blogging, Business, Economics, humor, predictions, technology, thoughts

How to be a Successful bitcoin Doomsdayer

It helps to be a Nobel laureate when you spout out economic nonsense. But, if you’re not able to milk your 2008 Nobel prize, here are the top ways to become a successful bitcoin doomsdayer:

  • It helps if you have some sort of “authority” on the subject: Nobel prize in economics, MBA, degree in finance, Instagram pictures of you on a boat, etc.
  • Start by claiming bitcoin is a bubble and even claim that you’ve been saying that for years.
  • Claim that you’ve been “right” about bitcion and cryptocurrency for years. You don’t need to have any proof of such claims, just make the claims.
  • Make nebulous claims like “this won’t end well” and “this bubble is about to burst”
  • Use words like parabolic
  • Make as many unsubstantiated claims of bitcion’s “true value” as you can. Just make up a number: $1,000… $3,000… Doesn’t matter if you understand the technology or not. Just make something up that sounds scary to people.
  • Be as vague as possible as to when the bitcoin bubble will burst. Remember, being an internet oracle doesn’t require specifics or even a month. Oracles are made by claims of “soon” and “imminent”.
  • Be as vague as possible as to what value the bitcoin crash will dip to. In fact, don’t even say what the crash will be. This way, when there’s a correction of 40% you can still claim oracle status! Definitely don’t make a 100% accurate prediction to the exact thousand dollar amount that BTC will drop to.
  • Use the word bubble at least 3-4 times every hour; even in conversations unrelated to bitcion
  • Make reference to the mythical tulip bubble
  • Bask in the glory of being right 4-5x per year about the bitcoin bubble when there’s a major correction in the budding cryptocurrency market every few months!
  • Bitcoin shame as much as possible on social media!

P.S. In Krugman’s defense, he does make a valid point that he doesn’t understand technology. He also makes a reasonable point that bitcoin lacks viability as a transactional currency. That is valid given BTC’s current limitations for handling massive tx volume and BTC’s high tx cost. BTC will either need to change or (more likely) be used as a store of large amounts of wealth and for large transactions (e.g. buying a house).

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blogging, Politics

Identifying Rape Culture in America

I’ve heard a few definitions of rape culture over the years, but typing in “define rape culture” into Google netted one of the most concise definitions I have seen to date: a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.

rape_culture_google_definition

There are the obvious examples of sexual assault being uncovered on the news on a daily basis: Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump, Roy Moore, etc. These aren’t the best examples of the systemic nature of rape culture in America though. These are example of rape culture but aren’t being trivialized or normalized (at least not anymore). The following is a deep dive into identifying the pervasive, systemic reach of rape culture in America. Prepare…

The champions of rape culture in America for more than two decades are Bill and Hillary Clinton.

hillary-bill-clinton

Clinton supporters will likely suggest that this is a hit piece on the Clintons. It’s not. This is a hit piece on the pervasiveness of rape culture in America.

When Senator Gillibrand made the strong (and appropriate statement) that Bill Clinton should have resigned as POTUS during the investigation of his sexual harassment and perjury, there were Clinton loyalists who quickly jumped all over it with rape culturisms like Philippe Reines:

Ken Starr spent $70 million on a consensual blowjob. Senate voted to keep POTUS WJC. But not enough for you @SenGillibrand? Over 20 yrs you took the Clintons’ endorsements, money, and seat. Hypocrite.

Interesting strategy for 2020 primaries. Best of luck.

On the surface, this might look like a Clinton supporter/former employee venting about a Senator who gladly took Bill Clinton’s endorsements over the years and was now throwing him under the bus. This is what rape culture looks like, folks!

You might be thinking this is a pretty harsh statement given that Bill Clinton didn’t “rape” Monica Lewinsky. If so, that’s a good thing. I think you should be shocked to uncover just how systemic and prevalent rape culture is in America.

Reines makes the assertion that Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky participated in consensual blowjobs in the Oval Office. His argument might even have legal merit since sexual harassment (which is what a superior having sex with a subordinate is) isn’t “illegal”. By Reines’ rape culture logic, slavery (let alone raping slaves) during America’s early years was okay because it wasn’t “illegal”. Did I just compare rape culture to slavery? You bet!

So, how is getting a “consensual” bj in the Oval Office sexual harassment, let alone rape culture? By answering this question, we’re going to uncover the nasty pervasiveness of rape culture in America. It boils down to the very culture that it’s acceptable to someone with authority to take advantage of a subordinate. Someone with authority over another person has a level of power over that person by the very nature of their position. The President of the United States certainly qualifies as being in a position of authority over an intern in the White House. Claiming that Monica Lewinsky “knew what she was getting into” (or simplifying that to “consented” like Reines has done) exemplifies rape culture. Reines might as well have just said Monica was “asking for it”. Looking at this with a Weinstein lens: Monica was on the “casting couch”.

To make a long story short, justifying sexual abuse because it’s illegal = rape culture.

Furthering the rape culture nature of Bill Clinton’s exploitation of Monica Lewinsky is the fact that he’s married. The idea that a man, who has made a commitment of chastity to his wife, can up and get a bj from an employee is the epitome of the sense of male entitlement that is rampant with rape culture. Bill Clinton took advantage of Monica Lewinsky, and that is rape culture. Period.

Still, Bill Clinton’s exploits of Monica Lewinsky weren’t the most egregious of his rape culturisms. It’s pretty safe to say that the only thing separating Bill Clinton from being an alleged rapist and an convicted rapist is the statute of limitations and/or a phenomenal lawyer (meaning, a lawyer who leverages the inherit privileged that rape culture affords sexual predators (wealthy/powerful men) like Bill Clinton.

A further example of rape culture is claiming that Bill Clinton “more than paid the price” for taking advantage of Lewinsky. The notion that there’s a “price” to pay for sexually manipulating and abusing women is rape culture. The notion that Bill Clinton “more than paid” is monstrously rape culture. He paid the price because he couldn’t practice law (which he wouldn’t have done anyway) for five years? And I’ll get to the greatest falsehood about Bill Clinton “paying the price” in two paragraphs.

If you haven’t warmed up to me saying that Bill Clinton exploited and took advantage of Monica Lewinsky, that’s how pervasive rape culture is in your own mind. There in lies the sneakiness of rape culture. It’s like a shadow cast from a light that sits right in your own head. Rape culture is something you can’t fully see and understand until you look in the mirror and ask yourself how much you have unwittingly (or knowingly) participated in rape culture. How much have you justified Bill Clinton the sexual predator with him being an accomplished politician? How often have you said “that’s just politics”? Or “other politicians have done those things”?

That brings me to my last, and most poignant point. Hillary Clinton exemplifies rape culture in America. Victim blaming and shaming is the ultimate rape culture. Hillary Clinton has also said that her husband “paid the price“. No. Hillary Clinton, YOU paid the price for Bill Clinton’s sex abuse, not Bill. Hillary is both a victim of rape culture and has been perpetuating rape culture.

To wrap it up…

Rape culture = “a society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse.” How much have we all participated in normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse? Now is the time to say, “no more”. Michael TomaskyPhilippe Reines, Al Franken, and Hillary Clinton are all rape culture stalwarts.

blogging, Economics

How do you determine Bitcoin’s value? By it’s high energy requirements

There’s been a whole lot of discussion about the looming Bitcoin bubble burst or how valuing Bitcoin isn’t possible because “it’s not a value-producing asset”. Bloomberg seems to have figured out that even if Bitcoin isn’t a bubble, it will still fail because of it’s “exorbitant energy costs“.

We can’t assume that current financial transactions take place over a magic network that doesn’t require any energy to run. It takes energy to print paper money and to run the massive servers that banks and financial institutions use all around the globe. It’s not just magic.

Sid Verma is on to something about Bitcoin’s energy requirements, but he came to the wrong conclusion. Bitcoin’s exorbitant energy cost is NOT going to be Bitcoin’s undoing. Rather, it’s precisely what gives Bitcoin it’s value. The massive amount of energy required to mine Bitcoin means that you can compute a value for Bitcoin (contrary to what the “Sage of Omaha” thinks). Bitcoin will require more and more energy and hardware to continue to mine, increasing it’s real-world/tangible value. Even if energy costs decrease, more energy is required to mine at a far greater pace than the reduction in the cost of energy. The value of Bitcoin has a real-world justification for increasing because we value energy to support our digital world.

If the energy required to mine Bitcion will eventually surpass that of the entirety of Japan, Citigroup is suggesting that governments will tax miners for their high energy consumption. That doesn’t take into consideration renewable energy (there’s a reason why so much mining is taking place in Iceland: geothermal energy) and autonomy of energy. Ironically, this decentralized currency is ideal for decentralized (and cleaner) energy production as well.

blogging, technology

The EV federal tax incentive is NOT a subsidy

A knock I hear frequently about electric vehicles (EVs) is that they require government subsidies to sell well rather than letting the “free market” decide. I’m assuming “free market” refers to dealer network and government collusion and externality benefits of petrol fueled vehicles. However, I usually have to distinguish between a tax credit (which is NOT a subsidy) and a tax rebate (which is a subsidy). The federal tax credit afforded to EV owners is often (incorrectly) labeled a “subsidy” by anti-EV folks. However, the federal tax credit for an EV purchase is limited to the buyer’s federal tax burden.

If you have no federal taxes, Uncle Sam does not cut you a check for $7,500. If you only have $5,000 federal taxes owed at the end of the year, you also don’t get a $2,500; you just don’t have to pay the $5,000 in federal taxes. In short, it’s you keeping more of your own money (which is why it’s called a tax incentive) rather than you getting someone else’s money (which is why it’s NOT a subsidy).

State issued tax rebates are subsidies. Not having to pay for the health problems caused by driving a petrol powered car is a subsidy.

blogging, Economics, Environment

Resolving the Externalities of Internal Combustion Engine Usage or the answer to Electric Car Tax Incentives

Anyone following the rise of electric car transportation has often heard gripes from anti-EV folks about a “dirty grid”, “subsidies”, or even how EVs allegedly produce more pollution during their manufacturing than what is produced for the entire life of an internal combustion engine. Wired magazine even go into the mix with their (bunk) article talking about how EVs aren’t as green as you think they are. I’m not going to link to any of these “articles” because they are, quite frankly, gibberish. They often make claims such as lithium being a rare earth material (it’s not) or that Tesla uses permanent magnets in their motors (they’re AC induction, so they don’t; and Tesla gets all of it’s cobalt in North America).

Instead, I’m going to link to articles that provide insight into an often overlooked topic of internal combustion engines (ICE): externality economic benefits afforded to ICE manufacturers. As is turns out, driving in rush hour traffic is potentially twice as hazardous to your health than currently believed. This externality benefit is afforded to car manufacturers who are making ICE. They incur relatively zero cost for developing a product that produces emissions that the manufacturer has zero responsibility for. This is a tremendous economic benefit afforded to ICE manufacturers. While they are responsible for containing the pollution produced during the manufacturing of their product, they have zero responsibility for the pollution created during the usage of their production AND there is no way to use their product without producing pollution (unless you put the car in a museum).

One might argue that the driver should be responsible for that pollution or that the driver is responsible for the pollution because of paying taxes on gas. Let’s not pretend that the taxes on gasoline are even used for their intended purpose of rebuilding roads let alone healthcare costs incurred from the pollution caused by refining and burning gasoline. Also, the manufacturers of ICE don’t provide (or even have) the ability to collect pollution, so we’re stuck with tailpipe emissions spread to someone else’s property and effecting their lives. These effects are very costly, and the burden (as detailed in the RAND report I’ve linked to) is on health insurance companies, or government, and individuals deprived of their health liberty due to no action of their own! Certainly, one’s own rush hour car pollution is enough to kill them dozens of times over, but I digress… Perhaps the health insurance companies could lobby to get their money back?

The solution is fairly simple. Place a health insurance tax on the manufacturer of ICE vehicles that cannot be passed along to the consumer unless that consumer is a government agency. This tax would be paid to companies and individuals paying for health insurance to help offset their increased medical costs due to the products developed and sold by ICE manufacturers. The tax would be based upon the pollution (we’re not just talking about CO2 but ALL air pollution) produced by a vehicle from driving it 10K miles per year with the average life being 10 years for the vehicle and adjusted annually for the increased pollution that an ICE produces as it ages (which is the opposite of what happens with EV since grids are becoming cleaner each year).

The results from this would be reduced out of pocket medical costs for individuals since they are no longer subsidizing ICE manufacturers, a likely bankrupt automobile industry as electric cars would suddenly become significantly less expensive than ICE, and we can finally get rid of those tax incentives for electric vehicles that anti-EV folks love to complain about! Joking aside, there are considerable health costs that ICE manufacturers are causing by continuing to manufacture products that have no method to avoid. Taxing the manufacturers for their externality benefit they receive at our expense is a potential way to provide those manufacturers with incentives to make better products that are less detrimental to our health and puts the financial burden on the industry directly responsible for substantial increase in healthcare costs over the last half century.

blogging, culture, life, philosophy, Politics, Relationships, technology, thoughts

What a difference a preposition makes

“Behind every great man is a great woman”

We hear that statement (or some variant: “Behind every successful man is a woman”) so often, particularly in politics. It’s so popular that with the rise of successful women in business and politics we hear the gender role reversal: Behind every great woman is a great man. Regardless of the gender roles, the statement has an underlying tone that the spouse of a great/successful person is hidden “behind” the successful person.

Maybe we see the significant other on the stage… Maybe the great wo/man is mentioned in an acceptance speech… Maybe in the memoirs…

The reality is that *Beside* every great wo/man is a great wo/man. It’s just a preposition, but this preposition swap accurately reflects the true spirit of this popular idiom. The spouse of a successful person stands besides them, not behind them. When they walked down the isle, they walked beside each other. No one individual was behind or in front of the other, and it’s the same in success and greatness.

When I achieve success in business or life, my wife is always beside me; not behind me. And I know that the same holds true for her. We’re on this adventure together. One of us certainly takes the lead depending on what obstacle is in front of us, but when we cross that finish line… When we achieve success, it’s beside one another.

blogging

Project Sunroof & Why Homeowners Should be Incented to be Energy Suppliers

Google’s Project Sunroof has estimates on a lot more rooftops than it did a year ago! My house didn’t have a sqft roof estimate last year, and now it does: 2,001 sqft with 2,009 hours of usable sunlight per year! Most of my neighbors have between 1,700 and 2,500 sqft of roof space available for solar panels according to Google’s estimates.

My wife and I are quite conservative when it comes to energy usage. We haven’t gone full-home energy efficient, but our thermostat settings are optimized, windows are shaded, and we even went tankless (and gas) on our water heater. Our typical electric bill is between $100-200, and that’s even having a Volt that is typically in need of a full charge 3-4 times per week.

On the low side, Google estimates that using 247 square feet for solar would save 98% of our electricity costs. That’s 12.34% of my available rooftop. On the high side, Google estimates that using 423 square feet for solar would save 100% of our electricity costs. That’s still less than 1/4 of my total roof space. In other words, I could generate enough solar power for slightly more than 4 houses in my neighborhood. More importantly, my entire neighborhood could generate enough solar power for 4x as many houses! I postulated this idea years ago but didn’t have the tools until now to show how easy it would be.

That’s roughly 588 houses (similar to my very average house) worth of energy that my grid-tied neighborhood could produce! While this one neighborhood won’t be able to power the entire planet, it’s pretty easy to see how blanketing rooftops could be a giant leap forward for solar energy. Instead of building small solar arrays to cover the individual homes’ energy needs, an entire city’s homes can be powered by roughly 25% of it’s homeowners.

However, there is very little incentive for a property owner to blanket their rooftop with solar panels to generate excess electricity. Without getting into details about all the legal aspects of it, economically it doesn’t make any sense, and net metering ends up limiting this as an option anyway. But it shouldn’t.

Utilities have a cost associated with maintaining their network, and self sustaining homes eat into their ability to cover the entire costs of the utilities’ network. Net metering has energy companies overpaying for energy. If net metering was limited to the going wholesale cost of energy, that erases any incentive for homeowners to put a larger solar array on their rooftop. Still, homeowners could be persuaded with stronger tax rebates, with the goal being to make the tax rebate enough to help turn the wholesale rate of electricity into something the property owner makes her/his money back on within 7-10 years.

That long term ROI wouldn’t be much of an incentive for a house flipper, but it would be a great incentive for someone living in their lifetime home. It would likely increase the value of a rental property as the properly owner could get more money in rent due to the fact that the renter would never have to pay for electricity!

This could help drive down the cost of electricity for everyone while creating a boon for the home energy efficiency and roofing & solar installation industries.