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Member Since 21 Aug 2009
Offline Last Active Today, 11:53 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Coffee bean grinders

Today, 11:57 AM

George Howell is the only active US roaster I am aware of that somewhat consistently roasts notably special beans.

In Topic: White Guys Cooking Ethnic Foods

Today, 11:48 AM

Why is that not the analogy?

In Topic: White Guys Cooking Ethnic Foods

Today, 05:41 AM


So contra your point it's more like not applying to the Ivies (viz. playing the PR game) than doing so but getting rejected because of soft quotas or whatever (viz. failing at the PR game).

Fair enough, but you know what happens under... well, anyway you know what I mean if you look at finer demographic breakdowns at our institutions of higher education.

In Topic: Golden Showers/Is Buzzfeed Journalism?

Today, 05:24 AM

It's so damnably hard. Once you read Matt Levine, assuming you care about finance, you can't go back to reading Gretchen Morgenson.


But without reputable aggregation, how do you know whether you're reading someone who knows what he or she is talking about, or if you're reading an idiot like David Axe (ooh, scoring points even now despite how much I've had to drink).


It's fiendishly difficult – the current aggregation model is not delivering, but clearly the alternative is not an improvement. You can read the Times all day long and still have no clue about the egregious cost behind the Second Avenue Subway, but from the outside it's hard to tell that Alon Levy is a good source, but that Randal O'Toole is a bit of a nutcase that every once in a while makes interesting points.


(Apropos of nothing, Randal O'Toole is also a rail nut who once owned train cars or something like that.)


If I were absolutely insane I'd call this a great startup opportunity, but it's hard to find the money here.

In Topic: Golden Showers/Is Buzzfeed Journalism?

Today, 05:18 AM

Yes that's entirely correct. What it ends up being is that I will recommend Levine but will recommend against Morgenson to anybody who wants to understand what's happening finance-wise.


So anybody who follows my advice will have a (much) better understanding of finance, but (by virtue of following my advice) a much worse understanding of anything else... maybe, to the extent that... whatever.


Anyway as the old wrong saw goes this is both danger and opportunity. I don't know where this ends up. Of course building one's aggregated information source that incorporates Matt Levine and Alon Levy (and relevant sources about military procurement) will make one probably quite well-informed about those areas but absent other sources is not to one's benefit more broadly... maybe.


Can we do better? I'm not sure. Morgenson's reporting is qualitatively unlike Levine's where they overlap, to the discredit of her reporting. But of course it's better to read the Times than to read a dozen random bloggers – most likely half those bloggers will also be painfully wrong, whether they get a paycheck from Bloomberg or not.


It's terrible because things should be strictly better but mostly they're not. And maybe absent an actual mainstream this is a lost cause, but the holes in the coverage from the Times is showing, and this to me is a problem.


I haven't, say, written off science coverage – but it's painful to think about how it can become not-bad. Currently you'd learn a hell of a lot more about social psych by reading Andrew Gelman's blog, but obviously "pick and choose reputable experts in each category" is the opposite of scalable.