Good luck

The Ontario election is looming, and it does not look like there are any good choices. Perhaps the best choice is a minority government.
ont-elxn-first-debate-20180507

It looks like there is a high and growing probably of an Ontario recession next year due to a housing led weakness in ontario, and mid cycle slowdowns in US and China, our trading partners, along with growing trade uncertainty. We will explore this in a further post. Given this backdrop perhaps counter cyclical government spending is a good idea if the private sector is retrenching.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Further relevant reading: Is Canada at risk of a balance sheet recession, or see my deleveraging page
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Source: Is Canada at risk of a balance sheet recession?

Listening to each party’s taking points, we are so far from creating real solutions that society will need in the future. Solutions will require the best of what the left and right have to offer.
-Instead of talking about how many nurses are going to get fired, or how privatisation (some competition) is bad, why not look to examples like Singapore Health system, which only spends 4% of GDP with similar outcomes: “But Singapore isn’t a free market utopia. Quite the opposite, really. It’s a largely state-run health care system where the government designed the insurance products with a healthy appreciation for free market principles — the kind of policy Milton Friedman might have crafted if he’d been a socialist.”
-Use public spending to enhance infrastructure and fund long term projects with patient capital instead of creating bullshit jobs
-Roll out an unconditional basic income for everyone as a safety net (hint: we should have funded a sovereign wealth fund with oil/resource tax revenue that would pay this out)
-A speculation tax on housing? Potentially, how about a land value tax, or shifting the tax burden off of labour and income onto economic rents. Target unproductive investment and economic rent instead of just the wealthy for redistribution.
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-Re-evaluate as as society the role of money and banking, and the monopoly power and privileged that commercial banks have to create credit. Minimize the use of credit for speculation on securities and bidding up the price of scarce land
-Eliminate monopolies and oligopolies, learn how we can win again
-Cut the waste, but restore the Commons
-Work towards establishing better Governance and Transparency: “A recent report by Transparency International ranked Canada and South Korea the lowest in the G20 for financial transparency. Since committing to increase transparency in 2014, Canada has not improved its regulatory framework, the report said.”

I know this all spans multiple levels of government, but just a few thoughts….

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Links for May

Douglas Murray, Author of the Strange death of Europe


Murray also recently released ‘The Suicide of Europe

Bret Weinstein on Identity Politics

Quilliam International founder, Maajid Nawaz accepts the 2018 Morris B. Abram Human Rights Award for his contribution to the cause of religious freedom, equality, pluralism and democracy and shares his story at the 2018 Gala Dinner in Geneva, Switzerland, May 7, 2018.

Tim O’Reilly Presentation

Mit Media lab – if only banks funded places like this instead of just increasing the price of land
https://www.cbsnews.com/video/mit-media-lab-making-ideas-into-reality/

“Carlos Doesn’t Remember” is the first in a three-part Revisionist History miniseries taking a critical look at the idea of capitalization—the measure of how well America is making use of its human potential.
http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/04-carlos-doesnt-remember
http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/05-food-fight
http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/06-my-little-hundred-million

Conversation about Hashgraph, one of the leading alternatives for Blockchain 2.0

AlphaGo Zero: How to build your own AlphaZero AI using Python and Keras
“How to build your own AlphaZero

Firstly, check out the AlphaGo Zero cheat sheet for a high level understanding of how AlphaGo Zero works. It’s worth having that to refer to as we walk through each part of the code. There’s also a great article here that explains how AlphaZero works in more detail.”

https://medium.com/applied-data-science/how-to-build-your-own-alphazero-ai-using-python-and-keras-7f664945c188

https://www.nature.com/articles/nature24270.epdf?author_access_token=VJXbVjaSHxFoctQQ4p2k4tRgN0jAjWel9jnR3ZoTv0PVW4gB86EEpGqTRDtpIz-2rmo8-KG06gqVobU5NSCFeHILHcVFUeMsbvwS-lxjqQGg98faovwjxeTUgZAUMnRQ
https://medium.com/@acrosson/building-a-deep-learning-box-d17d97e2905c
https://medium.com/applied-data-science/alphago-zero-explained-in-one-diagram-365f5abf67e0
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Health and Nutrition Links for April

And no this is not an April fools joke….

What the heck should I eat?
-A great overview of overall nutrition and the biases in food studies
-Eat unprocessed foods
-Eat mostly plant based diet, vegetables and fruit
-Get good fats
-Geonomics may be overblown

Ketosis vs Plant diet: A fascinating wide ranging discussion
– Also talk about fasting and Dr Longo’s fasting mimicing diet

The debate on Lectin’s in Plants:

Dr Longo on Fasting and the Fasting Mimicing diet
-New perspective on fasting
-Outlines a 5 day diet that isn’t full caloric restriction
-Doesn’t like 16 hr fasts (see previous post on lean gains/nutrition)

Longevity discussion from the venture capital firm a16z:
https://a16z.com/2018/03/16/longevity/

The scientific report guiding the US dietary guidelines: is it scientific?

Healthcare related links:

Evolution of Medicine
https://www.financialsense.com/financial-sense-newshour/lifetime-income-series/evolution-medicine
“For all too many dedicated physicians, stuck in a cycle of seven-minute patient visits and production line healing, medicine has become a frustrating vocation. Furthermore, the current epidemic of chronic illness demands a new care standard that can break down the existing structural barriers to full resolution. It requires functional medicine. The Evolution of Medicine provides step-by-step instruction for building a successful “community micropractice,” one that engages both the patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership focused on the body as a whole rather than isolated symptoms. This invaluable handbook will awaken health professionals to exciting new career possibilities. At the same time, it will alleviate the fear of abandoning a conventional medical system that is bad for doctors, patients, and payers, as well as being ineffectual in the treatment of chronic ailments. Welcome to a new world of modern medical care, delivered in a community setting. It’s time to embrace the Evolution of Medicine and reignite your love for the art of healing.”

DECODING SUPERHUMAN The Future of Healthcare with Dr. Zayna Khayat
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“What we really have is a fundamental disequilibrium between the demand for health services by a population that’s growing in size, staying alive longer and accumulating illness and disease and a system that was designed not for that volume and scale and complexity and therefore it can’t meet the demands.
And so, when demand exceeds supply, it’s the perfect breeding ground to do things differently”
-What are the 3 big forces coming together to change healthcare
-Zayna’s six pillars or shifts for the future of healthcare

Dynamic Medicine-Yaneer Bar-Yam
“If the ongoing development of medical “sensors” — tests, monitoring, and imaging — is combined with an understanding of dynamic response, medical care would be dramatically improved. Instead of relying primarily on the outcomes of statistical studies of interventions and outcomes, individual medical care can be better guided by the real-time viewing of the effects of interventions. Moreover, dynamic response is a sensitive probe of the healthy state and susceptibility to systemic failure. The testing of dynamic response expands dramatically what can be known about a system and is an essential step toward true health care: Maintaining individuals in dynamic states that have lower susceptibility to disease and disability.”
– The nutrition debate probably won’t be solved until senors become commonplace
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Other interesting viewpoints:
The Mindbody Prescription: Healing the Body, Healing the Pain

An interesting approach to scoring foods (pair with ANDI scores…):
http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20180126-the-100-most-nutritious-foods
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0127128

Gut and Psychology Syndrome: Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, A.D.D., Dyslexia, A.D.H.D., Depression, Schizophrenia, 2nd Edition

https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21736138-welcome-doctor-you-revolution-health-care-coming

“The internet already enables patients to seek online consultations when and where it suits them. You can take over-the-counter tests to analyse your blood, sequence your genome and check on the bacteria in your gut. Yet radical change demands a shift in emphasis, from providers to patients and from doctors to data. That shift is happening. Technologies such as the smartphone allow people to monitor their own health. The possibilities multiply when you add the crucial missing ingredients—access to your own medical records and the ability easily to share information with those you trust. That allows you to reduce inefficiencies in your own treatment and also to provide data to help train medical algorithms. You can enhance your own care and everyone else’s, too.”

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Viome Microbiome Ebook

Also see my previous post looking at books I read in 2017

Links for March 2018

World After Capital, with Albert Wenger – [Invest Like the Best, EP.80]

“My guest this week is Albert Wenger, a managing partner at Union Square Ventures and the author of the book World After Capital.

Albert studied economics at Harvard and earned a PhD in information from technology, but if you’d asked me to guess before looking those up, I’d have guessed that he studied philosophy because of how widely he has thought about the world and the impact of technology.

Our conversation is about how technology is changing the world from an Industrial Age to a knowledge age. We explore how cryptocurrencies, low cost computing, and regulation will impact our future and why the transition may require delicate care.”
-So many interesting points to consider
-Freedoms: Economic, Informational, Psychological (Mostly Attention)
-Basic Income, Full Reserve Banking, Financial Economy

We Get the Economy We Ask For: Towards a New Distributional Economics – Tim O’Reilly

Nassim Nicholas Taleb on Rationality, Risk, and Skin in the Game

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author of Skin in the Game, talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the ideas in the book. This is the third episode of EconTalk with Taleb related to the general topic of skin in the game and how it affects decision-making and policy in an uncertain world. This episode focuses on rationality, religion, and the challenge of thinking about probability and risk correctly in a dynamic world.

Saad and Taleb

A critique of Taleb from Amazon via FarnamStreet Blog

Jordan Peterson on 12 Rules for Life on Econtalk

Ryan Holiday Dissects Power and Money in Media on Masters in Business

Bloomberg View columnist Barry Ritholtz interviews writer and media strategist Ryan Holiday. Holiday was 19 years old when he dropped out of college to apprentice under Robert Greene, author of “The 48 Laws of Power.” He went on to become the director of marketing for American Apparel. His creative agency, Brass Check, has advised clients like Google, TASER and Complex, as well as many prominent bestselling authors, including Neil Strauss, Tony Robbins and Tim Ferriss. He is the author of six books, including “The Daily Stoic” and most recently “Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker and the Anatomy of Intrigue.”

Deepmind AlphaZero – Mastering Games Without Human Knowledge

57 – Blue Steel: Tariffs, Trade and Trump – Adventures in Finance
Geopolitics consultant Peter Zeihan discusses in the second segment

Jim Grant: The great Bond BEAR Market has already begun! – MacroVoices
Erik Townsend welcomes Jim Grant to MacroVoices. Erik and Jim discuss new Fed governor Powell, treasury yields and how far the FED go before something breaks. They discuss his outlook on inflation, gold, junk bonds, China and the drivers of long term debt cycles. They reflect on History and what happened when the FED did not bail out the banks in 1920 and considerations on what actions the US government can take to deal with the debt.

Ray Dalio on How the Economic Machine Works (A stylized look at the Economic/Debt Cycle): A good review considering the state of the Canadian Economy

The World Through an API

Cambridge Analytica Uncovered: Secret filming reveals election tricksR

via Tim Ferris and other sources.
“He Predicted The 2016 Fake News Crisis. Now He’s Worried About An Information Apocalypse
. This piece should be required for anyone on the Internet. These technologies are going to affect everything. Things are sometimes murky and misleading on the web, and it’s going to get much more challenging. Here’s just a small taste from this article: “Already available tools for audio and video manipulation have begun to look like a potential fake news Manhattan Project. In the murky corners of the internet, people have begun using machine learning algorithms and open-source software to easily create pornographic videos that realistically superimpose the faces of celebrities — or anyone for that matter — on the adult actors’ bodies. At institutions like Stanford, technologists have built programs that that combine and mix recorded video footage with real-time face tracking to manipulate video. Similarly, at the University of Washington computer scientists successfully built a program capable of “turning audio clips into a realistic, lip-synced video of the person speaking those words.” As proof of concept, both the teams manipulated broadcast video to make world leaders appear to say things they never actually said.””

Links for Late Feb 2018

Elon Musk When He Proved EveryOne Wrong via @ValaAfshar

Nick Foles post game interview on failure

The Autonomy Ecosystem: Where and How It Begins (1 of 8) – a16z (Self Driving Cars and their potential effects on society). Be sure to watch all 8!

Beyond 2018 Dr Michio Kaku on the Future in the Next 5 10 20 Years

Sebastian Junger (author of Tribe) on @joerogan via @sspencer_smb


Notes:
The thing about technology is that it buffers us from consequences in the real world…..they need each other less and less to survive…..don’t need your neighbors….it all gets taken care of….deprives you of that essential reliance on other people….transition to a world with no community
The problem with the suburbs is …you can be totally isolated.
Choice between community and self sacrifice: Part of a small group trying to survive….
Problem: How can we have the close communal connection that buffers us from mental health problems…and have the benefits of modern society (tehchnology)
People find their own tribes….runners…etc
After 9/11….common goal…ptsd rates went down…. (although I would assume as a result some people have PTSD)
Commentary on mass shootings at 1:48

This is Who You Are Up Against, w/ Josh Wolfe – [Invest Like the Best …
“My guest this week is Josh Wolfe, a founding and managing partner at Lux Capital in New York City. Lux is a venture capital firm, but a highly unique one. They’ve spent more time in hard sciences and interesting nooks and crannies of the market than the typical VC firm.”
Josh Wolfe – Notes
Operate, Recruit, Storytell
Marriage of storyteller and executor/operator
Filter wide, funnel high
Biggest mistake: consensus buy and overpay (but try and not to)
Biggest mistake: minority opinion, 1 partner is really passionate about the idea
Devil’s advocate or red corner, explicit better to be implicit
Failure comes from a failure to imagine failure
Risk and Value can only be transformed not destroyed
32:38 – Crazy thesis – understanding the emotional needs of our pets (Animal cognition)
China’s potential to pull ahead in healthcare, which Josh recently tweeted about:”China (ethically lax) races ahead with CRISPR (and T-cell infusion) in humans.Odds grow that the US (ethically cautious) will IMPORT our most important life saving drugs from China. May give new meaning to ‘made in China’”
Watch out for: bad unit economics, promotional (double edged sword, can lower cost of capital as well)
From Competitive advantage (Tech, scale,etc) flows good unit economics

Mark Dow:Less About Fundamentals, More About Risk Management on Futures Radio Show
A Great Macro conversation !
http://www.futuresradioshow.com/podcast/180/


Why Mark got involved in Financial Markets
Behavioral Macro
The Fed & Bubbles
Stock Market, Interest Rates & Risk Cycle
Central Banks & Yield Curves
Gold, Commodities & Currencies
Cryptocurrencies
Emerging Markets

Patagonia: Yvon Chouinard – How I Built This
“Patagonia. In 1973, Yvon Chouinard started the company to make climbing gear he couldn’t find elsewhere. Over decades of growth, he has implemented a unique philosophy about business, leadership and profit.”

Links for Feb 2018

Megatrends, Future Shocks, and Disruptions via FinancialSense

Robotics, automation, and AI are reshaping the world around us in profound ways, affecting everything from financial market trading, to inflation, to factory floors and worker pay. In part 1 of today’s Big Picture segment, Jim Puplava discusses the technological revolution underway and what this means for the future of our economy and the society at large.

Ep.30: Can We Learn How to Predict the Future? Only If We Start with Building Better Maps. | Mapmaking for the 21st Century with Tim O’Reilly – Hidden Forces

The need to explore is a fundamental driver of human progress. Without it, we would never have ventured off the plains of Africa, conquered the seas, or landed men on the moon. How has humanity managed to navigate the unknown? The process of exploration is one of mapmaking. Maps are not some relics of a bygone era. Maps are not artifacts that exist naturally in the world. Maps are products of the human mind. Mapmaking is the process through which our brains structure time and space; they help us put order around experience. Maps are the expression of human perception. If we want to navigate the world better, and if we want to learn how to predict the future, then we need to build better maps. Tim O’Reilly helps us do just that.

a16z Podcast: Self-Driving Cars — Where Are We, Really?
with Taggart Matthiesen, James Wu, Qasar Younis, and Frank Chen

As cars become more like iPhones and less like just, well, cars — everything changes, from data to mapping to interfaces to security and more. How so? Where are we anyway, given all the hype around when self-driving cars will appear everywhere? And where are new opportunities in the space?

This episode of the a16z Podcast, based on a panel discussion from the most recent a16z Summit, features a16z research and deal team head Frank Chen in conversation with various companies doing different things in the autonomous space. Guests include: Taggart Matthiesen, head of product at Lyft, which is developing autonomous car technology; James Wu, CEO and co-founder of DeepMap, which focuses on full-stack HD mapping for autonomy; and Qasar Younis, CEO of Applied Intuition, which provides advance simulation software for autonomy.

The Three-Body Portfolio with Dr. Ben Hunt – [Invest Like the Best, EP.73]

In this conversation, we discuss his recent post the three body problem, why growth has been beating value, and why a strategy that he calls profound agnosticism—a take on risk parity—may be the most appropriate investing strategy in what he views as a very uncertain world. We also discuss some of his favorite lessons from the farm.

Adventures in Finance – 51 – Xi’s China: What Next For The Middle Kingdom?
Two great thinkers discussing China
With China’s plenum out of the way, what’s ahead for the Chinese economy? How much influence does the government have, and how successful has the transition to a consumer-based economy been? Finally, what does it all mean for the global growth and inflation outlook? Tian Yang of Variant Perception and Louis Gave of Gavekal weigh in. Plus, in the long/short segment, Grant Williams and Alex Rosenberg trade ICOs, Liberian leadership and lifeguard buffness.

Joe Rogan Experience #1070 – Jordan Peterson
Jordan Peterson is a clinical psychologist and tenured professor of psychology at the University of Toronto.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL_f53ZEJxp8TtlOkHwMV9Q

Roger McNamee: On Brain Hacking | Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)

Christie Blatchford: What happened to Brown is fundamentally wrong. Every man in the world is now vulnerable

“If reporters are to be the new detectives, and media the modern court, then let there be some rules.

Perhaps journalists should be required to video their interviews with accusers, as is the gold standard for police; the entire interviews can then be posted online, so that viewer/jurors know what questions were asked, and what weren’t, and see for themselves the body language of all.

Perhaps “investigative” journalists should have to take the same courses cops do, in how to interview people without leading them or suggesting the answers they want.

Those are facetious suggestions. Here’s one that isn’t: Reputable news organizations should swear off anonymous allegations of sexual misconduct unless there is a substantial body of evidence and an overwhelming public interest imperative.”

Links for late Jan 2018

Yuval Harari author of Homo Deus and Sapiens
Homo Deus Interview
Very interesting conversation on potential outcomes for society. A ‘pacification of the masses’ scenario is discussed.
MIB: Yuval Noah Harari – The Big Picture – Ritholtz

What Other Industries Teach Us About Investing – Morgan Housel
https://microcapclub.com/2018/01/morgan-housel-industries-teach-us-investing/

#90 – Dan Rasmussen – “The Crown Jewel of the Alternative Universe is Private Equity” – The Meb Faber show
In Episode 90, we welcome Founder and Portfolio Manager of Verdad, Dan Rasmussen. We start with a brief walk-through of Dan’s background. It involves a Harvard education, a New York Times best-selling book, a stint at Bridgewater, consulting work with Bain, then his own foray into private equity. Turning to investments, Meb lays the groundwork by saying how many people misunderstand the private equity market in general (often confusing it for venture capital). He asks Dan for an overview, then some specifics on the state of the industry today. Dan clarifies that when he references “private equity” (PE), he’s talking about the leveraged buyout industry – think “Barbarians at the Gate.” He tells us that PE has been considered the crown jewel of the alternative world, then provides a wonderful recap of its evolution – how this market outperformed for many years (think Mitt Romney in the 80s, when he was buying businesses for 4-6 times EBIT), yet its outsized returns led to endowments flooding the market with capital ($200 – $300 billion per year, which was close to triple the pre-Global Financial Crisis average), driving up valuations. Today, deals are getting done at valuations that are nowhere near as low as in the early days. And so, the outsized returns simply haven’t existed. Yet that hasn’t stopped institutional investors from believing they will. Dan tells us about a study highlighting by just how much institutional managers believe PE will outperform in coming years…yet according to Dan’s research, their number is way off. Dan then delves into leverage and the value premium, telling us how important this interaction is. He gives us great details on the subject based on a study he was a part of while at Bain Consulting. The takeaway was that roughly 50% of deals done at multiples greater than 10x EBITDA posted 0% returns to investors, net of fees. Meb asks about the response to this from the private equity powers that be… What is their perspective on adding value improvements, enabling a higher price? Dan gives us his thoughts, but the general take is that doing deals at 10x EBITDA is nuts. Next, the guys delve into Dan’s strategy at Verdad. In essence, he’s taking the strategy that made PE so successful in the 80s and applying it to public markets. Specifically, he’s looking for microcap stocks, trading at sub-7 EBITDAs, that are 50%-60% levered. With this composition, this m

Hiring the Best People – Harvard Business Review
Patty McCord, Netflix’s former Chief Talent Officer, sees hiring as constant matchmaking. Building a team of people that gets amazing work done, she says, requires managers to really know what they need, and for HR to actually understand the workings of the business. She says money should not be the reason someone leaves and that we should stop using words like “poaching” and “firing.” McCord is the author of “How to Hire,” in the January–February 2018 issue of Harvard Business Review.

The Art of Tracking, with Boyd Varty – [Invest Like the Best, EP.32]
This week’s episode is the most unique to date. My guest is Boyd Varty, who grew up in the South African Bush, living among and tracking wild leopards. The main theme of our conversation is tracking, and how the same strategy for pursuing animals in the wild can be applied to all aspects of our lives. Boyd’s family has been tracking animals for four generations, and he is bringing what they have learned to a larger audience around the world.