This is not a political site. This is an anti-political site. We agree with the goals of individual liberty, free markets, and peace.

2/15/18

I'm in Agreement With the Tree Huggers

By Grant Davies
The idea that I would normally spend much time reading from a site like "Tree Hugger" dot com seems far fetched.

I love the earth we live on as much as any of the "huggers" do. But much of the environmental "science" among that group in general can only be classified as political science.
So I go where the actual science leads me and in this case it led me to Canada and their tree-huggers. The title of this post is a "hook" to see if I can interest anyone in the actual topic I want to address.

That topic is my quest for information regarding diabetes, obesity, and the associated diseases that plague modern society and are killing us and our children. (It's for the children, dontcha know) This is not to mention bankrupting the healthcare system in the US as well as other countries.

It seems there is a large number of primary care physicians in Canada, (well over 700 and counting)  who are urging the government there to trash the old nutrition guidelines in favor of actual science. In my opinion, it is not hyperbole to say it's a matter of life and death.

People in general, and people in government in particular, are loathe to admit being in error. Long held beliefs are the hardest ones to admit we were wrong about. But when the beliefs are causing disease, the stakes are higher. 

Even then, it seems that governments are more interested in saving face than saving your life. Their credibility takes precedence over your well being.

The "science" that has led us to being a population of waddlers and roly-poly customers of the drug companies was wrong, spectacularly so. And a look around you as you go through the supermarket checkout line is all the evidence you need to confirm that conclusion. Obese children by the millions are especially heartbreaking.

It ain't the handheld devices and video games that made them fat folks, it's the poison in the shopping cart. (Don't get me started on the devices, that's a different topic) And I'm not blaming the parents (not yet anyway) because they have been misled by the media, the government, and yes, even their doctors. And as I opined in a previous post, sugar is addictive, and we are all addicts. 

Perhaps the government has kept us focused on drug dealers getting our kids hooked on heroin so we wouldn't notice that General Mills and Archer Daniels have been hooking them on sugar for generations. They sure got me hooked. You can decide for yourself whether that was purposeful or not. I won't go there in this essay.

So back to the point. Doctors in Canada have finally figured out that they need to stop the madness and get the government there to admit the mistake and begin the healing. Maybe if they admit it first it will encourage other governments to come clean. Like for instance, the US.
It will have to happen eventually when the system of treating illnesses with insanely expensive drugs (instead of preventing them and curing them in the first place with education), collapses under the costs. 
It's well to remember, pharmaceutical companies aren't in the business of curing disease, they are in the business of treating it. You can't blame them for that.  There is no money to be made in changing what people eat. It's our job to take ownership of ourselves and our health.

The links below will take you to the story.


"The updated Canada Food Guide, slated for 2018, should reflect the latest dietary science, even if it goes against what people have been taught for decades."

"A significant number of Canadian physicians are frustrated with the Ministry of Health. Canada's government is in the process of revising its national dietary guidelines for the first time in a decade, and a group of more than 715 physicians and allied health professionals worry that the new guidelines will not reflect the latest dietary science. Previously, the guidelines were based on the low-fat, high-carbohydrate model that has dominated nutritional advice for the past 50 years but has since been shown to be deeply flawed; however, it appears the government believes otherwise,"  read the rest here.

1/30/18

Don't Rule It Out


I received the following speculations about the future in a forwarded email. (Hat tip M.Tobin) They are attributed to the "Head of Daimler Benz." I have no idea about whether that is true or not and I didn't try to look it up because, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn." 

It's merely a vehicle for entertainment and it's always fun to make wild predictions about the future. I have a feeling that a lot of the predictions will come true at some point. I guess it would be cool if the email was right (for once) and the head of Daimler did give a talk like this, but it's irrelevant to me. Suffice it to say the world is changing at a pace that is hard to fathom nowadays, but it has been doing that for a long time. 

For the last few years I have made a habit out of thinking, "I wouldn't rule that out", when it came to things I formerly thought were preposterous notions. You would be amazed at the things I don't rule out anymore.

So have some fun with speculating about these things and resist the temptation to rule things out.

 

In a recent interview, the Head of Daimler Benz (Mercedes Benz) said their competitors are no longer other car companies, but Tesla (obviously), and now, Google, Apple, Amazon 'et al' are……
Software will disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years..
Uber is just a software tool, they don't own any cars, and are now the biggest taxi company in the world. Airbnb is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties. 
Artificial Intelligence:  Computers become exponentially better in understanding the world.  This year, a computer beat the best Go player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected. 
In the U.S., young lawyers already can't get jobs.  Because of IBM Watson, you can get legal advice (so far for more or less basic stuff) within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans. So, if you study law, stop immediately.  There will be 90% less lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.
Watson already helps nurses diagnosing cancer, 4 times more accurate than human nurses.  Facebook now has a pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans. In 2030, computers will become more intelligent than humans.
Autonomous cars: In 2018 the first self-driving cars will appear for the public.  Around 2020, the complete industry will start to be disrupted.  You don't want to own a car anymore..   You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination.   You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and you can be productive while driving.   Our kids will never get a driver's license and will never own a car.
It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that.  We can transform former parking spaces into parks.
1.2 million people die each year in car accidents worldwide..  We now have one accident every  60,000 miles (100,000 km), with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in 6 million miles (10 million km).  That will save a million lives each year.
Most car companies will probably go bankrupt.  Traditional car companies will try the traditional approach and try to build a better car, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will take the revolutionary approach and build a computer on wheels. Many engineers from Volkswagen and Audi are completely terrified of Tesla.
Auto Insurance companies will have massive trouble because without accidents, car insurance will become much cheaper.  Their car insurance business model will slowly disappear. Real estate will change.  Because if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.
Electric cars will become mainstream about 2020.  Cities will be less noisy because all new cars will run on electricity.  Electricity will become incredibly cheap and clean:  Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, and now you can now see the burgeoning impact.
Last year, more solar energy was installed worldwide than fossil.   Energy companies are desperately trying to limit access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that can't last.  Technology will take care of that strategy.
With cheap electricity comes cheap and abundant water.  Desalination of salt water now only needs 2kwh per cubic meter (@ 0.25 cents).  We don't have scarce water in most places, we only have scarce drinking water..  Imagine what will be possible if anyone can have as much clean water as he wants, for nearly no cost.
Health innovations:   The Tricorder X price will be announced this year.  There are companies who will build a medical device (called the "Tricorder" from Star Trek) that works with your phone, which takes your retina scan, your blood sample, and you can breath into it.
It then analyses 54 biomarkers that will identify nearly any disease.  It will be cheap, so in a few years everyone on this planet will have access to world class medical analysis, nearly for free.  Goodbye, medical establishment.
3D printing:  The price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years.  In the same time, it became 100 times faster.  All major shoe companies have already started 3D printing shoes. Some common spare airplane parts are already 3D printed in remote airports.  The space station now has a printer that eliminates the need for the large amount of spare parts they used to keep in the past. At the end of this year, new smart phones will have 3D scanning possibilities.  You can then 3D scan your feet and print your perfect shoes at home.
In China, they already 3D printed and built a complete 6-storey office building.  By 2027, 10% of everything that's being produced will be 3D printed.
Business opportunities:  If you think of a niche you want to go in, ask yourself:  "In the future, do you think we will have that?", and if the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner?
If it doesn't work with your phone, forget the idea.  And any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century. Work: 70-80% of jobs will disappear in the next 20 years.  There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough new jobs in such a small time.
Agriculture:  There will be a $100 agricultural robot in the future. Farmers in 3rd world countries can then become managers of their field instead of working all day on their fields.
Aeroponics will need much less water.   The first Petri dish that produced veal is now available and will be cheaper than cow produced veal in 2018.   Right now, 30% of all agricultural surfaces is used for cows.  Imagine if we don't need that space anymore.
There are several startups who will bring insect protein to the market shortly.. It contains more protein than meat.   It will be labeled as "alternative protein source" (because most people still reject the idea of eating insects).
There is an app called "moodies" which can already tell in which mood you're in.  By 2020 there will be apps that can tell by your facial expressions, if you are lying.   Imagine a political debate where it's being displayed when they're telling the truth and when they're not.
 Bitcoin may even become the default reserve currency ... Of the world!
Education:   The cheapest smart phones are already at $10 in Africa and Asia.  By 2020, 70% of all humans will own a smart phone.  That means, everyone has the same access to world class education.
Every child can use Khan academy for everything a child needs to learn at school in First World countries. There have already been releases of software in Indonesia and soon there will be releases in Arabic, Swahili, and Chinese this summer.  I can see enormous potential if we give the English app for free, so that children in Africa and everywhere else can become fluent in English.  And that could happen within half a year.
Are you ready for all this?!?!



12/22/17

Perfect Should Never be the Enemy of Better



By Grant Davies


The tax debate is back. Well, I guess it never left and it never will. But we can't let that stop us from talking it to death. After all, that's what blogs are for.

I have made three posts in a row about a certain crypto-currency that shall remain nameless because people are tired of me talking it to death. So, DEATH TO TAXES! At least for this post.

Meanwhile, let's make a few points about the recent tax legislation, as long as everyone else is talking it to death.

Obviously those who passed it (Republicans) are saying it's the best thing ever, as usual.

Those who oppose it (Democrats) are claiming the end of the world, as usual. 

Democrats say the stuff they always say. Basically they say that because of it we may be looking at starving babies, starving seniors, no health care, school closings, no fire department, no police, faster global warming, increased alien abductions, more Russian meddling, increased free speech, more student debt, more guns, more deportations, more walls, and general chaos. Did I miss anything?

Okay, I made some of that stuff up. They only hinted at those things this time out. But what they are actually saying again is even more inane. Oh, the old canard of "tax cuts for the rich" is still being used but the most preposterous worry of all is that this will "blow a hole in the deficit." (I've never been sure what the hell that meant since I always thought if you didn't like something and you had a bomb, you should blow a hole in it.)

The complaint might have more credibility if it wasn't being complained about by the very party that advocates more spending in perpetuity with no concern whatsoever for the inevitable consequences.

But let's get to my point/opinion about this new tax law. It sucks. Surprised? Only if you don't know me very well.

It sucks because it is merely toying with the code again and adjusting the numbers. What we really need, and what I have repeatedly asked that fictional old fat man for each Christmas, is a new tax system. Getting rid of the entire tax code, all 73,954 pages. (2014, it's more now) Just like the pony I asked him for as a kid, he never brings it. But, I digress. 

Let's contemplate the worst case scenario. What is better, the same old system, or the same old system with lower tax rates? Yep, the old system with rates not being reduced is the worst case. So should we make the perfect the enemy of the not quite as bad? Not in my mind.

And since I'm an old stock trader, I love graphs. Let's look at this simple one and see if we can figure anything out.


Other than making a good point, there is something wrong with this illustration. It's wrong because perfection would be a new system, and that would be more than barely noticeable. But we all get the idea, I think.

To wrap things up, I would like to make a much bigger point. It has to do with the level of taxation. 

When someone is asked what the level of taxation is, they usually go looking for statistics about how many taxpayers there are and dividing it by the total amount paid. I'm sure there are many more calculations that could be done, but it's something like that.

But as any old economist can tell you, (I'm only one of those things) there is a much simpler way to find the level. However, politicians never bring it up because it lays the whole stinking deception bare.

Simply add up all the government spending and the total amount is the level of taxation. Since the government isn't Santa Claus and there is no Easter bunny either, and since government has no funds of its own, every thing they spend money on must be taxed from the citizens.

Wait, you say....what about what they borrow or print? And what about those pesky subsidies and trade barriers and other gifts to favored businesses or unions?  The answer is, some of the people being taxed haven't even been born yet. And when the FED inflates the money supply by printing dollars, the amount of the decline in your purchasing power is tax as well. Also, any law or regulation that cause you to pay more for a good or service than you otherwise would have is also a tax. A tricky one, but a tax none-the-less.

If you guessed that answer correctly, you get to tell it to a liberal or other pinhead in a smug voice or a snarky meme.

So, the tax cut sucks, but not as much as if they didn't do it. The real answer to lowering taxes is to cut spending.  That would be a perfect way to deal with it. And it would be more than barely noticeable.

So screw this tax cut. It sucks because it's a trick. 




12/18/17

Bitcoin is Safer

Julie nails it.


 But on a more serious note..

As the inevitable and numerous warnings from govt about the dangers of buying bitcoin are becoming a cacophony, try to remember that these are the same people who urge you to buy Powerball lotto tickets from them.

I'm not certain anyone who invested (not traded) in bitcoin has lost money.... yet.

But the odds are a tad better than one in 292 million in the commodity that they ARE urging you to buy.

Taking advice from the government is like,,,,well,,,taking advice from the government.

12/14/17

Skip the Bull

By Grant Davies

I was going to call this post "Skip the Bullshit - Oh Wait, It's All Bullshit" but that was too long and probably a tad over the top. One thing we never do on this site is say stuff that's over the top. Oh wait, that's bullshit too.

So, I had lunch with a good friend recently and he told me about this series on TV called "Adam Ruins Everything" so I decided to look it up on YouTube and I wasn't disappointed.

I mean, maybe this guy is full of bullshit too, but I'm good with that because the more I learn, the more I realize that most of what I always thought was true was bullshit all along. And why should he be any different?

This all arose out of a conversation (ok, that's bullshit, it was more like a bitch session by me about science being mostly bullshit while he listened with a look of dull disinterest on his face, but I digress) concerning bad science that I have been talking about, ad-nauseam, since I started to do research about scientific method.

One big thing I learned in my research is that everything we have been told about what we should eat is bullshit, but that for a future post.

Anyway, you can watch this one and maybe we can bullshit about it next time we have a beer together. I'm buying...and you know what that is.