Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Quote of the Day

Suckers think that you cure greed with money, addiction with substances, expert problems with experts, banking with bankers, economics with economists, and debt crises with debt spending.

- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Google Mapped the Earth, IBM to Map the Atmosphere

Data partnerships are a key ingredient in IBM’s long-term strategy, and the company is announcing a big one on Tuesday with the Weather Company.

For IBM, the deal represents another close link with a leading data supplier for special access and joint development. Last fall, it forged a similar arrangement with Twitter, the social network, whose tweets of 140 characters or fewer are a global wellspring of consumer sentiment.

IBM also said that it planned to invest $3 billion in the next four years to build up an Internet of Things business group. The two announcements are related since so much of the new data that corporations want to analyze to spot ways to increase sales and cut costs will increasingly come from Internet-connected devices, from smartphones to sensors.


One likely application, IBM said, was in auto insurance. Insurers pay more than $1 billion in claims in the United States for cars and trucks damaged by hail. Adding Watson analysis to WSI’s weather data, the company said, could enable insurers to send text-message alerts to policyholders, warning them of an imminent hailstorm and advising them of safe locations nearby. Such a service, IBM calculates, has the potential to save insurers up to $25 per policyholder in hail-prone regions, or millions of dollars a year.

- More Here

Quote of the Day

Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions.

- Winston Churchil

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wheat People vs. Rice People

In May, the journal Science published a study, led by a young University of Virginia psychologist, Thomas Talhelm, that ascribed these different orientations to the social worlds created by wheat farming and rice farming. Rice is a finicky crop. Because rice paddies need standing water, they require complex irrigation systems that have to be built and drained each year. One farmer’s water use affects his neighbor’s yield. A community of rice farmers needs to work together in tightly integrated ways.

Not wheat farmers. Wheat needs only rainfall, not irrigation. To plant and harvest it takes half as much work as rice does, and substantially less coordination and cooperation. And historically, Europeans have been wheat farmers and Asians have grown rice. 
The authors of the study in Science argue that over thousands of years, rice- and wheat-growing societies developed distinctive cultures: “You do not need to farm rice yourself to inherit rice culture.”


Asked to draw their social networks, wheat-region subjects drew themselves larger than they drew their friends; subjects from rice-growing regions drew their friends larger than themselves. Asked to describe how they’d behave if a friend caused them to lose money in a business, subjects from the rice region punished their friends less than subjects from the wheat region did. Those in the wheat provinces held more patents; those in the rice provinces had a lower rate of divorce.

- More Here

Quote of the Day

No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish - consciously or unconsciously - that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.

- Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Angie's List Cancels $40 Million 1000 Jobs Indiana Expansion Over Anti-Gay 'Religious Freedom' Law

Since the year after its 1995 founding, Angie's List has been headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. The $315 million corporation which lets users review local businesses, especially home improvement professionals, has been planning a $40 million renovation of its own, moving its headquarters across town and adding 1000 new jobs over five years.

But thanks to state lawmakers and Republican Governor Mike Pence's new Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, those expansion plans have been canceled.

"Angie's List is open to all and discriminates against none and we are hugely disappointed in what this bill represents," CEO Bill Oesterle said in a statement today, adding, the expansion is "on hold until we fully understand the implications of the freedom restoration act on our employees, both current and future."

The company's statement noted it "will begin reviewing alternatives for the expansion of its headquarters immediately."


The decision by Angie's List to pull back its investment in Indiana is part of a huge and growing negative response from businesses and other financial interests across the country that do business or are based in Indiana, and other public individuals and entities, including the world's largest and most-respected corporation, Apple, Inc., the City of San Francisco, the White House, Broadway's Audra McDonald, $4 billion software firm Salesforce, $50 million annual gaming convention Gen Con, Fortune 500 member Cummins, Eskenazi Health, Eli Lilly and Co., Yelp, Hillary Clinton, George Takei, Pat McAfee, Jason Collins, Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, James Van Der Beek, Sophia Bush, Dustin Lance Black, Mara Wilson, Jack Antonoff, the Mayor of Indianapolis, and the State of Indiana's own tourism board.

- More Here. I would love see Apple do this to China for banning Dog eating festival for starters.

Quote of the Day

All his life he tried to be a good person. Many times, however, he failed.
For after all, he was only human. He wasn't a dog.

- Charles M. Schulz

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wisdom Of The Week

But 10,000 hours of work isn't about improving. It's about starting from a place of hunger, and going above and beyond the ceilings placed above you, and achieving mastery.

It's about taking all the resources you have and investing completely in yourself so that you constantly have nothing to fall back on except your own ingenuity and success.

It's about taking everything you have, emptying your "life bank account" and pouring it back into yourself. Looking for the "return on YOU" instead of the "return on investment".

Louis kept starting from scratch and challenging himself to force himself to master some aspect of comedy he had never mastered before. To start from scratch:

  • at a job. Giving up $500,000 a year to have no job security forced him to up his skills enough to get paid on the road versus every other comic in the world.
  • at writing a movie
  • at writing comedy fresh every year
  • at being authentic and honest and not falling on the comedy standard used by other comedians

- Why Louis CK Turned Down $500,000 and Invested in Himself

Quote of the Day

I think the way the battle lines are drawn in the world we live in, the battle lines typically fall in terms of 'what are your conclusions?' Like: are you a republican; are you a democrat; are you a libertarian; are you a socialist? And the more I think about it, this strikes me as extremely odd.

Why should the battle lines be drawn in terms of conclusions? Another way of drawing the battle lines would be, say, in terms of how people think. So if I take someone like Matt [Yglesias?], who's one of the commenters - I read Matt's blog all the time. Matt, I think, would agree that he and I disagree on a lot of issues. Not on everything, but we disagree a lot. We disagree every day. We sort of write back and forth to each other and to others, and even if we don't call each other by name, we're, like, disagreeing in public every day.

But at the same time when I read Matt I have this feeling like 'if I were a progressive, this is the argument I would make'. I feel that way when I read Matt. There's other writers, like when I read Paul Krugman, I don't feel that way. I don't think if I were progressive I would argue like Paul Krugman.

So this method of thinking in common, there's this question, should I be emotionally, intellectually, whatever, more allied to people with whom I share conclusions, or with whom I share a certain method of thinking? And when I disagree with Matt, which is frequently, I feel like I can always figure out very quickly where we disagree. There's something about the framework we have in common. And that, to me, seems like a powerful commonality. So in general I'm interested in getting people to explore, or re-explore, what are our true commonalities with other people?

- Tyler Cowen from a talk on on neurodiversity

Friday, March 27, 2015

Quote of the Day

Of all the causes which conspire to blind 
Man's erring judgment, and misguide the mind, 
What the weak head with strongest bias rules, 
Is pride, the never-failing vice of fools.

- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism