Saturday, February 21, 2015


-Jayson Lusk discusses the findings of a report delivered by a federal committee on dietary guidelines. The report is nothing short of chilling with its insistence on a reduction in meat consumption, interventions (their word) by "trained interventionists" to nudge us toward healthier eating habits, taxes on food, limits on speech, and the suggestion that the feds monitor our TV habits.

My own view is that this is another example of the gov't creating a "market failure" (in this case extremely distorted health insurance "premiums") and subsequently giving itself more power to correct the aforementioned "market failure." No matter how knowledgeable the experts on this panel are they can't get around the knowledge problem.

-These days, "skepticism" is a pretty politically-charged word. I can understand why, but I think the idea that someone is slandered when they're called a "skeptic" is a bit silly. Professionals in any field of inquiry should be able to calmly and rationally discuss the limitations on the methods they employ. In this article, historian Sebastian Normandin provides a very thoughtful and interesting discussion of scientism and skepticism.

-Investor Mark Spitznagel shares his thoughts on the concept of a "black swan" event. He concludes:
The bear markets we saw following all of these periods were not dreaded “black swan” events at all. They were perfectly predictable, by economic logic alone, the same logic that says governments cannot manipulate market prices without creating distortions that will always, without exception, be counterproductive.
In the next stock market crash, we will be told that the fault was some surprising economic or geopolitical shock. Let’s remind ourselves now that this will be false, the proximate cause rather than the ultimate cause. The ultimate cause is the same ultimate cause that has been demonstrated to us for over a century: distorted and manipulated markets.

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