Other Miscellany
by Michael Cade

{)++—-xxxx0@@@}…wednesday p.m. links…{@@@0xxxx—-++(}


Beach Nietzsche: A Review of Bronze Age Mindset

Suppose Nietzsche was a “Chad” — what then? Suppose instead of being the sickly incel who alienated the few friends he had, was thrice rejected by the one woman he proposed marriage to, and sold hardly any copies of his self-published books — suppose that he was a Bro. Or rather, imagine the dead Nietzsche not as a syphilitic corpse but as a fallen Greek hero, a radiant paragon of strength, power, and beauty — a half-god, eulogized by the Dionysian cult of his fellow warriors.

Justin Murphy on BAP, Vox, conspiracies, etc.:


The faces of God in America:

In contrast to historical depictions, Americans generally see God as young, Caucasian, and loving, but perceptions vary by believers’ political ideology and physical appearance. Liberals see God as relatively more feminine, more African American, and more loving than conservatives, who see God as older, more intelligent, and more powerful. All participants see God as similar to themselves on attractiveness, age, and, to a lesser extent, race. These differences are consistent with past research showing that people’s views of God are shaped by their group-based motivations and cognitive biases.


The Physics of a Puzzling Perpetual Motion Machine:

In theory, a “real” perpetual motion machine would have zero energy added to the system but still have an energy output—forever. How do we test this? The best way is to somehow isolate the machine so that we’re sure there are no energy inputs. That means blocking out light, radio waves, microwaves, magnetic fields, and thermal temperature differences. Don’t even let the thing shake. If you can completely isolate it and it still has an energy output, then you just changed everything we know about physics.


Commoditize your complement:

Done correctly, this is effective at perpetuating incumbents’ long-term control of markets & justifies their enormous valuations – by definition, the competitors elsewhere in the stack, who might develop a chokepoint, are too numerous, fragmented, and low-margin to invest substantially into threatening R&D3 or long-term strategic initiatives, and any upstart startups can be relatively easily bought out or suppressed (eg Instagram or WhatsApp). Nor does this require convoluted explanations like they are pretending to not be monopolists or fully general unfalsifiable claims like it’s good PR for why big companies like Google steadily fund so many apparently oddball projects like new open source TCP/IP protocol replacements, which are neither directly profitable nor well-known nor impressively charitable – but do have clear explanations in terms of business objectives like driving more mobile web browsing (thus allowing Google to show them more ads, because the complement, mobile web browsing, has become cheaper/easier). As ucaetano puts it:

Another way that I like to express that is create a desert of profitability around you. I once had a strategy professor define the Google business model somewhat like that, where Google tries to make every other business around it free or irrelevant…A desert of profitability shifts consumers to you, and keeps competitors away.


Tyler Cowen on the North Korea summit:

Many of you have asked what I think, so here goes:

1. There is a secret (and unenforceable) deal beneath what is reported. You may think this is good or bad, but for heaven’s sake don’t just be judging the press release.

2. If they didn’t actually agree to anything, that is fine.

3. I am reading so much yelping about how Trump “legitimized” Kim. The status quo ex ante simply was terrible, and there is no reason to think this change is for the worse. Trump’s great “virtue” in this regard was simply to be some mix of ignorant/disrespectful of the prior “expert consensus” and approach the problem afresh with a rather direct transactional and person-centered, personality-centered mentality.

4. As I tweeted: “Isn’t the whole point of the “deal” just to make them go visit Singapore? The real spectacle is not always where you are looking. And I hope someone brought them to the right chili crab place.”

The goal is to show the North Korean leadership there is a better way than playing the Nuclear Hermit Kingdom game. We won’t know for some time whether this has succeeded. …There are in fact numerous signs that the North Koreans are considering serious reforms. Of course those could be a feint, but the probabilities are rising in a favorable direction. Economic cooperation with South Korea is increasing at an astonishing pace.

5. The chance that North Korea someday becomes an unruly version of an American client state has gone up. The chance of a kind of faux, “on paper” Korean reunification has gone up too.

6. No, North Korea isn’t giving up its nuclear weapons. The more important question is to what extent they will use those weapons in the future to check China.

7. How is it that Dennis Rodman played in only two All-Star games?

8. In expected value terms, this is the biggest triumph of the Trump presidency. Most of all, however, you should be agnostic. The negative commentary I am seeing is mostly sour grapes, misplaced frustration, and it is weak in the quality of its argumentation.

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