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The Onion's Amicus Brief in Parody Case

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Thought I'd pass it along, though I expect many of you have already read it; it is pretty funny. It's written by Stephen J. van Stempvoort & D. Andrew Portinga (Miller Johnson).

The post <i>The Onion</i>'s Amicus Brief in Parody Case appeared first on Reason.com.

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freeAgent
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Let’s not defend Kim Kardashian for shilling crypto

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Kim Kardashian is the latest celebrity to land in legal trouble for unlawfully promoting a crypto product to her followers without disclosing she had been paid to do so. The reality star settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by paying a $1.26 million penalty for promoting a crypto security sold by EthereumMax.

While the action could be a win for the SEC in terms of stricter enforcement of crypto rules (Chairman Gary Gensler is already crowing about it on Twitter), others rushed to Kardashian’s defense (such as in this since-deleted tweet), arguing the action was unfair because Kardashian is a woman.

Before anyone else jumps to support her, remember this: Any defense of Kardashian on the grounds of her identity is inaccurate and misguided. Aside from the fact that Kardashian, alongside her family, is known for stealing, scamming, misleading, and exploiting, she’s far from the only celebrity at risk of being hit with penalties for shilling crypto products.

For example, the SEC charged Floyd Mayweather Jr. and DJ Khaled back in 2018 for promoting investments in initial coin offerings. Both paid tens of thousands of dollars in penalties and were banned from promoting any securities, digital or otherwise, for years.

Before anyone takes crypto advice, of all things, from a celebrity like Matt Damon on the internet, one should ask if Matt Damon takes financial advice from Matt Damon.

Many celebrities pushing crypto products have yet to face off with the SEC, though Gensler’s tweets could signal that for that group, the worst is yet to come. Mark Cuban is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging that his promotion of the now-bankrupt Voyager Digital crypto platform resulted in more than 3.5 million investors losing a collective $5 billion. Matt Damon has avoided any legal action against him for his multi-million-dollar spots promoting Crypto.com because they were explicitly labeled as advertising, but he’s certainly faced a good deal of criticism, especially after the exchange was hacked for $34 million in January.

Suggesting that Kardashian doesn’t deserve criticism of any wrongdoing because she’s a woman is a tired, old argument, and one typically only offered in defense of white women, usually by the same people who wouldn’t hesitate to pump crypto on their social media accounts in exchange for a $250,000 check.

In Kardashian’s case, EthereumMax was an unknown token worth almost nothing before she posted about it on Instagram.

Let’s not defend Kim Kardashian for shilling crypto by Anita Ramaswamy originally published on TechCrunch

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freeAgent
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Tesla (TSLA) stock falls on robot getting ridiculed as Elon Musk claims it’s misunderstood

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Tesla’s stock (TSLA) is free-falling today as its newly unveiled robot is getting ridiculed, but Elon Musk claims people don’t understand the value.

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The post Tesla (TSLA) stock falls on robot getting ridiculed as Elon Musk claims it’s misunderstood appeared first on Electrek.

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freeAgent
1 day ago
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I mean, he's right. Nobody understands why the robot demoed on-stage has any value.
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Great Thinkers See the Present Day

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PERSON:
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freeAgent
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wmorrell
16 hours ago
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Rule 34.

Sowell Nobel Redux

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Nobel Prize season is around the corner. Last year, I blogged in favor of Tom Sowell. I update, with some edits. 

Dear Nobel Committee: How can you not give the prize to Tom Sowell this year? 

Tom's work evidently merits a Nobel purely as a contribution to economics, covering many issues. But we can't ignore what year it is. Race is a forefront issue of our time. How can you not give the prize to the living economist who has written the most penetrating economic analysis of race? 

Yes, he's a free-market economist, and thus characterized as conservative. His deeply fact-based research is  uncomfortable to The Narrative. For example, groups that white people cannot tell apart have profoundly different outcomes in the US. Nigerian immigrants are among the highest achieving ethnic groups in the US. West Indians do well. Asians of different waves of immigration and different countries -- Chinese, Laotians, Vietnamese -- show profound differences. Even though white people can't tell them apart. Tom has thousands of such facts, impeccably documented. 

But you're the Nobel Committee. You care about Science, about facts, about logic, not about cheers from the Davos crowd. You care about issues that are important, as you should, but you do not care about embracing one or the other political narrative's answers to those questions. You care about the reputation of your Prize, for courageously recognizing great research, even if its surprising conclusions upset established orders. And, to your credit, you have given the prize to economists of widely different political enthusiasms through the years.  

Why not? I grant, Tom's work is unusual. The Nobel Prize is, justly, conservative (that's praise in my vocabulary). Prizes prosper by widespread view that they are given to people who deserve them. Most (not all) Nobels in economics go to people who, if you ask around the faculty lunchrooms at the top economics department, are those who people would instantly mention. And rightly so. But that fact gives a bit of tilt toward methodological work. People in their productive 30s and 40s are likely to mention their mentors who gave them the tools to write the papers that got them where they are. It gives a bit of tilt toward people who produce a lot of graduate students.  Tom did not mentor an army of young assistant professors, nor did he invent a theoretical framework or econometric technique. He writes books, and taught us about how the world works. (Knowledge and Decisions is an excellent work of theory, but not an extendable mathematical framework.) 

But the Nobel isn't always like that, and does occasionally celebrate persuasive and important fact-based and logic-based books. Indeed, as I infer, the Prize occasionally will make a bit of a subtle point about what's important and what kind of work the rest of us might do. That Tom's work is important, and his style of work is worth emulating is a useful point. And perhaps the committee is a bit aghast at the woeness that is starting to infect even economics. 

For example, the American Economics Association, via its statement from the American Economic Association Executive Committee, has compiled an officially sanctioned  reading list on racism and the experience of Black Americans. Members of the AEA Executive Committee have pledged to continue to educate themselves in part by reading works from the list and to seek to integrate work by diverse authors in course syllabi, and "ask all economists to make the same pledge." This list is in use at semi-mandatory  DEI training sessions, reportedly including the Federal Reserve. But this officially-endorsed reading list, though updated, to this day brazenly omits Sowell. Or Walter Williams. Or Glenn Loury. Or Roland Fryer.  And here I am succumbing to racism that says the author's skin color matters to his or her or their conclusions. Or Gary Becker. Or Bob Fogel. Maybe the committee would like to say that Sowell and related work should be at least included on a comprehensive officially sanctioned reading list. 

While Tom is hardy, he is 92. None of us last forever. Nor does your opportunity to recognize one of the most important economists of our time. This is the year. 

********

Update: If you don't know Tom, and don't want to face an overwhelming volume of primary sources, his Wikipedia page is not bad. Twitter commenters complain that he appears on Fox News. Well, Paul Krugman appears in the New York Times. Within a respectable range, really, we need to start keeping political commentary separate from scientific contribution, like other hobbies. 

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freeAgent
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Tim Cook is latest CEO to question the ‘metaverse’

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Tim Cook stands over several iPhone 14 devices.
Tim Cook at the recent iPhone 14 launch. | Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

While Meta funnels billions into CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s pitch for the metaverse, Apple CEO Tim Cook thinks most people couldn’t even define the metaverse, let alone spend long periods of time living their lives inside of it.

“I always think it’s important that people understand what something is,” Cook told Dutch publication Bright (via Google Translate). “And I’m really not sure the average person can tell you what the metaverse is.” In other words, despite persistent reports of Apple’s interest in building all manner of AR and VR hardware, Cook isn’t ready to claim that the company is working towards any so-called “metaverse.”

Mark Zuckerberg has a different view. Earlier this year, the Meta CEO told his employees that the company is...

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freeAgent
1 day ago
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I'm with Tim Apple. Personally, I think AR makes a lot more sense than VR.
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