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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Tuesday Trash Day on a Wednesday. A Symptom of Something, I Guess

I’ve been banging on my house again. A lot. In the last couple of weeks we’ve painted, and installed flooring, and carpeting, and fabricated and installed interior woodwork, did some landscaping, placed some concrete, concrete block, and mortared this and that. Oh, yes, you saw the roofing. There was a stretch of something like ten straight days of perfect weather, and we took advantage of it.

Maine is like that. Late May, early June, and the weather achieves a kind of perfection. Seventies during the day, fifties at night, the bugs haven’t formed a union yet, and the birds are still trilling romantically instead of squatting on a pile of sticks. By the number and type of repairs I’m making, I guess I’m already squatting on a pile of sticks. And instead of trilling romantically, I’m posting Tuesday’s trash day roundup of links I need to erase on Wednesday.

Some notes on influencering. The ups and downs of publishing non-commercial content on the internet

Online hate isn’t so fleeting. Sooner or later, you come across a heckler who follows you around and makes it their life’s mission to “debunk” your claims — or simply hurl insults or creepy remarks in your general direction without any pretense of constructive criticism.

The internet is an interesting apparatus. It attracts people who yell, LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME, followed up shortly thereafter by, Hey, what are you looking at?

The Moral Economy of the Shire

Tolkien does not describe the political economy of the Hobbits in any detail, because it’s rarely relevant to the story, but I think we can learn a lot about it from what he does mention. In Tolkien’s legendarium, the Shire is built out an idealized version of rural English society. By looking at how he depicts this–and what eventually happens to it–we can learn a lot about how these sorts of societies function and change over time, and what the benefits and drawbacks of living life Hobbit-style really are.

Hmm. That’s 4,000 words or so on the political economy of hobbits. This is what happens when you don’t have the discipline to learn Klingon, like a normal person.

OpenAI Employees Warn of Advanced AI Dangers

The employees suggest there are a number of risks that we are facing from AI development, including further entrenchment of existing inequalities, manipulation and misinformation, and loss of control of autonomous AI systems, which the letter says could lead to human extinction.

It would have been shorter to just say they don’t want any Republicans usin’ it.

What if they gave an Industrial Revolution and nobody came?

Robert Allen thinks demand factors have been underrated. He makes his case in The British Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective, in which he argues that many major inventions were adopted when and where the prices of various factors made it profitable and a good investment to adopt them, and not before. In particular, he emphasizes high wages, the price of energy, and (to a lesser extent) the cost of capital. When and where labor is expensive, and energy and capital are cheap, then it is a good investment to build machines that consume energy in order to automate labor, and further, it is a good investment to do the R&D needed to invent such machines. But not otherwise.

Well, high wages in the United States led to an industrial revolution. In China.

Why Now Is The Best Time To Be A Solopreneur

In a widely-circulated interview with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman said he’s confident we’re on the cusp of seeing a billion-dollar unicorn with less than ten employees. But he didn’t stop there. He also revealed he’s got a betting pool with his tech CEO group chat predicting when a founder will reach a billion-dollar valuation without hiring anyone.

I know, way, way more about this topic than I’m letting on. True solopreneurs keep their mouths shut about it. Anyway, the whole premise is flawed in the article, because they’re basically talking about hiring contractors to do all your work, and then pretending you’re all by yourself. That gambit was prevalent in the 1980s in the construction industry, when everyone was laid off and immediately hired back as a subcontractor. The script kiddies are not going to survive that. No one pays for their own office smoothie bar and foosball table out of their own pocket.

Warren Buffett Controls 3% Of The Treasury Bill Market: JPMorgan Report

According to a new report by analysts at JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Waren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A/BRK.B), controls 3% of the entire Treasury Bill market. Buffett now has $158 billion U.S. invested in Treasury Bills, or T-bills as they are known. A T-bill is a short-term debt obligation backed by the U.S. Treasury Department with a maturity of one-year or less.

Ah, Yahoo News. It’s like a walk down memory lane. I’d make a crack about AOL, but IIRC, AOL and Yahoo merged sometime back. At any rate, I always trust news sources that can’t spell “Warren.”

Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ is the Worst Advice You’ll Ever Get

How many times did you feel passionate about something, only to find out later that it was a fleeting interest? Remember that time you said “I’m for sure going to become a world-class chef after binge-watching 15 episodes of “MasterChef”? Or when you convinced yourself you were destined to be a rockstar, but then you gave up before the 10th guitar lessons? Yeah, I’ve been there too.

The Original Sin is elided in this article. The first time I heard it, and every time since, I’ve smirked every time someone says they’re “passionate” about something that should be serious. When forty-five-year-old men start talking like tween girls, the world is out of joint, if not out of joints. There’s a reason they call it work, chilluns.

‘Roaring Kitty’ could get kicked off E*Trade for GameStop stock manipulation

E*Trade is worried that Gill is leveraging his power to send GameStop stock soaring and is potentially manipulating the stock for his own benefit, The Journal reports — but the firm is also concerned that removing Gill will draw unnecessary attention from his legion of followers. The trading platform’s employees reportedly saw that he had bought call options — which give a trader the right to buy the stock by a certain date at a stated price — before posting his first meme in three years on May 12. With some of those options expiring last week, Gill likely made a profit from the trades and the squeezed stock.

Buying stonks and then touting it on Reddit is a big no-no, I gather. You’re supposed to buy stocks and then go on CNBC and tout them, like a normal person.

Well, there you go. You can paw over the assorted pablum to taste. I’ve got to go solopreneur a bit, and paint something, and blacken the thumb on my right hand, to match the left one. You’re welcome to comment on your favorite articles in the comments, of course. But please, no wagering.

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