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May 24th, 2022|

Donald McNeil writes a nice piece in Medium discussing the recent Monkeypox outbreak, including his views on an appropriate level of concern (his is a bit more than mine).  But definitely worth reading..

May 4th, 2022|

Tom Friedman, writing in the NY Times, I think has it right when he argues that the US ought to be more circumspect when speaking publicly about the war in Ukraine.  An excerpt:

“Our goal began simple and should stay simple: Help Ukrainians fight as long as they have the will and help them negotiate when they feel the time is right — so they can restore their sovereignty and we can reaffirm the principle that no country can just devour the country next door. Freelance beyond that and we invite trouble.”

Recommended:

• This is a nice interview of UC-Berkeley computer researcher Nicholas Weaver in Current Affairs.  He does a pointedly humorous takedown of what he labels “a giant self-assembled Ponzi scheme. You hear about people making money in Bitcoin or cryptocurrency. They only make money because some other sucker lost more.

and:

So the stock market and the bond market are a positive-sum game. There are more winners than losers. Cryptocurrency starts with zero-sum. So it starts with a world where there can be no more winning than losing. We have systems like this. It’s called the horse track. It’s called the casino. Cryptocurrency investing is really provably gambling in an economic sense. And then there’s designs where those power bills have to get paid somewhere. So instead of zero-sum, it becomes deeply negative-sum.

Effectively, then, the economic analogies are gambling and a Ponzi scheme. Because the profits that are given to the early investors are literally taken from the later investors. This is why I call the space overall, a “self-assembled” Ponzi scheme. There’s been no intent to make a Ponzi scheme. But due to its nature, that is the only thing it can be.

• Yet another masterful analysis by the wonderful (and incomparable) Linda Greenhouse, writing in the NYT; Justice Alito’s Invisible Women. A pertinent excerpt:

“In the wake of the mortifying breach that the leak represents, there has been much talk of the Supreme Court’s “legitimacy.” The court has a problem, no doubt, one that barriers of unscalable height around its building won’t solve. But if a half-century of progress toward a more equal society, painstakingly achieved across many fronts by many actors, can be so easily jettisoned with the wave of a few judicial hands, the problem to worry about isn’t the court’s. It’s democracy’s. It’s ours.”

 

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   Molly White riffs on Web3:

    Let’s just say it’s not all rosy in Web3’s not-so-meta world; caveat emptor…