Mars 2024

September 29, 2017

This is long and geeky, Elon Musk’s latest presentation on Making Life Multiplanetary. One of the reasons I enjoy Elon Musk as a CEO is when he’s discussing this stuff you can tell that he really knows it. His throwaway lines amuse me:

It’s 2017, we should have a lunar base by now, what’s going on?

The quick takeaways from the presentation are that SpaceX plans to send two rockets to Mars in 2022 to land cargo and four of them in 2024, two of which will be manned to establish a base.

And in typical SpaceX fashion, it dawned on them that if they get so good at launching and landing rockets such that the cost drops dramatically, there’s no reason you can’t take a rocket from NYC to Shanghai in 39 minutes (jump to the 41 minute mark of the video).

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Stand Up – No, Seriously

September 29, 2017

A sobering Healthcare Triage on the dangers of sitting:

Every time you sit and watch an hour of TV, you could be taking 21.8 minutes off your life


Atlantic Antic 2017

September 24, 2017

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I’ve blogged about this so many times, please refer to prior year posts. The kiddos are getting older so we actually got to sit down at one place to enjoy food and drinks. It was hot this year, but overall a very nice antic. Food roundup for me:

  • alcupurrias (Spanish church)
  • corn (who knows, it’s everywhere)
  • empenanda (second pass by the Spanish church, seriously good)
  • oysters (from French Louie – they said they had 3,000 oysters and ran out)
  • fries (same place, really good)
  • bratwurst (random German stand)
  • pizza (Brado, my local joint)
  • gumbo (The Gumbo Bros)

What makes this the best street fair in NYC is that on top of the generic street fair food (not that there’s any wrong with the sausage and peppers truck), the local joints are providing the food, drinks and music. Crazy good fun. I need to burp…


Index Fund Beats Hedge Funds

September 18, 2017

Warren Buffett apparently made a bet 10 years ago that a basic S&P index fund with low fees would outperform hedge funds on aggregate. He put his money where his mouth was, offering a $500,000 bet to any hedge fund manager. The manager would have to pick 5 hedge funds and they would compare how the 5 performed against the Vanguard S&P 500 index fund.

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I publicly offered to wager $500,000 that no investment pro could select a set of at least five hedge funds – wildly-popular and high-fee investing vehicles – that would over an extended period match the performance of an unmanaged S&P-500 index fund charging only token fees. I suggested a ten-year bet and named a low-cost Vanguard S&P fund as my contender. I then sat back and waited expectantly for a parade of fund managers – who could include their own fund as one of the five – to come forth and defend their occupation. After all, these managers urged others to bet billions on their abilities. Why should they fear putting a little of their own money on the line?

What followed was the sound of silence. Though there are thousands of professional investment managers who have amassed staggering fortunes by touting their stock-selecting prowess, only one man – Ted Seides – stepped up to my challenge. Ted was a co-manager of Protégé Partners, an asset manager that had raised money from limited partners to form a fund-of-funds – in other words, a fund that invests in multiple hedge funds.

Like Warren Buffett needs more money, but he won the bet. None of the five hedge funds individually outperformed the S&P 500 and on average the hedge funds returned 7.1% compared to the S&P 85%. Not even close.


Bacon, Egg and Cheese with Political Analysis on the Side

September 17, 2017

This NY Times article, “Hold the Egg Sandwich: Egyptian TV is Calling” is amazing. An Egyptian guy who owns a bodega is Queens appears on Egyptian TV offering political analysis from America. I love the low budget “set” in the back with some maps of the US taped up.

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“Sometimes I’ll be busy with an order with my customer, then I will have to jump. It’s — ‘One. Two. You’re live.’” he said, imitating the booming voice of a newscaster. “It’s, ‘Mr. Gamasy, are we going to war in North Korea?’”

Next week, Mr. El-Gamasy said he will report from the United Nations General Assembly for several stations in Egypt. He sees his role as part translator of the American people to his homeland, and part good-will ambassador for a country where he feels more at home than where he was born. “With Mr. Trump as president, I feel compelled to explain America more to the Middle East,” he said.

“Over here, the sky is the limit,” Mr. El-Gamasy said. “And I’m living proof of it.”

Only in New York…

 


How Not to Land a Rocket

September 14, 2017

From SpaceX, a blooper reel of the failed attempts to land a rocket…


Jackasses of the Week

September 13, 2017

I first heard this via a political writer on Twitter:

In response to:

He followed the first tweet with more amusing snark, but then I read John Gruber’s post, Jackasses of the Week, on Daring Fireball:

I don’t write much about “Silicon Valley” as a culture, because I don’t live there and, frankly, I don’t care. But the fact that this startup is being taken seriously is absurd. It’s a company named Bodega, and Fast Company’s headline says it all: “Two Ex-Googlers Want To Make Bodegas And Mom-And-Pop Corner Stores Obsolete”.

First, all they’ve done is make a fancy vending machine. That’s great. Vending machines are a real thing, and maybe there’s a market for better ones. But better vending machines are still just vending machines.

Second, what kind of sociopaths are these people that they want to put mom-and-pop corner stores and bodegas out of business? Local family-owned stores are what make for great neighborhoods. They’re good people running good businesses that people love. Good startup ideas are things that replace products or services that people hate. Taxis suck, for example. That’s why ride sharing services are so popular and successful. Bodegas and corner stores are great.

Third, as Helen Rosner argues in this thread, they’ve got a crummy business model.

Fuck these guys.

Can’t top that.