Broody hen compared to gravid human in the office

“Human Husbandry” by Elaine Ou is fun:

Domestication is a rather unnatural form of selection. As a population’s per-capita GDP increases, average fertility decreases. This phenomenon has been termed the demographic-economic paradox, but it’s really not paradoxical at all. Raising children carries a huge opportunity cost – remove this cost and the population has way more productive capacity. It’s no coincidence that San Francisco, home of the most advanced civilization in the world, also has the lowest share of children out of any major city in the country.

Just as a broody hen negatively impacts a farmer’s productivity, a gravid human poses a significant inconvenience to her employer. That’s why companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple pay for female employees to extract and freeze their eggs. It’s great to see tech companies empowering women the same way that factory farms empower their battery hens!

Marc Andreessen and his wife hired a surrogate to carry their biological child. While not scalable, it’s always heartwarming to see billionaires take time out of their busy lives to reproduce like the rest of us mere mortals. Even if it does involve some outsourcing.

She also writes about Bitcoin:

Paul Krugman doesn’t know anything about anything, but I’ll grant him this one: There’s nothing to backstop a cryptocurrency’s value! If people come to believe that Bitcoin is worthless, it’s worthless. There’s no tether to reality.

One of the greatest tragedies of modern money is the decoupling between a store and display of wealth. Or, more accurately, the societal decoupling between wealth and status. For most of human history, the functions of display and storage were condensed. Even before people wore clothing, they wore piercings and tattoos. A full-body ink job isn’t transferable, but it’s a sort of proof of work.

here’s a better way to flaunt crypto wealth. … Secure multi-party computations were first introduced in 1982 as a solution to the Millionaires’ Problem: Multiple millionaires want to know their relative wealth standing, but no one wants to reveal their actual net worth.

One solution is to distribute shares of a secret to each participant. Each person combines the secret with the value of their net worth, broadcasts the result, and a blinded function processes the values to arrive at the final rankings. This function evaluation forms the basis for a zero-knowledge proof.

This can be done with any cryptocurrency. Instead of self-reporting a net worth, each participant signs a message to prove ownership of an account. The message is combined with a secret share, resulting in an output that indicates the user’s balance relative to everyone else. Turn the output into crypto-bling by mapping it to a unique identicon. Bitcoin can now be used as a visual display of wealth.

(This would work against “Secret bitcoin billionaires will renounce their U.S. citizenship before cashing in?“)

8 Comments

  1. paddy

    June 13, 2018 @ 3:24 pm

    1

    San Francisco is the most advanced civilization in the world? By what metric?

    My city doesn’t have a human feces map – because it doesn’t need one!

  2. Mememe

    June 13, 2018 @ 4:06 pm

    2

    By their fruits shall ye know them…

  3. GermanL

    June 13, 2018 @ 5:03 pm

    3

    That’s a fun blog. Super smart chick too.

    This particular post was referenced in the comments, and quite funny:
    https://elaineou.com/2013/06/02/visiting-the-family/

  4. Vince

    June 13, 2018 @ 7:25 pm

    4

    The woman’s writing style is annoying. Breezy, absurd self-confidence can sometimes be entertaining, but it’s not working for her.

    Using Google, it’s hard to find what she’s got against Paul Krugman, except one thing that appears to deliberately misrepresent his views. She’s probably an “anti-government” type who simply declares that Krugman is wrong about everything because she says so.

  5. anon

    June 13, 2018 @ 10:44 pm

    5

    > it’s hard to find what she’s got against Paul Krugman

    Krugman famously wrote a piece on why “debt doesn’t matter”, that said the govt should borrow itself into prosperity. He confidently explained since money is deposited, then debt borrowed, then debt is repaid … that debt itself has no negative net effects.

    Everyone in the banking industry was appalled that a “Nobel” winning economist could get banking so wrong. The Bank of England took it upon itself to correct Krugman with a video explaining that debt creates deposits, not deposits created create debt as Krugman posited: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CvRAqR2pAgw

  6. Vince

    June 13, 2018 @ 11:25 pm

    6

    anon:

    1) You’re almost certainly mischaracterizing whatever Krugman wrote. However, if you Google what he’s written about the topic, he does cite Japan, a country with much more debt than America has and the fact that that debt isn’t currently causing them ant problems.

    2) There’s no mention of Krugman in that YouTube video.

    3) I doubt that you can find evidence that Elaine Ou’s claim about Krugman’s complete lack of knowledge is based on this alleged dispute about monetary policy.

  7. wrongthinker

    June 14, 2018 @ 1:54 am

    7

    “Human Husbandry” is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.
    “Brave New World” is (almost ?) here.

  8. zzazz

    June 14, 2018 @ 2:08 am

    8

    @wrongthinker—Brave New World has come and gone

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