Singapore: Efficient, Smooth, Comfortable and Safe

Paul Callan, author of The Brigadier’s Daughter (2017) recalls how a journey to Singapore sparked a creative idea:

On approach into Singapore, the sight from out of the clouds lends itself to the orderliness of what repeatedly spellbinds me. On the drive into the city, rows of great umbrella-spread rain trees border the highway, until they are taken up by tall palm trees, and it is at this point that Singapore begins to demonstrate its ingenuity. Running along the centre of the road is an almost never-ending stretch of flowers, planted in huge movable flower planters, all of which instantly introduces travellers to a sophisticated and elegant society in the extreme. In the event of an emergency, the flower planters can be moved to the side to create an additional temporary runway.

The Problem with Single Founders

Paul Graham from Y-Combinator expounds what’s wrong with having one founder:

What’s wrong with having one founder? To start with, it’s a vote of no confidence. It probably means the founder couldn’t talk any of his friends into starting the company with him. That’s pretty alarming, because his friends are the ones who know him best.

But even if the founder’s friends were all wrong and the company is a good bet, he’s still at a disadvantage. Starting a startup is too hard for one person. Even if you could do all the work yourself, you need colleagues to brainstorm with, to talk you out of stupid decisions, and to cheer you up when things go wrong.

Sports: The Isolated Cultural Corner

For Blasting News (UK), Duncan Bradley wonders why sports remains the most isolated cultural corner we have:

Sport is everywhere but do you ever notice that it’s always on its own? Music and film have been copulating for decades now, so too have food and art, politics and architecture, dance and theatre. Yet sport remains a phenomenon in almost complete isolation. If sport is popular, ubiquitous and current, why has the non-sporting world cast it aside? Why isn’t sport invited to the party?

Bernard Shaw on Darwin’s ‘The Origin of the Species’

George Bernard Shaw in his preface to Back to Methuselah (1920):

If very few of us have read The Origin of the Species from end to end, it is not because it overtaxes our mind, but because we take in the whole case and are prepared to accept it long before we have come to the end of the innumerable instances and illustrations of which the book mainly consists. Darwin becomes tedious in the manner of a man who insists on continuing to prove his innocence after he has been acquitted. You assure him that there is not a stain on his character, and beg him to leave the court; but he will not be content with enough evidence to acquit him: he will have you listen to all the evidence that exists in the world.

The Runaway Success of the Airbus A321XLR

Ernest Arvai of the Air Insight Group is doubtful that Boeing can match Airbus’ success in the large narrow-body market.

coming out of the pandemic, Airbus has the right product at the right time (the A321XLR) and Boeing doesn’t.

The A321XLR provides the economics of a narrow-body aircraft with a longer range, making the aircraft capable of trans-Atlantic operations and is the ideal replacement for aging Boeing 757s. As a lower-cost alternative with lower seating capacity, the aircraft is ideally positioned for airlines coming out of the pandemic seeing lower traffic on key international routes.

With more than 450 orders from carriers that include American and United in the US, the A321XLR faces no current competitor from Boeing, which did not replace the 757 nor provide an efficient replacement in the MAX series.

The MAX 10, which has not yet been certified, was to be the competitor to the A321, but it falls short on both range and runway performance to effectively compete.

American Athletes Insist That God’s Got to Be on Their Side

Dave Hannigan of the Irish Times observes that praising the Lord is as fundamental to American sport as pom-pom girls:

Moments after unfurling a touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse that punched the Seattle Seahawks’ ticket to the Super Bowl, quarterback Russell Wilson joined a bunch of his team-mates as they knelt in a prayer circle in the middle of CenturyLink field. As the camera lingered on this impromptu congregation, tears mingled with the sweat on Wilson’s ecstatic face. Once the worshippers had finished giving thanks and praise, he was corralled by a television crew to whom, through sobs, he offered a very spiritual take on leading the Seattle Seahawks to a famous comeback victory over the Green Bay Packers. “God is for good, man, all the time, every time,” said Wilson. “I just believe God is preparing me for these situations, God is preparing our team too as well.” The touchdown celebrated by pointing skyward in acknowledgment of a higher power, the victory that isn’t really complete until franked by a breathless, on-camera explanation of the unseen part played by Jesus in the triumph.

Predicting Isn’t Enough

Morgan Housel of the Collaborative Fund draws attention to how information and metrics are always changing:

Investment facts are always changing. But prediction is doubly hard because the facts investors care about and pay attention to—which is what makes facts relevant—change all the time. Not just by industry, but for the market as a whole.

Rarely can you say, “When this happens, that occurs,” because that occurring relies on other people thinking this matters, when their attention may have drifted off to something else.

The Tennis Legacy of Vic Braden

If you haben’t heard about Vic Braden, he is one of the most influential people in the history of tennis and one of sport’s great innovators. Tom Perrotta explains in Grantland,

Vic Braden did more than anyone to make tennis big in America. He taught countless players, from world No1s like Tracy Austin to hopeless hackers to Hollywood stars. He trained armies of teaching pros who went on to inspire others. He applied science to the sport and taught the world what actually happens when a racket meets a ball. He helped Jack Kramer, the American tennis star and entrepreneur, promote the fledgling professional tour, which eventually forced the Grand Slam tournaments to open their draws to both amateurs and pros. Once upon a time, Braden’s name had such cachet that he even started a ski school in Aspen.

Today Says Nothing About the Future

Ben Carlson on why is it so difficult to predict what transpires in the financial markets:

Peter Bernstein in Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk lays out three reasons regression to the mean can be such a frustrating guide to the investment decision-making process:

  1. Sometimes it happens at such a slow pace that any shock to the system can disrupt the process.
  2. Sometimes the regression happens so swiftly it overshoots to the upside or downside.
  3. Sometimes the mean itself is unstable, meaning yesterday’s normal can be replaced by a new normal if something has changed within the system.

History in the Service of Victimhood

Dr. Thomas Sowell of Stanford’s Hoover Institution’s collection of essays, (2005,) discusses how history is being used to claim victimhood, rather than as a tool to move on:

Race and rhetoric have gone together for so long that it is easy to forget that facts also matter—and these facts often contradict many widely held beliefs. Fantasies and fallacies about racial and ethnic issues have had a particularly painful and deadly history, so exposing some of them is more than an academic exercise. The history of intergroup strife has been written in blood in many countries around the world and across centuries of human history.