Unfogged Mobile

Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 04.24.24

How about a conversation on how to exit conversations gracefully?* A former colleague came to visit campus. He was chatting in my office, and then suddenly he was like, "WELL, BYE!" and out the door, and I was so in awe of how he pulled that off.

The worst is when you can't exit a situation entirely, because you're at some dumb thing with hors d'oeuvres and tiny plastic plates and you're sticking around until the guest of honor gets up and says a few words. "I'd like to stop talking to you now, but I'm only going to go to this other part of the same conference room and gaze out the window. WELL, BYE!"

Originally I called this post Deus Ex Machina, but then I became fond of the idea of just saying WELL BYE more often.

*Idea courtesy of Stormcrow, VTSOOBC.

Comments (44)

Guest Post: The Publishing business
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 04.23.24

NickS writes: An interesting post with many, many quotes describing just how top-heavy the publishing industry is:


Not surprisingly people talk themselves into believing that they have better ability to predict the market than they do:

We have a report that we colloquially call 'The Ones That Got Away.' And it's a report on the books where we bid $500,000 or more as an advance and did not succeed in acquiring the book... this report stands as a kind of caution against the high risk of big advances because the lesson we take away again and again is: Thank goodness we stopped bidding when we did because even at the advance we offered, we would have lost money... Very frequently, the winning bid in our calculation is a money loser.
-- Michael Pietsch, CEO, Hachette

The most visible threat to the publishing industry is large-scale subscription service, like Spotify, for books:

Around 20 to 25 percent of the readers, the heavy readers, account for 80 percent of the revenue pool of the industry of what consumers spend on books. It's the really dedicated readers. If they got all-access, the revenue pool of the industry is going to be very small. Physical retail will be gone--see music--within two to three years. And we will be dependent on a few Silicon Valley or Swedish internet companies that will actually provide all-access.
-- Markus Dohle, CEO, Penguin Publishing House

Heebie's take: This link is super interesting. Go read it.

Also the semester is almost over! After next week, my T/Th schedule will relent and I'll be able to post at a normal hour again.

Comments (30)

Guest Post: RIP RIP Medical Debt?
Posted by Heebie-Geebie on 04.22.24

Minivet writes: This was in the New York Times but I figured I'd link to the source instead.

Short version: they randomized groups to have their medical debt bought/forgiven versus not. In a range of measures of financial and personal well-being, there was no improvement. The main difference found was slightly less likelihood to pay additional medical debt among the intervention groups.

Possible inference: when a non-profit has targeted forgiving as much medical debt as possible, they seek out the cheapest price on the dollar, which is the class of debt likely not being paid for years already, and among people with especially low ability to pay & high likelihood to accrue & default on other debts, so having it forgiven makes little difference to their overall situation.

Not to say that forgiving debt couldn't greatly help the same people, but it might be the class of debt that costs quarters on the dollar rather than pennies, because it's more likely to get wrung out of them.

Heebie's take: Can someone dive into the paper and rip it apart for me, please? This upends too much of my worldview.

But otherwise I'll accept Minivet's explanation. Capitalism has piled the shit so high and deep already, that this one intervention can't stem the tide of stress and problems.

Comments (24)