Hanyu Pinyin, reflecting modern Mandarin Chinese, the main, colloquial equivalent for this character is Bái; Bó is the literary variant and is commonly used...

  11. Squawk Box: Business, Politics, Investors and Traders: "'Squawk Box' is the ultimate 'pre-market' morning news and talk program, where the biggest names in business and politics tell their most important stories. Anchored by Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin, the show brings Wall Street to Main Street. It's a 'must see' for everyone from the professional trader to the casual investor...

  12. Sidewalk Street Food

  13. The Art of the Lingnan School, 嶺南畫派的繪畫藝術

  14. Steve Jobs *(2007): Introducing The iPhone At MacWorld 2007

  15. Michael Pettis: Real Growth in China is Less than Half of Reported Growth


  1. Jamie Powell: A Delirious Defence of Uber: "What’s the counterargument here? Well, we soon find out: 'In other words, this company isn't losing money. It's the opposite. It's gathering in enormous sums: Gross bookings were up 31% to nearly $16 billion. Revenue was up 14% to $3.2 billion. Riders increased 30% to 99 million. It's difficult to look at those numbers and conclude that Uber is dysfunctional.' But the Business Insider article just told us that it is losing money: 1.6bn in six months.... Revenue growth, in and of itself, is only impressive when combined with positive economics. With an ebitda margin of negative 28.6 per cent last quarter, Uber is still a long way off proving that its business model works sustainably. For completion’s sake, here are the final few paragraphs.... 'Uber did increase its various operational expenses, such as marketing, R&D, and salaries & admin costs. But those are all costs that Uber can control, and cut in the future if need be. For now, the company is investing in its own growth. In other words, this company is still behaving like an "early stage" tech start-up—albeit on a vast scale. This company has a LONG way to go before it tops out. (Think about Facebook when it reached 1 billion people and everyone thought Facebook would slow down.) Investors are idiots for selling their stock right now.' Uber is a decade old global brand whose core business—ride-sharing—is now growing at just 2 per cent. It is also betting heavily that its smaller business lines, such as food delivery and freight, will be a source of future growth. In other words, it’s acting less like a start-up, and more like a legacy tech company scrambling for new growth. Think Oracle, IBM or perhaps even the modern-day Apple. Notice the difference, however. All of these companies have 'cash cow' products which help to keep the buybacks and dividends flowing, as well as funding future bets. Uber on the other hand... Look, there’s something to be said for the hysterical way quarterly results are sometimes reported by the press. After all they often contain a lot of noise and, in isolation, are not that indicative of how a business is really doing. But let’s not pretend Uber’s financials, to date, show a company gathering in cash “'in enormous sums'...

  2. I still don't understand whether Scaramucci has had a genuine Road-to-Damascus moment or whether he has decided that the wind has shifted, and there is more money to be earned via affinity fraud by being anti-Trump than pro-Trump. In either case, it is information that this is happening: Anthony Scaramucci: The Mooch Says GOP Needs Someone To Replace Trump On The Ticket: "So you and Alisyn have often asked me that and people say, okay, where's the red line where you break from your support from somebody. Because remember, loyalty is symmetrical. It's not asymmetric. What I said to you last week was, geez, this is really polarizing. this is very divisive. As a supporter of his, I would caution we not go in this. You brought up stochastic terrorism. I brought up how this charged rhetoric coming from the bully pulpit of the presidency could lead to some unintended tragic consequences. All I said was, 'I wish the president would stop doing that.' One scintilla of criticism, you get this sort of backlash. And so for me, it's one step too far with the racial charging of his rhetoric and his twitter feet. and you could say, okay, the only reason you're breaking from him now is that he went after you specifically on Twitter. And I'll accept that. I think that to me was a big turning point because I'm looking at that saying, wait a minute. I'm out here supporting him. The guy fired me two years ago. I have been super loyal to this guy, super loyal to the president's agenda. But there's something wrong with the guy as a leader if he can't take constructive criticism or advice from people that have been super loyal to him...

  3. Walter Scheidel: A Comparative Perspective on the Determinants of the Scale and productivity of Maritime Trade in the Roman Mediterranean: "The scale and productivity of maritime trade is a function of environmental conditions, political processes and economic development that determine demand, and more specifically of trading costs. Trading costs are the sum of transportation costs (comprised of the cost of carriage and the cost of risk, most notably predation), transaction costs and financing costs. Comparative evidence from the medieval and early modern periods shows that the cost of predation (caused by war, privateering, piracy, and tolls) and commercial organization (which profoundly affects transaction and financing costs as well as the cost of carriage) have long been the most important determinants of overall trading costs. This suggests that conditions in the Roman period were unusually favorable for maritime trade. Technological innovation, by contrast, was primarily an endogenous function of broader political and economic developments and should not be viewed as a major factor in the expansion of commerce in this period...

  4. Jacob L. Vigdor: Is Urban Decay Bad? Is Urban Revitalization Bad Too?: "Many observers argue that urban revitalization harms the poor, primarily by raising rents. Others argue that urban decline harms the poor by reducing job opportunities, the quality of local public services, and other neighborhood amenities. While both decay and revitalization can have negative effects if moving costs are sufficiently high, in general the impact of neighborhood change on utility depends on the strength of price responses to neighborhood quality changes. Data from the American Housing Survey are used to estimate a discrete choice model identifying households' willingness-to-pay for neighborhood quality. These willingness-to-pay estimates are then compared to the actual price changes that accompany observed changes in neighborhood quality. The results suggest that price increases associated with revitalization are smaller than most households' willingness to pay for neighborhood improvements. The results imply that, in general, neighborhood revitalization is more favorable than neighborhood decline...

  5. Another of the long-time right-wing affinity-fraud grifters, S.E. Cupp, decides that it is time to leave the good ship SS. Trump & National Rifle Association: Ed Mazza: Conservative Pundit S.E. Cupp Quits The NRA, Makes Powerful Plea For Gun Control: "The former 'NRA Mom' now says 'we must do something'.... S.E. Cupp.... 'I am so sick and tired of participating in this predictable cycle of politics, where a mass shooting happens, the left calls for new gun laws―some meaningful, some unproductive―the right yells "slippery slope" and hides behind the Constitution....' She said that in the past, she’s defended the NRA and its members and argued against stricter gun laws. But not this time: 'I am no longer an NRA member. Being right no longer feels righteous because in the wake of more mass shootings, acts of senseless violence that sent innocent people running for their lives, leaving children orphaned, loved ones dead on the ground, we must do something about guns'... universal background checks, gun violence restraining orders, raising the minimum age for gun purchases to 21, banning 100-round drums, fixing the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and mental health programs in schools. And she said some people, including domestic abusers and those who make violent threats, 'should never have access to a gun of any kind, period'...

  6. I really do not understand this: if it were to be optimal policy to cut by 50 bp in a month, it is certainly optimal policy to cut by 25 bp now and probably optimal policy to cut by 50 bp now: Tim Duy: Another Portion of Yield Heading Toward Inversion: "Neither of the today’s developments–'easing' trade tensions or higher inflation–should prevent the Fed from easing at next month’s meeting. I suspect though that they make it hard for the Fed to justify a 50bp cut in September. If the economy needs a more aggressive Fed response up front to prevent recession, then a lower chance of that outcome... should induce the longer end of the yield curve to flatten further and then invert...

  7. Important to today, I think, is that the aliens in Ossian's Ride are refugees: Henry Farrell: Ossian’s Ride: "In 1959 the famous British astronomer Fred Hoyle published his novel, Ossian’s Ride... a future Ireland miraculously transformed into a technological superpower.... Hoyle wasn’t really interested in talking about Ireland.... Instead, he wanted to score points in an internal fight over British identity... responding to the Christian apologist C.S. Lewis, who regularly denounced Hoyle as a secular atheist on radio and had written his own science fiction novel, That Hideous Strength, a decade before. The villain of Lewis’s book was a sinister institute called NICE, which Satanic aliens wanted to impose contraception, lesbianism, secularism and surrealist art on an unsuspecting Britain.... Hoyle riposted with a novel where rational and benevolently ruthless aliens used an organization called ICE to pull the priest-ridden republic next door into the technological age. His satirical portrait of Ireland told British readers that the world was being transformed around them, and that even their most backwards seeming neighbor would outstrip them if they didn’t embrace modernity. The irony of history is that Hoyle’s parody is now the truth...

  8. Alberto Gallo: "US 2-10yr yield curve inverts as macro data keeps weakening, central banks continue to embrace loose policy and bond investors rush to buy any oasis left in the yield desert...

  9. Benito Cereno: The Untold Truth of the Holy Grail: "After settling into Jerusalem, the Templars protected pilgrims on their way in and out of the city. Over time, the group of knights grew to be a powerful military order for the church. Kings from all around Europe gave the knights land and lordships, so they wound up super rich and bought the island of Cyprus. Though they were valiant fighters known for their bravery, the Templars became just as well known for proto-banking skills. They invented paying by check. That may not sound as exciting as hiding messages in Da Vinci paintings, but it was a pretty big achievement. Pilgrims could give the Templars however much money they'd need in the Holy Land. It would be safer with the group of fearsome knights than a bunch of regular folks walking through the desert. So, the Templars would give the pilgrims a promissory note and make sure all the money would be waiting for them when they got there. They moved enough gold that the Templars became the most powerful bankers in the land. Again, this is probably not the kind of thing that would go in a summer blockbuster, but it's one of the few things we know for sure about the Templars...

  10. New York Times reporters, editors, and owners go extra-easy on Trump, Republicans in general, and other right-wingers because they agree with them and want them in power: Duncan Black: Because We Agree With Them: "A perfect distillation of 'we must obey critics on the Right, and get VERY VERY MAD AT CRITICS ON THE LEFT.' 'In regard to the debate on how to cover race, some staffers inside The Times agreed wholeheartedly with Baquet's approach. "Using that language is a turn off to some readers," one said. "And there are a lot of people that think The Times is too liberal, and when you start throwing words like that around, people will accuse us of editorializing."'... [That] doesn't make any sense. Journalists who say these things aren't scared of conservatives. They agree with them. Left wing criticism makes them mad because they don't agree with left wing critics. It's that simple. They aren't worried that they're 'editorializing' the other way...


  1. Wikipedia: Adventure Time: "The series follows the adventures of a boy named Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada) and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake (John DiMaggio)—a dog with the magical power to change shape and size at will. Finn and Jake live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo...

  2. Adventure Time: Everything's Jake

  3. LEAFtv: How to Troubleshoot a Salt Mill: "Open up the mill. Discard the contents. Clean the mill and grinding mechanisms with a small dry brush. Wipe the body of the mill with rubbing alcohol. Air dry all parts for at least 24 hours. Add dry rock or sea salt to the salt mill. Include a few grains of rice to absorb any moisture. Lubricate the threaded part of the mill, lightly using cooking oil and fingers. Prevent salt corrosion and increase the ease of assembly. Adjust for the desired coarseness of salt by tightening or loosening the screw that connects to the grinding mechanism. Reassemble the mill. Test by turning the grinder knob. Store the salt mill in a cool, dry place...

  4. Wikipedia: Forest of Galtres

  5. Wikipedia: Morehouse College

  6. Jessica Yadegaran: Critically-acclaimed Tartine Bakery coming to Berkeley: "Hold on to your butter knives, bread lovers. San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery has announced its first location in the East Bay. This summer, James Beard award-winning pastry chef Elizabeth Prueitt and her husband and co-owner Chad Robertson will open a cafe and bakery inside Berkeley’s historic Graduate Hotel...

  7. Wikipedia: House of Neville

  8. Kirk Stark: State and Local Taxation

  9. bCourses: Economic Theory--Macro (Fall 2018): "Readings: Textbook Second Edition: http://delong.typepad.com/delong-olney-2nd-ed-chs-1-3-1.pdf http://delong.typepad.com/delong-olney-2nd-ed-chs-4-5.pdf http://delong.typepad.com/delong-olney-2nd-ed-chs-6-8.pdf http://delong.typepad.com/delong-olney-2nd-ed-chs-9-12.pdf http://delong.typepad.com/delong-olney-2nd-ed-chs-13-end.pdf...


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