May 25, 2017

Words & Numbers: Government Can’t Stop Creative Destruction

Filed under: Business, Economics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Published on 24 May 2017

Technology doesn’t just change things, it utterly destroys things. And that’s just fine. It happens so often that people barely even notice when it does. Think about all the new services that have come to market just over the past few years: Uber, Airbnb, Redbox … the list goes on and on.

But that’s only half the story. In turn, the list of services replaced by these new ones is similarly long: taxis, hotels, Blockbuster, etc. And workers in these industries often lose their jobs in the line of creative destruction. We generally accept this as the price of innovation, but many people try to use the government to stop this by blocking the new services.

Today we’re seeing this with more politically well-connected industries like taxis and hotels. Pressure is put on Uber and Airbnb, respectively, to “protect” the established industries they are upending.

This week, Ant and James talk about why this is always a mistake.

Learn More:

Dangerous railway practices of the past

Filed under: History, Railways, USA — Tags: — Nicholas @ 04:00

On Facebook, the New England, Berkshire & Western (“an HO scale layout created by the Rensselaer Model Railroad Society, which is a student club on the campus of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY”), posted a link to this fascinating — eventually banned for obvious safety reasons — method of moving railway cars on parallel track to the locomotive:

Raymond Breyer shared this video link on the pre-Depression page, about poling. […]

I always assumed they would move slowly and the trainman would have to hold the pole the entire time. Guess I was quite wrong! – JN

Teddy Bridgewater returns to Vikings OTAs, sparking more questions

Filed under: Football — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

To the surprise and delight of many Vikings fans, the team posted a short video to their social media accounts on Tuesday afternoon, showing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater taking part in some passing drills at the Vikings’ first organized team activity session at Winter Park:

For the record, count me among the delighted, as I’ve been a Bridgewater fan since he was drafted by the team at the end of the first round in 2014. I don’t dislike Sam Bradford, and I’m grateful the team was able to trade for him, but I hope Bridgewater fully recovers from his injury and is able to return to the starting role at some point (preferably sooner rather than later).

1500ESPN’s Judd Zulgad wonders what we’re expected to take away from the clip:

What type of message are the Vikings attempting to convey?

That’s impossible to tell because the video is only accompanied with dramatic music. There also are three photos of Bridgewater going through practice that were posted on the Vikings’ web site and a brief recap provides no quotes from Bridgewater or anyone else involved with the organization.

The Vikings’ will go through another OTA workout on Wednesday, although unlike with Tuesday’s session, the media will be allowed in for this one. Zimmer, who is taking time off and returned to his Kentucky home after undergoing an eighth surgery on his eye last week, will not be present.

This means offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will be in charge of answering the many Bridgewater-related questions that are sure to be asked.

There’s no guarantee there will be any answers provided considering the Vikings’ football operations department and their social media folks have very different agendas. The former wants to win football games and likes to keep information in-house, while the latter is after web hits.

There’s no doubt those hits were numerous on Tuesday. As for how much we should read into what this video means about Bridgewater’s recovery? That is likely to remain a mystery, at least to those outside of Winter Park.

At Wednesday’s second OTA practice, general manager Rick Spielman discussed Bridgewater’s progress:

Spielman said it was “very encouraging” to see Bridgewater, who has been throwing to receivers here for at least a few weeks, take the next step by tossing passes at an official organized practice, though he stressed that Bridgewater is still not technically practicing with the team. “Part of the rehab process you saw yesterday was that he is able to drop back and throw the ball,” Spielman said. “He is not cleared for practice, so I want to make that perfectly clear. But he’s working extremely hard in his rehab and we’ll continue to monitor his progress.”

Spielman, as he has done all offseason, declined to share whether the 24-year-old is ahead of schedule in his recovery, only saying, “He’s very limited in what he’s able to do at this point, but it’s progress.” He would not say if Bridgewater might be cleared by the start of training camp, which kicks off a couple of months from now.

Later in the day, it was announced that Bridgewater has been given medical clearance to move on to his next phase of rehabilitation:

How Does Glue Work? (feat. VSauce) – James May’s Q&A (Ep 9) – Head Squeeze

Filed under: Science, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 28 Feb 2013

Michael Stevens from Vsauce makes a guest appearance with James May to discuss how glue actually works.

James May’s Q&A:
With his own unique spin, James May asks and answers the oddball questions we’ve all wondered about from ‘What Exactly Is One Second?’ to ‘Is Invisibility Possible?’

A handy site if you’re unsure which glue to use on a particular surface: http://www.thistothat.com/

Glue Strength Test: http://www.honortronics.com/superglueandepoxytest.html

History of Glue: http://inventors.about.com/od/gstartinventions/a/glue.html

How to make homemade glue: http://sustainableecho.com/homemade-natural-glue/

5 Best uses for Superglue: http://www.doityourself.com/stry/5-best-uses-for-super-glue

QotD: Lies about the past

Filed under: History, Politics, Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

It has long been said that the truth will set you free. This is often true, even when that freedom is the bleak and dry eyed horror of knowing how wrong things can go. (As in, say, studying totalitarian regimes of the past.)

The corollary is that lies enslave you. They make the perfect the enemy of the good, and in making current day people long for a past that never was, turn them into the dupes and followers of totalitarians and power seekers.

Or in other words, stop making sh*t up. It doesn’t help, and it might be hurting. The future deserves better than your lies about the past.

Sarah A. Hoyt, “Inventing the Past — The Great Divorce”, According to Hoyt, 2015-09-23.

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