Thanksgiving 2015

November 30, 2015

I have no good pictures this year, it was a pretty low key (in a nice way) Thanksgiving.

My teenage daughter doesn’t like pictures anymore:


But she can do the 5×5 Rubik’s Cube…

Birthday Sunset

November 23, 2015

We had Victoria’s birthday party at the relatively new Prospect Park ice skating rink.

It was a great party and everyone had fun. But it was topped off with a freakishly good sunset. The pictures don’t do it justice.


Michigan State Craziness

November 21, 2015

Dr. Seuss Still Rules

November 21, 2015

Here’s an interesting analysis of the dominance of children’s book sales by Dr. Seuss.

I knew the story about how Green Eggs and Ham started on a bet that he couldn’t write a book using no more than 50 distinct words. But I didn’t realize that Cat in the Hat was based on a challenge to write a book using only the 348 words a first grader should know.

Another example of how constraints can spur creativity.

Gambling Hypocrites

November 10, 2015

Brooklyn Skyscrapers

November 10, 2015

For a long time Brooklyn did not really have skyscrapers. Prior to 2009 the Williamsburgh Savings Bank Tower was the tallest at 42 stories.

Since 2010 two taller high-rise buildings were built with the tallest 51 floors (590 feet). Tall, but not by Manhattan standards.

That is apparently changing.

Right next to Junior’s cheesecake (less than a half mile from our place), a 1,000 foot tower is planned.

Holy crap.

Come for the poor performance, stay for the excessive fees

November 9, 2015

Via Barry Ritholtz, an analysis of why pension funds invested in hedge funds and whether it was a good idea (answers being politics and no, respectively).

Other than a few hedge funds, performance is sub par. So why do pension funds invest?

This is because the higher the expected return, the lower the capital contributions required of some obligated public entity.

Here is the punchline: Those expected returns are a myth.

So that’s it. Say you have an expected return of 9% and you don’t have to contribute as much to the fund, meaning you don’t have to raise taxes or cut benefits.

Win/win unless you are in the actual pension fund.