Open Thread 168

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This is the weekly visible open thread. Odd-numbered open threads will be no-politics, even-numbered threads will be politics-allowed. This one is even-numbered, so go wild. Otherwise, post about whatever you want. Also:

1: Comment of the week from the subreddit is by PolymorphicWetware, on investing in “growth sectors”. Key quote:

For a dose of cold water, see Investing in Technological Revolutions by Ben Felix. Remember, it's not how much a sector grows that makes it a good investment so much as how much it grows relative to what you paid for it. The highest return on investment stock of all time hasn't been Google, or Apple, or Tesla, or any other tech company you can name. It's Altria (MO) the cigarette company - annual returns have averaged 20.68% for nearly 50 years. Over half a century of innovation, hype, the Space Race, hype, the IT Revolution, and hype, the best returning company was in an industry everyone knew was on its way out (tobacco) - but which was on its way out far slower than everyone expected. That meant while everyone was dumping it, you could pick up the stock for peanuts relative to how much money the company was still making, and collect decades of dividends when the money flow didn't dry up.

2: Comments of the week from the blog are Erusian on the different accounts of Caesar’s death, plus Deiseach with other wacky Caesar-related stories. Also, from the Progress and Poverty discussion, why real estate is so expensive in some third world countries, and a subthread on least disruptive ways to institute a land value tax.

3: Joshua Fox wants to remind you that there are still ACX online meetups scheduled at least until June, with various celebrity special guests including Qualia Research Institute’s Andrés Gómez Emilsson, Stripe’s Patrick Collison, and meditation expert Daniel Ingram. Check out https://joshuafox.com/ssc-online-meetups/ for more information or to sign up. I’ve added this to the blogroll so you don’t forget about it.

4: OKAY WE’RE FINALLY MAKING THIS HAPPEN. Thanks to a reader, I have a list of all 80-something non-finalists in the Book Review Contest. You can see it here: Volume One (A-R), Volume Two (S-W) (we exceeded Google Docs’ puny character limit, so it’s split in half). Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read some number of them (even one is okay!) and then vote using this form. Please choose a random one to read each time, or select the one that looks most interesting to you, but don’t start from the beginning - if we have 5000 votes for the ones beginning with “A” and none for the ones beginning with “W”, that breaks the whole point. Choose a random one and vote on it with the form. If you read 50, you can either save them all up for one form, or send 50 forms, either way is okay (note that the form asks for your email so I can investigate potential voting irregularities; I won’t share this with anyone else). At the end, I’ll average all the ratings I have for each book, and declare the top-rated runners-up to be new finalists (in addition to the finalists I’ve already chosen). If you have questions about any of this, or you can’t access any of the relevant pages, please comment below.

EDIT: If you can’t get the Google Docs file to load, here’s PDFs of Volume 1 and Volume 2.