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What tech hasn’t learnt from science fiction
Rambler 1 day ago
If you want to know what will happen in the distant future, read history.

For the shorter term future, try poetry and popular music.

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history  letters_to_the_editor  novels  quotes  Ray_Bradbury  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley 
april 2019
What tech hasn’t learnt from science fiction
APRIL 3, 2019 | Financial Times | Elaine Moore.

Never mind the future: where are the books tackling Silicon Valley’s current challenges?

There is a myth that Silicon Valley is stuffed full of nerds who have never picked up a book in their lives. Like a lot of tales about the Valley, it is not true. The tech industry is acutely aware of the value of storytelling.......Whenever a tech founder is asked about their favourite novel it is usually worth paying attention. Uber founder Travis Kalanick’s admires Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.....Jeff Bezos’s is taken by the quiet despair of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day......and Theranos' Elizabeth Holme is attached to Moby-Dick.

It’s true that reading lists on the West Coast tend to skew towards science fiction.......For Silicon Valley, the genre seems to offer both inspiration and validation. .......But the connection between tech companies and sci-fi novels runs deeper. To make their futuristic projects reality, some seek the help of the authors themselves......Less is made of its focus on the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world (jk: sci fi doesn't pay enough attention to the the downside of humanity interacting with a virtual world). .....The affection tech founders feel for sci-fi often seems to lack this dimension.....If founders are not paying too much attention to cautionary sci-fi themes, at least some people are. Amazon Go shops can feel like a vision of the future as you pick up milk and walk away, without scanning anything. But cities such as San Francisco have begun to wonder whether cashless shops will end up marginalising the country’s poorest citizens, who do not have access to online bank accounts......does any sci-fi novel offers a way to think about Silicon Valley’s present, as well as its future? The singularity and inter-planetary travel are well covered in literature..... are there book out there that address privacy scandals, electric scooters and $100bn IPOs?
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* Counting Heads' (2005) by David Marusek is a novel set in 2134.
* Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson.
* Idoru" by William Gibson.
* Count Zero" by William Gibson.
* "Black Mirror" TV series Charlie Brooker.
* The Circle by Dave Eggers.
* ‘Minority Report’ Phil K Dick.
* Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
* Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson.

People who don't read science fiction (SF) are handicapped in today's world really, because usually they form part of the 99% of humans who are unable to look ahead more than a few months or so and see where society is going. ......Or the people that think Elon Musk is a visionary. He is not a visionary! He is just a smart person, which necessarily includes reading SF, and taking things from there. People who do not read SF think that Musk is the only person on the planet thinking about and developing our future society on Mars...  But there are millions - it's just that he is one of a few billionaires working concretely on it. For example, if you read the Mars trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson, you'd realise that one of the reasons that Elon Musk now has a tunnel boring company is that we will NEED tunnels on Mars... You'd also realise that the TV rights of the trip to Mars will pay for (most of) the cost of the trip... etc. etc. etc.
Amazon_Go  augmented_reality  Ayn_Rand  authors  books  cautionary_tales  Elon_Musk  entrepreneur  fiction  founders  future  futurists  novels  pay_attention  reading_lists  San_Francisco  science_fiction  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  storytelling  virtual_reality  William_Gibson 
april 2019
The Impossible mission — to save the planet with a burger
April 5, 2019 | Financial Times Emiko Terazono and Tim Bradshaw in London.

Impossible Foods discovered that “heme”, an iron-containing protein molecule present in plants and animals, was the magic ingredient giving meat its aroma, taste and texture. Heme, produced through genetic engineering and yeast fermentation, is also behind the “juices” that make the Impossible burger bleed... In 2019, the company has introduced a new and improved burger after swapping wheat for soyabeans and using less salt. After signing its distribution deal with Burger King it is fundraising to increase the capacity of its production facility in Oakland, California.

Along with rival Beyond Meat, which is preparing to float in the US, Impossible has sought to lure meat-eating consumers who want to reduce their meat intake or are looking for tasty options, casting the net wider than vegans....... Pat Brown , 64-year-old former professor of biochemistry, is the founder of Impossible. ..Mr Brown seems to have slipped into his role as an entrepreneur with ease. He told investors that if they backed him, he was going to make them “insanely rich”.

His pronouncements that he was not bothered about exits have been perceived as arrogance by some venture capitalists. However he has still raised more than $475m since 2011 and attracted plenty of other backers, including Viking Global, Bill Gates, and Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures. Investors hope the latest fundraising will value the company at more than $1bn.

Bruce Friedrich, who launched the Good Food Institute, a US not-for-profit that promotes alternative proteins and advises start-ups, calls Mr Brown “a prophet” and praises his “infectious optimism”....If the Impossible burger is successful, Mr Brown hopes to eliminate animal meat in the food chain by 2035, helping the earth to restore its vegetation cover.
Beyond_Meat  green  hamburgers  Impossible_Foods  Kholsa_Ventures  plant-based  prophets  Silicon_Valley  start_ups  vegetarian 
april 2019
Spy tactics can spot consumer trends
MARCH 22, 2016 | Financial Times | John Reed.
Israel’s military spies are skilled at sifting through large amounts of information — emails, phone calls, location data — to find the proverbial needle in a haystack: a suspicious event or anomalous pattern that could be the warning of a security threat.....So it is no surprise that many companies ask Israeli start-ups for help in data analysis. The start-ups, often founded by former military intelligence officers, are using the methods of crunching data deployed in spycraft to help commercial clients. These might range from businesses tracking customer behaviour to financial institutions trying to root out online fraud......Mamram is the Israel Defense Forces’ elite computing unit.
analytics  consumer_behavior  cyber_security  data  e-mail  haystacks  hedge_funds  IDF  insights  intelligence_analysts  Israel  Israeli  Mamram  maritime  massive_data_sets  security_&_intelligence  shipping  spycraft  start_ups  tracking  traffic_analysis  trends  trend_spotting 
april 2019
What to Do When You’re Bored With Your Routines
March 29, 2019 | The New York Times | By Juli Fraga.

Boredom isn’t a character flaw. It’s a state brought on by a behavioral phenomenon called hedonic adaptation: the tendency for us to get used to things over time. This explains why initially gratifying activities and relationships can sometimes lose their luster. “Humans are remarkably good at growing accustomed to the positive and negative changes in their lives,” Sometimes this is a good thing, like when “it comes to adversities like losing a loved one, divorce or downsizing,” .....“We adjust fairly well, but this same flexibility can be detrimental to how we respond to positive life events.”....Think about the last time you got a raise, bought a new car, moved to a new city or fell in love. At first these experiences bring about an immense sense of joy, but over time they all just become part of the routine. We adjust our expectations and move on, ready for the next thing that will excite us again — this is called the hedonic treadmill. It’s why your favorite songs, TV shows and restaurants can start to feel dull after a while.......hedonic adaptation serves an evolutionary purpose.....“If our emotional reactions didn’t weaken with time, we couldn’t recognize novel changes that may signal rewards or threats,” we’d overlook cues needed to make important, daily decisions about our safety, relationships and careers.....understanding the connection between hedonic adaptation and boredom can help us maneuver around this “stuck” feeling. Psychologists have found that adaptation is more common when interactions with situations, people and events remain unchanged......

(1) Eat lunch with chopsticks (metaphorically speaking, that is):
eating food in unconventional ways can make eating and drinking feel more novel....The takeaway: Approaching tasks in imaginative ways could prevent boredom from sabotaging your (metaphorical) lunch hour.
(2) Work somewhere fresh:
Spending too much time in the same environment, as we all can, can cause a boredom buildup. If you work from home, mix things up by working in a new place, like a coffee shop or a library; if you work from an office, try changing up the layout of your desk or work area.......Changes don’t need to be large to have an impact. Simply accessorizing your desk with fresh flowers or approaching a work project in a novel way can make a difference....
(3) Entertain at home:
Not only is boredom a buzzkill, but it can be toxic to our partnerships. “Boredom is a common relationship issue that can lead to maladaptive coping skills,” .......While apathy can cause marital discontent, it can be tricky to recognize because relationships that are O.K. aren’t necessarily engaging, “Mixing up our social worlds can strengthen friendships and romantic partnerships because evolving relationships keep things interesting.” Try going out on a limb by doing something creative, like organizing a group cooking party, a themed dinner or an old-fashioned tea party.
(4) Pose a question:
Instead of asking well-worn questions like, “How was your day?” or “Did you have a good weekend?” get curious about a co-worker, friend or partner by asking something personal. Two standbys to try: “What are you looking forward to today?” or “Is there anything I can help you with this week?” If you really want to grab someone’s attention, try something quirkier like, “What’s one song that describes your mood today?” Interpersonal curiosity reminds those in our social circles that we’re interested in who they are. Not only that, but discovering new information about friends and co-workers can revitalize conversations and bolster intimacy.
(5) Mix up your commute:
Monotonous tasks like commuting to and from work can end one’s day on a stale note.If you drive, take a different route home or listen to a new podcast. If you walk or use public transportation, greet a stranger or put away your Smartphone and do some old-fashioned people watching.

Whatever you do to quell boredom, keep things interesting by altering your behavior often. Variety can not only interrupt hedonic adaptation; it might just be the spice of happiness.
adaptability  boredom  commuting  co-workers  creative_renewal  curiosity  habits  happiness  howto  novel  psychologists  questions  relationships  routines  signals  variety 
april 2019
The death of cultural transmission
April 3, 2019 | FT Alphaville | By Jamie Powell.

music publishing = the business of licensing songs for films, television and advertising.

Valuing [a record label's] music catalogue is... crucial for anyone looking to bid for a stake in the business.

Despite the prominence of new music, established artists are still fundamental to recorded music's success. .......So let's think about these golden oldies as assets. Assets whose appeal has, arguably, only been heightened by the advent of streaming which, with its recurring revenues and growing audience, has made recurring payments from established acts even more bond-like in their cash flow consistency.
But like fixed-income assets with long durations, these cash flows are also sensitive to the smallest assumptions about their future viability. Assumptions which are not as rock solid as some investors might imagine. Let's use The Beatles as a point of reference here, as "The White Album" was UMG's fourth best-selling album last year. (If you're asking “why The Beatles?” Well, Alphaville likes The Beatles, sure. The Fab Four could easily be replaced by its other legacy acts, such as Queen and Nirvana).

But the problem for a prospective buyer is why we're a fan. To put it simply: we had no choice. We were indoctrinated.

On a long car journeys to coastal summer holidays, or at home on a knackered JVC stereo, we, like many of our friends, were limited to a dozen or so records (jk: finite resources). One of which, inevitably, would be some form of John, Paul, George and Ringo (and George).

Call it the cultural transmission effect. Music would be passed on generation to generation, amplified by the relative scarcity, physical space constraints and high prices of recorded media.

This provided a boon for the major labels as it not only meant lower marketing costs but reissues, limited editions, and remasters became an easily repeatable trick, as younger generations grew up to become consumers themselves.......The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Bob Marley are after all, great artists. Their music will live on. But that's not the question for a perspective investor.

The question is: to what degree will the royalties from these artists continue to flow? Assume Sir Paul and Sir Ringo will continue to grow exponentially richer off the back of streaming, and perhaps the quoted multiples don't look quite so mad. In this age it's hard to find assets which both grow, and have semi-predictable cash flows.

But if the next generation doesn't hold the same affinity to the artists which defined the first fifty years of the pop era, where does that leave the labels' back catalogues? May we suggest: in a tougher spot than most imagine.
Apple_Music  artists  assets  Beatles  biopics  bonds  cultural_transmission  digital_strategies  finance  finite_resources  golden_oldies  hard_to_find  indoctrination  legacy_artists  music  music_catalogues  music_labels  music_publishing  platforms  Rollingstones  royalties  Spotify  strategic_buyers  streaming  superstars  U2  UMG  valuations 
april 2019
You Got Into College. Here’s What You Should Know - WSJ
Editor’s note: This Future View offers advice about college to high-school seniors who have recently received offers of admission. For next week, we ask: “Is America’s obsession with the four-year degree elitist and parochial? Or is it practical, celebrating the best path to success for most people?” Students should click here to submit opinions of fewer than 250 words before April 9. The best responses will be published that night.
admissions  advice  Colleges_&_Universities 
april 2019
Opinion | The United Kingdom Has Gone Mad - The New York Times
By Thomas L. Friedman
Opinion Columnist

April 2, 2019

What do the most effective leaders today have in common? They wake up every morning and ask themselves the same questions: “What world am I living in? What are the biggest trends in this world? And how do I educate my citizens about this world and align my policies so more of my people can get the best out of these trends and cushion the worst?”

So what world are we living in?

(1) We’re living in a world that is becoming so interconnected — thanks to digitization, the internet, broadband, mobile devices, the cloud and soon-to-be 5G wireless transmissions — that we are becoming interdependent to an unprecedented degree. In this world, growth increasingly depends on the ability of yourself, your community, your town, your factory, your school and your country to be connected to more and more of the flows of knowledge and investment — and not just rely on stocks of stuff........The key to creating economic value has been to acquire some proprietary knowledge stocks, aggressively protect those knowledge stocks and then efficiently extract the economic value from those knowledge stocks and deliver them to the market. The challenge in a more rapidly changing world is that knowledge stocks depreciate at an accelerating rate. In this kind of world, the key source of economic value shifts from stocks to flows......yet Britain is ruled today by a party that wants to disconnect from a connected world....
(2) Understand that in a world of simultaneous accelerations in technology and globalization, keeping your country as open as possible to as many flows as possible is advantageous for two reasons: You get all the change signals first and have to respond to them and you attract the most high-I.Q. risk-takers, who tend to be the people who start or advance new companies.....The best talent wants to go to the most open systems — open both to immigrants and trade — because that is where the most opportunities are. Britain is about to put up a big sign: GO AWAY.
(3) wise leaders also understand that all the big problems today are global problems, and they have only global solutions: climate change, trade rules, technology standards and preventing excesses and contagion in financial markets......small states/middle powers need to be part of a wider coalition like the European Union.
(4) the best leaders know a little history. Trump is fine with a world of competitive European nationalisms, not a strong European Union. So is Vladimir Putin. So, it seems, are the Brexiteers. How quickly they’ve all forgotten that the E.U. and NATO were built to prevent the very competitive nationalism that ran riot in Europe in the 20th century and brought us two world wars.
21st._century  accelerated_lifecycles  Brexit  EU  historical_amnesia  history  information_flows  interdependence  interconnections  middle-powers  open_borders  proprietary  questions  small_states  talent_flows  technical_standards  Tom_Friedman  United_Kingdom  value_extraction 
april 2019
Night time urination could mean your blood pressure's up
Posted: Apr 01, 2019 | CBC Radio | Dr. Brian Goldman · CBC Radio ·
aging  blood_pressure  diets  mens'_health  nocturnal  salt  sleep  urination 
april 2019
Opinion | How Blackface Feeds White Supremacy - The New York Times
By Brent Staples
Mr. Staples is a member of the editorial board.

March 31, 2019
African-Americans  blackface  white_supremacy 
april 2019
The Missing Piece in Big Food’s Innovation Puzzle
April 1, 2019 | WSJ | by By Carol Ryan.

.......In truth, they are becoming reliant on others to do the heavy lifting. Specialist food ingredient companies like Tate & Lyle and Kerry Group work with global brands behind the scenes to come up with new ideas. These businesses can spend two to three times more on innovation as a percentage of turnover than their biggest clients.

One part of their expertise is overhauling recipes. Ingredients companies can do everything from adding trendy probiotics to taking out excess sugar or gluten. Nestlé got a hand from Tate & Lyle to remove more sugar from its Nesquik range of flavored drinks, while Denmark’s Chr. Hansen helped Kraft Heinz switch from artificial to natural colors in the U.S. giant’s Macaroni & Cheese......Another service food suppliers offer is coming up with successful innovations to help revive sales. Nestlé’s ruby chocolate KitKat, which has become very popular in Asia, was actually created by U.S. cocoa producer Barry Callebaut, for example.

=============================================
See also, "For innovation success, do not follow the money"
07-Nov-2005 | Financial Times | By Michael Schrage "There is
no correlation between the percentage of net revenue spent on R&D
and the innovative capabilities of an organisation – none,"...Just ask
General Motors. No company in the world has spent more on R&D over
the past 25 years. Yet, somehow, GM's market share has
declined....R&D productivity – not R&D investment – is the real
challenge for global innovation. Innovation is not what innovators
innovate, it is what customers actually adopt. Productivity here is not
measured in patents granted but in new customers won and existing
customers profitably retained..
customer_profitability  Big_Food  brands  flavours  food  foodservice  health_foods  healthy_lifestyles  ingredients  ingredient_diversity  innovation  investors  Kraft_Heinz  large_companies  Mondelez  Nestlé  new_ideas  R&D  shifting_tastes  start_ups  Unilever 
april 2019
50 Years of Affirmative Action: What Went Right, and What It Got Wrong - The New York Times
By Anemona Hartocollis
March 30, 2019

Columbia and other competitive colleges had already begun changing the racial makeup of their campuses as the civil rights movement gained ground, but the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, and the resulting student strikes and urban uprisings, prompted them to redouble their efforts.

They acted partly out of a moral imperative, but also out of fear that the fabric of society was being torn apart by racial conflict. They took chances on promising black students from poor neighborhoods they had long ignored, in addition to black students groomed by boarding schools......The debate over race in college admissions only intensified. By the late 1970s, colleges began emphasizing the value of diversity on campus over the case for racial reparations.

Today, Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are facing legal challenges to race-conscious admissions that could reach the Supreme Court. The Trump administration is investigating allegations of discrimination against Asian-American applicants at Harvard and Yale. University officials who lived through the history fear that the gains of the last 50 years could be rolled back.
'60s  admissions  affirmative_action  African-Americans  anniversaries  Colleges_&_Universities  Columbia  diversity  dropouts  Ivy_League  MLK 
march 2019
Fossil Site Reveals Day That Meteor Hit Earth and, Maybe, Wiped Out Dinosaurs
March 29, 2019 | The New York Times | By William J. Broad and Kenneth Chang.

The Chicxulub impact and the global disaster it wrought are sometimes held up as the death stroke for the dinosaurs. But many scientists argue that an array of other factors, including volcanic eruptions and climatic disruptions, contributed to the demise of the giant reptiles.
asteroids  dinosaurs  disasters  evolution  existential  extinction  fossils  meteorites  meteors  natural_calamities  paleontology 
march 2019
Spicy Noodle Soup With Mushrooms and Herbs Recipe - NYT Cooking
ALISON ROMAN

Add: bak choy, chopped sweet onion, BBQ duck/pork finely chopped, cooked noodles, spinach, California garlic.
herbs  mushrooms  recipes  soups 
march 2019
Productivity Isn’t About Time Management. It’s About Attention Management.
March 28, 2019| The New York Times | By Adam Grant.

The better option is attention management: Prioritize the people and projects that matter, and it won’t matter how long anything takes.

Attention management is the art of focusing on getting things done for the right reasons, in the right places and at the right moments........E.B. White once wrote: “I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” But in my research, I’ve found that productive people don’t agonize about which desire to pursue. They go after both simultaneously, gravitating toward projects that are personally interesting and socially meaningful........instead of focusing on how quickly I wanted to finish this article, I asked why I agreed to write it in the first place: I might learn something new when synthesizing the research; I’d finally have somewhere to point people when they ask about productivity; and it might help some of those people......productivity struggles are caused not by a lack of efficiency, but a lack of motivation. Productivity isn’t a virtue. It’s a means to an end. It’s only virtuous if the end is worthy. If productivity is your goal, you have to rely on willpower to push yourself to get a task done. If you pay attention to why you’re excited about the project and who will benefit from it, you’ll be naturally pulled into it by intrinsic motivation.

But how do I stay on task if I’m not worried about time?
Attention management also involves noticing where you get things done.....a series of studies led by Julia Lee (now at Michigan) show that bad weather is good for productivity because we’re less likely to be distracted by the thought of going outside....My favorite part of attention management is the when. Most of our productivity challenges are with tasks that we don’t want to do but that we need to do. ....there's something called attention residue: Your mind keeps wandering back to the interesting task, disrupting your focus on the boring task. ...if you’re trying to power through a boring task, do it after a moderately interesting one, and save your most exciting task as a reward for afterward. It’s not about time; it’s about timing.

Of makers and managers
If the goal is not just to be more productive — but also to be creative, then the stumbling block is that productivity and creativity demand opposite attention management strategies. Productivity is fueled by raising attentional filters to keep unrelated or distracting thoughts out. But creativity is fueled by lowering attentional filters to let those thoughts in.

How do you get the best of both worlds? In his book “When,” Dan Pink cites your circadian rhythm as help to schedule the right time to do your productive and creative work. If you’re a morning person, do your analytical work early when you’re at peak alertness; your routine tasks around lunchtime in your trough; and your creative work in the late afternoon or evening when you’re more likely to do nonlinear thinking. If you’re more of a night owl, you might be better off flipping creative projects to your fuzzy mornings and analytical tasks to your clearest-eyed late afternoon and evening moments. It’s not time management, because you might spend the same amount of time on the tasks even after you rearrange your schedule. It’s attention management: You’re noticing the order of tasks that works for you and adjusting accordingly
Adam_Grant  attention  attention_spans  circadian_rhythms  creativity  Dan_Pink  filtering  intrinsically_motivated  motivations  priorities  productivity  sequencing  time-management  timing  willpower 
march 2019
SNC-Lavalin’s probable exodus from Canada is a national shame
MARCH 29, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by ERIC REGULY EUROPEAN BUREAU CHIEF
LONDON.

Head offices abandon Canada in two ways – slowly or abruptly.

The slow approach sees the head office, usually after a foreign takeover, gradually lose relevance, to the point it becomes a branch plant and simply fades from view over several years. The abrupt approach, again usually after a foreign takeover, sees the head office vanish virtually overnight, as Falconbridge did a decade ago after it was snapped up by mining giant Xstrata. SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. has been slowly disappearing from Canada for years. That’s mostly SNC’s fault – it hasn’t won enough work to keep its Canadian headcount intact......SNC’s departure would come as a serious blow to Canada Inc. Since the middle part of the past decade, Canada has lost dozens of head offices as Canadian investors lunged at the prospect of fat takeover premiums. Many, perhaps most, of the foreign companies doing the buying promised to keep the Canadian head office intact. But those assurances proved to be either wildly exaggerated or outright lies.

Among the head offices that have disappeared are Alcan, Dofasco, Inco, Molson and a chunk of the Canadian oil industry. Recently, Goldcorp Inc., Canada’s second-biggest gold producer, accepted a takeover offer from Colorado’s Newmont Mining Corp., meaning that Goldcorp’s Vancouver office faces a serious downgrade.

Aside from the loss of stock market listings, the elimination of large head offices rots the country’s social fabric. Head offices provide high-paying, high-skilled jobs and create an ecosystem of spinoff jobs, from accountants and chefs to limo drivers and lawyers. Head offices bolster the financial services industry, which underwrites the bond and equity offerings and sponsors the arts and charities. When corporate headquarters disappear, so does talent.
Eric_Reguly  exodus  head_offices  sellout_culture  SNC-Lavalin  social_fabric 
march 2019
It starts with canola: How China could weaponize Canada’s federal election - The Globe and Mail
J. MICHAEL COLE
SPECIAL TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED MARCH 28, 2019

By singling out the private sector, Beijing hopes to turn the inconvenience and financial harm caused to companies into groups that will lobby the government into abandoning a specific policy that is believed to be detrimental to China. When the government fails to change its policy – in this case, standing its ground in the Meng dispute – affected firms and local and regional economies will increasingly blame politics and the perceived obstinacy of their government for their misfortune. It will lead to temptations to support parties and candidates who advocate for a more conciliatory stance vis-à-vis China. The lesson is simple: Abide by Beijing’s wishes, with their concerns ranging from territorial disputes to differences on politics, and there will be plenty of money to be made through the lifting of bans and the promise of more purchases, and other inducements. Refuse to give in, and your economy will suffer.
Canada  Canada-China_relations  canola  China  Elections_2019  economic_warfare  intimidation  reprisals  Meng_Wanzhou  bullying 
march 2019
Lina Khan: ‘This isn’t just about antitrust. It’s about values’
March 29, 2019 | Financial Times | by Rana Foroohar.

Lina Khan is the legal wunderkind reshaping the global debate over competition and corporate power......While still a student at Yale Law School, she wrote a paper, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox”, which was published in the school’s influential journal..... hit a nerve at a time when the overweening power of the Big Tech companies, from Facebook to Google to Amazon, is rising up the agenda......For roughly four decades, antitrust scholars — taking their lead from Robert Bork’s 1978 book The Antitrust Paradox — have pegged their definitions of monopoly power to short-term price effects; so if Amazon is making prices lower for consumers, the market must be working effectively.....Khan made the case that this interpretation of US antitrust law, meant to regulate competition and curb monopolistic practices, is utterly unsuited to the architecture of the modern economy.....Khan's counterargument: that it doesn’t matter if companies such as Amazon are making things cheaper in dollars if they are using predatory pricing strategies to dominate multiple industries and choke off competition and choice.....Speaking to hedge funds and banks during her research, Khan found that they were valuing Amazon and its growth potential in a way that signified monopoly power..." I’m interested in imbalances in market power and how they manifest. That’s something you can see not just in tech but across many industries,” says Khan, who has written sharp pieces on monopoly power in areas as diverse as airlines and agriculture. " Khan, like many in her cohort, believes otherwise. “If markets are leading us in directions that we, as a democratic society, decide are not compatible with our vision of liberty or democracy, it is incumbent upon government to do something.” Lina Khan has had a stint as a legal fellow at the Federal Trade Commission, consulted with EU officials, influenced competition policy in India, brainstormed ideas with presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren and — recently joined the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law. The 2008 financial crisis she thinks “about markets, and the government’s response to them, and certain forms of intervention that they do take, and that they don’t take”.....Khan, Lynn and others including the Columbia academic Tim Wu have developed and popularised the “new Brandeis” school of antitrust regulation, hearkening back to the era in which Louis Brandeis, the “people’s lawyer”, took on oligarchs such as John D Rockefeller and JP Morgan.....Lina sees Amazon as not just a discount retailer but as a marketing platform, delivery and logistics network, a payment service, a credit lender, auction house, publisher and so on, and to understand just how ill-equipped current antitrust law was to deal with such a multi-faceted entity......a Columbia Law Review paper out in May 2019 will explores the case for separating the ownership of technology platforms from the commercial activity they host, so that Big Tech firms cannot both run a dominant marketplace and compete on it. via a host of old cases — from railroad antitrust suits to the separation of merchant banking and the ownership of commodities — to argue that “if you are a form of infrastructure, then you shouldn’t be able to compete with all the businesses dependent on your infrastructure”....“The new Brandeis movement isn’t just about antitrust,” .... Rather, it is about values. “Laws reflect values,” she says. “Antitrust laws used to reflect one set of values, and then there was a change in values that led us to a very different place.”

.
21st._century  Amazon  antitrust  Big_Tech  digital_economy  financial_crises  FTC  lawyers  Lina_Khan  monopolies  multifaceted  paradoxes  platforms  policymakers  predatory_practices  Rana_Foroohar  regulators  Robert_Bork  Tim_Wu  wunderkind  Yale  values  value_judgements 
march 2019
Focus | Three things I wish I knew the day I became a Cabinet minister
March 27, 2019 | The Nassau Guardian | • Zhivargo Laing is a Bahamian economic consultant and former Cabinet minister who represented the Marco City constituency in the House of Assembly.
Bahamas  Caribbean  humility  lessons_learned  politicians  think_threes 
march 2019
Five things we learnt from Apple’s latest launch
March 27, 2019 | | Financial Times | Richard Waters 3 HOURS AGO.

(1) With its move to services, Apple's balance sheet and installed base of users have taken over as the main source of competitive advantage....Apple has barely scratched the surface in selling content and services for the 1.4bn iPhone, Macs and other devices in active use.
(2) there is a chance to carve out a trusted position at a time when other internet giants are under fire. Think of it as a Disney for digital services: a trusted brand built around a set of values that stand above the crowd.
(3) there is still room for innovation at the margin, which should have a halo effect for the brand. The new credit card with Goldman Sachs is a case in point.
(4) Apple’s main way to make money — selling hardware — leaves it with a dilemma as it makes the move into services. .... it will be hard to get a return on the huge spending on entertainment unless it spreads that investment across the largest possible audience — which means reaching beyond its own hardware. This tension between vertical and horizontal business models — capturing more of the value from its own devices on the one hand, selling a service for everyone on the other — is not new for Apple.

(5) after more than a decade of the App Store, Apple’s relationship with many of the companies that have relied on the digital storefront to reach their own customers is about to change utterly...How will Apple promote its own services to its users, and what will this mean for iOS as a platform for third party apps? Spotify’s antitrust complaint to the EU this month is likely to be the harbinger of more challenges to come.
antitrust  Apple  Apple_IDs  App_Store  balance_sheets  Big_Tech  competitive_advantage  consumer_finance  credit_cards  cross-platform  EU  halo_effects  hardware  iOS  Richard_Waters  services  Spotify  streaming  subscriptions  turning_points  user_bases  web_video 
march 2019
University of Toronto announces largest donation in school’s history for construction of new centre, institute
MARCH 25, 2019 | The Globe and Mail | by JOE FRIESEN.
Billionaire investor Gerald Schwartz and Indigo chief executive Heather Reisman announced Monday that they will donate $100-million to the University of Toronto for the construction of a new centre for innovation and entrepreneurship as well as an institute that will study the impact of emerging technologies on society......We read an article together about this bold ambition the university had to create a new complex that would be devoted to the whole subject of technology and innovation,” Ms. Reisman said. “The things that they talked about housing there were things we were interested in – the Vector Institute [for Artificial Intelligence], the Creative Destruction Lab, the entrepreneurs. We looked at each other and said ‘We’d like to support that.’"

Mr. Gertler said the gift is affirmation of the role the university plays in innovation in fields such as machine learning, gene editing and regenerative medicine.

“There are very few gifts across the country that have been this big,” Mr. Gertler said. “It draws on U of T’s world class strength, both in machine learning and the ethics and philosophy of technological change and its impact on society.”
CDL  Colleges_&_Universities  entrepreneurship  Gerald_Schwartz  Heather_Reisman  innovation  Joe_Friesen  Meric_Gertler  moguls  philanthropy  uToronto  Vector_Institute 
march 2019
Why the cult of the early riser still captivates
March 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Jo Ellison

Will getting up before the sun has cracked its first rays make you a better, more brilliant person? In his book, The 5am Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate your Life, “leadership guru” Robin Sharma argues the case. The book is the 13th publication in an oeuvre that also includes the titles Who Will Cry When You Die? and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, which has sold more than three million copies to date......club members must get up as soon as the alarm goes off at 4.45am before launching into “The Victory Hour”, which breaks down into 20 minutes of movement and hard physical exercise, 20 minutes of “reflection”, such as prayer, meditation or journal writing, followed by 20 minutes of “growth”, during which you might listen to “a podcast about leadership” or “consume an audiobook”.

This magical hour of solitude, contemplation and sweat allows one to focus on one’s goals and optimise one’s schedule for the day ahead, which is then split into 60- and 90-minute bursts of intensely focused work, with 10-minute intervals for mental growth, during which time the brain should roam freely. Sharma saves the afternoons for meetings and “lower value work” before going home to enjoy a “portfolio of joyful pursuits”, family time and/or nature walks.
adaptability  books  buffering  early_risers  GTD  gurus  habits  productivity  slack_time 
march 2019
Stop fighting over scarce educational opportunities
March 26, 2019 | Financial Times | by Sarah O’Connor
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US Democratic congresswoman, believes there is a shortage of routes available to children who want a better future.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez put her finger on a phenomenon that is showing up in many different guises as economic growth has slowed in the developed world. When the pie stops growing, the fights become fiercer and dirtier over how to divide it. One of the areas where this is playing out most emotively is education — an issue critical to the life chances of our children.

As developed countries grew steadily richer over much of the 20th century and educational opportunities expanded, absolute social mobility — the likelihood that children would do better than their parents — was commonplace.

There was never a perfect meritocracy, of course. Elites have always used their wealth and connections to put a “glass floor” under their children’s feet. But that seemed to matter less when it was easy enough for others to join them.

Now, in a world of stalling growth and yawning gaps between the top and the bottom, the chances of making it into the elite feel slimmer, even as the economic rewards for doing so grow fatter. At the same time, the economic penalties for not securing a decent education have become harsher....The underlying problem, as Ms Ocasio-Cortez points out, is the scarcity of routes available to young people who want a better future.

There is no single solution, but the list of fixes would include better state schools, more affordable higher education that is less variable in quality, a broader range of alternatives to university that still lead to decent jobs, and a revival of broad-based economic growth that lifts all boats, not just the yachts.

That may sound like an expensive laundry list, but inaction would cost more in the end.
Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez  children  college-educated  cost_of_inaction  education  elitism  income_inequality  scarcity  Varsity_Blues 
march 2019
Andrew Marshall, Pentagon’s Threat Expert, Dies at 97 - The New York Times
By Julian E. Barnes
March 26, 2019

Andrew Marshall, a Pentagon strategist who helped shape U.S. military thinking on the Soviet Union, China and other global competitors for more than four decades, has died. He was 97. Mr. Marshall, as director of the Office of Net Assessment, was the secretive futurist of the Pentagon, a long-range thinker who prodded and inspired secretaries of defense and high-level policymakers.......Marshall was revered in the DoD as a mysterious Yoda-like figure who embodied an exceptionally long institutional memory.......... Marshall's view of China as a potential strategic adversary, an idea now at the heart of national defense strategy....Through his many hires and Pentagon grants..... Mr. Marshall trained a coterie of experts and strategists in Washington and beyond.....he cultivated thinking that looked beyond the nation’s immediate problems and sought to press military leaders to approach long-term challenges differently......His gift was the framing of the question, the discovery of the critical question..... always picking the least studied and most strategically significant subjects....Marshall’s career as a strategic thinker began in 1949 at the RAND Corporation, where his theory of competitive strategies took root. Borrowing from business school theories of how corporations compete against each other, Mr. Marshall argued that nations are also in strategic competition with one another. “His favorite example was if you can pit your strengths against someone else’s weakness and get them to respond in a way that makes them weaker and weaker, you can put them out of business without ever fighting,”....He had early insight into the economic troubles the Soviet Union was having, and helped develop strategies to exacerbate those problems and help bring about the demise of the Soviet Union....In 2009, Robert M. Gates, the defense secretary at the time, asked Mr. Marshall to write a classified strategy on China with Gen. Jim Mattis, the future defense secretary.
adversaries  assessments_&_evaluations  China  China_rising  classified  economists  éminence_grise  future  futurists  inspiration  institutional_memory  long-range  long-term  obituaries  Pentagon  policymakers  problem_framing  RAND  rising_powers  Robert_Gates  SecDef  security_&_intelligence  strategic_thinking  threats  trailblazers  uChicago 
march 2019
Why Is Silicon Valley So Obsessed With the Virtue of Suffering?
March 26, 2019 | The New York Times | By Nellie Bowles.

a new entrepreneurship-focused lobbying firm, the Cicero Institute.
Daily Stoic, a popular blog for the tech-Stoic community.
“Meditations,” by Marcus Aurelius
“A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy,” by William B. Irvine
Ryan Holiday’s life-hacking books on Stoicism.
Search for books by Ada Palmer.

The wealthy of Silicon Valley ought to be living their very best lives right now. John Doerr, an early Amazon and Google investor, calls their moment “the greatest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” And yet, the people of Silicon Valley seem determined to make themselves miserable. They sit in painful, silent meditations for weeks on end. They starve for days — on purpose. Cold morning showers are a bragging right. Notoriety is a badge of honor. So the most helpful clues to understanding Silicon Valley today may come from its favorite ancient philosophy: Stoicism. An ancient Greek school of thought, Stoicism argued that the only real treasures in life were inner virtues, like self-mastery and courage. The Stoics offered tactics to endure pain and pleasure without complaint.

* Is this really a thing? - Some executives in SV believe that our pleasing, on-demand life will make them soft. So they attempt to induce pain..... incorporate practices in our lives that “mimic” our ancestors’ environments and their daily challenges....Tim Ferriss wrote on his blog that Stoicism is “an ideal ‘operating system’ for thriving in high-stress environments.”.....there are the founders who may not call themselves Stoics, but who practice some of its tenets (e.g. Jack Dorsey, Twitter's C.E.O., who likes to walk five miles to work each day and meditates in silence 10 days each year.
* Why are they attracted to Stoicism? - Stoicism “a wonderful therapy against grief and the blinders of the rat race.” “So much of Stoicism is about achieving interior tranquillity,”
* Why does it matter? - The Cicero Institute comes at a time of tension in Silicon Valley.
books  courage  discomforts  emotional_mastery  endurance  founders  Greek  high-stress  inner-directed  inner_peace  John_Doerr  joyless  philosophy  Roman  Ryan_Holiday  self-deprivation  self-mastery  Silicon_Valley  Stoics  suffering  Tim_Ferris  tough-mindedness  virtues 
march 2019
Why Is Silicon Valley So Obsessed With the Virtue of Suffering?
George Born
Concord, NH5h ago
Not really a fair summary of what stoicism is. Stoicism recommends focusing on what one has the most control over: oneself and one's reactions to events.

Not really...
emotional_mastery  letters_to_the_editor  span_of_control  Stoics 
march 2019
A Man for All Markets by Edward O. Thorp
by Edward Thorp, a mathematician who applied his skills, from Las Vegas to Wall Street, from the blackjack tables to the world of hedge funds.
books  hedge_funds  Las_Vegas  mathematics  quantitative  Wall_Street 
march 2019
DE Shaw: inside Manhattan’s ‘Silicon Valley’ hedge fund
March 25, 2019 | Financial Times Robin Wigglesworth in New York.

for a wider investment industry desperately trying to reinvent itself for the 21st century, DE Shaw has evolved dramatically from the algorithmic, computer-driven “quantitative” trading it helped pioneer in the 1980s.

It is now a leader in combining quantitative investing with traditional “fundamental” strategies driven by humans, such as stockpicking. This symbiosis has been dubbed “quantamental” by asset managers now attempting to do the same. Many in the industry believe this is the future, and are rushing to hire computer scientists to help realise the benefits of big data and artificial intelligence in their strategies........DE Shaw runs some quant strategies so complex or quick that they are in practice almost beyond human understanding — something that many quantitative analysts are reluctant to concede.

The goal is to find patterns on the fuzzy edge of observability in financial markets, so faint that they haven’t already been exploited by other quants. They then hoard as many of these signals as possible and systematically mine them until they run dry — and repeat the process. These can range from tiny, fleeting arbitrage opportunities between closely-linked stocks that only machines can detect, to using new alternative data sets such as satellite imagery and mobile phone data to get a better understanding of a company’s results...... DE Shaw is also ramping up its investment in the bleeding edge of computer science, setting up a machine learning research group led by Pedro Domingos, a professor of computer science and engineering and author of The Master Algorithm, and investing in a quantum computing start-up.

It is early days, but Cedo Crnkovic, a managing director at DE Shaw, says a fully-functioning quantum computer could potentially prove revolutionary. “Computing power drives everything, and sets a limit to what we can do, so exponentially more computing power would be transformative,” he says.
algorithms  alternative_data  artificial_intelligence  books  D.E._Shaw  financial_markets  hedge_funds  investment_management  Manhattan  New_York_City  quantitative  quantum_computing  systematic_approaches 
march 2019
With the iPhone Sputtering, Apple Bets Its Future on TV and News
March 25, 2019 | WSJ | By Tripp Mickle.

The iPhone is running out of juice. To go beyond the device that made Apple Inc. a global colossus, Tim Cook is betting on a suite of services—marking the company’s biggest shift in more than a decade......Apple will take a giant leap forward announcing video- and news-subscription services that it hopes will generate billions of dollars in new annual revenue and deepen ties between iPhone users and the company.....apps and services, from Spotify to Netflix to China’s WeChat , have often become more important to users than the devices that run them. .....The company’s ambition in video is to become an alternative to cable, combining original series with shows from other networks to create a new entertainment service that can reach more than 100 markets world-wide. ....Apple hasn’t said what it will charge for the programming. .....The original series will be delivered in a new TV app that staff have been calling a Netflix killer.....Apple has been negotiating to bring its new TV app to multiple platforms, including Roku and smart TVs.........Apple plans to showcase a revamped News app that includes a premium tier with access to more than 200 magazines—including Bon Appétit, People and Glamour—as well as newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal.....The Washington Post and New York Times aren’t participating in the new app...... in the early 2000s, co-founder Steve Jobs reinvented the company by pushing it into mobile devices. The iPod and its accompanying iTunes service revived a company that was largely dependent on Mac computer sales....Mr. Cook is attempting a similar feat in the approaching twilight of the smartphone era....Cook wanted to know which apps were selling well, how many Apple Music subscribers stuck with the service, and how many people were signing up for iCloud storage.....Apple’s biggest source of services revenue comes from distributing other companies’ software through its App Store.....Apple’s music-streaming service has about 50 million global subscribers—far behind Spotify’s 96 million.

Apple’s base of 1.4 billion iPhones, iPads and Macs in use globally gives it a distribution platform..................The push into news subscriptions could help Apple battle Facebook, whose News Feed has helped it become the No. 1 app world-wide in monthly active smartphone users.....Facebook is attempting to become a super-app like China’s WeChat, which allows users to shop, order food, buy movie tickets and make reservations on any mobile operating system......Steve Jobs foreshadowed Apple’s services future when he started iTunes in 2001, offering categories from competing major labels to make the first successful digital-music store, with songs available for 99 cents.

For Mr. Cook’s monthly services meetings, the company monitors of apps that benefit and threaten Apple. There is a "release radar" for Cook to track apps that are expected to sell well and other metrics for the apps that have challenged Apple’s business, including iTunes sales decreases compared with Apple Music subscription growth.
App_Store  Apple  Apple_IDs  Apple_Music  big_bets  CEOs  cloud_computing  Disney  iCloud  iPhone  iTunes  magazines  mobile_applications  multiplatforms  Netflix  news  NYT  original_content  pivots  platforms  services  smartphones  Spotify  storage  streaming  subscriptions  television  Tim_Cook  WaPo  WeChat 
march 2019
A Guide to Your Knees - Well Guides - The New York Times
By Dr. Jordan Metzl

Never had knee pain? Excellent. Let’s keep it that way. And while not all knee problems are preventable, you can prevent many issues and also improve knee function with strength and flexibility training.

With increased muscular strength and flexibility surrounding your knees, the better they bear their load. Muscles are shock absorbers; the stronger they are, the better they can offload the hips and knees and the better your joints will feel — no matter your age.

STRENGTH
Lower extremity strength training includes anything that builds muscle around the hips and knees. Stationary biking is the easiest way to start and has the added benefit of aiding knee and hip mobility. Biking can be done several times per week on a stationary or recumbent bike; we recommend biking for 20 to 30 minutes per session.

Functional strength exercises are designed to strengthen multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Unlike a single muscle exercise such as a bicep curl, functional strength exercises like as a push-up, strengthen all of the muscles in a body area simultaneously. When you move normally, muscles work together, so it makes more sense to exercise them together as well........
Bodyweight Split Squat
Single Leg Hip Raise
Single Leg Toe Touch

FLEXIBILITY
As sore knees stiffen, the muscles around the knees tighten as well. This soft tissue tightening often amplifies knee pain. A foam roller is a terrific, low-cost option that can be used at home to improve flexibility and reduce pain through a process known as myofascial release.

HOW TO ROLL YOUR KNEE
The Hamstrings Roll

Place a foam roller under your right knee, with your leg straight. Cross your left leg over your right ankle. Please your hands flat on the floor behind you.
Roll your body forward until the roller reaches your glutes. Then roll back and forth over the roller.
Repeat with the other side.
Note: You can also do this with both legs on the roller.

Glutes Roll

Sit on a foam roller with it positioned on the back of your right thigh, just below your glutes. Cross your right leg over the front of your left thigh. Put your hands behind you for support.
Roll your body forward until the roller reaches your lower back. Then roll back and forth.
Repeat on the other side.
exercise  fitness  functional_strength  injuries  primers  knees  mens'_health  legs  glutes  injury_prevention 
march 2019
This 8-Year-Old Chess Champion Will Make You Smile
March 16, 2019 | The New York Times | By Nicholas Kristof, Opinion Columnist.

Overcoming life’s basic truth: Talent is universal, but opportunity is not.
******************************************************************************'
Tanitoluwa Adewumi, a homeless third grader has just won his category at the New York State chess championship, outwitting children from elite private schools with private chess tutors. What’s even more extraordinary is that Tani, as he is known, learned chess only a bit more than a year ago. His play has skyrocketed month by month, and he now has seven trophies by his bed in the homeless shelter.

“I want to be the youngest grandmaster,” he told me.

Tani’s family fled northern Nigeria in 2017, fearing attacks by Boko Haram terrorists on Christians such as themselves. “I don’t want to lose any loved ones,” his father, Kayode Adewumi, told Kristof.
chess  homelessness  immigrants  New_York_City  Nicholas_Kristof  op-ed  refugees  unevenly_distributed 
march 2019
An Impeccable Spy — a thrilling biography of Stalin’s secret agent
March 22, 2019 | Financial Times | by Victor Sebestyen.

An Impeccable Spy: Richard Sorge, Stalin’s Master Agent, by Owen Matthews, Bloomsbury, RRP£25, 448 pages

He was defeated by a problem spies have faced from the Battle of Actium to modern-day Iraq. Often leaders hear only what they want to hear and act on information they find politically useful to them. As such this is a highly relevant book for today.

Richard Sorge was the Soviet spy who stole one of the biggest secrets of the second world war: the precise details of Hitler’s invasion of the USSR in June 1941. Through brilliant espionage “tradecraft” that involved penetrating the highest military and political levels in Germany and Japan, Sorge supplied Moscow with the battle plans of Operation Barbarossa weeks before it happened.

History is full of what ifs. Sorge and his spy ring might have changed the direction of the war. But Stalin would not believe Hitler was planning to invade. Though he was also receiving similar warnings from other Soviet sources, as well as British and US ones, the most suspicious of men would not see he could be betrayed.

The Soviet leader distrusted Sorge, convinced his most able and loyal agent was a traitor on the verge of defecting. Stalin relied more than most dictators on secret intelligence but seldom trusted his spies — especially if they told him something he didn’t want to hear.
biographies  books  book_reviews  espionage  Joseph_Stalin  Nazis  security_&_intelligence  spycraft  WWII 
march 2019
Jevons paradox
In economics, the Jevons paradox (/ˈdʒɛvənz/; sometimes Jevons effect) occurs when technological progress or government policy increases the efficiency with which a resource is used (reducing the amount necessary for any one use), but the rate of consumption of that resource rises due to increasing demand.[1] The Jevons paradox is perhaps the most widely known paradox in environmental economics.[2] However, governments and environmentalists generally assume that efficiency gains will lower resource consumption, ignoring the possibility of the paradox arising.[3]
economics  Jevons_paradox  paradoxes  Wikipedia 
march 2019
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