The more aggressive the narrative control, the less credible the leadership

TAL Ed has lost almost 75% of its market cap (about $14B) since June 23.

Not sure if you noticed, but Chinese equities lost something close to $1 trillion in value over the last few weeks. Again, if you’re not aware, ONE TRILLION DOLLARS is a lot of dollars.

Creating responsibility in fact (and not in theory, law, or policy) requires tethering the objects of responsibility to substantial risk. The only risk category that transforms responsibility into innovative success is existential; anything substantially smaller amounts to nothing more than parking tickets, a minor nuisance for minimizing risk in any risk/reward exercise. Economists describe this as “moral hazard” wherein one takes unreasonable risks because much of the downside has been transferred to someone else; it’s gambling with someone else’s money. The Romans deeply understood the relationship between risk and responsibility, which is why so many Roman constructions still stand. And…

One can create a machine that requires inputs that don’t exist….

The performance bounds of any given algorithm can be generally determined by the upper and lower bounds of the inputs (data, bounded by quality and quantity) so that the potential performance of the machine can be described as a range of the best possible inputs to the worst possible inputs, both tempered by qualitative observations of such data (in other words, not a theory of what’s “best” and what’s “worst” but an observational assessment of the range of possible inputs).

So one could build a theoretically high-performance machine that…

Political genius lies in extracting success even from the people’s ruin. — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

It’s axiomatic that ponzi and multi-level marketing schemes continually require new money, and usually this new money comes from new investors/consumers. The lever such schemes pull is information asymmetry. Those on the inside have information that ‘new money’ doesn’t have. This information asymmetry makes the swindle possible.

You can never be an experienced consumer with this much innovation…move the goalposts to “invisible stains” and you can never tell if it works. (Source.)

A significant part of consumerism similarly relies on information asymmetry, which is why products desperately push ‘the new.’ These new features — a flavor of chips or function of an iPhone — drive users to the experience. Occasionally there’s…

Liars, Shadow Governments, and Afghanistan

Taliban-held territory (in green), Afghanistan, July 1. (That’s six weeks ago, or 1 day before the U.S. formally handed over their main airbase to the Afghans.)

Less than six weeks after the U.S. exited Afghanistan, the Afghan capital of Kabul fell to the hirsute homeless frustrated homosexuals known as the Taliban who’ve been raging across the countryside looking for their long-lost shopping cart full old blankets and cardboard bits and a Microsoft Zune they found in a ditch behind the Walmart. President Biden claimed that the Afghan government had 300,000 soldiers, when, in reality, there was no Afghan army at all. (All the real fighting against the Taliban over the last few weeks has been conducted by regional tribal chiefs and…

Previously, we reviewed how the Gates Foundation was destroying Africa and the many ways in which it fails to understand education, but here’s quick pictorial illustrating why ed reform is mostly garbage. Brought to you by the Gates Foundation.

There are many schools that have something like this in their Wiki entry or online school bio:

So, this was a 2007 program, and it’s 2021, so surely there’s some paper or results or commentary or something that helps us understand (1) what was attempted and (2) what — if anything — was accomplished.

Spoiler alert: it was Jimmy Carter

The Hartford Civic Center collapsed just 6 hours after almost 5,000 fans watched a basketball game (1978).

A lot of buildings were falling down in the 1970s and early 1980s. The roof of the Hartford Civic Center collapsed in 1978, as did the roof of the Kemper Arena the following year. Sky bridges in the Kansas City Hyatt Regency collapsed in 1981, about a year after the hotel opened. Over 100 people died and over 200 were injured.

The usual construction process involves architects and engineers designing a project, engineers reviewing everything, city officials reviewing and permitting everything, and then construction begins.

Revealing Non-Public Information via Public Data

About ten years ago, “Big Data” was a big deal. Then A.I. came along and the big data hype fizzled. Aside from the fact that most “A.I.” is actually just big data, we’re finally getting to the “big data” point wherein we can actually extract signals from large datasets. As it turns out, many (probably most) large legacy datasets were never constructed to be readily ported, manipulated, and tested to reveal their subtextual truths. Well, here’s one such project (and, for those who occasionally ask, a project I dev’d).

Company: Qualis (prototype: Atticus)


Is peak capitalism the conspicuous consumption of capitalism itself?

Traditionally, the failure rate of start-ups, including (and particularly) ventured-backed start-ups, is very high. And yet, despite the failure rate of start-ups and maturation of the VC industry, the quality of start-ups seems to be declining. In a recent paper, several researchers proposed an explanation: entrepreneurship has mutated “into a lifestyle commodity that is attractive to individuals who are unlikely to enjoy any kind of substantive success with their ventures. Rather, they pursue entrepreneurship as an identity project. …

Is it the end of these totems of the industrial West?

Legacy auto manufacturers have now had a decade to out-Tesla Tesla, and, so far, they’ve failed. It certainly says something about these companies that, despite their efforts, they can’t produce a Tesla.

Previously, I wrote:

One of the institutions that developed and hardened in the modern world is the corporation. After WWII, these corporations rose to become major institutions in the U.S. and most of the developed world (in fact, “developed world” could be defined as the nations whose corporations qualify as national institutions). And nothing defines ‘corporate institution’…

Nathan Allen


Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store