Another TBB post featuring the most eclectic links around the web such as riding on the Trans-Iranian Railway, diversify gold bugs and bond bears, breakthrough infections and boosters, Global Entry faq, we travel to Turkey and France, eavesdropping on the Taliban, the media’s pathetic job on Afghanistan, Adam Sandler plays pick up basketball, important rooms in history, the 80k Citi Premier, going for the highest Hyatt elite status or not and lots more, have a great week and thanks for the support!
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Some of the links are behind a paywall. You can try to read them using Archive.is.
Today I am going to take you to France, Turkey and Iran and check out some places you most likely have not run into in the past. But, as you are reading this, I am exploring some caves while hiking in Hocking Hills, Ohio.
The photography here is amazing, must click! Dunaliella salina. The pink water comes from a pink algae (Dunaliella Salina) which lives in it. This pink algae can exist in just about any kind of natural body of saltwater and is the main source of nutrition for another common resident of saltwater: a miniscule shrimp called the artémias salina.
I think, if my memory serves me right (lol), I may have posted something about this in my blog some time ago. When Water Rises: A Journey Through Turkey’s Drowning Landscape.
Turkish Magnum photographer Emin Özmen travels through South East Anatolia, glimpsing the remains of villages submerged by the region’s monumental GAP dam programme, and visiting those next on the list for eviction for the last time
Loved this: The story behind the Trans-Iranian Railway, one of the greatest engineering feats of the 20th century. Maybe one day when I return to Iran.
This is excellent! You Contain Multitudes, Diversify Accordingly. We have no crystal ball, diversify, keep buying and focus on more important things. Keep costs low, rebalance twice a year and don’t make stupid tax moves. Easier said than executed because your emotions mess you up.
Research has proven the poet Walt Whitman right: we contain multitudes. We are vessels of contradictory desires, perspectives and emotions. We are subject to a variety of cognitive biases. In a sense, we are made up of different self states. And this consortium of selves can trip us up when making decisions, from what we order at a restaurant, to what career we pursue, to how we invest money. Every individual investment decision, each time you buy or sell, is subject to a multitude of mental forces. This is why it’s better for most of us, who are saving and investing to achieve financial independence, to take the don’t-put-all-your-eggs-in-one-basket approach known as diversification.
Diversifying your portfolio not only helps you manage investment risk, but also manage yourself/selves. You reduce the chances of making bad decisions. Essentially, you can dilute the influence of conflicting modes of thinking by owning a variety of different assets. Put simply: We contain multitudes, so we should invest in multitudes.
The way I see diversification is that it is a cognitive bias silencer and the ultimate form of investor humility. It is not the path to the highest returns, which is the point. The greater the heights, the greater the fall. You don’t know what’s going to happen anymore than the next person.
Rather than sticking with what you know, diversification practically forces you to own — and reap the benefits of — the disruptors that evolve and grow, overtaking the old guard.
Our contradictions don’t have to rule over our money. Diversification is one way to help become unhindered by our mental flaws. And there’s nothing wrong with admitting our judgments can be flawed. It’s what allows us to find ways to make better decisions.
And then there are the people so fully bought in to a particular idea/concept/style/product/etc. that, no matter what you throw at them they just won’t budge! I mean, I still know some who keep pounding about the “Fed is printing so much money” blah blah blah. Anyway, as mentioned in the beginning of each post, you can try to bypass paywalls dropping the URL in Archive.is. And this one from Jason Zweig at the Wall Street Journal is great: Why Gold Bugs, Bond Bears and Amazon Skeptics Think Alike.
Investors often prefer to stick their heads in the sand rather than confront the evidence in front of them
That’s what happens when what you own—or scorn—becomes part of who you are. You don’t just invest in gold; you become a gold bug. You don’t merely think interest rates will rise; you turn into a bond bear. You aren’t only skeptical about Amazon; you belong to the value-investing community, which regards itself as rational in a financial world gone mad. Before you know it, you’ve become a true believer: clinging to your investment idea as passionately, rigidly and unquestioningly as a religion or ideology. The longer you’ve owned an asset and the more you talk about it, the more likely it is to feel like part of who you are; changing your mind would seem like losing a piece of your self.
As Prof. Thaler once told me, “What investors fear even more than losing money is having to say, ‘What an idiot I am.’” [Yeah, maybe I am an idiot for not taking crypto seriously 🙂 ]
Sometimes I feel like we are all in a bad dream. Nightmare actually. How can we still screw this up is extremely disturbing and disheartening. Meanwhile, Vaccines prevented nearly 140,000 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
This is a great podcast, I learned a lot! Breakthrough Infections — and Boosters — Explained (with Jennifer Nuzzo) with Andy Slavitt. Notice the humility of the John Hopkins epidemilogist. I am beginning to think, since I feel like we will all get the virus in the end, maybe getting it while fully vaccinated may be the way to go. Still, I am not going out there looking for it.
I am keeping this section a little while longer while we evacuate and then move on…
You would love the articles I have for you. Stuff you don’t find in the mainstream media that get you to the core of the issues. While other blogs try to clickbait you with moronic “content”…
Must read: The media’s systemic failure on Afghanistan. The author, correctly in my opinion, unleashes his fury to all the bozos who were responsible for our policy in Afghanistan and now coming out of their holes to blame Biden. Bozos like Panetta, Crocker, Cohen and many others.
The opinions of critics of the withdrawal from Afghanistan — many of whom were complicit in the failed policy over 20 years — are then laundered by prominent media figures as “fact.” As Jon Alsop notes in the Columbia Journalism Review, NBC’s Chuck Todd asserted that the withdrawal from Afghanistan will “haunt Mr. Biden’s legacy” and Axios’ Mike Allen called it an “embarrassment.” The one-sided coverage of the military withdrawal from Afghanistan mirrors the mistakes made in the run-up to the Iraq War. Then, “Bush administration officials were the most frequently quoted sources, the voices of anti-war groups and opposition Democrats were barely audible, and the overall thrust of coverage favored a pro-war perspective.” Nearly two decades later, history is repeating itself.
Maybe I should have saved this one for a Best of Web post, oh well, MUST read! What I Learned While Eavesdropping on the Taliban. At the end of this piece you will realize we had to leave years ago…
I spent 600 hours listening in on the people who now run Afghanistan. It wasn’t until the end of my tour that I understood what they were telling me.
Just a few excerpts, first this hilarious exchange:
On rare occasions, they could even make me laugh. One winter in northern Afghanistan, where the average elevation is somewhere above 7,000 feet and the average temperature is somewhere below freezing, the following discussion took place:
“Go place the IED down there, at the bend; they won’t see it.”
“It can wait ’til morning.”
“No, it can’t. They [the Americans] could come early, and we need it down there to kill as many as we can.”
“I think I’ll wait.”
“No, you won’t! Go place it.”
“Do I have to?”
“Yes! Go do it!”
“I don’t want to.”
“Brother, why not? We must jihad!”
“Brother … It’s too cold to jihad.”
and this one:
On every mission, they knew I was overhead, monitoring their every word. They knew I could hear them bragging about how many Americans they’d managed to kill, or how many RPGs they’d procured, or when and where they were going to place an IED. But amid all that hearing, I hadn’t been listening. It finally dawned on me that the bullshitting wasn’t just for fun; it was how they distracted themselves from the same boredom I was feeling as they went through another battle, in the same place, against yet another invading force. But unlike me, when they went home, it would be to the next village over, not 6,000 miles away. Those men in the field may have just been farmers, or maybe they really were hiding the evidence of their assault. Either way, our bombs and bullets meant the young boys in their village were now that much more likely to join the Taliban. And those pep talks? They weren’t just empty rhetoric. They were self-fulfilling prophecies.
Seeing CNN’s Clarissa Ward report in Kabul one things pops into my mind…bravery! I hope she stays safe, yes I am worried. Great interview of her: CNN’s Clarissa Ward on What She’s Seeing on the Ground in Afghanistan Now. Update: She is out of there!
ODDZ & ENDZ
This was a fun read: An Oral History of Adam Sandler, Pickup Basketball Legend.
Where diplomacy happened: The Rooms Where It Happened. Which one is your favorite? 🙂
MILES & POINTS
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This section is about my
hobby addiction of collecting frequent flyer miles and hotel points since the early 1990’s! Feel free to skip this section and parts of the next one if this is not for you.
Newbies: BEST TRAVEL REWARDS CREDIT CARD! The 100k Chase Sapphire Preferred card is now available with my links. If you are totally new and looking for a keeper card I think THIS is the card. Apply for it, get approved, do the required minimum $4k spend, get the 100k points signup bonus, transfer the points to United or Southwest or Hyatt or just cash out for $1,250 spend for groceries using the “Pay Yourself Back” feature assuming you do eat, right? For the annual fee of only $95, COME ON, do the math! Ok, here is the math: $1,250 – $95 = $1,155. So, if a bank offers you all this money what is your problem? Just ALWAYS make sure you NEVER EVER carry a balance ok? If you currently have the card, you can refer your spouse or significant other or third cousin or travel starved friend and you the referrer can earn 20k Chase points for the referral and the referred still get the full 100k bonus.
hobby addiction, we love big US banks. Because they throw huge signup travel rewards credit card offers knowing they will hook some who get them so do NOT be them! I think Chase is at the top followed by AmericanExpress. And then we have this weird Citi bank with the archaic IT system that just can not make up its mind to compete against the top two or not. So, it goes into phases. Right now, it appears they decided to compete and they have allowed its own proprietary points currency a getaway to American Airlines miles: The Citi Premier 80,000 Point Bonus Now Has Additional Value with American Airlines. Making the Citi Premier the highest earning American Airlines miles card out there! Even higher than the actual AA cards…yeah, it is a crazy time out there in the miles and points world. I am going to circle back to it but I am a bit busy with minimum spend in a few other cards at the moment…hope the offer lasts as it definitely is in my Top 5 card offers right now.
The Lazy Traveler did a post: Considering a Last Ditch Attempt to Snag Globalist Status in 2021? I am not sure it is worth to go for it now, only you can answer that. Do you think you will get great value out of it next year? Can you do $15k spend this year on the World of Hyatt credit card, of course which assumes you can even get this Chase card! Do you think Hyatt will not devalue this elite tier? If you read the main commercial blogs their MAIN goal is to push bank product and they ALWAYS post how amazing EACH credit card they sell is, THINK!
I love Global Entry. It has been so long since I used it thought that I think I have forgotten how to use them lovely kiosks! All the different programs can be a bit confusing. You should know that Global Entry includes TSAPreCheck. Anyway, maybe bookmark this post and refer to it when you want to learn more about it. Complete Guide to Get Global Entry: How to Apply and Interview.
When you are ready to redeem your bank points please do not do so for merchandise, this is always a very bad deal! Another good reference to use when you decide to transfer out to partners: How long does it take to transfer points to airline and hotel programs?
We are now entering BLOG BUZZ, a section for advanced hobbyists and veterans of this fast imploding hobby and also a section where I go on and on about some stuff that happens in my life because it helps me feel better about myself.
I think I am going to attempt keeping at most two links in the Personal Finance, Covid-19 and Oddz & Endz sections going forward to reduce the length of each posts which may raise the probability of coming to you three times a week. No more than three links in the Travel section. And just be even more selective in the Miles & Points section and Blog Buzz section. Perhaps try to infuse more of my expert incendiary commentary lol. Why? Well, a reader reached out telling me that my posts are too good but too long and if I could space them out and make them shorter…that would be great. I was having the same thoughts so thanks for confirming dear reader!
This card is only suitable for small business owners with A LOT of expenses! Capital One Formally Launches Spark Cash Plus Card With $1,000 Bonus. To get the full bonus it requires $50k minimum spend, so like I said, if you have a business and you want to consolidate all the spend on the card earning two points per dollar this may not be a bad option…You know where to find it by now, thanks for your support.
Miles Earn and Burn had a post last Thursday with both good news and bad news. Well, the bad news were really bad imho and the good news were so so for most.
This looks more like One CreditCard at a Time instead.
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