Category: Uncategorized

You heard it here first

Looking at news historically, like pre-telegraph historically, where people would hop on a horse and ride out to relay some news … “first” might be measured in days or weeks, I can certainly see the advertising advantage of being first by such a large margin. But as communication technology advanced, being “first” gives us “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”: something that is just outright wrong because accuracy was sacrificed for speed (well, and proof that bias in reporting is not a new phenomenon … the Chicago Tribute was hardly complimentary of Truman throughout the election run-up).

Now that ‘first’ is by a few minutes (there are people at each news org monitoring other news outlets, and a few minutes later a story will be up on NYT saying “WaPo reports …”), yeah I don’t much care who was first. I’d rather hear the real story once than waste time hearing twelve iterations of an emerging story.

There’s some egotism to “needing” to hear news first. Israel decides to launch missiles at Gaza … I feel bad for the people getting bombed, but it isn’t like I can ring up Rivlin and tell him to stop. I’m not a doctor who can go out and start treating the injured. Apartment building burns down in London. Still not a doctor, don’t have a whole lot of fire fighting experience, and I’m a thirteen hour flight from handing out water and blankets to the displaced. Sure, there are actions I can take — donate money, contact my elected representatives, volunteer talents I do have that provide value remotely … but I can do any of those things three hours later too.

Stollen

Another entry in my “fruit cakes and breads do not suck” series – Christmas stollen. It’s coated in powdered vanilla sugar. We made a vanilla stout a few years ago — and I pulled out the vanilla husks, poured some white sugar into a container, and mixed the husks into it. Those vanilla husks are still making a vanilla flavored/scented sugar. To make castor sugar, you can just throw a cup or two of sugar into a blender (make sure it has a glass container, the sugar will scratch plastic) and blend for a minute or two. This is *not* a replacement for commercial powdered sugar – that’s a blend of corn starch and finely ground sugar.

Anya really enjoyed this bread (probably because of the sugar coating!)

Tax End Run

Donald Trump’s massive tax deduction explains why he so wants to get rid of estate taxes — you can take depreciation on buildings *but* you get bit when you sell the property (if I bought it for 1 million, took a quarter mil in depreciation, but then sold the thing for 2 million dollars … your net gain is 1.25 million dollars). Or when you die and it goes through probate.

*But* if we get rid of the estate tax … then someone without financial need to sell their buildings can avoid taxes due to depreciation, hand the properties over to their beneficiaries without incurring tax … and, bonus, those beneficiaries can continue writing off depreciation against their earnings.