Categories
TLDR

First… kill all the algorithms.

Article:

TLDR:

Big tech algorithms can’t be “tweaked” or monitored by humans… instead just ban them.

Ken’s Take:

A variant is for the user to be able to select their algorithm, and to have that algorithm provided in an open marketplace by non-platform players. My algorithm would be chronological + family + these friends + “major” things from people I know + local news – anything political – anything else. And if I ask for it, show it to me. No censoring.

Ultimately, though, a platform is the problem. Once network effect levels are reached the temptation to abuse it overwhelms those driven by quarterly profit reports.

I’ve achieved network effect in a niche called “practical shooting”. Most of practical shooting uses a set of tools and a website that my team created and maintains. We are regularly asked to abuse this position in various ways by businesses, sports, and even regular people. That we don’t isn’t necessarily a testament to us, but more that we do this as a side-gig and it isn’t financially critical to us. If it covers its expenses, I’m happy.

If my wealth was tied to it, or the wealth of my investors, then I might not be able to resist.

The nut of it is that “network effect” = needs to be regulated if on a national or global scale. Everybody needs a boss and, right now, Facebook, Google, and Amazon do not have an effective one.

Breaking up their monopolies might not follow the traditional path of an AT&T or Standard Oil breakup – instead consider breaking up the core danger… their algorithms.

#bigtechdangers
#tldr

Categories
TLDR

Game Stop Squeeze Truth vs Spin

Read the article and find out what is really going on with the short seller squeezes done by /r/WallStreetBets.

Interesting tidbits:

  • Robinhood is free because YOU pay more for the stock than it really costs.
  • The market makers love this action – they get paid by the trade.
  • Most of the trading was NOT retail investors, but large firms going in / out for quick profit, or large funds using the higher stock price for other reasons (debt to equity conversions, for instance).
  • Most of the Reddit crowd will lose their investments

The article defends short selling as a market cleanup tool. The clout of those massing up leverage worries me – they like to keep the up, and give us the down. But that isn’t really a fault of short selling, but politicians helping out short sellers that own them. Neither is fixable, at least not until our election systems magically become uncorrupted (which I don’t hold hope for).

Categories
TLDR

Crowdsourced attacks on short sellers

Article:

TLDR: GameStop (GSE) is an example of a small group of online instigators drumming up a larger group of individuals to attack short positions in stocks that are rightly weak due to underlying business problems.

Ken’s Take:

This explains why relatively low income people I was around in multiple locations around the country were talking about stock positions in GameStop, or AMC (movie theaters).

None of them were the instigators in r/wallstreetbets, but they were reading it and using RobinHood and other low cost trading apps to join the mob putting pressure on people holding short positions in those stocks.

That this came from Reddit, which created gang upvote/downvote doesn’t surprise me. They figured out how to monetize that process.

I don’t like the stock “market”. Betting on what other people will think, or as in this case, ganging up to attack other groups, independent of the business, doesn’t seem like productive use of capital.

Somebody, at the end is going to be the last person holding GameStop…. and they will lose their money. I don’t mind that they pay for their silly greed.

Categories
Exercise TLDR

TLDR: Cold Showers ftw

Article:

TLDR:
Getting cold triggers body stress responses that are good for you. Cold plunges are good for this, but not very accessible. Cold showers are readily available to most of us, and this article tells you how to build a habit of taking cold showers.

Ken’s Take:
I also do sauna for similar stress response benefits. I used to balance sauna with cold afterwards (either plunge or shower) but recently I learned that the cold afterwards stops some of the benefits of the sauna stress.

So I’m flipping this, and doing sauna and cold on opposite parts of the day. If I do sauna in the morning, I do a cold shower that night, and vice versa.

Categories
TLDR

No News is Good For You

Article:

TLDR: News is mostly negative, and increasingly visual and shocking. Your brain is wired to prioritize threat detections, news outlets (including social media) take advantage of that to gain your attention. Consuming it regularly adds to your stress but not, really, to your ability to do anything about the perceived threats and is bad for your mental health.

Ken’s Take:

I’m largely news free for about 2 weeks now. I’ve been TV news/ Radio news free for years. Most of my “news” came from accidental osmosis in friend’s social media timelines and as I searched for things to read that were actually interesting to me.

The basic problem with “news” is that it’s not really correct information – it’s designed to grab your attention, to wrap around the ad in the timeline or somewhere below the clickbait title. In many cases it’s flat out propaganda designed to organize you as the political class wants.

Hop off. You aren’t really “informed” by reading it. You are definitely stressed by it. And what can you do about what you read? Absolutely nothing. Which adds to the stress.

Put it down. Don’t click.

Instead… Read blogs that interest you. Listen to podcasts. Read books. Take the dog for a walk. Talk to whoever is in the room, or across the table, from you.

Take back your attention.

Categories
TLDR

TLDR: Subtract 5 Simple Things to Become Happier

TLDR: Happiness is not a destination, but a process. First _SUBTRACT_ things that cause you to be unhappy.

Five simple low hanging fruit are:
1. cut out negative information (i.e. the news!),
2. get rid of the 20% of things causing 80% of the unhappiness
3. subtract negative people from your life
4. don’t try and “prove” yourself
5. don’t attach happiness to goals or possessions.

Ken’s Take:

The last one is tough – the “hedonistic treadmill” takes your gains and makes them your new normal, making you revert to your base unhappiness. It’s easy for me to say “hop off” – to a lot of people I’m pretty darn rich with lots of “stuff”. All I’ll say is that it isn’t nearly what I “could” have, and I certainly don’t care what car or house other people have.

Negative people… this is tough because sometimes they are in _your_ family! Hmmmm… honor your responsibilities, be passively brutal to all the others. Don’t fight, just don’t engage, or spend time around them.

As an aside, I write the TLDR section (Too Long Didn’t Read) to make sure I understand what the author wrote by explaining it as simply and in as little of my own bias as I can manage.

Ken’s Take: is my spin on it. Sometimes that’s enough – if it intrigues you read the article, and feel free to drop a comment on the article, the TLDR, or Ken’s Take.

Categories
TLDR

TLDR: Basic jobs are better than basic incomes

TLDR: Basic jobs programs can be tested, fail with positive outcomes, and can be integrated with existing programs, and aren’t perceived as unfair by people who don’t get their benefits.

Article:


Ken’s Take:

UBI is a “neat” idea that can’t be tested very well. Tests so far aren’t broad enough to change behavior. I also worry quite a bit about when they fail at a grand scale, and they will, about a generation of people that never worked. That doesn’t sound good.

I prefer, instead, to provide jobs if need be, but not by welfare, but by funding businesses that hire.

Related, end the war on drugs, and make it harder to make single families. But those are other posts…