Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Another from the vault

Sad I deleted my archives. From 2009:


And what be goldbugs culpability? They resemble anarchists: strongly motivated to be on the vanguard for a variety reasons, but ultimately selfish and probably mistaken for apocalyptic systemic implosion remains a tail event. In this view , gold remains "a trade", and not an end to itself. More irksome, a bet on Gold may be "right", but it - betting as it does upon the acceleration of pus manufacture, feels (to me) somehow uncivic-minded - a wasteful employment of intellectual energy that might be set upon making what is systemically and socially un-well, better.

Exactly right. Put another way, if you are bullish on gold, you are bearish on America, civilization, and the fate of those around you who keep their money in the bank. It's not a hedge against inflation--it's a bet on the inevitability of failure.

In craps, the casino dice game, there are two main bets available to you. You can bet the "Pass" line, meaning that you are hoping the person rolling the dice wins. Or, you can bet "Don't Pass," betting that the shooter will lose.

The odds on a "Pass" bet are 1.414% against you. The odds are 1.402% on the "Don't Pass."

Mathematically-minded players occasionally bet "Don't Pass," due to the slightly lower house edge, but in a real casino, you will quickly be shunned, taunted, bad vibed, and possibly get punched in the face.

Getting punched is a low probability event, but not low enough to justify (to me) the .012% edge you gain by betting "Don't Pass." Also, it's like a 95% chance everyone else you are gambling with will think you are an asshole.

Gold is the same deal. Even if you are right, you are an asshole---and the slim protection you get probably doesn't overcome the negative expectation that someone will punch you in the face. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Rice experienced firsthand the injustices of Birmingham's discriminatory laws and attitudes. She was instructed to walk proudly in public and to use the facilities at home rather than subject herself to the indignity of "colored" facilities in town. As Rice recalls of her parents and their peers, "they refused to allow the limits and injustices of their time to limit our horizons."...

During the violent days of the Civil Rights Movement, Reverend Rice armed himself and kept guard over the house while Condoleezza practiced the piano inside...

Reverend Rice instilled in his daughter and students that black people would have to prove themselves worthy of advancement, and would simply have to be "twice as good" to overcome injustices built into the system. Rice said “My parents were very strategic, I was going to be so well prepared, and I was going to do all of these things that were revered in white society so well, that I would be armored somehow from racism. I would be able to confront white society on its own terms." While the Rices supported the goals of the civil rights movement, they did not agree with the idea of putting their child in harm's way.

Rice was eight when her schoolmate Denise McNair, aged 11, was killed in the bombing of the primarily black Sixteenth Street Baptist Church by white supremacists on September 15, 1963. Rice has commented upon that moment in her life:

I remember the bombing of that Sunday School at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham in 1963. I did not see it happen, but I heard it happen, and I felt it happen, just a few blocks away at my father's church. It is a sound that I will never forget, that will forever reverberate in my ears. That bomb took the lives of four young girls, including my friend and playmate, Denise McNair. The crime was calculated to suck the hope out of young lives, bury their aspirations. But those fears were not propelled forward, those terrorists failed.

— Condoleezza Rice, Commencement 2004, Vanderbilt University, May 13, 2004 Rice states that growing up during racial segregation taught her determination against adversity, and the need to be "twice as good" as non-minorities. Segregation also hardened her stance on the right to bear arms; Rice has said in interviews that if gun registration had been mandatory, her father's weapons would have been confiscated, leaving them defenseless against Ku Klux Klan nightriders

tangential h/t Cnu.