Hurricane Dorian, now a category 4 storm, having already brushed Puerto Rico, has set course across the northern Bahamas directly for Florida’s coast. (Update: Shortly after I published this post, I started seeing revised forecasts with a decreased possibility of landfall in Florida.) Read more
That Elon Musk thinks machines will someday be smarter than humans says a lot about his epistemology: He really believes in artificial
intelligence idiocy. He really believes in big data (mining). Which is to say he believes statistical correlation is truth. And which is to say he failed to learn an important lesson taught in basic statistics classes.
There’s something I need to explain to Uber, Lyft, and other gig economy companies:
When abusing your privileges, indeed developing an entire business model around the abuse of those privileges, you shouldn’t be the least bit surprised, let alone be throwing a temper tantrum, when and if those privileges are taken away. Read more
So we now have a partial explanation for Uber’s move to cut its marketing staff.
The need to ease investor concerns has triggered belt-tightening, including the [marketing] layoffs, a hiring freeze in engineering and even a ban on “workaversary” balloons, according to employees and correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post. That, in turn, has resulted in a loss of the magic that once came with working at the unicorn, current and former employees say. Now, employees say they are treading on eggshells, waiting for the next shoe to drop.
Which is not at all surprising. Probably many of these kids (hey, I’m sixty—they’re kids) were just toddlers when the dot-com bust happened in 2001, eighteen long years ago, but a lot of Silicon Valley folks remember and a lot of them are still around. What this suggests is that I’m not the only one who recognized the ominous portents and of course there’s only been even more reason to worry since. Read more
Look, I know the Bureau of Prisons is a bureaucracy. I understand idiotic things happen because bureaucracies are so under siege that they trip over themselves trying to get anything done.
This is a real problem: You should have seen the mountain of paper I went through getting hired by the U.S. Census Bureau last year (only to decide I couldn’t live with the ethics of non-voluntary participation). And it was also clear to me in the training that as government employees, as they laid out how our work would be evaluated quantitatively for “efficiency” in dollars and cents, and how we were supposed to be “responsible stewards” of “taxpayer money,” that we were to feel guilty about living (on very low wages—still not a real job) on the taxpayer dime. Read more
I am finding the quandary of anarchism very troublesome today.
I had trouble sleeping last night because of what I saw with the police dog barking at a Black man yesterday, and I wake up this morning to learn that Boris Johnson is indeed proroguing Parliament to ram through a hard Brexit; that Donald Trump has essentially said damn the law, promising pardons for those who break it to build his precious border wall; and that, after what I saw yesterday, the Allegheny County Council voted down a proposal to institute a civilian police review board.
I picked up a woman today and we were stopped at a red light next to a police cruiser, a K-9 unit.
The red lights in this part of the world are ludicrously long so we had ample time to witness what happened next.
Wall Street has decided it likes Lyft and that it doesn’t like Uber. I am not saying by any means that this is fair or even warranted, rather the contrary. But a couple “analysts” think Lyft could turn a profit within a couple years. For Uber, that goal appears nowhere in sight. If this “analysis” has been published, the Wall Street Journal does not appear to have linked to it. For now, I think these analysts are seeing what they want to see, which they admit, by the way, puts them “significantly ahead of consensus,” which is to say that other analysts have not (yet anyway) reached such an optimistic conclusion. The analysts, while praising Lyft’s price increases, neglect that Lyft has also apparently been cutting the percentage of those fares it pays drivers. Read more
I’ve already noted that as a field, economics is bullshit. And even economists acknowledge that they’re terrible at forecasting recessions. Add one more article to the pile of evidence. Read more
Richard Durant offers the most comprehensive analysis I’ve seen of Uber’s prospects. It’s largely based on Uber’s own numbers, mentioning Lyft mostly in passing as a competitor and sometimes in comparison. It’s devastating. It should also put to rest any residual notion that investors are rational because for all the numbers, it really only confirms what every analysis I’ve seen has been saying for quite some time. Read more