Heuristics for Ukraine (and other places)

NB: some of the following is from a recent videoconference that included our own Trent Telenko, who is very much the man of the hour, but some of it is more publicly available, not to mention common sense. First, though, as is my wont, a quadrant diagram to organize my presentation …

I. Theater “Hardware” (physical assets/consequences)

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Worthwhile Reading & Viewing

When I met Putin as a young colonel in the KGB.

Thoughts on Russia and Ukraine, by Vitaliy Katsenelson, an American investment manager who was born in Russia.  Registration may be required–this is the first post of a three-part series.

A historian specializing in Russia has some thoughts.

A proposal to undermine Putin by stealing technical talent.

Don’t Be Preedy…a CB post from 2009 that I ran across while searching for something entirely different.

The Rise of Hot Capital, at Quillette.

And a video on Free Speech and Innovation, from Claire Lehmann and David Perell.

 

People Farming

It was a comment on this blog which struck me immediately upon reading it. The subsequent discussion in the comment thread was how antisocial behavior on the part of massive numbers of homeless people setting up massive, festering camps in the downtown areas of certain cities was making those cities less and less inviting for ordinary people. In the final analysis, no one really wants to come to work in a place where they have to step around feces on the sidewalk, dodge the aggressive panhandler outside a downtown restaurant, or run from the homicidal crazy looking to shove someone off the subway platform in front of an oncoming train. Downtown retailers can’t keep on in business long when the merchandise walks out the door, assisted by undocumented shoppers; so, eventually the normals – that is, those of us with jobs, property, and a liking for clean, non-threatening surroundings – decamp the urban jungle for something a little less edgy, usually taking our dollars, investments, responsible civic behavior, and tax base with us.
Why on earth do certain cities – San Francisco and Los Angeles being the two which spring to mind almost at once – allow this to continue? What benefit does it give to see gracious, scenic, and culturally-attractive cities descend into a condition which repels longtime residents and new visitors alike? What’s in it for the civic managers of such urban centers … and as it was pointed out, there’s money in it.

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On the Edge

My daughter and I have just finished making the various kinds of fudge that we distribute to neighbors, friends, and various workers and employees of places that we do business with. We hit upon this seasonal gift a good few years ago, after a visit to a very nice shop in Fredericksburg in the Hill Country, which featured infinite varieties of fudge. Those that we tasted were excellent, and my daughter was inspired to replicate the variety. We had previously done cookies and other home-made treats, but when it came around the next year and neighbors began asking us, with wistful hope, “Are you going to make fudge again, this year? We really liked it …” we realized that we were onto a winning strategy for holiday gifting.

The assortment – packaged in little tins from the Dollar Tree

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Worthwhile Reading

A teacher’s experiences in an American high school…a highly-rated American high school…with thoughts on the power of incentives.

Related: the effects of easing up on school troublemakers.

Research suggests that CEOs born in “frontier counties with a higher level of individualistic culture” are more effective at promoting innovation.

The market value of Tesla…$1.2 trillion…now exceeds the market value of the entire S&P 500 energy sector.  (The components of that sector can be found here.)

“Believe the science”, bureaucracy, speed, and creativity:  America needs a new scientific revolution.

Planning is a bigger job than planners can do.

Offshoring is not just for manufacturing jobs: Teleshock.  See also my 2019 post Telemigration.

Interesting memoir by a woman who started as a clerk for Burlington Northern Railroad, worked her way up to Yardmaster, and then worked closely for many years with the legendary RR executive Hunter Harrison, focusing mostly on improved data and methods for performance measurement and operational support.  (The author has since made a major industry & career change and is now focused on bioinformatics research related to cellular development!)