• Equinox has coolers filled with eucalyptus towels. SoulCycle has its grapefruit-scented candles. NetJets private aircraft have their exclusive Cajun snack mix. Every luxe empire has a signature amenity, something patrons enjoy for a few seconds and then forget about. At L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, one of the world's most expensive restaurant chains, that amenity is mashed potatoes. Guests at the new Manhattan outpost receive a small, rich pot of pommes puree during the final savory course. Fan-like indentations decorate the top layer, a deft act of latte art for potatoes. [Eater]
  • The average Bentley sells for $250,000, a Rolls-Royce $375,000. Rolls, which is owned by BMW, offers about 60 leather options and about 30 variations of wood. Ponder over 64 standard paints choices and several dozen custom hues. In total, a library of 44,000 colors are available. Still on the fence? Shades can be customized. [NY Times]
  • A lot of folks are in situations where they either don't pay for electricity or pay a flat rate. Why aren't they all mining Bitcoin? How about office workers? Nobody complains if they plug in a space heater, a Lava lamp, an aquarium, or a personal phone charger. Maybe the landlord is paying the electric bill in any case. Why wouldn't there be a Bitcoin miner that "flies under the radar" by consuming less than 500 watts? Supposedly it takes about 13,000 kW/h to mine one coin (source), so that's about three years at 500 watts per hour. Three years is a long time to wait (we could get lucky and earn a Bitcoin after 1 day, right?), but on the other hand a $10,000 bonus once every three years would be welcome! [Phil G]
  • The tenure system was established at a time when it was legal and conventional to have a mandatory retirement age. So it was a job guarantee from age 35-65, not from 35-90. Will the #MeToo movement be the catalyst for meaningful access to university jobs for young people? [Phil G]
  • Genetic correlations are an interesting topic. They're exactly what you want to know for the question of 'what are the unintended consequences of me selectively breeding for X?' but somehow most people who discuss the topic of eugenics have no idea that they exist or are their own comprehensive literature - even though the animal breeding people know about them perfectly well. It's a little embarrassing how ignorant/incompetent a lot of human genetics discussions are, really, compared to the agriculture people... So you get silly speculation like 'what if we select for intelligence and people wind up getting more heart disease or living shorter lives or more schizophrenia?' Which would be reasonable except it runs contrary to scores of genetic correlations which have been calculated for like 40 years now. [Gwern]
  • It is established that treatment with statins lower cholesterol by inhibiting the mevalonate metabolic pathway (MMP) which also means that the synthesis of Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10) is also inhibited. Ubiquinone plays a vital role in the body and if the level is reduced it is likely to cause myopathy, which is one of the established side effects of statin therapy. In the light of this, it would be expected that anyone prescribed statins would automatically also be prescribed with ubiquinone. But the reality is that this just happen regularly. [link]
  • How to write Tyler Cowen post: 1. Identify some borderline popular subject 2. Google for list of references and titles related to subject. More obscure the better. 3. Compile list so it looks like it contains meaningful information. 4. Revel in the glory that list contains no meaningful information. 5. Profit off continuous attempt to signal virtue and inflate ego. [MR]
  • Since West Elm doesn't have product reviews on their website, there is no real reason to know how widely disliked the Peggy sofa is until you buy one and then join the strange ad hoc community of Peggy truthers on the internet [link]
  • In fact, the hosts have time and time again muddied up houses (especially midcentury modern ones) with genuinely authentic, or even irreplaceable, interiors. [link]
  • It takes three pounds of regular yogurt to make every one pound of Greek yogurt, he says, leaving behind two pounds of what's called acid whey. Acid whey is a low-pH liquid that's not really good for any secondary use, so yogurt makers struggle to dispose of it properly. [link]
  • "Does Haiti have cholera?" asked Dr. House. "Not before 2012. The earthquake hit in 2010. UN troops from Nepal, where Vibrio is endemic, brought in cholera. One in ten individuals exposed to cholera are asymptomatic carriers shedding it in stool. Without adequate filtration systems in earthquake-ravaged Haiti, cholera spread all over." [Phil G]
  • Believe it or not, despite co-founding a litigation finance company, filing my small claims action against Equifax was the first time I had ever stepped foot in court. I came prepared: my completed SC-100, the small claims complaint form, and a check for $90. The filing fee is only $75, but unless I was prepared to drive to Sacramento and hire a process server to deliver to Equifax headquarters, I had to utilize the court-certified mail service process, which costs $15. The young man at the front desk took my papers without comment and layered a stamped cover sheet on top. I was delighted to get my court date right away, and to find that trial was relatively soon: November 9, 2017. Your average civil case takes 1–2 years to go to trial, and here I was, gearing up for court in a mere month and a half. [link]
  • Some of the biggest names in dieting, organic agriculture and preventive medicine died at surprisingly young ages. The wild-foods enthusiast Euell Gibbons was far ahead of his time in his advocacy of a diverse plant diet — but he died at age 64 of an aortic aneurysm. [NYT]
  • Every weekday morning, just before 7.00, we play a piece of music by Johann Sebastian Bach – usually something requested by our listeners, who tune in from all over the globe. It's inconceivable that another composer could take Bach's place in that slot. Even Mozart or Beethoven wouldn't cut it. And as for other giants of the musical canon, Monteverdi, Brahms, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Wagner, Mahler, Shostakovich, Bartok: forget it. Over the course of my show, between 6.30am and 9.00am, I will of course play many of these and indeed dozens of other composers of all different periods and styles, from Adès to Zemlinsky. But it's Bach, and Bach alone, who could warrant his own daily slot. [BBC]
  • An annual volatility of 9% implies a daily volatilty of about 0.6%, which is like saying that a 2% market decline should occur in fewer than 1 in 2000 trading sessions, when in fact they’ve historically occurred more often than 1 in 50. The spectacle of investors eagerly shorting a volatility index (VIX) of 9, in expectation that it would go lower, wasn’t just a sideshow in some esoteric security. It was the sign of a market that had come to believe that stock prices could do nothing but advance in an upward parabolic trend, with virtually no risk of loss. [Hussman]
  • We can see how stimulative to stock prices it was to have had QE1, 2, and 3. And each time those were just stopped, the market ran into an illiquidity problem. The May 2010 Flash Crash followed the cessation of QE1. When QE2 was stopped in June 2011, we got a 19% decline in July 2011. The Fed ended QE3 more slowly, "tapering" the size of its bond and MBS purchases very gradually before ending them completely in late 2014, but we still got the China minicrash in August 2015, and an aftershock in January 2016. Those events all arose not from any actual unwinding of bond holdings, but just from stopping the buying. [link]
  • Sometimes they drop food, insects, or other small objects on the water's surface to attract fish, making them one of the few known tool-using species. This feeding method has led some to title the green and closely related striated heron as among the world's most intelligent birds. [Wiki]
  • "Call me old-fashioned, but I don't generally associate state ownership of the means of production with capitalism." [link]
  • We know that President Polk told his cabinet as early as May 30, 1846 (a mere 18 days into the war) that he preferred a boundary at the 26th parallel, although he would settle for less. [link]
  • On the days when Bitcoin crashes, a holiday atmosphere takes over in my corners of the internet. People tweet screengrabs of Reddit fights. It's always good fun to watch strangers grieve as their digital nonsense nickels melt into slag. [BB]
  • Statin use may be associated with a higher Parkinson's disease risk, whereas higher total cholesterol may be associated with lower risk. These data are inconsistent with the hypothesis that statins are protective against Parkinson's disease. [link]
  • Officials assigned the trees ID numbers and email addresses in 2013 as part of a program designed to make it easier for citizens to report problems like dangerous branches. The "unintended but positive consequence," as the chair of Melbourne's Environment Portfolio, Councillor Arron Wood, put it to me in an email, was that people did more than just report issues. They also wrote directly to the trees, which have received thousands of messages—everything from banal greetings and questions about current events to love letters and existential dilemmas. [Atlantic]
  • What do these American brands have in common? Peet's, Panera Bread, Krispy Kreme, Dr Pepper and Stumptown. They are all owned by JAB, a secretive European holding company that 50 years ago was making industrial chemicals for swimming pools. [WSJ]
  • Here, we show that lower serum cholesterol levels are linked with MDD and suicide attempt. Age and sex-adjusted analyses showed a clear association between serum cholesterol levels and the risk of depression and suicide attempt. [NLM]
  • Shkreli is young (31), brilliant, hungry and raring to go. this article sums up everything about him. He has the unique experience of being in hedge fund, and now in operations. He doesn't court sell side analysts. [CoBF]
  • Democracy is our most fundamental value, but it no longer means rule by and for the people. That would be Populism, which is pure evil and the great enemy of Democracy. Democracy means protecting "vulnerable" folk groups: i.e. rule by the Intersectional Victim Hierarchy. This is actually spelled out explicitly in countless newspaper opinion pieces. [Sailer]
  • A pretty good rule for evaluating an essay is the use of the word "debunked." With rare exception, any essay that contains that word is nonsense. I suspect the reason for this is the people fond of using this word don't accept that there can be immutable facts about the world. For them, there are only clever arguments, whose veracity is determined by popular support. [West Hunter]
  • Feed your fountain pen a steady diet of fountain pen ink. Period. This injunction may seem obvious, but it is not quite so obvious as it appears. Fountain pen ink is a solution. To the chemist, a solution consists of a fluid in which other substances are dissolved (the solvent), and the dissolved substances (the solutes). The solutes are actually reduced to the molecular level, the same as the solvent, and all the different molecules are mixed up evenly to create a uniform fluid, a pure liquid that contains no microscopic particles of solid material. The solvent in fountain pen ink is distilled water, and the solutes are dyes, wetting agents, and mold inhibitors. Because it's a solution, fountain pen ink contains no solid matter at all. This is an important point to remember. [link]
  • The sad detective may have once been a useful way for a superhuman character to come down to earth. Right now, a cheerfully competent detective might seem even more subversive than yet another broken cog in a broken system. What could be more of a middle finger to the world than a detective who tries to restore order to a late-stage capitalist hellscape full of corruption and cruelty, a detective who smiles while doing it, because someone still needs to find the truth? [link]
  • A crucial question for the future is whether society will work out hypocritical subterfuges to allow white men to go on making achievements, such as by declaring Guillermo del Toro to be a Person of Color, or whether in our demand for equality we just stop having so many annoying achievements. [Sailer]
  • Rest assured that we only collected metadata on these people, and no actual conversations were recorded or meetings transcribed. All I know is whether someone was a member of an organization or not. Surely this is but a small encroachment on the freedom of the Crown's subjects. I have been asked, on the basis of this poor information, to present some names for our field agents in the Colonies to work with. It seems an unlikely task. [link]
  • The successful entrepreneur rises socially, and with him his family, who acquire from the fruits of his success a position not immediately dependent upon personal conduct. This represents the most important factor of rise in the social scale in the capitalist world. Because it proceeds by competitively destroying old businesses and hence the existences dependent upon them, there always corresponds to it a process of decline, of loss of caste, of elimination. This fate also threatens the entrepreneur whose powers are declining, or his heirs who have inherited his wealth without his ability. This is not only because all individual profits dry up, the competitive mechanism tolerating no permanent surplus values, but rather annihilating them by means of just this stimulus of the striving for profit which is the mechanism's driving force... [Theory of Economic Development, Schumpeter]
  • As Sam points out, the reputation of medical school as especially difficult may be based on obsolete information. That's one of the reasons for publishing this diary. Look at the number of hours of sleep per night over the 1.5 years so far. So far, at least, it doesn't seem to be more life-consuming than engineering or science undergrad. Remember that doctors who earn $600,000 per year have an incentive to tell you how they earned it via years of slavery and suffering. So there is some reporting bias. [Phil G]
  • As the U.S. population trends higher (on track to more than double during my lifetime) and more urban, will germaphobes move to dry mountain towns and try to avoid physical contact with anyone who has recently come in from a big city? [Phil G]
  • The nephrologist explains: "You lose about ten milliliters glomerular filtration rate every ten years after the age of 30. As long as you do not have a comorbidity, you will never lose enough to confer disease. The problem is most Americans will develop a comorbidity." [Phil G]
  • All 15 individuals listed as potential candidates on the Form of Blue Proxy Card filed by Broadcom and Broadcom Corporation with the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 20, 2018 (together, the Candidates), are hereby disqualified from standing for election as directors of Qualcomm. Qualcomm is prohibited from accepting the nomination of or votes for any of the Candidates. [White House]
  • Others rejected outright the idea of making any niche investments, regardless of the possible benefits: "I wouldn't do any niche investing. In large part, I think niche investing is yet another malinvestment [sic] symptom of global lunacy . . . stop chasing yield! If one puts in the same work truly required for niche investments, one can find plenty of opportunities out there in the good old public markets that are quite profitable (higher than 5 percent plus inflation)." [II]
  • Every time shoppers return purchases to Best Buy Co., they are tracked by a company that has the power to override the store's touted policy and refuse to refund their money. [WSJ]
  • Turns out, Japan still has electronics stores – whole neighbourhoods of electronics stores – as if Amazon never happened. [link]
  • English, along with many other Indo-European languages like German and Russian, allows for complex syllable structures, making it cumbersome to write English words with a syllabary. A "pure" syllabary would require a separate glyph for every syllable in English. Thus one would need separate symbols for "bag", "beg", "big", "bog", "bug"; "bad", "bed", "bid", "bod", "bud", "bead", "bide", "bode", etc. Since English has well over 10,000 different possibilities for individual syllables, a syllabary would be poorly suited to represent the English language. [Wiki]
  • I know now how much I can write every day, before my brain turns to mush. Turns out, it’s about 3,000–4,000 words. It’s funny, just this little number, but it’s so useful: I can plan around it and anticipate things. If I think a chapter will be longer, I simply have to allocate two or more days for it. [Wichary]
  • The first day I saw my book as a hollow scaffolding of forty-something chapters made me incredibly happy — this was the day the book became real in the first of many different ways — but it also filled my eyes with tears. [Wichary]