The special snowflake

Everyone believes they’re special. Everybody.

But nobody escapes physics and probability. This Friday’s posting is a short excerpt from a NYT interview with Peter Thiel. It wasn’t an interview about being special, but this funny little nugget was in there about his pal Elon Musk thinking he was exempt from what could happen.

 

Then there was the time they were driving in Mr. Musk’s McLaren F1 car, “the fastest car in the world.” It hit an embankment, achieved liftoff, made a 360-degree horizontal turn, crashed and was destroyed.

“It was a miracle neither of us were hurt,” Mr. Thiel says. “I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, which is not advisable. Elon’s first comment was, ‘Wow, Peter, that was really intense.’ And then it was: ‘You know, I had read all these stories about people who made money and bought sports cars and crashed them. But I knew it would never happen to me, so I didn’t get any insurance.’ And then we hitchhiked the rest of the way to the meeting.”

Charlie Munger’s insights

Here’re some strong opinions that have worked well for Charlie Munger who’s the less well known partner of Warren Buffett. The filters and concepts he and Buffett use for investing have produced incredible returns. I’ve shortened some and combined some for clarity:

Often just a few actions that produce most of what we are trying to achieve.

The big thing to do is: avoid being wrong. A lot of success comes from knowing what you really want to avoid. Avoid what might cause the opposite of what you want to achieve because a single, big mistake could wipe out a long string of successes.

Hire people genetically able to recognize and avoid serious risks, including those never before encountered. Look for three things: intelligence, energy, and character. If they don’t have the last one, the first two will kill you.

If a buyer doesn’t care about whose product or service he uses, industry economics are certain to be unexciting, or even disastrous. Take candy bars for example, customers buy by brand name, not by asking for a “two-ounce candy bar”. But it doesn’t work with sugar: people don’t ask for “a coffee with cream and C&H Sugar”.

Look at stocks as part-ownership of a business, and at market fluctuations as your friend to profit from folly rather than participating in it.

Why should we want to play a competitive game in a field where we have no advantage – maybe a disadvantage – instead of playing in a field where we have a clear advantage?

Temperament is also important. Independent thinking, emotional stability, and a keen understanding of both human and institutional behavior is vital to long-term success.

Use “negative” rules – tell people what they can’t do.

If you want to ruin your civilization, pass laws people can easily cheat. It’s much better to let life be hard – than to create systems that are easy to cheat.

With the Navy Model there’s no excuse. If your ship goes aground, your career is over. It doesn’t matter whether it was your fault or not. It’s a rule for the good of all, all effects considered. Civilization works better with some of these no-fault rules. Considering the net benefit, I don’t care if one captain has some unfairness in his life.

Say no to anything that has a strong chance of killing you.

I walk away from anything I don’t understand or can’t quantify or doesn’t work. I only deal with people I trust.

Extraordinary discipline does not eliminate losses; it does prevent foolish losses. We can say no in 10 seconds to 90%+ of all things, simply because we have these filters.

Evaluate new business ideas using four criteria as filters:
* Can I understand it?
* Does it look like it has some kind of sustainable competitive advantage?
* Is the management composed of able and honest people?
* Is the price right?

A checklist must include each critical item necessary for “safety” and avoiding “accidents” so we don’t need to rely on memory for items to be checked. If there are very important items that aren’t on your checklist, you can crash.

A few major opportunities, clearly recognizable as such, will usually come to one who continuously searches and waits, with a curious mind. There’re often just a few actions that produce most of what we are trying to achieve. We make fewer and better decisions. The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.

It’s usually far more profitable to simply stick with the easy and obvious than to resolve the difficult. A good business throws up one easy decision after another, whereas a bad one gives you horrible choices, decisions that are extremely hard to make.

Nobody keeps a record of their erroneous prophecies since they are infinite and everyday. We pay no attention to times when nothing happens. We shouldn’t find significance in amazing past events. Mysteries are not necessarily miracles.

You only have to get rich once. Added money has no utility whatsoever. We never risk something we have and need for something we don’t need.

After years of buying and supervising a great variety of businesses, we haven’t learned how to solve difficult business problems. What we’ve learned is to avoid them. We’ve concentrated on identifying one-foot hurdles we could step over. We haven’t acquired the ability to clear seven-footers.

People go broke because they can’t stop, rethink and say, “I can afford to write this one off and live to fight again. I don’t have to pursue this thing as an obsession.” You must learn how to handle mistakes and new facts that change the odds.

What you won at an auction was really just the right to pay more for something than everyone else thought it was worth.

Nobody can forecast interest or currency rates, the GDP, turning points in the economy, the stock market, etc.

Adding $20k to the payroll should be evaluated as a $3M decision, over lifetime, factoring in raises, benefits, and other expenses.

Don’t underestimate the influence of randomness in bad or good outcomes.

The OTC “pill”

Here’s this Friday’s pick. It’s an article from The Outline about how odd it is that something as safe, easy, and effective as the birth control pill can’t simply be bought without a prescription. This is my condensed version:

Many countries, including China and India, sell birth control over-the-counter. The US and many European countries require a prescription.

Doctors have been arguing since the late 1960s that it could be sold safely without a prescription, and the The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists officially endorsed doing so in 2012. The American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family also agree that it is safe for over-the-counter use.

It doesn’t, after all, have a lot in common with many prescription medications: It’s not habit-forming, pretty much everyone takes the same dose, it’s preventative so nothing needs to be diagnosed to begin taking it, and it rarely interferes with other medications.

The precautions for the medication are pretty run of the mill, and overall, it’s much less dangerous than many other medicines that are currently available over-the-counter. The birth control pill is linked to very few deaths. In other words: There’s pretty much no reason we need a prescription for the pill, other than the fact that that’s the way we’ve always done it.

Bike lanes and dispensaries

An elderly friend visiting Mexico from Colorado told me that whenever he goes to a party now people from all walks of life seem to use cannabis responsibly and without concern.

Were people not smoking pot, at least in public,  before Colorado’s legalization? Did they think it was bad because it was illegal, or maybe it was illegal because it was bad? Maybe they didn’t want to lie about doing something illegal or engage in the blackmarket to buy pot. Whatever the reasons, apparently more people smoke pot than owned up to it before it became legal.

Consider this, in the 1960’s Copenhagen was as car centric as any other city. Decisions were made a few decades ago to create a vast network of safe, segregated bike lanes criss-crossing the city encouraging people to use their bicycles. Looking at Copenhagen today, you’ll see a constant flow of healthy happy people heading from A to B by bicycle.

If we build safe, reliable and connected infrastructure more cyclists will appear. Likewise, if we enact laws creating a safe and legal situation for adults to use cannabis, more people will likely use cannabis responsibly.

Reasons that 2016 was a good year

To all my regular readers, starting today, on Fridays I’ll post something interesting I’ve run across on the internet. Here the first one:

Despite all the grim news we read and hear about, there is good news too. Future Crunch collected 99 of them from 2016 and here they are:

1.British Columbia protected 85% of one of the world’s largest temperate rainforests. Reuters

2. In February, Peru and Bolivia signed a $500 million deal to preserve Lake Titicaca. HNGN

3. In March, the US government abandoned its plan for oil and gas drilling in Atlantic waters, reversing its decision from a year ago. Guardian

4. After nearly 13 years of difficult negotiations, Malaysia established a 1 million hectare marine park that pioneers a mixed-use approach to marine conservation. Guardian

5. In 2016, more than 20 countries pledged more than $5.3 billion for ocean conservation and created 40 new marine sanctuaries covering an area of 3.4 million square km. Reuters

6. That included a new record holder for the world’s biggest marine reserve, off the coast of Antarctica. National Geographic

7. New research showed that acid pollution in the atmosphere is now almost back to the level that it was before it started with industrialisation in the 1930s. Science Bulletin

8. In 2012, the US and Mexico embarked on an unprecedented binational project to revive the Colorado River. By 2016, the results had astonished everyone. Audubon

9. In December, the United States and Canada announced a joint permanent ban on all offshore oil and gas activity in the Arctic. CBC News

10. The World Health Organisation released a report showing that, since the year 2000, global malaria deaths have declined by 60%. WHO

11. In 2016, some of the world’s biggest diseases, like colon cancer, dementia and heart disease, started declining in wealthy countries. New York Times

12. A new study from the world’s leading health journal reported that the number of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth has almost halved since 1990. Guardian

13. Fresh evidence showed that public smoking bans have improved health in 21 nations. Wiley Blackwell

14. Uruguay won a major case against Philip Morris in a World Bank ruling, setting a precedent for other small countries that want to deter tobacco use. CS Monitor

15. Malawi achieved a 67% reduction in the number of children acquiring HIV, the biggest success story across all sub-Saharan nations. Since 2006, they’ve saved 260,000 lives. Al Jazeera

16. Child mortality rates came down by 12% in Russia. Article

17. Life expectancy in Africa has increased by 9.4 years since 2000, thanks to improvements in child survival, progress in malaria control and expanded access to ARVs. Quartz

18. Mobile phones made significant inroads in the fight against rabies, a disease which kills more people annually than all terrorists combined. Ars Technica

19. Thailand became the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. World Health Organisation

20. Harvard scientists created a new platform for antibiotic discovery that may help solve the crisis of antibiotic resistance. GEN

21. Liberia was officially cleared of Ebola, meaning there are now no known cases of the deadly tropical virus left in West Africa. Vanguard

22. The WHO announced that measles have been eradicated in all of the Americas, from Canada to Chile. It’s the first time the disease has been eliminated from an entire world region. NBC

23. The proportion of older US adults with dementia, including Alzheimer’s declined from 11.6% in 2000 to 8.8% in 2012, a decrease of about a million people. Scientific American

24. The number of cigarette smokers in the US dropped by 8.6 million since 2005. That fall will be accelerated by a tobacco tax just passed in California. NPR

25. 93% of kids around the world learned to read and write this year. That’s the highest proportion in human history. And the gender gap between girls and boys in school narrowed in 2016 too. Medium

26. In 2016, for the first time ever, the amount of money it would take to end poverty dropped below the amount of money spent on foreign aid. Vox

27. World hunger reached its lowest point in 25 years. New York Times

28. In February, Ontario announced a $100 million initiative to curb violence against indigenous women. The Star

29. Myanmar swore in its first elected civilian leader in more than 50 years. BBC

30. Black incarceration rates fell in the United States. Not fast enough, but certainly something worth celebrating. Washington Post

31. In 1990, more than 60% of people in East Asia lived in extreme poverty. As of 2016, that proportion has dropped to 3.5%. Vox

32. Homelessness in the United States declined by 35% since 2007, and Los Angeles committed to $1.2 billion to help get more people off the street. CS Monitor

33. Taiwan is on the verge of becoming the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage. New York Times

34. Gambia and Tanzania banned child marriage, following sustained lobbying by civil society groups. Independent

35. In June, after years of wrangling, the drive to end female genital mutilation in Africa made a major breakthrough, when the Pan African Parliament endorsed a continent-wide ban. The Wire

36. Germany took on rape culture, introducing a law to broaden the definition of sex crimes by zoning in on the issue of consent. Catalogue

37. Two weeks before Brexit, the African Union announced a new single African passport that permits holders to enter any of the 54 AU member states without a visa. Washington Post

38. The United States now feeds healthy lunches to more than 30 million children, is about to ban trans fats, and has enacted one of the biggest overhauls of nutrition labels in decades. Vox

39. Italy became the last large Western country to recognise same-sex unions in 2016, following a long-running battle by campaigners. Independent

40. Denmark became the first country to no longer define being transgender as a mental illness, and Canada announced a ban on transgender discrimination. Telegraph.

41. 2016 marked the 24th year in a row that teenage pregnancy rates declined in the United Kingdom and the United States.

42. The Paris Agreement became the fastest (and largest) United Nations treaty to go from agreement to international law in modern history. CBS

43. Global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels did not grow at all in 2016. It’s the third year in a row emissions have flatlined. Scientific American

44. Thanks to rapid technological innovation and political support from around the world, renewables now account for more newly installed capacity than any other form of electricity in the world, including coal.. Gizmodo

45. The Chinese government placed a ban on new coal mines, created new rules for grid access and doubled its renewables targets for 2020. WRI

46. India announced it won’t need any new coal plants for the next three years because it’s flush with generation capacity. Times of India

47. In April, the UK’s Chatham House released a report saying “Big Oil is screwed.” Chatham House

48. In the same month, 25% of European countries announced that they had quit coal. EcoWatch

49. The BRICS New Development Bank approved $1 billion in renewables investments in China, Brazil, South Africa and India. RT

50. In 2016 Costa Rica ran solely on renewable energy for over 100 days. Now it’s aiming for an entire year with no fossil fuels. The Independent

51. In July, the USA, Mexico and Canada committed to getting 50 per cent of their electricity from renewables by 2025. Their leaders also nailed the awkward handshake thing. Time

52. A new report showed that China reached peak coal in 2014. A landmark moment in the fight against climate change that was reported by every media outlet on the planet. Right? Guardian

53. China installed 20GW of solar in the first half of 2016, three times as much as during the same period a year ago. Reuters

54. In October, the International Energy Agency reported that half a million solar panels were installed each day around the world in 2015. It also drastically increased its five year growth forecast for renewables. IEA

55. In the same month, 197 countries agreed to drastically reduce their use of HFCs, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation agreed to measures to combat the impact of flying on greenhouse gas emissions. Scientific American

56. The world’s biggest offshore wind farm received the go ahead for its second phase. Guardian

57. Mexico announced $6 billion in renewables investments, Argentina $2.7 billion, Scotland connected underwater turbines to its grid for the first time, and solar energy generated more power than coal in the United Kingdom. Independent UK

58. In November, India unveiled the world’s largest solar power plant, and revealed that it is now on track to be the world’s third biggest solar market in 2017. Al Jazeera

59. And in the same month, the United Kingdom agreed to phase out coal by 2025, France said it would get there by 2023, and Germany promised to reduce emissions by 95% by 2050. Guardian

60. Following the end of conflict in Colombia in 2016, all of the war in the world is now limited to an arc that contains less than a sixth of the world’s population. Associated Press

61. ISIS quietly started preparing its followers for the eventual collapse of the caliphate it proclaimed with great fanfare two years ago. New Yorker

62. In April, a new report revealed that for the first time ever, the death penalty has become illegal in more than half of the world’s countries. Article

63. Juarez, in Mexico, used to be the world’s most dangerous city. In 2016, crime came down and residents started losing their fear. National Geographic

64. Crime rates in the Netherlands plummeted, with total recorded crime shrinking by 25% in the last eight years. One third of the country’s prison cells are now empty. Dutch News

65. Three years ago Honduras was the most dangerous place on earth. Since then community crime programs have achieved a remarkable reduction in violence. New York Times

66. According to US mayors, 2016 celebrated years of positive gains in US cities. Politico

67. Good science and simple economics have started a reversal in overfishing in the United States. New York Times

68. Norway became the first country in the world to commit to zero deforestation. The Independent

69. In June, a new survey showed that the ozone hole has shrunk by more than 3.9 million square kilometres since 2006. Scientists now think it will now be fully healed by 2050. Sydney Morning Herald

70. In July, more than 800,000 volunteers in India planted 50 million trees in one day. The country is planning on reforesting 12% of its land. National Geographic

71. Later that month, Israel revealed that it now makes 55% of its freshwater. That means that one of the driest countries on earth now has more water than it needs. Ensia

72. McDonalds announced it would be removing corn syrup from its hamburger buns and removed antibiotics from its chicken months ahead of schedule. CNBC

73. By August, every major grocery and fast-food chain in the US had pledged to use only cage-free eggs by 2025. Washington Post

74. The average number of large oil spills around the world has been drastically reduced, from an average of 24.5 per year in the 1970s, to just 1.8 a year in 2015. ITOPF

75. The citizens of Mumbai conducted the largest beach clean-up in human history, removing more than 4000 tonnes of rubbish. Washington Post

76. Plastic bag use plummeted in England thanks to the introduction of a 5p charge in 2015. BBC

77. The Italian government overwhelmingly backed a new set of laws aimed at cutting down the vast amounts of food wasted in the country each year. Independent

78. In December, four of the world’s biggest cities, Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City, agreed to ban diesel cars from their centres. Guardian

79. At this year’s CITES conference, 183 countries agreed to the strongest protections ever for endangered animals, with big wins for parrots, rhinos, porpoises, rays and elephants. Washington Post

80. In February, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the global manatee population is no longer endangered. Scientific American

81. Wild wolves started coming back to Europe, and for the first time since the American Revolution, wild salmon began spawning in the Connecticut River. Al Jazeera

82. In March, Yellowstone’s grizzly bears passed a major milestone, completing one of the greatest wildlife comeback stories in history. National Geographic

83. Fifty years ago, the Columbian white-tailed deer population was 450 animals. This year, the US Fish and Wildlife Service took it off the endangered list. CS Monitor

84. Green sea turtles in Florida and Mexico were taken off the endangered list. Huffington Post

85. Sea World agreed to stop breeding captive killer whales. NPR

86. Humpback whales were removed from the endangered species list, having fully recovered in the last 46 years. Science Mag

87. The US finalized new regulations to shut down commercial elephant ivory trade within its borders and stop wildlife crime overseas. WWF

88. Mongolia created one of the world’s largest protected areas for snow leopards. Snow Leopard Trust

89. In September, giant pandas became the latest species to be taken off the endangered list. Guardian

90. And in 2016, for the first time, we heard that the number of tigers in the wild rose for the first time in 100 yearsNational Geographic

91. At the beginning of the year, we heard that global spending on aid and development increased by 7%, and spending on refugees has doubled. OECD

92. In April, Pony Ma Huateng, the chief executive of the Chinese internet giant Tencent, donated $2 billion to charity. South China Morning Post

93. 2015 was America’s most generous year ever, with charitable donations from individuals, estates, foundations and corporations reaching record highs. 2016 is on track to be even bigger. Associated Press

94. In 2016, charitable giving in China rose to $15 billion, a 10 fold increase from just a decade ago Bloomberg

95. Online crowdfunding raised almost $1 million for the kids of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile to go to college.

96. Warren Buffett gave $2.9 billion to charity, again. And his son, a farmer and environmentalist, quietly continued to spend his billion dollar inheritance on sustainable agriculture and hunger eradication. The Atlantic

97. The Gates Foundation announced another $5 billion in charity for Africa.

98. Germany took in an additional 300,000 refugees in 2016, despite growing concerns about integration and a backlash from populists. Guardian

99. In Canada, hockey moms, poker buddies and neighbors took in Syrian refugees, one family at a time. New York Times

A small mansion

I like to think of our small house as being a small mansion. That way, when I leave our house, the half  block on either side of our house is like a wing of our little mansion. There’s a laundry at the end of one block, and a restaurant at the end of the block, a vegetable market on the corner, and a small store around the corner.

Go just a block and a half to find a tortilla shop, two coffee shops, and four restaurants. One of those restaurants is in a small hotel which are the guest rooms of our little mansion.

It’s al about your perspective.

The mirror

no-smart-phoneNow everybody knows what they look like, whereas most people didn’t know what they looked like exactly for most of human history.

The details on a small patch of skin were incredible using my wife’s 10x mirror to look at a blemish on my face. But that sort of thing  wasn’t possible until lately.

We take mirrors for granted. Most of us now take selfies for granted too. But not so long ago, people didn’t have a clear idea of what they actually looked like.

For the ancients, there was the surface reflection on a still pond of your face. Next came crappy and expensive mirrors made from polished metal.

It wasn’t until a few hundred years ago that glass mirrors came on the scene. Next were accurate painted portraits, but only for the wealthiest folks. Then cameras showed up in the mid 1800’s. Now most of us have smartphones that take pictures almost for free.

Adams on Trump

getting-itScott Adams is the author of the comic strip “Dilbert.” A year ago Adams gave Trump a 98% chance of winning the presidency when experts were at 2%. His prediction was based on the persuasion filter, Adams considers Trump to be a “master persuader” based on Adams’ longtime interest in the art of persuasion and hypnosis.

I voted for Hillary and was as surprised as most people that Trump won. I’m pretty sure Adams didn’t vote for Trump either. But he has an interesting take on why Trump won and what will be different about Trump after he assumes the presidency. Here’s my edited version of a recent Scott Adams blogpost:

We live under a consistent illusion that facts and logic guide our decisions. They don’t.

I mean that in the limited sense of decision-making. If you make the wrong decision, the facts can kill you. That’s not in debate. I’m talking about the process of arriving at a decision.

The exception is when there’s no emotional dimension to a decision. For example, if a mechanic says it’ll cost you $1,000 to fix your car, and you can see no other option that makes sense, the facts and logic guided your decision to approve the repairs. But emotion-free decisions are unusual. You rarely see emotion-free decisions when it comes to politics, relationships, or even your career.

A Master Persuader – and anyone trained in hypnosis or persuasion in general – knows that humans don’t use facts and reason to make important decisions. Most persuaders prefer sticking to the facts when possible, but that is mostly to avoid looking like idiots. They know that sticking to facts will not persuade.

Trump just takes things one step further. He doesn’t pretend the facts matter when they don’t. He does the things that matter and ignores the things that don’t.

He just has a better idea than the public and the media about what matters. For example…

The public thinks facts matter for decisions. They don’t.

The public thinks being “presidential” matters for getting elected. It didn’t.

The public thinks Trump should have studied the issues more deeply. And he will, as needed. But he didn’t need detailed policy knowledge to get elected (evidently).

The experts said Trump needed more ground game. He didn’t.

I hope you see the pattern already. Trump ignores the things that don’t matter – even to the point of looking the fool – and pays deep attention to what DOES matter.

When Trump was running for election, facts and reasons and policy details didn’t matter to the outcome. He knew that. I knew that. Every trained persuader knew it. But the general public did not, and that’s the realization that is beginning to dawn on the world.

Once in office, facts and reason do matter more. Trump is moving from the job of talking about issues to the job of doing something about them. In his new role, he will pay attention to details and facts and reason as much as humanly possible, with the help of advisors. You already see this transformation happening as Trump moderates his positions on waterboarding, prosecuting Clinton, and even climate change.

If you have not studied persuasion it makes perfect sense to be in a panic about a Trump presidency. You see a pattern of irrational-looking behavior from Trump during the election and you assume the trend will continue into the presidency. But if you understand the tools of persuasion you see a Master Persuader ignoring what doesn’t matter and paying close attention to what does, for the benefit of the country. That is literally the safest situation I can imagine.

As president, facts do matter. Reason matters. Logic matters. But persuasion does too – and it is still hugely important to the job of being president. Don’t expect Trump to embrace any facts that are not important to “making America great again.” But I do think you can expect facts to influence Trump when they do matter.

If you are worried how a President Trump will address climate change, here’s what to expect. You can expect him to dissect the topic in terms of the facts that matter and the ones that don’t. You can expect him to eventually agree with scientists who say human activity is contributing to climate change. But when it comes to the prediction models, and America’s ability to fix the problem at a reasonable cost, expect him to be more skeptical than the general public.

That isn’t crazy. Complicated models that try to predict the future rarely succeed.

I don’t believe human brains evolved to understand reality at an objective level. The best we can do is pick filters that do a good job of predicting what’s ahead. The Persuasion Filter predicted Trump’s win when most other models did not. Now I use the same filter to predict that Trump will turn from totally ignoring facts (because facts don’t matter to elections) to embracing the facts that do matter to the country.

Are you moving around enough?

Are you moving around enough? tiredThe takeaway from a new study of modern day hunter gatherers, the Hadza, is that our bodies need and respond to the kind of physical demands that these tribespeople still engage in most days.

It’s not too surprising that they move a lot, typically more than two hours a day. The men walk briskly searching for game animals off and on most days, and the women find, dig up, heft and prepare fruits, vegetables and other foods.

But, the vast majority of their activities are moderate. The tribespeople rarely run or are otherwise vigorously active.

They remain active, well into middle age and beyond, even those in their 70s moving as much as or more than the young.

The tribespeople have enviable heart health. The Hadza typically present low blood pressure and excellent cholesterol profiles across their life spans.

Some of their cardiovascular health is no doubt a result of diet, but the data intimate that the Hadzas’ active lifestyle, consisting of plenty of walking, lifting and generally being up and doing, helps to protect their hearts against disease.

Other parts of the Hadzas’ lives remain difficult and chancy. There’re real risks for untreated infections and illnesses, accidental deaths and no access to dental care.

These are risks that people in the industrial world have mitigated. But we now have the diseases of civilization which we might also be able to mitigate by following the Hadzas’ tendency of moving for a couple of hours a day. And it doesn’t have to be necessarily intense  or hard.

I’ve excerpted the information above from a recent NYT article about recent studies of the Hadza people.

Sugar Daddies

sexworkerIt’s a new twist on an old story. Money isn’t everything (as long as you have some). Operating in our modern world requires money, especially in some of the expensive big cities young people tend to flock to.

The internet and social media increase the opportunities for making money by using your body. It’s easier than ever to be a sex worker or a consumer, a sugar daddy, too.

An article claimed a young woman usually charged her sugar daddy around $400 for an encounter and added, “The guys don’t like talking about money, so they’ll just like leave money in your purse.” I guess people like to pretend it’s not a business transaction.

She seemed surprised to find that the men, although generally nice, didn’t actually respect her. “They’d never consider a monogamous relationship with someone who’d need to do this to survive. They see you as beneath them, desperate.”

Young artists and musicians used to go to New York City looking for a creative community with broad possibilities. But now, the city has become unaffordable for most people especially young struggling artists. So sex work becomes an option for some.

Payments are evolving too. One sugar baby said many now use the Amazon “Wish Lists” that sex workers set up for their clients to use. To avoid paying cash through PayPal or other traceable channels, clients can pay with gifts like iPhones, laptops, or flat-screen TV’s.