Monday, October 31, 2016

Quote of the day

Matt Levine:
I am a former derivatives structurer and I find annuities terrifying.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Quote of the day

New Yorker:
Even before [Leonard Cohen] had much of an audience, he had a distinct idea of the audience he wanted. In a letter to his publisher, he said that he was out to reach “inner-directed adolescents, lovers in all degrees of anguish, disappointed Platonists, pornography-peepers, hair-handed monks and Popists.”

In case you are wondering, it's the disappointed Platonists that really resonated with FLG. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

Quote of the day

It seems to me that there are about two deep financial literacy questions:
  1. Does your plan to finance your future lifestyle rely on miracles occurring?
  1. If I offer you a 20 percent annual risk-free return, am I lying?
If you can answer those questions confidently and correctly, you can think that bond prices get purple when interest rates are hexagonal, and you'll be fine.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Speaking Of Which

FLG posted a quote from Megan McArdle's post about support for the death penalty.

One argument FLG NEVER understands is the one that the death penalty, in and of itself, is unconstitutional.

Fifth Amendment:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Fourteenth Amendment, Section 1
All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. 

One doesn't need to be Aristotle to understand that those phrases very clearly imply that with the due process of law, one can be deprived of life, liberty, or property.   

That's not to say that a particular method of execution could be cruel and unusual.  Or there are issues with the process by which defendants are tried and sentenced to the death penalty that are serious and broad enough to rule the death penalty de facto unconstitutional.   But it's pretty clear that the constitution allows for depriving a person of their life with due process of law.

It's All Time Horizons

Megan McArdle:
Violent criminals tend to be impulsive, and not very good at calculating cost-benefit ratios. The economic jargon for this is “hyperbolic discounters”: they place very high weight on things that will happen in the very near future, and very low weight on things that will happen a long time from now.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Arrogant Designers

For those of you who don't know, they've been expanding the Metro here in Northern Virginia for years.   The new Silver Line will eventually run all the way to Dulles Airport.   One of the big issues discussed during the planning stage was whether to run the Metro underground or elevated through Tysons Corner.    Costs won out and while there is a section underground, it's mostly elevated.    To get from the Metro station to the Tyson Corner Shopping Center, one crosses an elevated bridge, which leads into an elevated courtyard between some newly developed buildings and the shopping center.    Which is a long intro into --- why are designers and architects so fucking arrogant?

Here's an aerial view of the courtyard. Pardon my rudimentary illustrations, but the red line leads off to the Metro Station.   The blue line indicates the path straight to the doors to the mall.   (I didn't extend it all the way.)    In between is a oval of grass.   Who the FUCK thought an oval of grass obstructing the shortest walking path was a good idea?  Oh, yeah the designer who probably thought walking around it would allow pedestrians to better appreciate the space, i.e. force them walk for longer through the space for longer than they otherwise would.   Guess what happened?    See the yellow circle.   People traipsed through the grass because it is IN THE FUCKING WAY!   So, what happens next?   They rail off the grass, forcing people to walk around.     No, no, no.   Put some paving stones down or some shit.    The arrogant designer fucked up.   This stuff happens far too often and its entirely predictable. End of rant.

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