Monday, June 24, 2019

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Quote of the Day

What a chimera then is man! What a novelty! What a monster, what a chaos, what a contradiction, what a prodigy! Judge of all things, imbecile worm of the earth; depositary of truth, a sink of uncertainty and error; the pride and refuse of the universe!

Blaise Pascal, Pensées

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Wisdom Of The Week

An analysis of book value doesn’t capture things like intellectual property and brand, intangible assets that corporations have accumulated or are currently accumulating.

And when the cost of money is lower (or, effectively zero) as it is today, these things become more highly valued by investors than physical assets are because they are weapons that corporations can use to nullify the moats and assets of the incumbent corporations that they are competing with for customers, revenue and market share.

This is why a AirBnB is currently more highly valued than all of the publicly traded hotel chains on the NYSE.

This is why Uber is worth more than all of the auto makers and taxi companies that own their own fleets of cars.

It’s why WeWork, which leases floors from building owners, is worth more than those building owners’ corporations.

This is how it’s possible that Beyond Meat, with its sizzling hot brand, could be worth exponentially more than the other publicly-traded food processing companies, with their century-old supply chains and manufacturing operations and union relationships and supermarket shelf space privileges and trucking contracts.

- When Everything That Counts Can’t Be Counted

Quote of the Day

Man is but a reed, the most feeble thing in nature; but he is a thinking reed. The entire universe need not arm itself to crush him. A vapour, a drop of water suffices to kill him. But, if the universe were to crush him, man would still be more noble than that which killed him, because he knows that he dies and the advantage which the universe has over him; the universe knows nothing of this.

Blaise Pascal

Friday, June 21, 2019

Our Narcissism Is So Complete...

We humans are very self-focused. We tend to think that being human is somehow very special and important, so we ask about that, instead of asking what it means to be an elephant, or a pig, or a bird. This failure of curiosity is part of a large ethical problem.

The question, “What is it to be human?” is not just narcissistic, it involves a culpable obtuseness. It is rather like asking, “What is it to be white?” It connotes unearned privileges that have been used to dominate and exploit. But we usually don’t recognize this because our narcissism is so complete.

We share a planet with billions of other sentient beings, and they all have their own complex ways of being whatever they are. All of our fellow animal creatures, as Aristotle observed long ago, try to stay alive and reproduce more of their kind. All of them perceive. All of them desire. And most move from place to place to get what they want and need. Aristotle proposed that we should strive for a common explanation of how animals, including human animals, perceive, desire and move.


I’m now writing a book that will use my prior work on the “capabilities approach” to develop a new ethical framework to guide law and policy in this area. But mine is just one approach, and it will and should be contested by others developing their own models. Lawyers working for the good of animals under both domestic and international laws need sound theoretical approaches, and philosophers should be assisting them in their work. And there is so much work to do.

So let’s put aside the narcissism involved in asking only about ourselves. Let’s strive for an era in which being human means being concerned with the other species that try to inhabit this world.

- More Here

Quote of the Day

Freedom is the only worthy goal in life. It is won by disregarding things that lie beyond our control.


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Quote of the Day

Presumption is our natural and original disease. The most wretched and frail of all creatures is man, and withal the proudest. He feels and sees himself lodged here in the dirt and filth of the world, nailed and rivetted to the worst and deadest part of the universe, in the lowest story of the house, the most remote from the heavenly arch, with animals of the worst condition of the three; and yet in his imagination will be placing himself above the circle of the moon, and bringing the heavens under his feet. ‘Tis by the same vanity of imagination that he equals himself to God, attributes to himself divine qualities, withdraws and separates himself from the crowd of other creatures, cuts out the shares of the animals, his fellows and companions, and distributes to them portions of faculties and force, as himself thinks fit. How does he know, by the strength of his understanding, the secret and internal motions of animals?—from what comparison betwixt them and us does he conclude the stupidity he attributes to them?

When I play with my cat who knows whether I do not make her more sport than she makes me?

Michel de Montaigne, Essays, II, 12, Apology for Raymond Sebond

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Nassim Taleb – Just Because An Investor Makes Money Doesn’t Mean They’re Good

Absence of critical thinking expressed in absence of revision of their stance with “stop losses”. Middlebrow traders do not like selling when it is “even better value”. They did not consider that perhaps their method of determining value is wrong, rather than the market failing to accommodate their measure of value. They may be right, but, perhaps, some allowance for the possibility of their methods being flawed was not made. For all his flaws, we will see that Soros seems rarely to examine an unfavorable outcome without testing his own framework of analysis.

Denial. When the losses occurred there was no clear acceptance of what had happened. The price on the screen lost its reality in favor of some abstract “value”. In classic denial mode, the usual “this is only the result of liquidation, distress sales” was proffered. They continuously ignored the message from reality.

How could traders who made every single mistake in the book become so successful? Because of a simple principle concerning randomness.

This is one manifestation of the survivorship bias. We tend to think that traders make money because they are good. Perhaps we have turned the causality on its head; we consider them good just because they make money. One can make money in the financial markets totally out of randomness.

- More Here

Quote of the Day

Suppose that he has a retinue of comely slaves and a beautiful house, that his farm is large and large his income; none of these things is in the man himself; they are all on the outside. Praise the quality in him which cannot be given or snatched away, that which is the peculiar property of the man. Do you ask what this is? It is soul, and reason brought to perfection in the soul. For man is a reasoning animal. Therefore, man's highest good is attained, if he has fulfilled the good for which nature designed him at birth. And what is it which this reason demands of him? The easiest thing in the world, – to live in accordance with his own nature.

Seneca, Letters to Lucilius

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Quote of the Day

Man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms, meant to be used by intelligence and virtue, which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he have not virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony.