Quotulatiousness

December 22, 2017

The Armistice of Brest-Litovsk I THE GREAT WAR Week 178

Filed under: Europe, Germany, History, Military, Russia, WW1 — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

The Great War
Published on 21 Dec 2017

An armistice between Austria-Hungary, Germany and Russia is signed this week 100 years ago at Brest-Litovsk. And right away the Germans make their intentions clear that they want to dictate the terms for the following peace negotiations. Even Great Britain is exploring peace options but is there actually peace in Russia? After the Bolshevik Coup a Civil War is looming.

Okay, Etobicoke drivers, now they’re just messing with your heads

Filed under: Cancon, Randomness — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

A recently started reconstruction project of the confusing Six Points interchange will involve closing off existing access ramps and (eventually) replacing them with new ones. During construction, however, things are just insane, as this example shows:

The above map shows what the city calls its “preferred alternate route to access Bloor Street eastbound from Kipling Avenue” due to ramp closures.
Image via BlogTO.

As you can see, it involves three huge loops winding around four corners of the intersection. If the ramp weren’t closed, it would be a simple right turn from Kipling onto Bloor heading East.

“It is often said two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do,” wrote one Redditor in response to the graphic today. “In this case, seven rights make, uh, one right.”

“I don’t care what you say,” wrote another, “that ‘Alternate Route’ looks like so much fun, I might go there just to do it!”

Don’t forget your seatbelt.

Remy: Bitcoin Billionaire

Filed under: Economics, Humour, Technology — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

ReasonTV
Published on 21 Dec 2017

Remy rides crypto to the moon.

—–

Written and performed by Remy. Produced by Austin and Meredith Bragg. Music tracks mastered by Ben Karlstrom. Music by J-Beats Productions.

Lyrics:

I was broke, unemployed, I was starting to slouch
I was sleeping in the basement on my momma’s new couch
That’s when I heard it all, a chance to skirt it all a money like my last girl
Completely virtual…

Got the top graphics cards, got a power supply
a microprocesser, a motherboard, a towering drive
I put the RAM in the RAM slot, drive in the larger bay
topped it off, two fans
Like a Chargers game!

Price spike to $30!? I missed out, I fear
crudely assemble a rig like a BP engineer
My friends and family smile and smirk and all make fun of me
But I’m-a make them eat their words because I’m gonna be a

Bitcoin Billionaire
Spending money like I don’t care
Mining coin in my underwear
I’m gonna be a Bitcoin Billionaire

Selecting software and reading the notes
I’m picking out my favorite miners like a Penn State coach
Pick me a digital wallet for holding all my amounts
read up on the all the ways to open lots of accounts I feel like Tom Brady,

I got a fear of inflation
But this is crypto, baby — central bank decentralization
The script I flipped it, laptop encrypted
My life was rotten now all my cotton’s Egypt-ed

Now even on my vacation I’m crypto-supplying
They call me gentrification the way I’m block-modifying
Friends asking “what’s the best part of your newfound treasury?”
I say “reminding you how you told me I’d never be a…

Bitcoin Billionaire
Spending money like I don’t care
Flash drives in their underwear
Now that I’m a Bitcoin Billionaire

The cash was never-ending, yo
upscale and fun and rowdy
I was spending like a 7 on a
scale from 1 to Saudi

Call it mad bankin’, all night and all weekend
My rig is Al Franken:
(grabs what it can while you sleepin’)

Just try outspending me and you’ll see I’m on a mission
I drop more Satoshis than a clumsy Japanese obstetrician
But I ain’t open to splits, don’t care if it’s best or not
Opposing forks like a Chinese restaurant

I went from geek to chic, from basic to ASIC
I went from basement-squatting to yachting from basin to basin
Went from no friends and depression to peer-to-peer legend

Bitcoin Billionaire
Spending money like I don’t care
Then one day there was a solar flare…

I was a Bitcoin Billionaire
Spending money like I don’t care
Now I just pawned my underwear
Used to be a Bitcoin Billionaire.

Repost – ‘Tis the season to hate the senders of boastful holiday letters

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

Gregg Easterbrook receives the perfect, perfect holiday letter:

Don’t you hate boastful holidays letters about other people’s fascinating lives and perfect children? Below is one Nan and I received last week.

Dear Friends,

What a lucky break the CEO sent his personal jet to pick me up from Istanbul; there’s plenty of room, since I have the entire aircraft to myself, to take out the laptop and write our annual holiday letter. Just let me ask the attendant for a better vintage of champagne, and I’ll begin.

It’s been another utterly hectic year for Chad and I and our remarkable children, yet nurturing and horizon-expanding. It’s hard to know where the time goes. Well, a lot of it is spent in the car.

Rachel is in her senior year at Pinnacle-Upon-Hilltop Academy, and it seems just yesterday she was being pushed around in the stroller by our British nanny. Rachel placed first this fall in the state operatic arias competition. Chad was skeptical when I proposed hiring a live-in voice tutor on leave from the Lyric Opera, but it sure paid off! Rachel’s girls’ volleyball team lost in the semifinals owing to totally unfair officiating, but as I have told her, she must learn to overcome incredible hardship in life.

Now the Big Decision looms — whether to take the early admission offer from Harvard or spend a year at Julliard. Plus the whole back of her Mercedes is full of dance-company brochures as she tries to decide about the summer.

Nicholas is his same old self, juggling the karate lessons plus basketball, soccer, French horn, debate club, archeology field trips, poetry-writing classes and his volunteer work. He just got the Yondan belt, which usually requires nine years of training after the Shodan belt, but prodigies can do it faster, especially if (not that I really believe this!) they are reincarnated deities.

Modeling for Gap cuts into Nick’s schoolwork, but how could I deprive others of the chance to see him? His summer with Outward Bound in the Andes was a big thrill, especially when all the expert guides became disoriented and he had to lead the party out. But you probably read about that in the newspapers.

What can I say regarding our Emily? She’s just been reclassified as EVVSUG&T — “Extremely Very Very Super Ultra Gifted and Talented.” The preschool retained a full-time teacher solely for her, to keep her challenged. Educational institutions are not allowed to discriminate against the gifted anymore, not like when I was young.

Yesterday Rachel sold her first still-life. It was shown at one of the leading galleries without the age of the artist disclosed. The buyers were thrilled when they learned!

Then there was the arrival of our purebred owczarek nizinny puppy. He’s the little furry guy in the enclosed family holiday portrait by Annie Leibovitz. Because our family mission statement lists cultural diversity as a core value, we named him Mandela.

Chad continues to prosper and blossom. He works a few hours a day and spends the rest of the time supervising restoration of the house — National Trust for Historic Preservation rules are quite strict. Corporate denial consulting is a perfect career niche for Chad. Fortune 500 companies call him all the time. There’s a lot to deny, and Chad is good at it.

Me? Oh, I do this and that. I feel myself growing and flowering as a change agent. I yearn to empower the stakeholders. This year I was promoted to COO and invited to the White House twice, but honestly, beading in the evening means just as much to me. I was sorry I had to let Carmen go on the same day I brought home my $14.6 million bonus, but she had broken a Flora Danica platter and I caught her making a personal call.

Chad and I got away for a week for a celebration of my promotion. We rented this quaint five-star villa on the Corsican coast. Just to ourselves — we bought out all 40 rooms so it would be quiet and contemplative and we could ponder rising above materialism.

Our family looks to the New Year for rejuvenation and enrichment. Chad and I will be taking the children to Steamboat Springs over spring break, then in June I take the girls to Paris, Rome and Seville while Chad and Nicholas accompany Richard Gere to Tibet.

Then the kids are off to camps in Maine, and before we know it, we will be packing two cars to drive Rachel’s things to college. And of course I don’t count Davos or Sundance or all the routine excursions.

I hope your year has been as interesting as ours.

Love,
Jennifer, Chad, Rachel, Nicholas & Emily

(The above is inspired by a satirical Christmas letter I did for The New Republic a decade ago. I figure it’s OK to recycle a joke once every 10 years.)

Learning To Be Yourself With Buddy The Elf

Filed under: Economics, Media — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Foundation for Economic Education
Published on 7 Dec 2017

The classic holiday film Elf offers a lot more than a good time and a bunch of laughs. It teaches you how to get the most out of your life by finding your comparative advantage – the intersection between what you’re good at and what people need.

After watching this video, download our free ebook “Your Life, Your Work” to learn more about how to find your own comparative advantage and build a life you’re excited about.

Get it here: https://info.fee.org/your-life-your-work

QotD: Economic lessons from Christmas toy shortages

Filed under: Business, Economics, Quotations — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

Toy marketing on this elite level — Canada should be proud! — creates enraged parents. Hatchimals disappeared from stores altogether many weeks ago, and the high prices commanded in the resale market have created an industry of colorful social-media abuse. Hatchimal hoarders (who can now command C$120-$140 on eBay for one egg) are alleged to be greedy monsters, ruining Christmas for single moms — that is, by making the toy available at a premium at a time when toy stores and the makers of the product are no longer any help. (If the toy had never been invented, or were otherwise unavailable at any price, there would be no cause for complaint.)

What we have here is the familiar operation of a strong human superstition: the belief in an illusory “just price” for a product. It is the same superstition that makes some music and sports fans angry at scalpers. But it is exacerbated in the Christmas-shopping milieu by the innate predicament of the parent, always an emotional hostage to their offspring.

The complainers know perfectly well their kids will survive if they have to wait a couple of months for a Hatchimal. They know they could buy many equally good (and equally ephemeral) toys for half what they might pay a Hatchimal hoarder. They probably even know, if I can play the obtuse childless know-it-all for a second, that an authoritative, confident parent could explain the situation to a child, and make them live with the explanation.

Parents always want Christmas to be just so, but in the people who are castigating Hatchimal resellers, you can hear the hints of desperation, maybe even bad conscience. The problem, angry moms and dads, is not the hoarders. They just saw the real problem coming, and it is you.

Colby Cosh, “How the Hatchimals Christmas craze got me to own up to my irrational baseball complex”, National Post, 2016-12-16.

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