Non-financial: October - December 2012 articles archive home
We don't need to be 100% sure …
… that the worst fears of climate scientists are correct in order to act. All we need to think about are the consequences of being wrong.
Friday, December 28, 2012 ... more
Death Star II nowhere, sadly
At first glance, we admit the petition to the White House to secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016 has got “no brainer” written all over it…
Friday, December 14, 2012 ... more
The value of a good degree
Consider the situation of a hiring decision maker at a large firm. She reads through a lot of resumés and interviews candidates. She develops hunches about who is and isn’t good. Our decision maker has real ability: the people she thinks are good are, on average, substantially better than the people she thinks are not so good. But ...
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 ... more
I have to say it …
… the service level we’re getting in shops these days is abysmal.
Friday, December 7, 2012 ... more
Unexpected benefits
What is so interesting about the Nedbank Green Index is that although it is compiled through a set of environmental rules, there seem to be strong financial outcomes. [If we go back to July 2008] to the end of October 2012, the index outperforms the All Share by more than 40% …
Thursday, December 6, 2012 ... more
A modern story
I sat next to a famous 97 year old singer yesterday … she had sung with Danny Kaye, Red Skelton, Frank Loesser, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra and many others in her illustrious career. At the age of 30 she married a gynaecologist and had 60 years of a beautiful happy marriage.
Friday, November 30, 2012 ... more
An important but sad reason why our requirement for wealth-as-insurance is insatiable is because insurance is often a zero-sum game. Consider a libertarian Titanic, whose insufficient number of lifeboat seats will be auctioned to the highest bidder in the event of a catastrophe.
Friday, November 23, 2012 ... more
You look out the window …
… at your neighbour and you wonder how they can afford the cars they drive, that awesome remodelling project they’ve started and the vacation they’ll be taking next month. After all, they live next door, your kids go to the same school, and you know your salaries aren’t that different
Friday, November 16, 2012 ... more
Visit to Heaven
I sat down to rest, and begun to tackle the queerest sort of strangers and ask for information, but I didn’t get any; they couldn’t understand my language, and I could not understand theirs. I got dreadfully lonesome. I was so down-hearted and homesick I wished a hundred times I never had died.
Friday, November 9, 2012 ... more
There is a difficulty …
… which keeps even the best behaved governments from using resources well. This problem was explained by the economists Milton and Rose Friedman [who] argued that there are only four ways to spend money.
Friday, November 2, 2012 ... more
The ETFs of our discontent
ETFs are intended to be the loss leader. The missile sponge. We are supposed to give away capital for free so that people will trade sexier products with more edge ... The more I thought about it, the more depressed I became. I went into trading to become a rock-star, to make triple-digit returns, to become fantastically wealthy, and to be the envy of the financial community.
Friday, October 26, 2012 ... more
How much correctness?
It’s now very common to hear people say “I’m rather offended by that.” As if that, somehow, gives them certain rights. It’s actually … simply a whine. Nothing more.
Friday, October 19, 2012 ... more
How intelligent?
Life as a non-genius, is the lot, by definition, of almost all of us. But within the normal range of functioning, we place a lot of importance on innate qualities like intelligence (whatever its definition) at the expense of other characteristics that are likely to make us effective students, workers and creators.
Friday, October 12, 2012 ... more
Listen to the foxes
In 1953 the philosopher Isaiah Berlin famously divided thinkers into two categories: the hedgehog and the fox. Borrowing from a Greek poet who said, "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”
Friday, October 5, 2012 ... more
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