One of the world’s most prominent economics commentators revealed the fundamental truth about human communication Twitter ignored for a decade

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Mohamed El-Erian

Mohamed
El-Erian.

REUTERS/Mario
Anzuoni


Mohamed El-Erian is one of, if not the most, prominent
economic commentators in the world.

With his recent book “The
Only Game in Town
,” El-Erian expertly captures the
conventional wisdom that permeates markets today: Central banks
are the only thing that matters.

But the thing about this book is that there isn’t a whole lot in
there that hadn’t been said before, either by El-Erian or others.

The success of the book, rather, is in re-using things we had
been hearing and digesting but hadn’t seen in one place, or
hadn’t been told enough times to fully internalize.

What does this have to do with Twitter? Well, a way of describing
El-Erian’s book is to say that it is one long self-quoted tweet.
A self-retweet. A thing that had already been said. A clear
collection of what we knew, reminding us that we already knew it.

Unfortunately, it took Twitter more than
a decade
to make self-quoting, or self-retweeting, possible –
or rather, to make this easy. There were always ways to highlight
things you’d said or tweeted before, but this function should’ve
been an integral part of the user experience from the start.

The genius of Twitter was that it forced users to write
succinctly and it organized the world in rigidly linear time. In
the last decade, the service has made real a world of endless
information better than any other.

But by lacking the ability to easily self-quote, Twitter failed
to capture a timeless truth about human communication: It is,
really, all about me. There are few things people like more than
having their own priors confirmed, and a self-quoted tweet is
fulfilling this desire in a pure way.

Twitter understood we only wanted to hear from other people for a
finite amount of time.

But the company didn’t see that the other side of this is that we
wanted to hear from ourselves even more.

The
Book of Ecclesiastes
tells us, “What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under
the sun.” We, as communicators, as social animals, understand
that the best way to advance our arguments or narratives is to
draw from the past. And the most vividly recalled past is that
which we create ourselves.


rosary bible

Flickr/Roger
Smith


There is of course no experience any one human has at which they
are not the absolute center. And it is the necessary
self-centeredness of the human experience that makes what we do
seem more important to ourselves than those things done or said
in the outside world.

The self-quoted tweet, then, is perhaps the purest and most
reliable form of communication.

It is you saying, “See, I was right.” Or you saying, “See, I was
wrong.” It is you saying, “See, this is the point I was trying to
make.” It is someone saying, most simply, that they exist.

The self-quoted tweet is communication distilled into our
simplest understanding of the world: this has all happened
before, it will all happen again, and I will live
forever.

On Monday morning, El-Erian was in the news. In an interview on
Bloomberg TV, he said the US bond market rally hasn’t reflected
US fundamentals, but instead was following trends in Europe. At a
breakfast attended by Business Insider later on Monday, El-Erian
reiterated that the bond market is reacting to Europe, not US
fundamentals.

These were comments given to the media within two hours of each
other. They were materially the same.

But this is not a knock on El-Erian at all, merely an observation
of how we most effectively communicate with other people: say the
same thing again and again and again.


jeff gundlach

Jeffrey
Gundlach, chief executive and chief investment officer of
DoubleLine Capital, speaks during the Sohn Investment Conference
in New York May 4, 2015.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

This proclivity for self-repeating is not particularly unique to
El-Erian. Many in the economic, political, sports, and other
commentary fields have long known that the best way to make your
point is to keep making that same point over and over.

Local examples in the economic analysis field include DoubleLine
Capital’s Jeff Gundlach – known in some circles as the “bond
king
” – who, while always compelling in his rhetoric, tends
to make more or less the same case about the economy for months
at a time. Tom Lee, a noted stock market bull who now runs
FundStrat, is
almost always making arguments
about why stocks should go up.

This is not to pick on either Gundlach or Lee as there are dozens
of economic commentators (see: Edwards,
Albert
), who also make the same argument over and over.

Legendary financial journalist Jason
Zweig has said
, “My job is to write the exact same thing
between 50 and 100 times a year in such a way that neither my
editors nor my readers will ever think I am repeating myself.”

But in this quote, I think Zweig is speaking to his ability to
write well rather than his ability to unearth some new piece of
knowledge that was as-yet-unknown to humanity. It is not that
Zweig doesn’t want to repeat himself, but that his profession as
a writer demands he repeat himself in interesting ways that don’t
seem repetitive. The information, it is understood, will be
something we already knew.

El-Erian, Gundlach, and Lee, while clear writers and speakers,
are not necessarily trying to get readers or listeners to think
they are saying anything different. They are instead quite
clearly saying the same thing, over and over.

These three esteemed commentators are trying to remind their
clients of their currently-held investing theme, and repeating
yourself is simply the most effective way to get your message
across.

Repeating yourself is a way to make indelible in the minds of an
audience what your point really is. (“We’re
going to build a wall
.”) And self-quoting your own tweet is
the easiest way to execute this strategy. I have tweeted,
therefore I have been.

If the core fear of human life is the fear of death, then the
biblically-enshrined belief that we are but part of an
ever-repeating history makes our self-repetition an integral part
of the eternal pursuit of immortality.

I have tweeted. I will tweet again. I will tweet forever.

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12 Greatest Accomplishments Anyone Has Ever Achieved While On Drugs

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Dr Timothy Leary

Credit: Hulton Archives/Getty Images

For those of you that are experienced in the art of taking drugs, you already know that drugs rarely give you special powers or enhance any of your natural abilities. In fact, it is so rare to accomplish anything great while high that this list isn’t even that long.

Depressants (Heroin, Analgesics, Alcohol) will decrease alertness and slow everything in your central nervous system down. Stimulants (Amphetamines) do the opposite and increase your body and mind’s state of arousal but that can turn things a bit sloppy. Hallucinogens (LSD, Acid, PCP, ‘Shrooms) alter your perception and cause you to see things that aren’t real.

But there have been people that have accomplished some of the most amazing feats while on a drug of some kind. It is even more amazing when you hear the story behind the experiences.

Here are the greatest accomplishments anyone has ever achieved while on drugs.

12. Stephen Gould

12 - Gould wiki

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Creation: Punctuated Equilibrium
  • Drug of Choice: Marijuana
  • Details: The invention is a theory, not a tangible item. It means that a species remains generally stable, changing very little for millions of years. Although he never gave marijuana the credit for this idea, he was a user of the drug to help alleviate his nausea and would use it regularly during which he was also coming up with this idea.

11. Paul Erdos

Erdos_budapest_fall_1992

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Creation: Mathematical papers
  • Drug of Choice: Amphetamines
  • Details: Paul Erdos is one of the greatest and most prolific publishers the math world has ever seen having nearly 1,525 mathematical articles published in his lifetime. That’s the equivalent of hitting 900 home runs in one season. His drug use was no secret and was something he was very open about. He once won a bet where he stopped using amphetamines for a month, however, he created nothing. He went back to using amphetamines shortly after the bet.

10. Timothy Leary 

Dr Timothy Leary

 

 

  • Creation: Psychedelic drugs in Controlled Conditions
  • Drug of Choice: LSD, Psilocybin, Mescaline
  • Details: Of all the jobs to have, Timothy Leary decided to start working on psychedelic drugs by experimenting with them in controlled scenarios. He even co-wrote a book titled, “The Psychedelic Experience” which talks about using the drugs and their effects on the mind, body, and soul.

9. Coca-Cola 

9 coke

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Creation: Coca-Cola
  • Drug of Choice: Morphine
  • Details: The inventor of Coca-Cola did add cocaine to the original syrup for the most popular soda of all time. However, John Pemberton a former Lt. Colonel of the Confederate Army’s 3rd Georgia Calvary Battalion and pharmacist, started using morphine as a way of dealing with the war. The addiction got so bad that he created Coca-Cola as a soda drink that would cure his addiction.

8. Thomas Edison

8 edison

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Creation: Light bulb, Movie Camera, and many others
  • Drug of Choice: Cocaine
  • Details: The famous inventor created many things but his biggest invention was electricity when he came up with the light bulb. He was known for using an elixir laced with cocaine called Vin Mariani. It was the inspiration for the invention of Coca-Cola too.

7. Sigmund Freud

7 freud

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Creation: Psychoanalysis
  • Drug of Choice: Cocaine
  • Details: Besides using cocaine, Sigmund Freud was one of the world’s biggest supporter of this new “wonder drug.” Just like a pharmaceutical sales rep sells the newest miracle pill to doctor’s offices, he was pushing this drug to everyone that cared about what he had to say. He ended up becoming addicted to it but throughout the time he used it, he came up with most of his ideas and creations.

6. Robert Louis Stevenson

6 RLS

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Creation: Wrote Dr. Jekyl and Mr.Hyde
  • Drug of Choice: Cocaine
  • Details: If you haven’t figured it out by now, cocaine was a big drug in America throughout the turn of the 20th century because no one knew what it could fully do yet. Robert Louis Stevenson didn’t use cocaine for recreational use at first. He was prescribed the drug for a hemorrhage and after taking it, he dreamt up the story after one dream. He literally awoke from his nightmare and started writing until the story was ready.

5. Bob Marley

5 marley

  • Creation: Reggae Music
  • Drug of Choice: Marijuana
  • Details: Everyone knows that Jamaican’s love their marijuana. They also know, or at least they should know, that Bob Marley was a big user of it too. Even if you aren’t a fan of his music, you have to respect what he created and how he came from poverty to create beautiful music that is to inspire all of us. (Side Note: We know that a lot of music is the result of drug use. But Bob was special.)

4. Kary Mullis

4 mullis

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Creation: Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
  • Drug of Choice: LSD
  • Details: Without getting too technical, Polymerase Chain Reaction, or PCR, is a technique used in molecular biology to amplify copies of DNA. It is now used for DNA cloning, gene analysis, diagnosis of hereditary diseases, paternity testing, fingerprinting, and infectious disease detection. Basically, it changed the face of molecular biology and Kary Mullis figured it out while tripping on LSD.

3. Francis Crick

3 crick

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Creation: Discovered DNA
  • Drug of Choice: LSD
  • Details: Francis Crick discovered DNA while taking LSD. Can you even imagine how incredible of an accomplishment that is while high? If you have tried LSD, then you already know it can walk you down a road of mind-opening ideas that are sometimes too hard to organize into rational ideas or thoughts.

2. Dock Ellis

2 dock

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Creation: Pitched a No-Hitter
  • Drug of Choice: Acid
  • Details: In the Major Leagues, 23 different pitchers have tossed Perfect Games since 1880, none of them have done it twice. It is one of the rarest feats a professional MLB pitcher can accomplish in his career. For those that do not know what a perfect game is, let’s explain. A perfect game is when a pitcher throws a complete game shutout without giving up a hit, run, or walk and only faces the minimum number of batters, 27. That means, every single batter that comes up to the plate, doesn’t reach base, at all, no matter what. One by one they fall, out after out, until 9 innings is complete. Back in 1970, Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter. He would have pitched a perfect game if he didn’t walk 8 batters but can you blame a man that told the story about how he doesn’t even remember seeing the catcher at times.

1. Moses

1 moses

Credit: Wikipedia

  • Creation: The Ten Commandments
  • Drug of Choice: Mushrooms
  • Details: There is no proof of the contrary that Moses was high on mushrooms when he discovered the two tablets that ended up The Ten Commandments that almost everyone in the world lives by. It is where the idea of law and legal systems came from, as well as a list of ideals religious people follow. This isn’t a knock against whether God is real or not, simply that Moses wasn’t the most intelligent of men and if he was talking to God, he probably would not have been able to gather in his simple mind exactly what was happening long enough to understand The Ten Commandments.
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China made the world’s fastest supercomputer using its own chips

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There’s a new computing champion… and unlike past years, this one doesn’t depend on any Western tech to crunch numbers. Top500 has declared that China’s Sunway TaihuLight, a 40,960-node system powered entirely by Chinese processors (the 260-core ShenWei 26010), is the world’s fastest supercomputer. And it’s leading by a wide margin, too. At 93 petaflops of processing power, it’s nearly three times more powerful than the previous record-setter, the 33.85-petaflop Tianhe-2.

The new system uses a custom interconnect format to link its nodes, and there’s a custom Linux variant that serves as its software foundation. The technology isn’t especially exotic (the interconnect is based on PCI Express), but it doesn’t need to be to achieve a breakneck pace. It’s even more power-efficient than Tianhe-2 at a relatively modest 15.3 megawatts of energy consumption.

The irony? As Top500 says, a 2015 US embargo may have helped TaihuLight’s chances of claiming the top spot. Many expected Tianhe-2 to get an upgrade to Intel’s Xeon Phi processors and push 100 petaflops, but the trade restriction prevented that from happening. The embargo also persuaded China to step up its processor development, so any successors to TaihuLight might be that much faster. Having said this, TaihuLight may solve engineering and science problems for everyone — we’re not going to knock a supercomputing breakthrough if it’s useful well beyond its native soil.

Via: Popular Mechanics

Source: Top500

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