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July 2021

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.

Why do we like what we like?

The Lottery of Fascinations

But the thing is, I couldn’t choose to be interested in sports any more than I could choose to be interested in math or a huge sports fan could choose to be interested in psychology or a gay person could choose to be interested in women. I mean, there’s probably some wiggle room, maybe if I put a lot of effort into finding the most interesting sports and learning everything about them I could appreciate them a little. But would I have comparative advantage over the kid who memorized the stats of every pitcher in both leagues when he was 8? Barring getting hit by some kinda cosmic rays or something, I don’t think that’ll ever happen.

Lord of the Roths

How Tech Mogul Peter Thiel Turned a Retirement Account for the Middle Class Into a $5 Billion Tax-Free Piggy Bank

Open a Roth with $2,000 or less. Get a sweetheart deal to buy a stake in a startup that has a good chance of one day exploding in value. Pay just fractions of a penny per share, a price low enough to buy huge numbers of shares. Watch as all the gains on that stock — no matter how giant — are shielded from taxes forever, as long as the IRA remains untouched until age 59 and a half. Then use the proceeds, still inside the Roth, to make other investments.

Owning Artists

Would You Buy Shares in Your Favorite Musician?

The notion of selling shares in an artist in band raises many intriguing possibilities—too many to deal with here. But let me list some of them.

1. A band could sell shares in its music, with potential for spinning off ownership of individual musicians as separate tokens in the case of a breakup. One day you own shares in the Beatles, and after the band dissolves, you still control those tokens, but now receive (in a tax-free spinoff) rights to John, Paul, George and Ringo.

2. Artists could do mergers. So Beyoncé and Jay Z decide one day to issue a combined token. They both enjoy some diversification benefits, and help cement their relationship at the same time.

3. Artists would be free to issue new shares, provided the cash or benefits received are shared equably among current owners. The end result would be like different stages in venture capital financing. I can already imagine the conversations on Sand Hill Road: “Hey, our firm got into Olivia Rodrigo in the first round, for ten cents a token—and we’re now issuing new tokens at two bucks.”

4. When artists run into career problems, they could turn to their powerful billionaire owners for help in resolving them. Consider it as the digital age equivalent of Johnny Fontaine in The Godfather, who gets Don Corleone to make an “offer that can’t be refused” to a stubborn movie mogul. In fact, the whole relationship between Frank Sinatra and the Mafia might be considered as a prototype for the artist tokenization business.

5. Fans would have endless opportunities for demonstrating their loyalty. In the old days, they could buy every album by a favored artist, but in a tokenized world the bar is raised considerably. Even accumulating, say, a 1% stake in second-tier musician might take years of scrimping and saving.

6. Artists would face the complex financial trade-offs all corporations need to address. Do they give away earnings as dividends to token holders, or invest the money in future projects? The older the musician, the greater the pressure to distribute the profits.

Links

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Thanks for reading. Have a great month,

Clay

June 2021

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.

Have you had enough pi?

How Many Decimals of Pi Do We Really Need?

For JPL’s (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory) highest accuracy calculations, which are for interplanetary navigation, we use 3.141592653589793. Let’s look at this a little more closely to understand why we don’t use more decimal places. I think we can even see that there are no physically realistic calculations scientists ever perform for which it is necessary to include nearly as many decimal points as you present.

[…]

[Earth] is 7,926 miles in diameter at the equator. The circumference then is 24,900 miles. That’s how far you would travel if you circumnavigated the globe (and didn’t worry about hills, valleys, obstacles like buildings, rest stops, waves on the ocean, etc.). How far off would your odometer be if you used the limited version of pi above? It would be off by the size of a molecule. There are many different kinds of molecules, of course, so they span a wide range of sizes, but I hope this gives you an idea. Another way to view this is that your error by not using more digits of pi would be 10,000 times thinner than a hair!

Hold the Booze

The Economics of Non-Alcoholic Spirits

One big reason for the higher price? Even though water is cheaper than alcohol, it’s less effective at carrying flavors. Ethanol is an exceptionally good solvent for capturing aroma compounds. These get released when poured into a glass, sipped or mixed with ice or a cocktail, which is what enables the sensory intensity and complexity of distilled spirits.

Alcohol offers so many advantages for flavor extraction and retention that many, if not most non-alcoholic spirits use it at some point in the process, either as a base of distillation that is later removed or as a tincture added in trace amounts to the nearly finished product.

Links

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Do not hesitate to reply to this months email to share links, wisdom, or thoughts.

Thanks for reading. Have a great month,

Clay

May 2021

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.

RIP Yahoo Answers

‘How Do You Get Spaghetti Stains Out of Underwear?’: An Ode to Yahoo Answers

We enter and leave this world alone, but spend the time in between seeking connection. It’s the human experience. But when we’ve strayed too far from the pack, when we’re at our most ashamed, our most lost, our most … too high, Yahoo Answers was there to lead us back home.

The McElroy brother’s podcast, My Brother, My Brother, and Me is fantastic — pick any episode. I’m not sure how they do it but the brothers somehow have new listeners clued in to all the inside and running jokes within an episode or two.

Tell Tale

The Honor System

Until Bakardy came along, Teller had never needed his copyright filings to stake a claim. “It’s not like good manners and generosity are inappropriate ways to behave in the world,” he says. When he has contacted light-fingered magicians in the past, they have always apologized and stopped performing the trick. For instance, he does a trick in which he spills handfuls of coins into a tank filled with water, and they somehow turn into living, breathing goldfish. It’s a throat-catching effect, and a magician in Sweden, who had seen Teller performing the trick on TV, studied the tape and finally lifted it. After Teller called him, the magician said sorry, boxed up his props in a crate, minus the fish, and shipped them to Las Vegas.

This time around, Teller offered to pay Gerard Bakardy several thousand dollars for the time he spent working on the Rose & Her Shadow. He had to promise only that he would stop performing and selling the trick. Bakardy, after asking whether Teller might help him bring Los Dos de Amberes to America, countered with a higher price. No one will confirm exactly what that amount was, but it was allegedly more than $100,000. “It really wasn’t possible for me to come to any terms,” Teller says. “It ended up having certain elements that reminded me of a kidnapping.”

Teller, who had already persuaded YouTube to take down the offending video, asked Bakardy whether his demands were firm. Bakardy said they were.

Teller had a decision to make.

Links

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Thanks for reading. Have a great month,

Clay

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