Should Google be a Public Company?

Quite simply, no. Nor should Apple or Facebook or many others. Though Mr. Z has done a good job of going public without giving up control it still should never have to happen. A visionary company is prevented from continuing to be visionary by the demands of regulations, shareholders, and public scrutiny of their financial underwear.

Google’s side projects, whether driverless cars or bringing Kansas into the 20th century with broadband internet access, are not going to add to shareholder value any time soon, if ever. What they are far more likely to do is change the way people live for the better. For those of us hellbent on aging, driverless cars will be the greatest thing that ever happened when we are watching our time grind by, longing to escape the odoriferous confines of the old folks home and are no longer able to reap the full rewards of internet porn.

I’m sure Google will manage to make some money off of their projects. Not enough to meet the earnings expectations of many shareholders but enough to remain a profitable company. Shouldn’t that be enough? For a private company it can be.

Currently the only way a startup can make sure employees, VCs and the rest get their payday is by going public. That isn’t some condition of nature but the result of the current rules and regulations in the securities industry. Those are not immutable, and are an abject failure if the goal is to prevent fraud and investor losses; instead causing the proliferation of moral hazards and unintended consequences.

Crowd-sourcing, micro finance and a host of other children of the internet age have created new ways of organizing, developing and funding human creativity. It’s time to get out of the way and let it happen. If employees and venture capital investors could sell shares in whatever venue they chose, whether the company website or a dark alley on the wrong side of the tracks, there would be no need to go public and no need to sacrifice a world-changing vision for the short-term interests of the unimaginative.

Would investors lose money in such a system? Abso-goddamned-lutely. Will they lose more than they do in the current system? I doubt it. Stupid people will find ways to lose money regardless (see this post), and the upside is realizing a greater fraction of What Could Have Been. That’s a world I’d gladly pay to see.


Facebook Foreclosure Sex!

I’m curious how much impact headlines like that really have. But don’t call me a click whore. I’m not getting paid so technically I’m a slut.

Genes, epigenetics and now this. But don’t forget bionomics in accelerating adaptive responses.

No matter how wonderful the satire I wouldn’t dare propose legislation like this for fear it might pass.

Forget grandparents, it’s horny old men that promote longer human life spans. Damn, this could also mean that by facilitating the genetic exchange gold-diggers may also deserve credit.

Right to life movement is not yet active in monkeys.


Sigh Ants Two Day

Animated nuCaptcha defeated. Might as well let the bots post what they want. Cheap human labor now seems to be the preferred way to defeat bot screens anyway.

Synaptic diversity. More complexity at the synaptic level makes consciousness that much easier to explain. No quantum effects needed.

Give it up women. Men aren’t going extinct.

mTOR and metastasis. Promising for some cancers but not clear whether complete inhibition would work very well with chronic use in transplantation.

The latest on radioactive rainfall post Fukushima. I don’t have time to check but it would be wise to verify the sites sampled have been consistent since the accident.

Forcing unnecessary medical procedures on women. You’ll never go broke betting on human stupidity, but I’d sure welcome some occasional losses on that trade.

Pseudo Random Links

There is a lot of stuff out today about John Paulson being sued over the lack of due diligence in his Sino-Forest trade. Assuming Paulson & Co did nothing fraudulent themselves, if you have to sue someone in this situation sue yourself for being a spoiled idiot. I thought the intent of accredited investor rules was to make sure the investors are bright enough to realize the risks, to understand that big returns always come with the risk of big losses, and able to afford them when they inevitably occur. I guess Hugh is only 1 out of 3 (before attorney fees).

Facebook bans “approval, delight, involvement etc in animal or human torture”. It’s a good thing America doesn’t do torture, otherwise posts featuring Obama or Bush would have to be deleted. Sounds like lawsuit fodder to me. Don’t write rules you can’t interpret and enforce consistently. Reminds me of a dress code discussion at one company. I scuttled the idea to only allow a measured amount of cleavage to be exposed by swiftly asking if I could be the one to go around making the precise measurements needed for enforcement. In retrospect some rather poor strategy on my part.

2011 Midwest farm land prices. I think the only way to make money in farmland long-term is to buy land that will be annexed by a growing city within 10 years. The long-term trend in real crop prices has been down for several hundred years so buying farmland for the crop yield isn’t likely to pay until there is so little arable land left real food prices start to skyrocket. That’s been predicted in almost every one of those several hundred years so don’t hold your breath.

Shadow Government Stats GDP chart. I always think “declining pool of real savings” looking at this chart.

Pseudo Random Links

Today’s Facebook link is a summary at TBP which shows their active users are 161 million instead of 850 million.¬† This is very troubling because it’s a little hard to fully hate the company the way I’d like when it means they’re evidently making $26 per active user and not $5. 1999 scented proprietary metrics aside, after adjusting for the puffery they really don’t suck at monetization as it first appeared. I still wouldn’t touch the stock because I think it’s a fad, the privacy issues will start to erode the user base (or my faith in humanity will erode instead), growth isn’t likely to keep up a pace that will satisfy the herd, and the only reason they’re going public is so early investors and employees can sell.

This is a more positive result for once-daily tacrolimus. I suspect improved hemodynamics from lower peak drug levels is the most likely reason for the improved eGFR in this study, but it’s something to look at if you’re stuck with CNI based immunosuppression.

China tries to un-pop the bubble. Once you stop increasing credit at an increasing rate things start to unravel without truly massive intervention to maintain the illusion of prosperity. A hundred or so colossal ghost cities might do the trick, but not this.

Pseudo Random Links

A very unwelcome data point in some circles, from Zero Hedge

Fascinating and rather creepy article on data mining customer purchase information (NYT)

How your brain tells you where you are. Fascinating talk on TED. It seems obvious to me that the additive result of thousands of simple processes like these is what we like to think of as consciousness. The feeling of a unitary self is an illusion created by an endlessly reshuffled kaleidoscope of specialized mental agents called into action in response to external and internal stimuli, with the resulting confetti of perceptions, judgments and feelings then filtered, reordered and stitched together after the fact, by still more agents, into a more or less coherent narrative thread from which the illusion of continuity and conscious self is created. But who was the person in your childhood picture? Or from 10 years ago who thought THAT looked cool? Or even a minute ago who somehow thought reading this was a good idea? We chase phantoms in our minds, finding consciousness that then needs explaining, when it’s nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Barry puzzled by increasing conservatism in the US of A. From an evolutionary perspective it’s completely reasonable; evolutionary game theory, payoff matrices, and opportunistic political party branding rather than any real political meaning or change in beliefs.

Now that the election is over maybe we can do something more useful with our time and money.

What’s wrong with modern economics? It’s hard to find a better example than this. Really, I should be thankful. Without such thinking there would be nobody to take the other side of trades.

Great quote in this post on Facebook’s man in the middle model: “The point is that by sharing with our actual friends through a web intermediary who can store and mine everything, we *harm* people by destroying their privacy *for* them. It’s not the sharing that’s bad, it’s the technological design of giving it all to someone in the middle. That is at once outstandingly stupid and overwhelmingly dangerous.”

A fool and his money are soon parted. 66% premium. I don’t know what to say.

A possible niche in the internet marketplace. Quality. I think I heard of that when I was a kid.

Pseudo Random Links and Commentary

Hopefully the new site theme is easier on the eyes than the previous one.

Here‘s an amusing and logical criticism of some stunningly stupid Oklahoma legislation. Nature aborts far more fetuses than women ever have. Who is going to make the arrest? The only good thing is states are at the moment still easier to leave than countries.

An inadvertent explanation for market lemmings, political parties and other follow my leader phenomena. That we’re behaviorally no more sophisticated than fish shouldn’t be too surprising. Research continues to whittle away at everything that was once assumed to be unique about humans and it’s not clear there’s anything left. Observing human behavior stripped of its trappings it’s obvious we’re just animals with a very high opinion of ourselves. That doesn’t mean we’d make great pets as Porno For Pyros sang, because it seems to me wars are much worse than peeing on the carpet.

I couldn’t agree more about Elsevier, and other journals, and hope open access journals continue to expand.

The funniest thing about this is a number of studies have shown testosterone impairs decision-making under conditions of uncertainty and risk.

Why do women menstruate? Evidently it’s not, as I thought, just a pointless display to provide a convincing excuse for bad moods.

First bacteria, now cancer evolves resistance.Maybe it’s time for gentle persuasion.

Hey, maybe he was hard up for money. Note that Medicare had no complaints whatsoever about the price.