​(Don’t) Send This to Your Friend Who’s a Dick

Positive thinking doesn’t work. It was an untested idea based on flawed assumptions. When will this bad meme finally die? Probably never, but until then you can read the book: The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking https://www.amazon.com/dp/0865479410/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_ttA1ybBA53RSY


Eastern Europeans consider Russia their biggest security threat

In contrast Italy, France and Germany are more focused on the refugee crisis. Germany is taking a leadership role in Europe, but partners are nervous because Germany is not (yet) providing much guidance.

Economically Germany, France and Italy are deeply divided on how to handle the banking crisis.

Check out this cool episode: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/geopolitical-futures/id1192847456?mt=2&i=1000382288491

Outside the shit-show on display in Washington, D.C., the rest of the country is actively making progress on the existential issues facing our nation and our planet

One of the most important is finding alternative fuel sources to replace our carbon-intensive ones. Solar power is one of the top candidates.

Solar power is traditionally associated with solar electricity, which must be stored in batteries in order to transfer usage in time or in place. The problem is their cost, weight, and storage density.

The best way to get around this is to generate liquid fuels directly from the sun, and bypass the batteries. Solar fuels are not a theoretical challenge–we already know how to do it–but rather an engineering challenge. The engineering involves a trade-off of three factors:

– cost
– efficiency
– reliability

Currently we can optimize on two of these factors. We need to achieve all three in order to make solar fuels a reality.

The question is whether we have enough time. It may already be too late.

Bill Gates: An Energy Miracle – Renewable Energy World


Mouse Grab / Ungrab Failure in Windows 10 in VMware Workstation 12 Pro

For weeks I have been struggling with the failure to grab or ungrab the mouse in one specific Windows 10 virtual guest. Troubleshooting included:

  1. Confirmed that “Automatically grab and ungrab the mouse” was set in VMware Workstation Preferences.
  2. Removed and re-installed VMware Tools.
  3. Fixed a recurring error in the Windows system log.
  4. Turned on VMware Tools logging

This virtual machine was migrated from VMware Fusion and had survived a couple product upgrades. I also suspected it was related to the migration to VMware Professional 12 Pro on Windows, though several other machines transferred without this issue. A few days ago I observed the same behavior on the original machine (it has licensed software that I find myself needing more recently).

Several searches failed to find anything useful. Today I finally ran across this article from someone with the same issue.

The solution turned out to be disabling the “Display pointer trails” in Control Panel inside the virtual machine guest. How could the solution be so simple?

Welcome to 2017

Last year was good for me and family. I maintained high utilization rates throughout (to point of fatigue). Kids graduated from ES and MS, and continued to MS and HS respectively. Spousal unit started a new venture that has engaged her enthusiastically.

Our investments performed well. This year we aim for more of the same, and staying the course.

And, of course, Happy New Year!

Productivity Growth

Growth of economic productivity underlies improvements in well-being of the economy’s participants. This occurs because the price of goods and services decline in real terms, even as incomes rise.

Thus if you want to know how the participants of an economy are faring over the long term, the most important number to look at is productivity. GDP growth alone can be misleading because growth may come simply from increases in the working age population.

This chart from JP Morgan’s 4Q 2015 Guide to the Markets, showing that US productivity growth in the last decade is the lowest in the post-war period,  is the most concerning in the entire document.

Microsoft_PowerPoint_-_MI-GTM_4Q15_pptx_-_j_p_-morgan-guide-to-the-markets-u_s_-4q2015What is not yet clear is whether this is an anomaly or a trend. What is also not clear are the causes:

  • Declines in productivity improving investments?
  • Demographic changes?
  • Declines in quality or adaptability of worker skills?
  • Shifts from manufacturing to services?
  • Failure of investments in Information Technology?
  • Failure of capital markets to correctly allocate capital?

Or is this simply a bookkeeping or measurement problem? Are we simply unable to measure some forms of value creation, such as from open source software or “free” services such as Facebook or Twitter?