Home | Random | Downloads | About | Hikes | WebCam | Search | Sitemap | Email | Feed

Book reviews for September 2016

Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms by David S. Evans

Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms by David S. Evans

2/5

Given that matchmaker businesses include stock exchanges, newspapers and shopping malls the claim that the field of economics only 'discovered' them in 2000 is the most interesting fact in this book. It doesn't sound like it can possibly true and either casts serious doubt on the credibility of the authors or on the entire field (including the authors).

Looking past the amazing recent discovery of multi-sided platforms the book is very light on any actual theory beyond the trivial - for example pricing may include a subsidy to one side and platform ignition is hard. Really. There are some good anecdotal accounts of specific businesses and there is a small amount of insight to be gained here. Overall I'd say avoid though.

 

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

4/5

 

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

3/5

 

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

3/5

Solid thriller based on the multiple universe interpretation of quantum physics.

 

Share:

Scott Adams

Scott Adams

Dilbert creator Scott Adams recently endorsed Donald Trump. I could take it if this was just our daisyworld politics in action. But it's a horrible post that boils down to money and rationalization.

"I don’t know the best way to defeat ISIS. Neither do you. I don’t know the best way to negotiate trade policies. Neither do you."

The first plank of the argument is that he can't make a call on most issues and so he's not qualified to weigh in. Welcome to democracy. The job is to make the best choice that you can with imperfect information. If you can't do that then do the rest of us a favor and abstain.

"You can argue whether an estate tax is fair or unfair, but fairness is an argument for idiots and children."

The second plank is that he might be less well off if the estate law changes.

So now the lack of an opinion on any other issue makes sense. If you had to think about ISIS or trade (or walls or Muslims or women) then maybe a dent in your income would have to move down a position or two or fifty. But if, aw shucks, you're just not smart enough to make those calls then it's a conveniently self-serving single issue election.

All of this is true even if raising the estate tax is a bad policy. But at the risk of coming across as a child or idiot maybe there's something in it:

"Between 1979 and 2007, paycheck income of the top 1 percent of U.S. earners exploded by over 256 percent. Meanwhile, the bottom 90 percent of earners have seen little change in their average income, with just a 16.7 percent increase from 1979 to 2014."

I don't know the best estate tax policy. But Scott, neither do you.

Share:

Autumnal Equinox 2016

Autumnal Equinox 2016

It's Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, Spring down south. Rendered in Catfood Earth (Windows, Android).

(Previously, Previously, Previously)

Share:

Butterfly at California Academy of Sciences

Butterfly at California Academy of Sciences

Share:

Save Mount Davidson

Save Mount Davidson

I just learned that San Francisco's Recreation and Parks department plans to cut down thousands of healthy trees because they are non-native. I really don't understand this nativist movement. At one point San Francisco was part of Gondwanaland. A while before that it was a sea of super-heated plasma. We need more trees even if they were originally Australian. It's a city of transplants anyway.

San Francisco Forrest Alliance seems to be the main hub to try and shut this down. If you live here and like trees please do something. 

Here's a letter I just sent to my Supervisor:

Dear Supervisor Yee,

I am writing to voice my opposition to the plan by the Recreation and Parks Department’s Natural Areas Program to cut down 1,600 trees on Mount Davidson. I have lived in San Francisco for over sixteen years and in your district for a little over two. I regularly walk my dog and take my children to Mount Davidson. We greatly value this park for its views and forest.

Beyond Mount Davidson specifically I am horrified by the thought of felling thousands of healthy trees because they are considered to be non-native. The mission of Recreation and Parks should not be to return San Francisco to its original state. As a taxpayer and homeowner I expect to see a focus on the needs of residents and a management plan that preserves our forested areas rather than denuding them.

Maybe some of the NAP budget could be diverted to fixing up the dilapidated West Portal playground or to pay for maintenance of neighborhood trees rather than their current plan?

Yours faithfully,

Robert Ellison

Share:

Book reviews for August 2016

Company Town by Madeline Ashby

Company Town by Madeline Ashby

4/5

I've been occasionally checking in for the third part of Ashby's Machine Dynasty series and discovered that instead of finishing that off she wrote Company Town instead. Which is a good thing. This is fast paced and feels effortless. It's the story of a future town bought by a family dynasty and the bodyguard to the heir apparent. Hard to say too much more but I loved it.

 

Patriot (Alexander Hawke, #9) by Ted Bell

Patriot (Alexander Hawke, #9) by Ted Bell

2/5

 

Warriors (Alexander Hawke, #8) by Ted Bell

Warriors (Alexander Hawke, #8) by Ted Bell

1/5

Bell has a remarkable ability to fatally self-contradict himself in the space of a single sentence.

 

Share:

Slow Camera for Android

Slow Camera for Android

I do a fair amount of time-lapse photography as a hobby and one format I really love is the single frame time-lapse. This is where hundreds (or thousands) of images are stitched together into a single picture instead of a video. There are several examples on this blog including trippy clouds, cranes, a living room and a video which is a time-lapse of single frame time-lapses (made from 1,581,120 photos!)

Until recently I shot the frames like I would a regular time-lapse and then combined them into a single photo using some custom software. This is fairly tedious and so I've packaged up the entire process into an Android app. It can shoot from a minute to 24 hours using the front or rear camera and then saves the finished photo.

Download Slow Camera from Google Play

I have 20 free license codes for ITHCWY readers. If you'd like one just send me an email.

Share:

Bay Bridge Timelapse

Bay Bridge Timelapse

4K time lapse of the San Francisco side of the Bay Bridge. Shot on a gloomy Friday morning with an Alpine Radian and Sony RX100 IV. Processed with Adobe Lightroom and LR Timelapse.

(It's the first project I've completed after upgrading my upgrade-proof laptop with a 1TB SDD, some cat fur and about a half pint of blood. I'm amazed it even boots. There is a tenth circle of hell for laptop designers who decide to hide the hard drive module under two tiny ribbon cables secured with ribbon cable eating tape. And thanks for the fake screws.)

Music from Jukedeck.

Share:

Golden Gate Bridge from Marshall's Beach

Share:

Book reviews for July 2016

The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7) by Charles Stross

The Nightmare Stacks (Laundry Files, #7) by Charles Stross

4/5

 

The Girls by Emma Cline

The Girls by Emma Cline

3/5

OK, but lots of foreshadowing, not much shadow.

 

Share:

Next Page

I Thought He Came With You

Robert Ellison's Blog

7,250,102,236 people still need to read this blog.

Humpback Whales in Golden Gate

Humpback Whales in Golden Gate

Monthly Email Update