Gongol.com Archives: 2016 Weekly Archives
They've sold the landmark to a real-estate developer for $240 million. The two successor companies to the original Tribune Co. (one for newspapers, the other for broadcasting) will both operate from the building for at least a while longer, but they're now tenants, rather than owners. The story in and of itself doesn't necessarily mean much. But it is symbolic of two trends taking place in American business: One is the shift to an asset-light framework, the other is the demise of great proprietor-owned institutions. Asset lightness (that is, renting, leasing, or contracting out the things that allow a company to run, rather than owning them outright) seems like an odd strategy in a time of near-zero interest rates (and it may have other substantial shortcomings), but it is in vogue. The demise of proprietor capitalism, though, is more disturbing and may undermine some important aspects of our national character that could make America much stronger in the future. There aren't a lot of great family fortunes that are still tied to businesses run by the families as well. These dynasties have been replaced by venture capitalists, professional managers, and public shareholding. But the problem is that in the long run, anything other than proprietor capitalism runs a very high risk of succumbing to the problem of diffusion of responsibility. If everyone is just a fractional shareholder, then nobody's really in charge. If managers aren't really owners, then their interests are hard to align with those of the owners. If the objective is to cash out with a big IPO or some other short-term exit strategy, then nobody is really looking at the long run. This is not to say that every business should be privately-held, run by a family, and operated according to a 100-year business plan. But if nobody feels a compelling responsibility to a business as an institution worthy of preservation and improvement over a long period of time, then it's hard to see what incentive is created to make good long-run decisions. That's a problem for customers, employees, suppliers, and shareholders, each in their own way. And it's probably no good for a country that once depended upon companies like Tribune to contribute to the civic stature and well-being of their communities.
It took them long enough. The government doesn't have to regulate everything...but in those cases where it is obvious that they will impose regulations under the umbrella of a compelling public interest, it's best if they can move quickly to establish ground rules fast enough to permit the private sector to keep up the pace of technological development without obstruction. The government took way too long to acknowledge the reality of drones; they've been in the popular consciousness for years.
The Fort Calhoun plant (just a bit north of Omaha) is too small to operate competitively, so it's set to stop generating electricity on October 24th. But the full decommissioning will take two generations.
Truly some magnificent artwork
Either he's believed all along that Donald Trump is a fraud, or he's lying about it now. Either way, it doesn't look faithful to his listeners.
The Chicago Tribune says Gary Johnson should be in the Presidential debates. They're right.
The BBC reports that Apple paid 1% or less on profits when it should have been paying 12.5%. Corporate tax rates are a complete boggle in the world today.
Well, that didn't take long. The very same weekend that they let loose all of their human editorial staff, Facebook began promoting a completely fake story in the news feed.
The key, as with any new safety feature, is in creating a culture where people are expected to use them.
The less attractive the overnight rate, in theory, the greater the incentive to make loans rather than parking funds in a "safe" spot. Right now, there couldn't be a lot of greater importance in economics than in figuring out how to put capital to more productive use. There's just so much of it sitting around doing very little good, and productivity has been falling.
They say the cyberattack started on June 23rd and they became aware of it on July 12th. In the meantime, they think up to 200,000 voter registration records might have been accessed. Unsurprisingly, the FBI thinks it was the work of a foreign group. They haven't pointed fingers at any governments yet, but one could reasonably put Russia, China, and Iran on the list of suspects.
Into the competitive world market for regional jets, enter Mitsubishi, which is trying to get its MRJ into commercial service by 2018. They say they started with a "clean sheet" for the design. One design feature: No middle seats. Mitsubishi was trying to ferry one of the MRJs across the Pacific to get certified by the FAA, but they ran into trouble with the air conditioning. The project has been underway only since 2008 (making for an 8-year development cycle), which compares favorably with China's new ARJ, which is more than ten years behind schedule.
Fascinating that in 2016, we still don't really have a unifying theory of sleep -- why almost all animals need it, why they need the amounts they do, and what brought it about in the first place. Sleep would seem to be a peculiar evolutionary disadvantage for non-predators, and it certainly seems inefficient that we need to shut down our conscious brains in order to properly store our memories.
They're sending out fundraising emails with catch lines like, "[O]ur political revolution is responsible for the most progressive Democratic platform in the history of our country." Just like OFA, they're establishing "Our Revolution" as a permanent interest group with the intention of becoming an entrenched wing of the Democratic Party.