Saturday, May 9, 2020

Friday 5

This is the first edition of my Friday 5, a collection of the five most interesting things I read or consumed during the week.  I've been developing a moderate case of content amnesia so this will be a place where I can aggregate links and gather my thoughts before I forget them all.  Hopefully those lost internet travelers that stumble upon my blog will find them interesting as well.

Starting off my weekly roundup is the announcement of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize Winners made on Monday.  The archive of previous Pulitzer winners has been an invaluable resource for when I've wanted to research certain topics or read up on recent events that passed me by, so I was happy to see Dominic Gates, Mike Baker, and Lewis Kamb of The Seattle Times win for their reporting on the design flaws in the Boeing 737 MAX.  I'm still picking my way through the list, but I look forward to reading one of the nonfiction winners, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, in tandem with How to Hide an Empire: A History of the Greater United States, which has been burning a hole in my Kindle ever since I bought it.

Back to bombard you with more walls of text is the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab's fantastic report on the surveillance conducted by WeChat on content posted by users outside China.  "Yeah, no duh," you probably just thought - so did I.  Even for fervent China skeptics like me, this served as a reminder of Tencent and, by extension, CCP interference and monitoring of our daily lives.  It's very hard to go throughout your day on the internet without being monitored by an American corporation, but if you need a reason to stop using Chinese software or refrain from investing in a CCP-sponsored company - yes, I'm a hypocrite - this should wake up your dormant jingo gene.

In case you're already snoozing through this list, watch (or just listen - he's one of the smoothest public speakers I've seen) to Frank Abagnale, the real con-artist from Catch Me If You Can, give a surprisingly touching talk on his life and cybersecurity.

Wading into macro, I recommend sitting down and looking at this brief from Paul Jones and Lorenzo Giorgianni.  If you're one of those insufferable guys like me who had the opportunity to buy Bitcoin years ago and didn't but never shuts up about it, or if you're that other guy who scoffs at the mere idea of cryptocurrency, or if you're someone who hasn't managed to identify with the two very specific stereotypes I just made, give this one a glance.

Closing out this week is a look into the wacky world of university finance.  The Grumpy Economist gave us some insights into the kind of exposure colleges have going into this economic downturn, specifically the hit in expected tuition fees.  I was surprised at how illiquid some of the big-name endowments really are, and I'm curious to see where my alma mater stands in this regard. 

Have a good weekend and send love to your mom.

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