Daily Entry: October 23rd, 2017

Mon Oct 23 17:08:42 UTC 2017

Time block

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0630 SLEEP
0700 SLEEP
0730 Waking up
0800 Getting ready
0830 Walk to work
0900 Wandering about
0930 Aimless meandering
1000 PLANNING
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Daily Entry: October 22nd, 2017

Sun Oct 22 15:56:31 UTC 2017

At SEA airport. Going to SF for work purposes. After that I'm going to Tucson for game jame purposes. Woo.

Time-block

Time (PDT) Intention Revision 1 Revision 2
0430 SLEEP
0500 SLEEP
0530 SLEEP
0600 SLEEP
0630 Walk to Light Rail
0700 Light rail to airport and reading
0730 Airport
0800 Airport
0830 Airport and reading
0900 Airport
0930 Board
1000 Flying and reading
1030 Flying and reading
1100 Flying and reading
1130 Flying and reading
1200 Landing and reading
1230 Transit to airbnb and reading
1300 Transit to airbnb and reading
1330 Checking in
1400 Nap? Yes
1430 Nap? Yes
1500 Nap? Yes
1530 Nap? Yes
1600 Nap? Yes
1630 Panda3D Nap
1700 Panda3D Nap
1730 Panda3D Nap
1800 Panda3D Food
1830 Buffer Food
1900 Buffer Explore
1930 Buffer Explore
2000 IGDA SLEEP
2030 IGDA SLEEP
2100 IGDA SLEEP
2130 IGDA SLEEP
2200 SLEEP
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Sun Oct 22 16:04:54 UTC 2017

Basic Economics reading.

The book has made a statement I find hard to believe, and in fact I believe I know of some contradictions. It states there are no real examples of "predatory pricing" wherein a business under priced a competitor to the point of losses to maintain a monopoly by which to avoid proper competition.

Now, let me be clear, the book's definition is slight different than what I just said, and perhaps the real definition is different than what I just said. The book states predatory pricing as taking losses to kill competition to then gouge customers via artificially high prices. This narrow view is one reason to kill competition via shaddy tactics, yes, but another reason is to kill competitive innovation before it becomes a real problem.

And I am once-again surprised that Rockerfeller is not brought up. Rockerfeller is an example often used when explaining predatory pricing. It is how I learned of the concept at the very least. I belive the author probably disagrees that he is such an example, but he should be aware of the argument and be dispelling it here. That he is not is very surprising to me.

Further, I feel that predatory businesses go far beyond the pricing variety, and amazingly the book mentions one such variety, but in a positive light. University of Phoenix is, as far as I'm aware (I'll need to find my sources) barely better than a diploma mill, enticing people to go into debt for an education worth way less than the cost of its classes. It is far from the only school that is doing this, either. The author lists it as a power of for-profit institutions, noting that it has far more students than the vast majority of public colleges.

He also paints the "Walmart is evil" meme as unfair or even ridiculous. His argument basically being that the company has plenty of competition, isn't a monopoly, and its lower prices have improved the standard of living for many. Now, this has led me to realize a new problem I have with this book, the ignoring of employees as members of the economy, and the effect that monopolies have on such people with limited skillsets.

However, the very next chapter (Chapter 10: Productivity and Pay), may well begin discussing the employee, so I will wait before writing on this thinking further.

Daily Entry: October 21st, 2017

Sat Oct 21 23:48:35 UTC 2017

Time block

Time (PDT) Intention Revision 1 Revision 2
0430 SLEEP
0500 SLEEP
0530 SLEEP
0600 SLEEP
0630 SLEEP
0700 SLEEP
0730 SLEEP
0800 SLEEP
0830 SLEEP
0900 SLEEP
0930 SLEEP
1000 SLEEP
1030 SLEEP
1100 SLEEP
1130 SLEEP
1200 SLEEP
1230 SLEEP
1300 Computer
1330 Computer
1400 Computer
1430 Walk to Sizzle Pie
1500 Sizzle Pie
1530 Sizzle Pie
1600 Mighty-Os Donuts
1630 Actions: Reading
1700 Walk home
1730 Chores
1800 Gaming: Overwatch
1830 Gaming: Overwatch
1900 Gaming: Overwatch
1930 Gaming: Overwatch
2000 Gaming: Overwatch
2030 Gaming: Overwatch
2100 Packing
2130 Packing
2200 Buffer TV
2230 Buffer TV
2300 Buffer TV
2330 Buffer TV
0000 SLEEP TV
0030 SLEEP TV
0100 SLEEP TV
0130 SLEEP TV
0200 SLEEP TV
0230 SLEEP TV
0300 SLEEP
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0400 SLEEP
Sat Oct 21 23:55:53 UTC 2017

Basic Economics.

Chapter 8: Regulations and Anti-Trust Laws.

This book is very convincing, I must say. It is only once it breaches subjects that I am more familiar with that I am reminded that this philosophy isn't perfect nor does its understanding of reality always properly reflect reality.

The book lists anti-trust actions against Microsoft as an example of bad anti-trust laws. I simply do not agree. Microsoft had a true monopoly. If this writing becomes a proper review of the book in the future, again I'll have to "find my sources" (probably how I'll search for writing that needs citations when I review these writings later), but off the top of my head Microsoft forced hardware manufacturers to exclusively bundle its operating system with their computers (no other OS bundling allowed), would annonce the development of software that it had no intention of devloping to deter competitors from developing that same software (aka annouce vaporware).

It was so bad that Microsoft was forced to invest in Apple (for a variety of reasons) such that they had a proper competitor. And until Apple grew in popularity, Apple basically stayed the only competitor. If not for that requirement, Microsoft could well have had a stranglehold on the market for quite some time.

And the example given in the book was about an anti-trust law that required Microsoft to allow competitors to develop software applications for its OS. Definitely a major win that allowed true competition in the variety of possible software a user has access to on their computer. Something that very likely improved Microsoft's quality to users, and set a standard for potential competing OSes to follow.

Businesses do things against their own interest for greedy reasons all the time. When forced to do a thing that fosters competition, it often improves the anti-competition businesses bottom-lines. It happened with Rockerfeller, and it probably happened with Microsoft.

Daily Entry: October 20th, 2017

Sat Oct 21 00:32:07 UTC 2017

Fridays seem to be tired days lately. A sign of working hard throughout the week?

Time-block

Time (PDT) Intention Revision 1 Revision 2
0430 SLEEP
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0630 SLEEP
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0730 SLEEP
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0830 SLEEP
0900 SLEEP
0930 SLEEP
1000 SLEEP
1030 SLEEP
1100 SST Weekly Standup
1130 Walk to work
1200 Lunch
1230 Lunch
1300 Lunch
1330 Tired distractedness
1400 Tired distractedness
1430 PLANNING
1500 Actions
1530 Zendesk Connector and distracted
1600 Zendesk Connector and distracted
1630 Walk to library
1700 Actions: Reading
1730 Actions: Reading
1800 Walk to Livio's and eat
1830 Hanging out Voltron
1900 Hanging out Neo Yokio
1930 Hanging out Conversation
2000 Hanging out Conversation
2030 Hanging out Conversation
2100 Hanging out Conversation
2130 Hanging out Conversation
2200 Walk home Conversation
2230 Cooking Conversation
2300 Cooking Conversation
2330 Gaming: Overwatch Conversation
0000 Gaming: Overwatch Conversation
0030 Gaming: Overwatch Conversation
0100 Gaming: Overwatch Walk home
0130 Maintenance and Youtube SLEEP
0200 Maintenance and Youtube SLEEP
0230 Packing SLEEP
0300 Packing SLEEP
0330 TV SLEEP
0400 TV SLEEP
Sat Oct 21 00:33:12 UTC 2017

Basic Economics reading.

Here we go, "Monopolies and Cartels" in Chapter 7, "The Economics of Big Business". Will I eat my earlier words? I hope so.

Before that though, because I'm already writing, some random thoughts. I am really enjoying the book's example-based approach to things, in all honesty. It's pretty solid.

Though, there's a lot of assumption that people whose money are on the line are more likely to know the value of things. He mentions CEO compensation and golden parachutes, and says that these things are likely necessary mechanisms, but (again, I'll have to find and vet my sources here) to my knowledge, empirical studies show no good evidence that higher CEO pay leads to better results.

In fact, it often leads to worse results. Perhaps a weakness in the system that could be overcome with newcomers and the better data.

Anyways, back to reading.

He's blaming governments for monopolies. I guess that's technically accurate, but he's blaming not a lack of laws but the creation of laws that help monopolies exist. The latter is possible, mind you, but the former is also very possible. A free market is a vacuum, and businesses can create their own pseudo-governments quite easily. It's just asking for the creation of a plutocracy.

No mention of Rockerfeller in the section. The closest the book comes to admitting that privately created monopolies could require political intervention is: "In the absence of government prohibition against entry into particular industries, various clever schemes can be used privately to try to erect barriers to keep out competitors and protect monopoly profits. But other businesses have incentives to be just as clever at circumventing these barriers. Accordingly, the effectiveness of barriers to entry has varied from industry to industry and from one era to another in the same industry."

The book goes on to note computers as an example. When they were big and costly, not that much competition, but as innovations made them cheaper, competition seeped in.

Perhaps foundational costs are a weakness in a purely free-market economy, and alternative methods of initial ground-breaking research is warrented? That's my take, anyways.

That's the end of chapter 7, and the end of my reading for today. Tune in tomorrow for "Chapter 8: Regulation and Anti-Trust Laws". The title seems promising.

Sat Oct 21 01:35:39 UTC 2017

Friend running late, getting some extra reading in before heading over to his place.

There's a really good bit in this chapter already:

"The economic complexities involved when regulatory agencies set prices are compounded by political complexities. Regulatory agencies are often set up after some political crusaders have successfully launched investigations or publicity campaigns that convince the authorities to establish a permanent commission to oversee and control a monopoly or some group of firms few enough in number to be a threat to behave in collusion as if they were one monopoly. However, after a commission has been set up and its powers established, crusaders and the media tend to lose interest over the years an turn their attention to other things. Meanwhile, the firms being regulated continue to take a keen interest in activities of the commission and to lobby the government for favorable regulations and favorable appointments of individuals to these commisions.

"The net result of these asymmetrical outside interests on these agencies is that commissions set up to keep a given firm or industry within bounds, for the benefit of the consumers, often metamorphose into agencies seeking to protect the existing regulated firms from threats arising from new firms with new technology or new organizational methods. [...]"

The book goes on to give an example in the Interstate Commerce Commission. My mind, however, went to the FCC and the recent appointment of a leader completely uninterested in maintaining Net Neutrality.

Basic Economics Review Ongoing Draft

Fri Oct 13 05:52:23 UTC 2017

I have gotten a library card and checked out my first book: "Basic Economics" by Thomas Sowell. I anticipate that I will be very critical of it. Someone who expresses opinions I disagree with, but in a manner that shows he has put thought into those opinions thinks highly of this book. From what I understand of the author, and the book, it will not be a book whose main priority is a well-rounded introduction to economics, but a book about economics with a libertarian agenda.

I'm keeping that bias in mind as I head into the book. It will paint my opinion of the book, and unfairly so, unless I keep the bias in check and properly balance it out. It can be an exercise in managing first impressions, as "Hire with Your Head" recommends.

This book is due back at the library on November 2nd. This gives me 22 days (counting today) to 634 pages. So I gots about 30 pages to read per day. I just read 13 pages in about 15 minutes, so I have a little over a half-hour of reading to do on average per day.

Totally doable.

Though, I must say, I'm already noticing the libertarian slant the book has. Consider this rather mundane quote: "In a market economy coordinated by prices, there is no one at the top to issue orders to control or coordinate activities throughout the economy."

I think, already, I'm noticing a lack of consideration of who controls the wealth, and the role that leverage plays in economies. Though right on the cover there is a note about this edition of the book: "See Especially the Newly Added Chapter on International Wealth Disparities".

So, perhaps I will be happily proven wrong here.

In any case, I'd like to keep a running commentary on this book whilst I read it. I think it'd prove valuable as a means of keeping track of my reactions to the book, and whether or not those reactions are fair, or more-importantly if those reactions are true.

So far, the book started off strong, but has already started implying libertarianism to be the one true economic strategy. I've liked the definition of economics, and the statement that: "regardless of our policies, practices, or institutions [...] there is simply not enough to go around to satisfy all our desires to the fullest. [...] These various kinds of economies [socialist, capitalist, feudal, etc.] are just different institutional ways of making trade-offs that are inescapable in any economy."

I'm thinking that I will gain some good vocabulary, concepts, and valid economic lenses even if this book ends up painting pure capitalism as the best economic strategy in every case.

It will be like learning a game from a particularly good player, but that player only believes in one methodology of playing. As long as I learn good fundamentals and keep potential flaws in mind, I should still be better off than starting from scratch, and maybe even better off than reading the opinions of an expert whose conclusions I agree with or trying to navigate the labyrinth of blatant and nuanced disagreement amongst experts at once.

In any case, for the two of you who might follow me on this journey, if I manage to keep posting my thoughts, know that they are a work-in-progress whilst I read this book, and hopefully I'll come back to these notes after I finish the book and then consolidate everything into a well-constructed opinion.

Having already written a lot today, I'll stop reading for the day. I should still finish the book if I manage to do a proper 30 pages per day starting tomorrow. I'm thinking I'll attempt to stop by the library on my way home everyday for a solid hour of a reading per day. We'll see, though, as I also want to try running home from work, and carrying a rather large book while running makes me think that these are mutually exclusive ideas.

I have some thoughts about fixing this exclusivity, but they have pros and cons themselves. We'll see what I decide to do.

Sat Oct 14 02:31:55 UTC 2017

Moar "Basic Economics" reading!

I have just finished "Chapter 2: The Role of Prices", and it's a well-written justification of the magic of the free-market. It is well-written in that it is fun to read and gives valid examples of the impossibility of top-down control, and how fluctuating prices redistribute resources effectively. It also is clearly avoiding any of the harder examples that show what happense when the free market fails.

Monopolies? Conflicts of interest? Really, it seems so far that the concept of "leverage" is completely ignored. Who has ownership or control and how does that affect the economic game? It's a really important part of economics, and a significant reason why a pure free-market simply can not exist. The people who end up controlling the scarce resources, whatever their means in acquiring such power, now have arbitrary control over those resources, thus destroying the free market. They effectively become a government, and there's nothing stopping them from being a particularly poor government.

His arguments against top-down control are valid, but they are not complete. The system we have currently arrived at is still imperfect. There are flaws, and how we go about addressing the flaws may indeed require retrying strategies that didn't work universally, but may work in specific situations.

There are 27 chapters in the book. So either I'll need to be comfortable stopping in the middle of a chapter, or some days I need to read more than others.

We'll see what I do.

The next chapter is "Price Controls". I'm sure I'll enjoy that.

Sat Oct 14 22:05:04 UTC 2017

Reading a bit of "Basic Economics" at the Seattle Indies Meetup.

I already have a bunch of problems with the "Price Controls" chapter. The problem isn't that what he saying isn't true, the problem is him leaving out a bunch of details that make the whole situation a lot more complicated than it is.

For example, price controls are not just a government thing. People who own the supply can very well work towards price controls. This is the reason monopolies are bad. But I wonder if monopolies will ever be mentioned in this book at all.

I keep coming back to the lack of consideration of "leverage". I mean, I haven't read much of the book, but if leverage isn't ever brought up, I won't be surprised, and the book will be missing an important part of economics because of it.

And leverage is an important concept, because it's a part of how governments influence economies, and noting that leverage isn't only a tool of governments is an important means of considering why economies are fragile and need purposeful direction at times.

Mon Oct 16 01:25:25 UTC 2017

Basic Economics.

Finished chapter 3 "Price Controls". It's really weird to me that he doesn't mention price controls via monopolies. He even mentions governments that make prices artificially high, but doesn't mention monopolies.

Otherwise, it is indeed a very convincing chapter. But his focus on government inefficiencies and not other inefficiencies makes me pretty confident that he's leaving out key information that doesn't maintain his argument that pure capitalism is best economic system, period.

It's something I'll need to come back to after doing research outside this book.

Though, a lot of reading this book makes me think that maybe basic income really is a more effective solution than government subsidies.

That's a thought to also revisit later.

Tue Oct 17 03:15:33 UTC 2017

More "Basic Economics".

Falling behind the planned pages-per-day. Hopefully I'll catch up on some flights starting this Sunday.

In any cases, "Basic Enconomics" has brought up a common argument against socialized medicine in this chapter (Chapter 4: An Overview of Prices). Well, two common arguments:

  1. Socialized medicine ends up more expensive
  2. Socialized medicine has longer wait times

For 1, to be fair, he says "more expensive than anticipated", instead of "overall more expensive for society". That's just a nature of doing things, it's almost always more expensive than anticipated. Things are complicated.

But, as it stands, the United States spends more on healthcare than any other nation. I'llneed to refind my sources, and also make sure those sources aren't playing with numbers to get to this conclusion, I also will need to see how the US fared pre-ACA, but considering the fact that the ACA was super pushed for, I wouldn't be surprised that healthcare spending was spiraling out-of-control before its inception.

As for 2, I will also need to refind my sources, but as far as I can tell it simply isn't true. Wait times vary for the large variety of different kinds of medicine appointments from country-to-country with generally little correlation with that country's method of paying for healthcare.

Further, many of the studies that measure "wait times" measure from the setting of the appointment to its proper execution. These studies simple do not count people who need medical care but can not set an appointment due to cost. Those people's wait times are essentially inifite.

But, again, this is something I'll need to refind sources on, properly vet those sources, and maybe even make a more formal bit of writing for my argument there.

In any case, still this book only ever mentions the government mucking up the economy. I wonder if it'll ever mention other forces breaking the economy. My understanding of this book as libertarian propaganda makes me think it will not.

Note: I still find a lot of the arguments and concepts within these books well written and valid. It's just clearly missing additional details necessary for rounded economic thinking, I think. My lack of rounded economic education may make that assertion unfounded, however.

There are lots of solid things to quote that I agree with in this chapter, is what I'm trying to say. I'm just not going to because I went on a tangent and am out of time for today. If future me does more with this book's writing, and uses my notes here as future reference, make sure to point out that the writing on "systemic" vs "individual" causes are really greate (and the logic therein could be applied to a great many things).

Fri Oct 20 00:43:54 UTC 2017

Basic Economics reading.

I've hit a spot where the book mentions John D. Rockerfeller and his role in lowering the price of kerosene. It seems he has stopped talking about him without mentioning his role as an oil tycoon and the monopoly that was forced into being broken up.

I'll read until the end of the chapter before I comment more on this.

No mention whatsoever....

I'm legit surprised. I mean, the chapter is titled "The Rise and Fall of Businesses". Mentioning Rockerfeller and not his ensuing monopoly and its legally, not business, enforced breakup into smaller institutions is a significant socialist talking point, as far as I know (and this book goes out of its way to criticize solialism).

Rockerfeller's story is a perfect example of non-government price controls in action. It is a significant thing to bring up. His monopoly lasted decades and when his businesses were forced to be broken up, he ended up making more money than before because the economy improved as a whole.

It is both proof of the importance of competition and proof of possible value from government intervention.

Chapter 6, "The Role of Profits--and Losses", has a bit of splash text mentioning Rockerfeller. I may have spoken too soon, he may be brought up regularly. Perhaps he'll give his interpretation of Rockerfeller's monopoly in this chapter, or at some point in the book.

I don't think Rockerfeller is going to be mentioned again.

I must stress again that I agree with a lot of what this book talks about, and that it provides insights and examples that I have not come across before, but it's stuff like that that really makes me think it's philosophy has significant blind spots.

Perhaps next time I'll focus on some of the stuff I like. It may be prudent to do so. "Hire with Your Head" taught me to fight against my first-impression and early biases, and to be honest I'm clearly not doing that in my written thoughts.

Fri Oct 20 09:32:52 UTC 2017

Getting some more reading of Basic Economics in.

It makes a really neat point about bridges and tolls. The logic goes: bridges are built with peak hours in mind, and in many other proper businesses, peak hours are when costs are highest. But because of the nature of government-controlled things, all users of the bridge are charged the same amount. (I must note that private roads with tolls also have this problem.)

This is a solid point. If tolls were less during less busy times, people would be incentivized to travel during less busy times, and this would help alleviate rush-hour problems.

I've had a similar thought recently, but with non-toll highways. Carpool lanes are only usable by vehicles with more than one passenger during peak hours. I think that instead of there being a carpool lane, there should only be one non-carpool lane during peak hours. The worst lane, the right-most one that is always the slowest.

I say this because the carpool lane, while cool, isn't even that convenient to use when I'm elligible, as it's a single lane that limits me to the speed of the cars behind and in front of me (I do not like tail-gaters nor do I like the car in front to fell slow). It's also hard to get to, especially during rush-hour when traffic slows to a drizzle.

But I think the car-pool lane is an excellent idea. When I moved to Seattle, I paid attention to all the single-occupant vehicles, and they were a good 90% of vehicles. And rush-hour was crazy packed depending on the direction. I think harder carpool rules could really put a dent in that and save a lot of people time, gas, and car maintenance.

Back to reading.

Sat Oct 21 00:33:12 UTC 2017

Basic Economics reading.

Here we go, "Monopolies and Cartels" in Chapter 7, "The Economics of Big Business". Will I eat my earlier words? I hope so.

Before that though, because I'm already writing, some random thoughts. I am really enjoying the book's example-based approach to things, in all honesty. It's pretty solid.

Though, there's a lot of assumption that people whose money are on the line are more likely to know the value of things. He mentions CEO compensation and golden parachutes, and says that these things are likely necessary mechanisms, but (again, I'll have to find and vet my sources here) to my knowledge, empirical studies show no good evidence that higher CEO pay leads to better results.

In fact, it often leads to worse results. Perhaps a weakness in the system that could be overcome with newcomers and the better data.

Anyways, back to reading.

He's blaming governments for monopolies. I guess that's technically accurate, but he's blaming not a lack of laws but the creation of laws that help monopolies exist. The latter is possible, mind you, but the former is also very possible. A free market is a vacuum, and businesses can create their own pseudo-governments quite easily. It's just asking for the creation of a plutocracy.

No mention of Rockerfeller in the section. The closest the book comes to admitting that privately created monopolies could require political intervention is: "In the absence of government prohibition against entry into particular industries, various clever schemes can be used privately to try to erect barriers to keep out competitors and protect monopoly profits. But other businesses have incentives to be just as clever at circumventing these barriers. Accordingly, the effectiveness of barriers to entry has varied from industry to industry and from one era to another in the same industry."

The book goes on to note computers as an example. When they were big and costly, not that much competition, but as innovations made them cheaper, competition seeped in.

Perhaps foundational costs are a weakness in a purely free-market economy, and alternative methods of initial ground-breaking research is warrented? That's my take, anyways.

That's the end of chapter 7, and the end of my reading for today. Tune in tomorrow for "Chapter 8: Regulation and Anti-Trust Laws". The title seems promising.

Sat Oct 21 01:35:39 UTC 2017

Friend running late, getting some extra reading in before heading over to his place.

There's a really good bit in this chapter already:

"The economic complexities involved when regulatory agencies set prices are compounded by political complexities. Regulatory agencies are often set up after some political crusaders have successfully launched investigations or publicity campaigns that convince the authorities to establish a permanent commission to oversee and control a monopoly or some group of firms few enough in number to be a threat to behave in collusion as if they were one monopoly. However, after a commission has been set up and its powers established, crusaders and the media tend to lose interest over the years an turn their attention to other things. Meanwhile, the firms being regulated continue to take a keen interest in activities of the commission and to lobby the government for favorable regulations and favorable appointments of individuals to these commisions.

"The net result of these asymmetrical outside interests on these agencies is that commissions set up to keep a given firm or industry within bounds, for the benefit of the consumers, often metamorphose into agencies seeking to protect the existing regulated firms from threats arising from new firms with new technology or new organizational methods. [...]"

The book goes on to give an example in the Interstate Commerce Commission. My mind, however, went to the FCC and the recent appointment of a leader completely uninterested in maintaining Net Neutrality.

Sat Oct 21 23:55:53 UTC 2017

Basic Economics.

Chapter 8: Regulations and Anti-Trust Laws.

This book is very convincing, I must say. It is only once it breaches subjects that I am more familiar with that I am reminded that this philosophy isn't perfect nor does its understanding of reality always properly reflect reality.

The book lists anti-trust actions against Microsoft as an example of bad anti-trust laws. I simply do not agree. Microsoft had a true monopoly. If this writing becomes a proper review of the book in the future, again I'll have to "find my sources" (probably how I'll search for writing that needs citations when I review these writings later), but off the top of my head Microsoft forced hardware manufacturers to exclusively bundle its operating system with their computers (no other OS bundling allowed), would annonce the development of software that it had no intention of devloping to deter competitors from developing that same software (aka annouce vaporware).

It was so bad that Microsoft was forced to invest in Apple (for a variety of reasons) such that they had a proper competitor. And until Apple grew in popularity, Apple basically stayed the only competitor. If not for that requirement, Microsoft could well have had a stranglehold on the market for quite some time.

And the example given in the book was about an anti-trust law that required Microsoft to allow competitors to develop software applications for its OS. Definitely a major win that allowed true competition in the variety of possible software a user has access to on their computer. Something that very likely improved Microsoft's quality to users, and set a standard for potential competing OSes to follow.

Businesses do things against their own interest for greedy reasons all the time. When forced to do a thing that fosters competition, it often improves the anti-competition businesses bottom-lines. It happened with Rockerfeller, and it probably happened with Microsoft.

Daily Entry: October 19th, 2017

Fri Oct 20 00:43:04 UTC 2017

Oops, forgot to populate a post today after making my time block.

Time (PDT) Intention Revision 1 Revision 2
0330 Computer
0400 SLEEP
0430 SLEEP
0500 SLEEP
0530 SLEEP
0600 SLEEP
0630 SLEEP
0700 SLEEP
0730 SLEEP
0800 SLEEP
0830 SLEEP
0900 SLEEP
0930 SLEEP
1000 SLEEP
1030 SLEEP
1100 SLEEP
1130 SLEEP
1200 Computer
1230 Walk to work
1300 PLANNING
1330 Zendesk Connector
1400 Zendesk Connector Noj Django Advice
1430 1:1 with Alex
1500 Zendesk Connector Aimless meandering
1530 Zendesk Connector
1600 Zendesk Connector
1630 WeWork Happy Hour
1700 Social buffer Walk to Library
1730 Walk to library Actions: Reading
1800 Zendesk Connector Actions: Reading
1830 Zendesk Connector Mostly distracted
1900 Actions: Reading Walk home
1930 Actions: Reading Stretching
2000 Walk home Eating
2030 Cooking Zendesk Connector
2100 Cooking Zendesk Connector
2130 Gaming: Overwatch
2200 Gaming: Overwatch
2230 Gaming: Overwatch
2300 Gaming: Overwatch
2330 End of day review Gaming: Overwatch
0000 Maintenance and YouTube Gaming: Overwatch
0030 Maintenance and YouTube Gaming: Overwatch
0100 Zendesk Connector Gaming: Overwatch
0130 Zendesk Connector End of day review
0200 Personal project Home end of day review
0230 Personal project Actions: Reading
0300 TV
0330 TV
0400 TV
Fri Oct 20 00:43:54 UTC 2017

Basic Economics reading.

I've hit a spot where the book mentions John D. Rockerfeller and his role in lowering the price of kerosene. It seems he has stopped talking about him without mentioning his role as an oil tycoon and the monopoly that was forced into being broken up.

I'll read until the end of the chapter before I comment more on this.

No mention whatsoever....

I'm legit surprised. I mean, the chapter is titled "The Rise and Fall of Businesses". Mentioning Rockerfeller and not his ensuing monopoly and its legally, not business, enforced breakup into smaller institutions is a significant socialist talking point, as far as I know (and this book goes out of its way to criticize solialism).

Rockerfeller's story is a perfect example of non-government price controls in action. It is a significant thing to bring up. His monopoly lasted decades and when his businesses were forced to be broken up, he ended up making more money than before because the economy improved as a whole.

It is both proof of the importance of competition and proof of possible value from government intervention.

Chapter 6, "The Role of Profits--and Losses", has a bit of splash text mentioning Rockerfeller. I may have spoken too soon, he may be brought up regularly. Perhaps he'll give his interpretation of Rockerfeller's monopoly in this chapter, or at some point in the book.

I don't think Rockerfeller is going to be mentioned again.

I must stress again that I agree with a lot of what this book talks about, and that it provides insights and examples that I have not come across before, but it's stuff like that that really makes me think it's philosophy has significant blind spots.

Perhaps next time I'll focus on some of the stuff I like. It may be prudent to do so. "Hire with Your Head" taught me to fight against my first-impression and early biases, and to be honest I'm clearly not doing that in my written thoughts.

Anyways, time to stop reading at the Seattle Public Library do some work at the Seattle Public Library.

Take advantage of that public WiFi speed.

One last note, though: I'm a week into reading "Basic Economics" and 125 pages in. That's 8 of my 22 days with the book spent. So over 33% of my time has been used to read 20% of the book.

Going to need to catch up, for sure.

Fri Oct 20 01:44:21 UTC 2017

Work-time.

Fri Oct 20 08:47:08 UTC 2017

End of day review.

The nice thing about working from home is I can start working on some habits that I've been meaning to work on.

Like, for instance, doing an end of day review, but for personal stuff on this here diary. Like what I'm going to do right now. As thoughts come to me I'll switch between work .plan file and public diary blog.

First thought: played too much Overwatch. This is the second instances, technically in a row, wherein I played too much. Might be time to set alarms for when to stop next time I start playing.

I'm really liking my building habit of posting here everyday. Who'd've thought a simple, easy-to-fill-in time-block schedule would've been what started this?

It's really been great, too. Back in 2015, when I blogged about each task on a LAN setup, there was just way too much data saved, and really I created too much overhead. End-of-day reviews took a whole 30 minutes, and weekly reviews somtimes added an hour. I even managed a few monthly reviews, adding even more time. With this system, an end of day review can be like 5 minutes, and a weekly review 30. Monthly reviews probably won't be much longer. And weekly reviews contain my end-of-day review, and so monthly reviews will contain the weekly review. I think it will scale nicely.

Though, I'd also like to do those reviews in this diary, and that'll take some rethinking of my approach.

I think, also, that my various writings on various things should also go to a massive "draft" file for that thing. So as to keep tabs on my thinking over time and have a solid reference pool when I want to write somethign "properly".

So, all my Basic Economics writing should go into a big Basic Economics review draft, as well as be in my daily entries.

Oh, hey, there's a link in the paragraph above. I did the thing, Stephan.

Review done.

Fri Oct 20 09:32:52 UTC 2017

Getting some more reading of Basic Economics in.

It makes a really neat point about bridges and tolls. The logic goes: bridges are built with peak hours in mind, and in many other proper businesses, peak hours are when costs are highest. But because of the nature of government-controlled things, all users of the bridge are charged the same amount. (I must note that private roads with tolls also have this problem.)

This is a solid point. If tolls were less during less busy times, people would be incentivized to travel during less busy times, and this would help alleviate rush-hour problems.

I've had a similar thought recently, but with non-toll highways. Carpool lanes are only usable by vehicles with more than one passenger during peak hours. I think that instead of there being a carpool lane, there should only be one non-carpool lane during peak hours. The worst lane, the right-most one that is always the slowest.

I say this because the carpool lane, while cool, isn't even that convenient to use when I'm elligible, as it's a single lane that limits me to the speed of the cars behind and in front of me (I do not like tail-gaters nor do I like the car in front to fell slow). It's also hard to get to, especially during rush-hour when traffic slows to a drizzle.

But I think the car-pool lane is an excellent idea. When I moved to Seattle, I paid attention to all the single-occupant vehicles, and they were a good 90% of vehicles. And rush-hour was crazy packed depending on the direction. I think harder carpool rules could really put a dent in that and save a lot of people time, gas, and car maintenance.

Back to reading.

Daily Entry: October 18th, 2017

Wed Oct 18 22:17:35 UTC 2017

Time block

Time (PDT) Intention Revision 1 Revision 2
0230 Dinner
0300 TV: Defenders
0330 SLEEP
0400 SLEEP
0430 SLEEP
0500 SLEEP
0530 SLEEP
0600 SLEEP
0630 SLEEP
0700 SLEEP
0730 Mid-sleep wake-up
0800 Computer
0830 SLEEP
0900 SLEEP
0930 SLEEP
1000 SLEEP
1030 SLEEP
1100 SLEEP
1130 SLEEP
1200 Wake up
1230 Walk to gym
1300 Mixpanel gym event
1330 Mixpanel gym event
1400 Walk to work
1430 Food
1500 PLANNING
1530 Zendesk Connector
1600 Walk to library Zendesk Connector
1630 Zendesk Connector Zendesk Connector
1700 Zendesk Connector Walk to library
1730 Actions: Reading Library exploration
1800 Actions: Reading Walk home
1830 Walk home TV: Bob's Burgers
1900 Zendesk Connector Distracted browsing
1930 Zendesk Connector
2000 Zendesk Connector
2030 Zendesk Connector
2100 Cooking Zendesk Connector
2130 Cooking Zendesk Connector
2200 Gaming: Overwatch Zendesk Connector
2230 Gaming: Overwatch Zendesk Connector
2300 Gaming: Overwatch Cooking
2330 Gaming: Overwatch Cooking and quick review
0000 End of day review Gaming: Overwatch
0030 Maintenance Gaming: Overwatch
0100 Maintenance Gaming: Overwatch
0130 TV: Defenders TV: Defenders
0200 SLEEP Computer
0230 SLEEP TV: Youtube
0300 SLEEP TV: Youtube
Thu Oct 19 06:51:14 UTC 2017

Doing work from home may prove dangerous. Spent a lot more time working than I anticipated doing. Don't want it to overcome other aspects of life, and don't want to burn out.

Daily Entry: October 17th, 2017

Tue Oct 17 21:27:27 UTC 2017

Time-block

Time (PDT) Intention Revision 1 Revision 2
0000 Gaming: Overwatch
0030 TV: We Bare Bears
0100 TV: Defenders
0130 TV: Defenders
0200 SLEEP
0230 SLEEP
0300 SLEEP
0330 SLEEP
0400 SLEEP
0430 SLEEP
0500 SLEEP
0530 SLEEP
0600 SLEEP
0630 SLEEP
0700 SLEEP
0730 SLEEP
0800 SLEEP
0830 SLEEP
0900 SLEEP
0930 SLEEP
1000 SLEEP
1030 SLEEP
1100 SLEEP
1130 SLEEP
1200 SLEEP
1230 Computer
1300 Breakfast
1330 Walk to work
1400 PLANNING
1430 SST Planning Weekly
1500 Zendesk Connector
1530 Zendesk Connector Ping pong
1600 Zendesk Connector
1630 Zendesk Connector
1700 Social Buffer
1730 Zendesk Connector
1800 Zendesk Connector
1830 Bus to theatre and reading
1900 Pre movie snacks? Yes, and reading
1930 Movie
2000 Movie
2030 Movie
2100 Movie
2130 Bus back to work Movie
2200 Zendesk Connector Bus home
2230 Actions: Reading Bus home
2300 Actions: Reading Computer
2330 End-of-day review Zendesk Connector
0000 Walk home Zendesk Connector
0030 Cooking End-of-day review Zendesk Connector
0100 TV: Defenders Zendesk Connector
0130 TV: Defenders Zendesk Connector
0200 SLEEP Zendesk Connector and quick review

Starting to rotate the time block because my sleep schedule is rotating and I might as well. Going to just tag the time I fell asleep the day before as the end of the time-block for now.

Wed Oct 18 09:27:11 UTC 2017

Working from home actually went really well!

Well, well if you consider doing way more work than anticipated (hours-wise) a positive. Which for now I do.

Daily Entry: October 16th, 2017

Mon Oct 16 20:49:06 UTC 2017
Time (PDT) Intention Revision 1 Revision 2
0000 Computer
0030 Computer
0100 TV: Defenders
0130 TV: Defenders
0200 SLEEP
0230 SLEEP
0300 SLEEP
0330 SLEEP
0400 SLEEP
0430 SLEEP
0500 SLEEP
0530 SLEEP
0600 SLEEP
0630 SLEEP
0700 SLEEP
0730 SLEEP
0800 SLEEP
0830 SLEEP
0900 SLEEP
0930 SLEEP
1000 SLEEP
1030 SLEEP
1100 Waking up
1130 Walk to work
1200 Welcome Lunch
1230 Welcome Lunch
1300 Zendesk stuff
1330 PLANNING
1400 Iron Guild Meeting
1430 Iron Guild Meeting
1500 Zendesk Connector
1530 Zendesk Connector
1600 Zendesk Connector
1630 Zendesk Connector
1700 Walk to library
1730 Zendesk Connector
1800 Zendesk Connector
1830 Zendesk Connector
1900 Actions: Reading Zendesk Connector
1930 Actions: Reading
2000 Drop off laptop at work and quick review
2030 Walk home
2100 Cooking
2130 Cooking
2200 Gaming: Overwatch
2230 Gaming: Overwatch
2300 SLEEP Gaming: Overwatch
2330 SLEEP Gaming: Overwatch
Tue Oct 17 03:15:33 UTC 2017

More "Basic Economics".

Falling behind the planned pages-per-day. Hopefully I'll catch up on some flights starting this Sunday.

In any cases, "Basic Enconomics" has brought up a common argument against socialized medicine in this chapter (Chapter 4: An Overview of Prices). Well, two common arguments:

  1. Socialized medicine ends up more expensive
  2. Socialized medicine has longer wait times

For 1, to be fair, he says "more expensive than anticipated", instead of "overall more expensive for society". That's just a nature of doing things, it's almost always more expensive than anticipated. Things are complicated.

But, as it stands, the United States spends more on healthcare than any other nation. I'llneed to refind my sources, and also make sure those sources aren't playing with numbers to get to this conclusion, I also will need to see how the US fared pre-ACA, but considering the fact that the ACA was super pushed for, I wouldn't be surprised that healthcare spending was spiraling out-of-control before its inception.

As for 2, I will also need to refind my sources, but as far as I can tell it simply isn't true. Wait times vary for the large variety of different kinds of medicine appointments from country-to-country with generally little correlation with that country's method of paying for healthcare.

Further, many of the studies that measure "wait times" measure from the setting of the appointment to its proper execution. These studies simple do not count people who need medical care but can not set an appointment due to cost. Those people's wait times are essentially inifite.

But, again, this is something I'll need to refind sources on, properly vet those sources, and maybe even make a more formal bit of writing for my argument there.

In any case, still this book only ever mentions the government mucking up the economy. I wonder if it'll ever mention other forces breaking the economy. My understanding of this book as libertarian propaganda makes me think it will not.

Note: I still find a lot of the arguments and concepts within these books well written and valid. It's just clearly missing additional details necessary for rounded economic thinking, I think. My lack of rounded economic education may make that assertion unfounded, however.

There are lots of solid things to quote that I agree with in this chapter, is what I'm trying to say. I'm just not going to because I went on a tangent and am out of time for today. If future me does more with this book's writing, and uses my notes here as future reference, make sure to point out that the writing on "systemic" vs "individual" causes are really greate (and the logic therein could be applied to a great many things).

Tue Oct 17 03:31:11 UTC 2017

Time to walk home.

Daily Entry: October 15th, 2017

Mon Oct 16 01:14:54 UTC 2017

Starting the time-block late

Time (PDT) Intention Revision 1 Revision 2
0000 SLEEP
0030 SLEEP
0100 SLEEP
0130 SLEEP
0200 SLEEP
0230 SLEEP
0300 SLEEP
0330 SLEEP
0400 SLEEP
0430 SLEEP
0500 SLEEP
0530 SLEEP
0600 SLEEP
0630 SLEEP
0700 SLEEP
0730 SLEEP
0800 SLEEP
0830 SLEEP
0900 SLEEP
0930 SLEEP
1000 SLEEP
1030 SLEEP
1100 SLEEP
1130 SLEEP
1200 SLEEP
1230 SLEEP
1300 SLEEP
1330 Waking up
1400 Eating
1430 Computer
1500 Walk to Starbucks
1530 Reading: Basic Econ.
1600 Reading: Basic Econ.
1630 Food plan
1700 Mighty-Os Donuts
1730 Grocery Shopping
1800 PLANNING
1830 Cooking
1900 Cooking
1930 Gaming: Overwatch
2000 Gaming: Overwatch
2030 Gaming: Overwatch
2100 Gaming: Overwatch
2130 Buffer TV: We Bare Bears
2200 Buffer TV: We Bare Bears
2230 Buffer Gaming: Overwatch
2300 SLEEP Gaming: Overwatch
2330 SLEEP Gaming: Overwatch
Mon Oct 16 01:25:25 UTC 2017

Basic Economics.

Finished chapter 3 "Price Controls". It's really weird to me that he doesn't mention price controls via monopolies. He even mentions governments that make prices artificially high, but doesn't mention monopolies.

Otherwise, it is indeed a very convincing chapter. But his focus on government inefficiencies and not other inefficiencies makes me pretty confident that he's leaving out key information that doesn't maintain his argument that pure capitalism is best economic system, period.

It's something I'll need to come back to after doing research outside this book.

Though, a lot of reading this book makes me think that maybe basic income really is a more effective solution than government subsidies.

That's a thought to also revisit later.