Musings, media and music from below 14th St.

Dec 12

Briefly, what I think of Gawkers predictable recpetion of the new @LenaDunham book. -

Website that deals almost exclusively in gossip and snark laden irony in a desperate chase for digital advertising revenue take expectation to 26 year olds advise book…apparently because deal for said book was for more money than the will be lifetime earnings of any Gawker staff member and because she comes from privilege (so rare for a New Yorker), despite the chaffing restrictions that usually accompany such privilege. How jealously and sadly Ad Hominem.

GOD I WISH I COULD CHAP THE ASSES OF PEOPLE WHO SO DESPERATELY WISH TO BE VIEWED AS CLEVER AND RELEVANT WITH SUCH LUCRATIVE EASE.

Also, they responded to this statement in the book; “When I was about nine I developed a terrible fear of being anorexic.” thusly: “The quoted sentence is indicative of Dunham’s self-dramatizing narcissism inasmuch as it presents what is obviously a desire for an attention-grabbing condition as a fear of developing said condition. It is also indicative of a nauseating and cloying precociousness that permeates the entire proposal.”

Bravo, Gawker, bravo.

Nov 08

Welcome to my cardboard fort.: An open letter to American Republicans -

bretgs:

So, your boy Mittens lost. That’s rough. I know how that is. In Canada, our President is called a Prime Minister, and last election we voted in Stephen Harper, who I did not vote for, on account of he is a dumbass and looks like a sex offender. Sometimes he tries to turn back the human rights…

(Source: mylarcaps)

Nov 02

Are there rational grounds for anti-gouging laws

Yes, if there is a disaster driven short-term supply shock, where supply is constrained by infrastructure failure and the sought optimal result is the widest possible distribution of basic-need goods.

First, as anyone who saw people buying cases of wine in Brooklyn Sunday observed, people are boundedly rationality at best, and so while this sort of theoretical behavior might conform when aggregated at the macroeconomic level, it generally does not conform at the micro level that assumes a generalized single rational decision making individual.

Second, natural disasters are TEMPORARY supply shocks and TEMPORARY demand increases. Prices are supposed to be signals. “Hey, people are buying more of this shit, so let’s make more of this shit to satisfy that demand.” The problem is, if you’re buying 5 cans of pinto beans before a storm it’s likely because you don’t think the store will be open for a few days, not because you plan to permanently increase your pinto consumption, presumably because you plan to crop dust more people on the subway from now on. Your demand has not increased, you’ve simply fast forwarded future consumption. Increasing prices to satisfy temporary demand and supply shocks, only encourages overproduction through price signaling. It distorts the market process.

Third, in the case of something like, say, a broom or gasoline, there’s usually enough information or signaling beforehand that demand is going to spike and that there may be a run, in which case it is prudent to source all available supply that can be sourced or stocked and even increase prices to hedge against the supply shock not materializing, dropping prices after the non event to clear inventory. But even in this case, there will be constraints on how much can be sourced in time from distribution points or stocked prior to the event so if it does materialize you are still likely facing a supply shortage. 

Lastly, I would challenge ANYONE to empirically find that temporary prices increases produces a more optimal result than fixing current prices, and if necessary, rationing the amount any individual can purchase; optimal results meaning that the most people possible get needed supplies instead of first comers hoarding statically priced goods or the wealthy hoarding and the poor being locked out of purchasing needed supplies due to temporary price increases. The normal concept of shortages is baseless in the context of basic supplies needed by all to weather a natural disaster. To infer so is to commit the fallacy of composition. (Likely, you will seek out what you can’t find at smaller stores at who already have naturally occurring higher prices.)

Increasing price so that supply satisfies demand at that price is exactly how a normal market should function, but a disaster is not a normal market. Temporary shocks can distort the market through prices after the shock is remedied. Besides, supply meeting demand at a market clearing price where there is no excess demand at that price remaining misses the point. Preventing shortages necessarily implies that some people will not get needed goods because the market has rationed supply through prices. That is not an optimal market result to this particular (and non-common) market. It confuses “want” with “need” in applying a generalized theory of market function in normal times to a non-normal market condition. It is a massive logical composition error.

(In response to Yelgesias’, who’s thinking I’m rather fond of, article in Slate (to pick a bit for fun); If he had Yelped his Safeway on L St. NW in D.C., he clearly would have see pictures of the produce section from customers showing shortages in normal times that would indicate that that Safeway is a market failure all the times. Besides (as evidenced from his twitpic on the subject) who considers avocados a staple?)

I call bullshit 

 

Nov 01

[video]

Oct 25

Jul 13

The End of TV and the Death of the Cable Bundle - The Atlantic -

his assesment of the business of content is not quite right, but, I was JUST thinking this today about the Viacom/DirectTV squabble. When you lose the ability to bundle, you lose bundled pricing (the whole album for the song, the subscription or the newstand price of the whole magazine/newspaper for the article). You bundle to inflate price in-order to subsidize risk, which is deeply inherent in content production and distrobution because it’s expsensive to produce and difficult to predict what will prove popular or “a hit.” But the distributors (the cable companies) are the storefront, and if you lose the ability to bundle, you lose the barrier to entry of the storefront (which works almost like a group storefront for networks, owned by 3rd parties with mutual interest maintaining the economics of the exsisting ecosystem) and you lose your storefront. Screw Areo, if you ruin the ability to bundle and you lose the storefront, you lose monopoly pricing power and you deafeat the relevence of the brand infront of the content, the networks. Each piece of content then becomes the brand, along with it’s creators/producers. A la carte won’t work for networks or the cable companies excepting maybe ESPN and the internet doesn’t have a real alternative storefront uet, the economics aren’t there. You can’t take risks and make Madmen and Game of Thrones on $8 a month streaming subscriptions. Whatever comsumers start paying for content on the internet dunctions as a price ceiling, it’s value perception (the $.99 song download). Ask Netflix if it thinks it could ask for 30% price bumps without losing it’s costomer base. Viacom, is about to undermine the business of cable. The cable companies still own the data pipes, and they already make more money there then on the video side. Cable is going to disrupt itself, meedlessly. Game on.

(Source: Viacome is unbundeling tv)

May 13

kickstarter:

Other Travel is a collaborative art project initiated by Hayden Dunham and Meriem Bennani, in which they’ll invite a curated selection of artists and writers to participate in the somewhat adventurous making of new, creative works. Let us explain! Each participating member will receive an invitation to a specific place in New York City, where a surprise box will be delivered to them. The art part begins when the artist chooses to produce their own, original piece in response to the contents of their package. (Watch their first delivery here.) A participatory art project full of intrigue, spontaneity, and mystery? Yes, that’s a Project of the Day all right.

kickstarter:

Other Travel is a collaborative art project initiated by Hayden Dunham and Meriem Bennani, in which they’ll invite a curated selection of artists and writers to participate in the somewhat adventurous making of new, creative works. Let us explain! Each participating member will receive an invitation to a specific place in New York City, where a surprise box will be delivered to them. The art part begins when the artist chooses to produce their own, original piece in response to the contents of their package. (Watch their first delivery here.) A participatory art project full of intrigue, spontaneity, and mystery? Yes, that’s a Project of the Day all right.

Apr 29

Silicon Valley is just as responsible for income inequality and stagnation as Wall St. -

You could explain the bulk of median wage stagnation and income inequality since 1973 from the ideas in this one class lecture to Stanford computer science undergrads and it doesn’t even mention the finance industry…oh, and it’s a HOW TO GUIDE.

Thiel just can’t seem to see how human beings could rationally choose a motivation other than profit seeking…even though someone has to keep teaching undergrads how government works, seing as we suck pretty badly at understanding that as is. And, um, Apple, the most valuable company in the world, started by a Berkeley and a Reed dropout. NYU, Harvard and MIT are at least as productive at churning out students who create high value creating startups these days.

Startups are really important for creating value, creating competition, and driving new products and productivity gains as well as making the labor market more favorable by prventing corporate America from dictating the terms and fuctioning of the labor market. That being said, perfect competition and markets where consumers have perfect information are a virtual myth, and plenty of companies provide value and capture value in markets other than ones locked down by one firm. Those memtioned in this lecture that own their market tend to have some fairly anticompetitive behavior that decreases value the consumer recieves in the name of maintaining the moat (I think about downloading songs from blogs on my iPad that record labels have provided for download as marketing). Barriers to entry are always effective to hide behind, and firms shoukd seek to do so, but the free market, as we have defined and justified it, is supposed to function in a manner where eventually (after the leading firm captures plenty of value) other entrants can enter the market, make it more (not perfectly) competetive. The reulting competition for talent is going to create growing inequality, this is inevitable and can be compensated for at the policy level, but we justify free markets in the premise that they function in an open manner that eventually provides more benifit to more people than alternative economic paradigms. Monopoloy market control never does much good for all but a few in the end.

(Source: Silicon valley can be worse than wall st)

Nov 01

Why Pete Townsend is wrong. -

Hey Pete Townsend: why don’t you and the defunct business model you pine for just f-f-fade away?

Oct 21

Around The States In 90 Days: Seriously need some new York help! From all of you... -

aroundthestatesin90days:

I got to my host’s apartment last night and within 5 minutes he told me he doesn’t like my energy, doesnt like me and I have to leave in the morning! :O I had done nothing wrong at all, I was conversing, polite, everything :(

So now I have two more nights in NYC (Friday & Saturday), no car,…

(Source: aroundthestatesin90days)