spectacular collapse: 179-T13
you see that sign? it says "applesauce"
The theme for this tisatsar is spectacular collapse.
That sounds like an opportune time for yet another change in format for the Newslettr. The 19-day cadence for “news summary” style posts has worn out its welcome. It is too rare for “every day I’m hustlin’ ”, and too common for “a welcome surprise”.
And, in any event, I would like to stop reading the news, much less writing about it.
More posts will happen here … when they are ready. Substack is a terrible medium for half-finished thoughts, which is where various drafts are at right now.
If you have thoughts, you know how to email me. But now, once more, the Tisatsar’s News:
FTX gone: Crypto marketplace FTX has been everywhere in the past year, from Super Bowl commercials to Miami stadiums to the Magnus Carlsen chess tour. Now, it is in bankruptcy court.
There seem to be two reasons for the collapse. First, the “FTT” token run by FTX collapsed1 in value. Second, customer deposits were spent by SBF in a variety of fraudulent ways. For more:
Twitter explodes: Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has not been without drama. Layoffs, firings, and resignations have impacted every part of the business. Elon’s inability to listen to feedback led to a day of nonsense across the platform regarding “blue-check” parody accounts.
Perhaps it is a feature rather than a bug that Mr. Musk is encouraging more fake information on Twitter. Perhaps the ham-fisted rollout is a way to make later actions seem more competent. Or maybe Mr. Musk simply thought that turkeys could fly.
Swifties Gone Wild: Lots of outrage at Ticketmaster regarding sales for the upcoming Taylor Swift concert. Many of these critiques suffer from a lack of industry knowledge, others from a lack of basic economics2.
To start with: the service Ticketmaster provides is largely to have people get angry at Ticketmaster3, rather than at the musician involved. And there is simply no way to let 5 million Swift fans each buy one of a million tickets while keeping the tickets cheap. It is a recipe for disaster.
People claim it is “evil scalpers”, but if you got lucky and bought a $400 ticket you can flip for $3000, they probably would be doing so as well.
Not So Mighty: “Browser in the Cloud” app Mighty
shut down pivoted to a completely different business last week. The startup was most notable for being relentlessly promoted by Paul Graham on Twitter. If it was a good idea, it wouldn’t have needed the relentless promotion …
A Farewell to Intercalary Seconds: 1400 years ago, the Prophet Muhammed4 proclaimed a ban of intercalary months. By extension, we consider that this should also ban the “leap seconds” that have occurred over the past 50 years. Fortunately, those will soon be a thing of the past.
Midterms — where’s the kaboom: Across much of America, the midterm elections were not explosive. The most remarkable part about the election was how indecisive the result is. Legitimate doubt remained about control of the Senate through Friday, and of the House through the next Tuesday. However, the election for Speaker of the House in January may be explosive …
Student loans may or may not be exploding: The Biden partial “student loan forgiveness” program has been paused nationwide by a Texas judge. Until the inevitable Supreme Court ruling happens, every news story on the topic is now just prelude.
RIP Gallagher: The comedian, most famous for hitting watermelons with a sledgehammer on stage, dead at 76.
Russian rockets: According to preliminary reports, a recent Russian rocket barrage against Ukraine accidentally struck a grain silo in Poland. Or, a Ukrainian anti-rocket missile accidentally struck a grain silo in Poland. Regardless, there certainly was an explosion in Poland, accidentally, in an event related to the hostilities between Russia and Ukraine.
Trudeau faux pas: The CNN headline says it: “Canada’s Trudeau deletes tweet falsely claiming Iran has sentenced 15,000 protesters to death”. It is not immediately obvious whether he knew it was untrue, or not. Both possibilities lead to rat-holes best left unexplored.
COP27 worse than useless: This year, COP27 appears to have done nothing about preventing climate change going forward, but they may have made some progress on a climate indulgences fund5. Much like the US Congress is criticized for doing, they appear to have had a 3AM vote on text not distributed to the press beforehand.
Theoretically, next year they could agree on topics such as “the world needs to decrease oil6 consumption”. I doubt they will get that far that quickly. In the meantime, you should expect the amount of bad-faith and inaccurate “this hurricane was caused by global warming” takes to increase. Also, rich countries can now say "we are paying a fund; we don't need to worry" and poor countries can say "we agreed it's their fault; we don't need to worry".
In short, this agreement looks significantly worse than “no agreement at all”. I could talk more about the failings of COP, but my criticisms from last year still hold:
Two More Years
Donald Trump, in an effort to remain the center of attention, has announced another presidential run. While it is not certain that Ron DeSantis would beat him in the primary, we consider that the most likely option.
Separately, we continue to hope for a “non-traditional” candidate who is more serious about governance than Andrew Yang was. While it is easy to promote a hypothetical candidate, finding a real candidate (who actually wants to run for president) is much more difficult.
Our stop-gap hypothetical candidate: Sheryl Sandberg (as a Democrat7). She is well-connected, has a national reputation, is no longer employed at Facebook, and is supposedly still interested in politics. Other than “running for President is awful and she probably won’t be interested”, why not?8
the Newslettr isn’t quite sure why FTT was worth anything at any point in time.
Economics is a word with multiple meanings. Here, we mean “the study of the use of money to allocate scarce resources”. Taylor Swift tickets are a textbook-example of a scarce resource.
A lot of the Ticketmaster “fees” people hate are actually part of the ticket price, requested by and paid directly to the artist (or the venue), but charged separately to make the tickets seem cheaper. Don’t blame me, blame human psychology.
(peace be upon him)
Specifically, payments for “climate change damages” from rich Western countries (I’m not sure what euphemism they are using there). Will the funds be used to prevent future climate change? Presumably there is no rule preventing that. But … probably not.
At press time, it was unclear whether they had yet agreed to anything. We assume they will find a way to agree to something, even if it is drafted in such a way that no actual funds will ever be spent on it.
Because Saudi Arabia objects to a decrease in oil consumption, and because unanimity is required, this is not part of the resolution. I am not making that up. COP27 is so useless it is pathetic to watch.
Between Trump, DeSantis, and the dozen-odd politicians who will run, there isn’t room in the GOP field for a late surprise entrant any longer. Regardless of whether Biden runs, there will be room in the Democratic field for at least one, and probably 2-3 non-politicians.
The other reason is that Sheryl Sandberg would probably lose. A Chrissy Teigen or a George Clooney type would be more likely to win.