What We’re Reading

Here are a few good articles the Collaborative Fund team came across this week.

Energy

Solar jobs are surging:

To put this all in perspective: “Solar employs slightly more workers than natural gas, over twice as many as coal, over three times that of wind energy, and almost five times the number employed in nuclear energy,” the report notes. “Only oil/petroleum has more employment (by 38%) than solar.”

Open and honest

A fascinating piece on checking scientific papers:

Statcheck had read some 50,000 published psychology papers and checked the maths behind every statistical result it encountered. In the space of 24 hours, virtually every academic active in the field in the past two decades had received an email from the program, informing them that their work had been reviewed. Nothing like this had ever been seen before: a massive, open, retroactive evaluation of scientific literature, conducted entirely by computer.

Over the top

Apple’s new campus sounds amazing. And a little absurd:

When Apple tapped general contractors Holder Construction and Rudolph & Sletten to finish the main building in 2015, one of the first orders of business was finalizing a door handle for conference rooms and offices.

After months of back and forth, construction workers presented their work to a manager from Apple’s in-house team, who turned the sample over and over in his hands. Finally, he said he felt a faint bump.

The construction team double-checked the measurements, unable to find any imperfections – down to the nanometer. Still, Apple insisted on another version.

The construction manager who was so intimately involved in the door handle did not see its completion. Down to his last day, Apple was still fiddling with the design - after a year and a half of debate.

Statistics

A lot of separating luck from skill comes down to consistency:

Here’s a simple way to separate luck from skill: If each of the 7.2 billion people on the planet flipped a coin, we should expect one lucky person would land on the same side of the coin 33 times. Flipping a coin 80 times and landing on the same side every time, the odds of that happening are 0.000000000000000000000082718%, one in I literally don’t even know how to calculate this. Jack Schwager once said of Thorp’s remarkable performance: “the odds of his track record being luck are one million times less than the odds of picking a random atom in the entire mass of the earth, and then picking that same atom a second time.”

Red flags

This is a great piece on what to look out for:

Between intermediaries, assistants, and various other “helpers,” it can become challenging to get a clear picture of reality. We get suspicious when others are always answering questions, explaining the situation, or making excuses. We want partners who are forthright and accessible. If we can’t get access to the executive, how could a lower-tier employee with a critical message?

Agriculture

I had no idea the orange industry was in such turmoil:

Per-capita consumption of orange juice in the U.S. has almost halved in the past 12 years, dropping to 2.6 gallons in the year that ended Sept. 30, from 4.9 gallons in the year ended Sept. 30, 2004. Florida orange-juice production is down by nearly 70% to 445 million gallons over the same period.

Have a good weekend.


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