When not in real life, I spend my time here.
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I believe there is room for more innovation in groceries, but I don't think it's around automating cashiers and checkout. For one, people generally, and those who shop at Whole Foods specifically, like interacting with staff. Amazon isn't dumb enough to not know this. I assume they're also not dumb enough to not realize that happy, helpful staff aren't created via treating your workforce like robots.
I think that the biggest room for innovation in groceries is in just-in-time supply chain management. Obviously, the tremendous waste associated with having to stock a bunch of perishable shit at high quantities is a factor in keeping prices high. If Amazon can successfully use their supply chain magic to reduce inventories while maintaining adequate SKUs, then they should be able to keep wages decent, keep customers satisfied, and reduce prices.
I don't know enough about the secret sauce of supply chains to know if this strategy is viable in the grocery space, but if anyone can figure out predictive grocery shopping behavior it is them and their unfathomable computing power.
My favorite tweet I've seen on this: "When is it ok to point out that a guy who once described himself as 'David Duke without all the baggage' was saved by two black cops?"
Again, not proud of the schadenfreude, but it's lurking in the shadows.
Fuck, just saw this:
Exactly what I'm talking about. Money is a conduit, not a product. "Stock picking" isn't supposed to be quaint; it's supposed to be looking closely at a company and its products, deciding where it sits in the market, then buying if you think that its growth potential is unrealized. It's supposed to be fucking hard. Let's shoot all the quants.
The NFL is particularly nauseating given that their TV deal is so lucrative that every team makes money before a single ticket is ever sold. Tickets and concessions are just gravy for every NFL owner. The lowest values franchise in the league according to Forbes is the Bills, at $1.4 billion, and pretty much every team has annual revenues in excess of $300 million. So a $500-700 million stadium can't be mortgaged against your multi-billion dollar franchise? Gimme a break. I only wish the Lions would have threatened to leave Detroit. Good riddance you hacks.
If society is its own organism, then I think we have a fight between our collective amygdala and prefrontal cortex. For whatever reason, the amygdala is cleaning calling the shots right now. It's not a Republican or Democrat thing; just because GOP is demonstrably stupider (collectively), doesn't mean that we all aren't too emotional.
In the past when I've had times that I knew my reptilian brain was calling the shots too forcefully, I've had to make a concerted effort to double down on rational thought. It's not an easy thing to do, but it can be done with extreme discipline; requires something like a mantra and a constant reminder that your head knows better than your gut what consequences are. I wonder if there's a societal equivalent. My suspicion is that there must be, but I don't know what that is.
We've dug ourselves into a very untenable situation, but it's still not the only possible result. There's an energy well out of which we need to climb, but eventually we'll get the jolt we need. One would have thought that the jolt was the financial crisis, but it's been almost a decade and things are still degrading. Perhaps the next crisis? I've done very well financially since the last recession, but I still feel like the country is worse off than before. Is that true? Is it just the media? I don't know. I'm well read enough that I think I have a decent grasp on what has been happening recently in the economy (in a descriptive sense, not a causal one), and my sense is that I'm an exception, that people really feel left out, left behind, and hopeless.
There's too much money and too much talent in this country for people to be suffering. I hope we have the balls next time there's a crisis to have a reset. It feels like America's only product right now is money. Patient investing is a thing of the past, and with it so is innovation. That's our real trouble. Not China. Not Robots. Greed. Same story as 1920s. Tell me, really, what the difference is between modern day corporate stock buybacks and railroads issuing bonds to pay dividends to investors? Same disease. It isn't the robots who decide that share price management is worth firing 10,000 people.
It's maybe a long leap from tax policy to some deranged dudes shooting lawmakers, but I think there's a causation there. To restore sanity to our politics we need to restore dignity to our people. Everyone just wants to feed their family.
This is definitely a piece of bi-partisan legislation I can get behind. Trump will veto, because what next? No public funds for Kushner to build luxury condos?
Here in Detroit, we now have three stadiums downtown, on the best real estate in the entire state, that were partially or totally funded by taxpayers. And now the Pistons want to move into the new Red Wings arena (from their current home in the burbs), but their owner (a multi-billionaire) is demanding $34 million for the move that he initiated. And the city (a couple years removed from bankruptcy) is probably going to pay. Fuck these guys so hard.
It's also schadenfreude-inducing, which itself is also concerning.
I find it endearing. I watched him on PBS on election night, and I really thought he was going to cry. He has no self-awareness that he has been helping to create Frankenstein for a long time, and now he feels bad that his Creation is destroying the world.
Meh. Considering this is a guy who was cheating on his wife and then left her in the middle of cancer treatment while leading a crusade on family values grounds against the president, I'd say don't try to make too much sense of it. He isn't a guy who has "principles" or "core beliefs", etc. He has an allegiance to whatever is expedient for himself. Once you consider that, all of his various positions become crystal clear immediately.
I've had to learn quite a bit about patent law (for a lay person) in the last couple years. Unfortunately, much of this learning has come the hard way. That is, I and a couple colleagues published some results that had potentially protectable ideas that are now not protectable due to their being in the public domain ("prior art" in IP parlance).
The down side of that is that now these discoveries that could very well help brain injury victims will never become medicines, because creating a medicine requires investment that can be hundreds of millions of dollars by the time it receives regulatory approval. There is not a single investor on Earth who will fund a project like that when anyone else can replicate the work once it proves successful.
As biomedical researchers, we're sort of trained to believe in the dogma that we do science for its own sake, and that it is wrong (morally) to do it for profit motive. However, there are other concerns beyond profit motive, as illustrated above. If we don't protect our inventions properly, then they might make for a nice paper, but they'll never help anyone.
You learn this lesson a couple times, and it becomes clear that any time you discover something that is even potentially helpful as a medicament, then you should look into patenting it. The point of translational research is to help people. If you're spending the government's or a foundation's money and making your best effort at helping people, then you're just wasting resources. That's why it's immoral.