Archive for category: Economics

Diversity Is A Good Thing, As Long As You Know What To Diversify

19 Apr
April 19, 2018

Reason put out this article earlier this week on the dangers of Silicon Valley’s burgeoning ideological conformity. Let’s look at the first couple of paragraphs:

quote When it comes to software, Silicon Valley understands the threat of monocultures. If 100 percent of computers run the same code and malware authors discover an exploit, 100 percent of computers will be vulnerable to the same attack. Fortunately, the way to reduce such risks is straightforward: Increase diversity.

quote Alas, this insight seems limited to software. Technology executives have yet to fully recognize the risks posed by the potent political monocultures forming inside their own companies.

The problem is that so many who push “diversity” fail to understand what they need to diversify. For these tech companies – and other places pushing diversity for diversity (cough, universities, cough, literary circles) – they are mistaking the biological for the mental. In essence, they are saying because they have both golden labradors and chocolate labradors, they are diverse – and they don’t see the problem when large numbers of their dogs die off. For tech companies, the biggest threat from this failure to recognize they are not really diverse is going out of business because they’ve alienated enough customers.

However, the same issue is impacting the RKBA. I keep hearing how we do we get more women, POCs, young people, etc. involved in the gun rights battle. Too many times, I see the RKBA making the same mistake of substituting outward diversity with inward diversity. You can’t invite people with one breath, and with the next demand they immediately conform to every thing you believe outside of RKBA – such as God, abortion, economics, and/or the current issues of the day.

We’re not breeding stronger livestock, so we shouldn’t be looking for biological diversity. We’re trying to breed stronger ideas, so we need ideological diversity.

Ignoble End to an Upstart?

09 Apr
April 9, 2018

At the grocery store this week, The Brother and I saw a Tesla 3 in the wild for the first time. The Brother wants a Tesla for his next car, and to be honest, they tempt me as well. I wish there was a version of the Chevy Volt’s electric with gasoline backup system that was built into an SUV. Both The Brother and I believe that electric vehicles will phase out the internal combustion vehicles, but that’s going to require time for the infrastructure to be built up.

I’ve also been a fan of Tesla in its history of disrupting the market. Tesla has done a lot to “mainstream” the electric vehicle – much in the same way Apple mainstreamed the smartphone. For me, I’ve enjoyed them working to fight back against the franchise car dealership system.

Which makes this analysis of Tesla’s cash crisis from the Economist disappointing. My read is Tesla is burning through cash because there is a corporate culture of chaos and letting the better get in the way of the good.

Tesla received four hundred thousand $1,000 deposits for the Tesla 3’s. That’s an initial investment of $400 million. I can’t see any of the big car firms not being able to set up a new line for that sort of initial capital.

I’m really hoping Tesla manages to push through, but I have a suspicion that it will revert to a boutique manufacturer of innovative EVs while the big firms bring the electric car revolution to the masses.

Early Days for Self-Driving Cars

22 Mar
March 22, 2018

Borepatch helpfully linked to this article regarding to the pedestrian killed by an autonomous Uber vehicle in Arizona. According to the cops, who reviewed the Uber car’s dash cam, it’s unlikely a human driver would have been able to avoid the pedestrian.

I understand why Borepatch distrusts them, but I still believe that the self-driving car will be as revolutionary as the car itself was. Yes, it will destroy some industries. If history is any teacher, the technology will also lead to the rise of brand new industries.

And maybe finally kill the stupid passenger/commuter rail proponents.

Another One Bites the Dust – Toys R Us

16 Mar
March 16, 2018

So, Toys R Us announced it’s shuttering or selling off all of its 700 stores. Well, that’s a damned shame. I have lots of great memories of going there to get the new Transformer or GI Joe toy when I was growing up.

According to this article, Toys R Us was already in trouble before Amazon started dominating the retail sector.

Wow, lots of debt is a bad thing – whether for a business, or a family, or a nation.

Tariffs Hurt

09 Mar
March 9, 2018

President Trump announced a 25% tariff on steel imports and a 10% tariff on aluminum imports. Canada and Mexico are spared for the moment.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/ct-biz-trump-tariff-plan-20180308-story.html

As expected, when the tariffs were first announced, the Trump supporters went wild, while the Trump haters were incensed. Personally, I don’t give a flying fuck about the zealots on either side. They’re more akin to cults than anything else.

The problem are the cheering from blue collar workers who saw their jobs destroyed in the 2000s. Guess what? Those jobs aren’t coming back. Here’s a bit from WSJ:

https://www.wsj.com/articles/steel-tariffs-without-jobs-1520206689

I know that US Steel said it’s reopening some facilities, but how long do you think that’s going to last? Even with the inflated cost caused by the tariff, there is an upper limit to what domestic steel producers can charge. If the cost of labor is too high, then automation will be introduced. Hell, it’ll probably be introduced just to prepare the domestic producers from when the tariffs are rolled back.

And they will be rolled back. Particularly when EVERYONE is hit by the price bump. Because domestic producers aren’t going to stay at their current prices. They’re going to bump them up to just below the tariff price. And that’s going to roll right on down. Guess what those high prices are going to cause? Job losses.

Tariffs always hurt the people who can least afford it. Always.

State of My Podcasts

07 Mar
March 7, 2018

I’m going to try and do this on an annual basis. Part of it’s my own curiosity at how my podcast habits change. I’m also curious what others think about the same podcasts and which podcasts come and go.

I’m going to list the podcasts into some broad groups, with any annotations about frequency I listen to them or general impressions.

I listen to my podcasts in Overcast. I use four playlists:

  1. Daily – This is a playlist of what I want to listen to during my commutes, work, and other times. Some of the podcasts are put to the top on certain days. Some are “promotable”, which means they go to the top behind that day’s podcasts. The rest are filler, and I’ll get to them when I can.

  2. Writing – I use this as a warm-up for when I’m going to write as well as general knowledge to improve my writing

  3. Roman History – This one has two finished podcast series I’m listening about the history of Rome from its early beginnings to the fall of the Byzantine Empire

  4. History – Self explanatory

My podcasts as of March 2018:

Liberty

Cato Daily Podcast – A good quick bit in various topics from a libertarian viewpoint. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist.

Cato Events Podcast – Recordings of various panels put on by the Cato Institute. I’ve heard a lot of very interesting discussions and arguments. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist. I will delete if the topic doesn’t interest me, as these can be pretty long.

Clear and Present Danger -A History of Free Speech – This is a Friday morning podcast on my “Daily” playlist. Still a little uncertain about this one.

The Good Fight – Formerly “The Liberty Files”, this one is a promotable on my “Daily” playlist. This is one I like using for hearing the conservative side of civil liberty discussions. A bit heavier on the freedom of religion than I’d like, but understandable from the hosts’ perspective.

Reason Podcast – Reason’s weekly podcast with their editors is promotable on my Daily playlist. The others are filler. Some good content and some that just don’t interest me.

Short Circuit – From the Institute of Justice, this one discusses notable cases that IJ is a part of. This is a promotable on my Daily playlist.

So To Speak – FIRE’s podcast discussing free speech issues. This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

Economics

Econtalk – Economist Russ Roberts does great interviews with a wide variety of guests and topics. I’ve been learning a lot. This is a Tuesday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

GAO Podcast – GAO discussing some of their reviews. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist

History

Hardcore History – Dan Carlin’s storytelling on various topics is spellbinding. This is promotable on my History playlist on the infrequent occasions new podcasts show up.

Hardcore History: Addendum – New one from Dan Carlin. The first two were interesting. This will be promotable if he continues.

The History of Byzantium – I only listened to a couple of episodes. It’s on my “Roman History” playlist to go after the “History of Rome”

The History of Rome – This one is on my “Roman History” playlist. Good for amateur historians like me. It’s a finished series.

Revolutions – Really good series on various revolutions. Each season goes through one of the more pivotal revolutions in history, starting with the English Revolution. I’ve listened to the first four seasons. This is on my History playlist.

War Stories – Good military history podcast. It’s in my “History” playlist.

Guns

Black Man With A Gun Podcast – Kenn’s podcast was one of the first I started listening to, and then I wrote Zombie Strike for him. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Down Range Radio – Right now, this is my Wednesday morning podcast, but it may get downgraded to promotable. Some of Bane’s nonsense and glad standing is getting on my nervesz On my Daily playlist.

Geeks Gadgets and Guns – A recent addition after they discussed Pathfinder with Erin Pallette. Right now it’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

The Gun Nation – This one is promotable on my Daily playlist on the rare occasions it drops.

Handgun Radio – This one I’ve been enjoying. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Handgun World – This one might go from promotable to fuller on my Daily playlist. Bob has good information, but sometimes his views annoy me, particularly when he goes off on rising evil.

Polite Society Podcast – Good information, but often too long. This one is filler on my Daily playlist

Riding Shotgun With Charley – Interesting so far, but currently filler on my Daily playlist

Safety Solutions Academy – Real good information. Paul is one of those trainers I’d like to learn from if I could scrape together the time and money. This one is promotable on my Daily playlist.

Self-Defense Gun Stories – I like the analysis of what went right and wrong from a variety of professional trainers. This one is a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Politics

The Economist – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. It provides a different perspective and reports on areas that barely hit my normal feeds.

The Fifth Column – This is a really good roundup focusing on the issues of the day and how the media reports them. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen – Charles C. Cooke. That’s why I listen to this podcast. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Neal Boortz Daily Commentaries – I loved listening to Boortz when he was on syndicated radio, and now I get two minutes of him. It’s interesting to see how I’ve diverged from him over the years. It’s only considered promotable on my Daily playlist because I get it daily.

The One With Greg Gutfeld – Only listened to a couple of episodes, but it feels similar to Greg’s Redeye days. Currently promotable on my Daily playlist.

Part of the Problem – Rabid anti war libertarian comedian Dave Smith is interesting. He’s certainly challenging some of my ideas. Promotable on my Daily playlist.

War College – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. An interesting look at politics and military issues.

Tech

Clockwise – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. I like the format and it helps keep me up to date on tech issues and trends.

Daily Tech Headlines – Good summary of big tech stories, and the weekend history segments are interesting. It’s considered promotable on my Daily playlist only becuse it comes out every day.

General

Friendly Fire – New one about three guys watching and critiquing war films. It’s a Friday afternoon podcast on my Daily playlist.

The Incomparable Game Show – Often hilarious, sometimes dangerously so when driving. It’s a Friday afternoon podcast on my Daily playlist.

Penn’s Sunday School – Penn prognosticating on the world. It’s a Tuesday and a Thursday morning podcast on my Daily Playlist.

Squirrel Report – It’s not a Friday afternoon drive without this one.

Unjustly Maligned – On hiatus, but I’d recommend going through the back of episodes.

The Way I Heard It With Mike Rowe – After growing up with Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”, this one is a wonderful substitute. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Science & Skepticism

Skeptics Guide to The Universe – This was my first science podcast and really helped forge my skepticism. It’s a Monday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

Skeptoid – Another one that helped in developing my skeptical outlook. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Writing

Writing Excuses – If you are a fiction writer, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. It’s currently the only one on my Writing playlist.

After All, It’s Not Their Money

01 Sep
September 1, 2017

Across the bay, the city of St. Petersburg wants to force homeowners to add solar panels anytime they put on a new roof.

http://reason.com/blog/2017/08/31/st-petersburg-wants-to-force-you-to-put

They might make an exception for existing homes, but any new buildings, the city council at wants panels. And the homeowner or building owner gets to foot the bill. For another $10K. That’s about three times what I paid to put a new roof on my house last year. It’s about double what my mom paid for her roof.

All the council wants to focus on is all the energy they think this will generate. They refuse to think about:

  1. Solar isn’t as efficient as they expect.

  2. The cost to upgrade the grid to handle all that new energy generation.

  3. It will slow down development in St. Pete due to rising costs.

  4. People will have to take on more debt to do roof replacements. This will most likely lead to an uptick in foreclosures because some people will be unable to pay.

  5. Those who have to save up the cash will forgo necessary roof replacements, which will lead to even more problems, and more drains on people’s limited resources.

Of course, it’s not their money. So why should they give a damn if their brilliant idea hurts people.

Friday Quote – 4/15/16

15 Apr
April 15, 2016

“The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond a reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny.”

Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States 

Friday Quote- 3/25/16

25 Mar
March 25, 2016

“It’s not an endlessly expanding list of rights – the ‘right’ to education, the ‘right’ to healthcare, the ‘right’ to food and housing. That’s not freedom. That’s dependency. Those aren’t rights, those are the rations of slavery – hay and barn for human cattle.”

P.J. O’Rourke

Uber Delivering Flu Shots

18 Nov
November 18, 2015

As if I didn’t love this company already for its shattering of taxi cartels, they are now going to be delivering flu shots on November 19.

Customers who normally use the Uber smartphone app to call for a ride will be able to request a flu shot — and a nurse in an Uber car will show up at their home or office in about three dozen cities across the country.

The charge is $10, but the nurse can give up to 10 flu shots at each location for no additional charge. So work colleagues can split the cost among themselves.

Unfortunately, it’s only one day, but I hope this is an annual program by Uber.