Monday, April 15, 2019

A Brief 'Before the Flood' Timeline

Obviously, the book, 'Before the Flood' will be extensive.  It covers about 300K years, so how could it not be?  However, just so people kind of get the argument, the timeline goes like this.

~300 kya     The line that will become AMH (anatomically modern humans) diverges from archaic humans

200 kya - 100 kya AMH fixes on one y chromosome and one mitochondia.  

~ 100 kya AMH moves out of its isolated home into surrounding areas, most notably South Africa and the Levant

~ 75 kya The Toba super eruption eliminates archaic human populations from South Asia (but not Africa or Europe)

74 kya - 60 kya AMH populate all of South Asia

~ 60 kya and 16 kya AMH develop agriculture (perhaps a reinvention) and slowly construct a vast neolithic civilization on the Indian subcontinent

16 kya after warming for 4 ky, the Older Dryas throws Earth back into a 500 year mini ice age.  It is harmless to the South Asia civilization, but it likely stresses much of the archaic human population elsewhere. 

14.7 kya - 13.5 kya Meltwater Pulse 1 A floods coastal cities in South Asia

13.0 kya - 11.3 kya The Younger Dryas throws the world back into the Ice Age, which in combination with continued rapid increases in sea level, destroys the South Asia civilization and creates waves of refugees in all directions.

12.8 kya The Age of Leo begins.  Egyptian Sphinx built around 12.4 kya to signify to refugees that survivors are living in what, today, is the Eastern Sahara.

~ 11 kya Refugees in Asia Minor, Turkey, etc. begin rebuilding rudimentary settlements and agriculture.  

~ 6 kya agriculturally based civilizations begin forming throughout Asia and Northern Central Asia and Eastern Europe.  The Sahara turns into a desert and a culture forms in Egypt along the Nile.  

The rest, quite literally, is history.  The real question here is that period of 44 ky from 60 kya and 16 kya.  It is profoundly puzzling how the period after the ~4ky of climatological disruption could be characterized by the emergence of agriculture and civilization all over the full extent of human range, but for 44 ky the indian subcontinent, whith human populations and a broad range of stable climates had none.  It is inconsistent with both logic and the oral traditions of the region.  Plus, recently, an enormous city, predating at least much of the flood, has been found off the Indian coast.  In other words, the default assumption should be that civilization began there and then.  It may prove to be false, but it is more probable than the assumption that the Sumerians were the first civilization simply because they are the oldest we have found.  "Before the Flood" is not intended to be one more 'lost civilization' popular culture book, but rather an academic assault on one specific academic premise.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What is an Acceptible National Deficit?

Note: This is the first in a series of shortish articles I am writing on contemporary Western political issues. The news coverage on both the Right and Left has become so counterfactual that, sadly, it is needed.

There is such a thing as Conservative virtue signaling and much of it revolves around statements of 'fiscal responsibility'. In the U.S., the periodic calls for a balanced budget amendment is an example. It is, in fact, a really bad idea. However, if deficit spending is OK, how do we determine how much is OK. That is actually not as hard to compute as it may initially seem. It does require some basic competence in Economics, but, if you don't have it, you really should 'bite the bullet' and acquire it as a basic InfoAge survival skill, anyway. This article will do two things. First, we will demonstrate that deficit spending is OK and that there is a way to calculate how much is appropriate. Second, we will see how increasing money supply creates wealth out of thin air and that distributing it through 'general welfare' expenditures has both practical and ethical advantages. 

We will begin with the well established and easily understood fact that wealthy people tend to owe more than poor people. That is because of simple principles such as the usual requirement that one's total house payment should be no more than 28% of one's gross income. So, the more you earn, the more debt you can take on in order to buy a larger house. The notion also applies to auto loans and, among Economists, the idea of Public Debt as a Percent of Gross National Product. Bond rating agencies that assess the creditworthiness of corporations also rely heavily on the ratio between debt and equity and 'times interest earned' measures. What applies to households and corporations also applies to nations.

This is why international Economists pay close attention to Public Debt as a percent of nominal GDP. According to the CIA World Fact Book, the world, in total, is at about 60%, with the U.S at slightly over 82% and the EU at 86.9%. While there is not an agreed upon guideline, we may assume that 50% would be a reasonable and achievable goal. As an example, between Q4, 2018 and Q4, 2017, nominal GDP in the U.S. grew by about $1,060 billion. This would 'earn' $530 billion of deficit spending and the related additional borrowing. Adhering to this guideline would result, both in the U.S. and EU, in the rapid decrease in Debt as a percent of nominal GDP, with a slowing of the annual reduction with an asymptote at 50%. This actually happened in the U.S. between WWII, when Public Debt skyrocketed and around 2000 when it had fallen well below 50%.  It did so, while there was deficit spending in all but two years.  However, the deficits were less than 50% of the nominal increase in GDP.  In other words, this level of deficit spending and increase in Public Debt would not be worrisome.   

There is another source of deficit financing that is not considered to be Public Debt and that is Treasury debt purchased by government agencies, of which in the U.S. has historically been primarily by the Social Security Administration, followed by other pension obligations. For now, because of growing populations, these funds are generally buying more than selling, thereby creating budget funding that is being transfered to the general fund. This will not last forever and will eventually add to the deficit when withdrawals from the pension funds exceeds the contribution.  This became a hot political topic in the U.S. at one point and was referred to as a 'lockbox' approach.  The argument seemed to confuse most voters and so it was dropped as a political issue.  However, it is a disguised ticking time bomb that will be discussed in an article on Social Security.

There is a third consideration for calculating acceptable deficits.  Central Banks must increase the money supply each year to accommodate a growing GDP and the targeted inflation.  If nominal GDP is 20 trillion, about the sum of both the U.S. and the EU, and M2 is 14 trillion (approximately correct in the U.S.), it means that for every trillion USD that the nominal GDP increases, M2 needs to increase by 700 billion.  Historically, this has been done by lowering interest rates which, in theory, should increase loan demand.  Banks lend out 100 USD, supplying 10 USD from their own funds and borrowing 90 USD from the Federal reserve bank.  Eurozone Central Banks have different reserve requirements but nearly always less than the U.S. 10%.  There are both advantages and disadvantages to increasing money supply in this manner. There have been several times in the past 80 years when this method of interest rate manipulation has failed to accomplish its intended purpose.

Foremost among these was the financial crisis of 2008, when businesses would not borrow money at any interest rate.  The Fed lowered the discount rate to near 0% and still had not 'rescued' the monetary system.  Then Quantitative Easing was used and it was effective.  This is the practice of the Federal Reserve Bank buying Treasury debt using created money.  This is still held in suspicion and the banking industry and many Economists repeatedly calls for Federal Reserve divestiture of Treasury instruments.  The Federal Reserve Bank and most of the Economists will eventually come to understand that it is superior to the fractional reserve route. This creates a whole new set of tools.


The member banks benefited from the fractional reserve method of the past. The bank may lend 1,000 USD at 4%, providing 100 USD of its own money and borrowing 900 USD from the Fed at, say, 2%. They will charge the customer 40 USD in interest, pay 18 USD to the Fed and keep 22 USD for a 22% return on their 100 USD. It is understandable why the member banks don't want this system abridged. With Quantitative Easing, the system will not be eliminated. It's just that they won't participate in the creation of new money. However, under QE, the 700 billion USD that needs to be added to M2 will be accomplished by buying Treasure debt. So, the money is given to the Federal Government.

This means that the Federal Government can spend 700 billion USD more than it takes in by issuing debt to the Federal Reserve. However, this debt is not counted in the National Debt, and correctly so. The principle will never be paid back. It is where M2 comes from and must remain or M2 shrinks and deflation would result. Even the interest is invisible. That is because while the Treasury will pay the Federal Reserve interest, that interest, by law is paid back to the Treasury as a dividend of excess earnings. The expense is directly offset by the interest income. If it seems as if it means that it is free money, you are correct. But it is not a shell game.  It is, in reality, a dividend related to economic growth. There literally is no downside.

In the above example, then, the Federal Government can have 530 billion USD + 700 billion USD = 1.23 trillion USD deficit spending with no deleterious effects. The 530 billion USD will carry real interest and be counted in the Public Debt. However, the 700 billion USD is completely invisible.  With proper structure, amounts similar as a percent of nominal GDP is available to nearly all nations. 


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There is a fundamental, theoretical difference between this 1.23 trillion USD (or equivalent for EU countries) and the rest of the national budget.  Most of the budget is funded through taxes which are taken from citizens.  However, this 1.23 trillion USD is simply the result of the economic operation of the nation and, theoretically, is a dividend shared by every citizen equally.  One could simply provide a dividend to every adult in the country.  That has advantages and disadvantages over just lowering taxes.  Income taxes are progressive and somewhere between 40% and 50% of U.S. households pay no taxes. Consequently, their taxes would not be lowered and they would get none of the dividend.  The remainder of taxes are related to purchases, either directly or indirectly, which would also cause the tax reduction to be regressive.

One could place it in the Social Security fund, if, like the U.S., the program is underfunded.  While better than reduced income taxes, this would help with Social Security liquidity, it would tend to favor the more affluent and, therefore, be regressive.  So, it seems appropriate that the funds simply be given to each adult equally.  This would be neither progressive nor regressive.  In the U.S. by the above example, each adult would receive about 5,000 USD per year.  One could make it progressive by taxing it away from the more affluent and use the additional funds for social safety net expenditures.  However, I believe that this will likely be a question that will be more relevant after it is used to deal with the coming wave of technological unemployment.

Once this is properly understood, most politicians will support it, because the voters will support it.  The traditional Conservative objection made over 'safety net' expenditures that they are funded with money they earned doesn't apply.  This money is not being taken from them.  It is being created by the monetary requirements of a growing economy.  Conservatives will likely still be against this use, because Conservatives are generally pro business and will react to financial interests that will not support it.

Specifically, the creation of money has nearly a 100% profit and right now, with interest rate manipulation, that ends up on the balance sheets of banks.  The banking industry has been very vocal about not supporting QE and have been actively pressuring the Federal Reserve to divest of Treasury instruments.  They understand that this will lower M2 and require the Fed to increase it through lowering interest rates, thus increasing banking profits.  Their argument is that it is inflationary.  However, the above calculations are specifically driven by nominal GDP targets that are set to the optimal inflation rate.  It is a spurious argument.


The 'Balanced Budget' argument has been primarily a political battle line in the U.S.  However, because the U.S. constitutes over 40% of the EuroCulture GDP, how it handles its fiscal and monetary policy will affect the whole.  I advocate that the U.S. fiscal policy be trifurcated and sequestered into General Funds, Social Security Funds and Monetary and GDP Dividend Funds.  On a long term basis, the total should not create a deficit larger than the Monetary and GDP Dividend Fund.  Rather than a per capita dividend, at this point, I advocate that this last fund be dedicated to dealing with the impending wave of Technological Unemployment.  While a 'political' assessment, I do believe that it is one grounded in valid political and ethical principles.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A Reactionary Research Fund

Sadly, ideology has invaded research activities, not surprisingly, with the Social Sciences being the central battle front.  An increasing percentage of funded research is being directed at proving such dubious claims as 'gender is a social construct', 'there are no differences between male and female brains', 'there is no such thing as race, and, even if there were, there are no cognitive differences between them', to name just a few.  Essentially, Academia has become an ideological monolith that assures that its viewpoint is well supported through a process of funding research that is likely to support it and defund research that would likely refute it.  So, herein, I advocate that we create an 'Objectivity Research Fund' whose purpose is to fund research that could challenge the current Progressive paradigm and then to disseminate the findings.  If nothing else, the disruption will be fun.

Recently, knowledge of the general 'greening' of the planet, primarily due to increased atmospheric CO2, but also due to increased growing seasons, higher rainfall, etc., has become fairly widespread.  However, the ideologically driven media quickly mobilized with articles such as this one in the NYT, 'Global Greening' Sounds Good. In the Long Run, It's Terrible.  Clearly, it is well established that more CO2, warmer temperatures and higher rainfall leads to more plant growth, which gets eaten by more herbivores, which, in turn, feeds more carnivores.  This is not controversial; it is why greenhouses increase all three.  So, it takes more than a little bit of journalistic legerdemain to turn it into 'terrible'.  

I will briefly review the four points that the article makes to demonstrate just how disengenuous the news coverage is when reporting or commenting upon ideologically charged subject matter.  The first point is that "More photosynthesis does not mean more food".  That is true if we are speaking just about human food.  The point that the vast increase in yield per acre over the last century was not the result of more CO2 in the atmosphere.  It was due to better cultivars, better agricultural practices such as crop rotation.  However, all things being equal, with higher CO2, less land needs to be dedicated to agriculture at the same level of agricultural technology.  In other words, the 'greening' means that Mankind's 'footprint' is smaller.  That is good.  

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The article states that a 30% increase in CO2 does not create a 30% increase in food production.  That is true.  However, a doubling of CO2 does create approximately a 40% increase in food production.  The notion that, because the increases do not correspond precisely, the whole idea of increased CO2 can increase food production can be dismissed is ridiculous.  One can calculate a ratio and estimate that a 2^.5 increase in CO2 will create a 1.4^.5 increase in food production.  An 18.3% increase in food production simply from the increasing CO2 level of 41% is very significant.  By the way, the 41% is close to the amount of CO2 increase expected by 2100.  So, we see that 'reason one' is absent any value whatsoever.

The second claim is that vegetables grown in higher CO2 concentrations can be less nutritious.  That is true to a degree, but it certainly hasn't been brought up with regard to hydroponic vegetables that all are grown at multiples of atmospheric CO2 levels.  The article correctly states that all the reasons why higher CO2 grown plants may be less nutritious are not known.  The word may critical.  It is not the case that all plants grown at higher CO2 concentrations are less nutritious.  As CO2 levels, temperatures, growing seasons, rainfall change, farmers change cultivars based upon the research done and provided by the seed manufacturers.  In other words, the seed suppliers and farmers naturally compensate for this factor, since they want to bring the best product to market in order to command the highest prices. 

The third item is that the greening of the planet won't stop climate change.  This is a complete straw man since absolutely nobody claimed that it would.  It is rather that the scientific community and the Progressive media wishes to advance a narrative that climate change is a wind that will blow everyone ill in every way.  The greening of the planet is an example of a good thing that comes from increased CO2 and a warmer climate.  The title of the article says that the greening of the planet is terrible and this argument doesn't support that statement in the slightest.

The fourth item is that the greening may not last forever.  That a good thing may not be permanent doesn't make it terrible while it lasts.  Furthermore, the article doesn't actually present any evidence that the greening will end.  It simply asserts that one cannot prove that it will last forever.  Of course, that is possible due to unforseen interactions of the climate with the biosphere. However, that is an unlikely result for which there is no support.  

So, here we see one of the most prestigious, if not the most prestigious, newspapers in the world publishing a piece of propaganda, simply to blunt any objection to the narrative that CO2 emissions are anything other than an unmitigated negative.  It makes the blatant statement in its headline that, in the long run, global greening is terrible and then provides not even a little bit of support.  If it was the only example, we could ignore it, but it is the prevailing treatment of global warming issues.  It needs to be nullified and that can't just be done with YouTube videos and obscure articles.  Hard research is required.  Several things in the article are not well known, primarily because it is not well studied.  Nearly 5 billion USD is being spent on climate research directed at finding out 'how bad is it?' and virtually nothing is being funded to find out 'how good is it?' In fact, when good impacts of AGW are inadvertently found, effort is expended specifically to neutralize it.  That needs to be fixed.

Economics is an area where politics and ideology constantly invades the science. There are many examples, but here I will consider the war between Supply Side and Demand Side Economics.  Sadly, the vast majority of the research is targeted at proving one side correct and the other side wrong.  In truth, it is a false dichotomy that intelligent lay people can grasp.  Supply Side says that money made available to enterprises will cause them to produce more, hire more people, who will then have more money to spend and will buy the extra production.  The Demand Side argues that if you put more money in the hands of the consumer, they will go out and spend it which will create more production and more hiring, etc.
 

Even a naive analysis makes it patently obvious that in order for the Economy to grow, consumers must have more disposable income and enterprises must have the capital to buy more equipment and finance increased working capital needs.  If consumers have more money, but enterprises can't produce more, the extra money will simply cause inflation.  If the enterprises have more money, but consumers do not, the enterprises will likely buy back their own stock, since producing more will simply result in inventory surpluses.  Clearly, an enlightened attempt at increasing Economic growth will attempt to increase both.  It will also, as is the case right now, stimulate automation and fund education if there is a labor shortage in the needed jobs.  This 'hypothesis' is not being researched and disseminated because politics has taken over the discourse.

We understand that right now, the developed world is likely to go through an explosion of unemployment as driverless cars and trucks, automated restaurant kitchens, AI replacement of clerical and low level professionals, takes out literally millions and millions of jobs.  Sadly, the current research is designed based upon an acceptance that the Technological Unemployment is not a Luddite Fallacy. While this isn't actually supported by solid research, it is being substantiated with research that is intended to justify a BMI (basic minimum income).  In other words, this is Social Engineering masquerading as science.

My purpose is not to make a comprehensive argument for junk science being used to forward a Progressive agenda, but rather just to give a couple of examples.  It is everywhere, especially, but not entirely within the Social Sciences.  The problem is that literally billions USD is being funneled to Academia for this purpose and almost none is being provided to researchers who will likely weaken the Progressive arguments.  I am suggesting that those who are not Progressive, either by virtue of being a Conservative or neither, but dedicated to good science, create a research fund to that purpose.  I have no illusions that anything even close to the billions of research dollars that are being commandeered to this end can be matched by such a fund.  However, at least the practice will not go unchallenged.  

The research funding will fall into two broad categories.  The first is research areas where only research likely to support a political or ideological position is being funded.  Someone should be funding research that may draw an opposite conclusion.  The other is research areas that are not funded at all because the resultant research may produce politically or ideologically uncomfortable results.  It is important that the latter is chosen for its scientific merit, not simply to add to the ammunition available to the anti-Progressive side.  The purpose is to blunt the effect of ideology on science.  I, for one, would contribute to such a fund.

Friday, March 1, 2019

A New Air Travel Niche

Regular people fly Economy Class.  If one is flying on the corporate dime or if one is slightly more affluent, one may fly Business Class or even First Class.  If one is exceptionally wealthy one flies by chartered private jet.  There is a huge price/quality gap between Business Class and First Class and private jets and it is practical to fill that niche.  That niche can be filled with a Ultra Class only airline.  This is a service of primarily cabins rather than seats.

The basic idea is to dedicate the equivalent of about four Economy seats to one Ultra Class seat.  The quadrupling of price will still leave the cost well below that of private jet travel, is divisable into increments of as little as one or two seats and will still provide nearly the same degree of comfort as private jet travel. Additionally, because there will be just 1/4 of the passengers of a typical flight, there can be less crowding and more personal attention.  


On a typical narrow body plane, such as the Boeing 737, a two passenger cabin will be 5' wide and 8' long, providing unrestricted leg room, 1st Class width seats and a private TV with on-demand viewing.  There will also be room for a stocked refrigerator.  When meals are served, they will be eaten in comfort on large, fold-out tables.  Because the cabin is 8' long, seats can be reclined to provide comfortable sleeping accommodations.  This configuration will require only 3 multiples of Economy class with the 4th multiple used for common areas, like an expanded galley, more spacious bathrooms, etc.  On wide body cabins, such as the Boeing 787, a two passenger cabin will be about 7' wide by 6' long.  On both narrow body and wide body planes the center isle can be staggered and thereby creating single passenger cabins and three passenger cabins.  By changing the length, four  and six passenger cabins can also be created.

Since the total revenue will not change, the complement of flight attendents can be left unchanged, essentially quadrupling the service available, per passenger. Also, the amount of luggage, both checked and carry-on can be substantially increased.  Because of the cabin structure, children and pets will feel more comfortable and will not bother the other passengers.  Furthermore the annoyance of large numbers of passengers needing to plane and deplane at more or less the same time is greatly diminished.

Now let's look at cost.  Let's consider a flight from New York to London, which will likely be one of the first routes.  Right now, Expedia.com is quoting me a price of 711 USD round trip.  On the Ultra Class, then, the flight would be estimated at 2,844 USD per ticket.  However, this is actually less than the First Class flight, which is around 5,000 USD.  This suggests that Ultra Class flights might actually be extremely profitable because they will not have the costs of the low fare seating.  The lowest price for a private jet will be 150K USD for up to 14 passengers or about 11K USD per passenger.  There are, of course, some advantages that private jets have over Ultra Class, but those are primarily when the trip is from and to airports that couldn't support an Ultra Class service. Ultra Class will actually afford more privacy and will provide greater flexibility on number of passengers.

I am predicting that the population of family units earning seven figure USD is going to explode to 10% or so from its current 1/2%.  It will be comprised of North Americans, Europeans, Japanese (and other pockets of East Asian affluence, such as South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, et al.) and at lower frequencies, South Americans, Indians, Arabs, etc.  This community will be multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and anational.  What I mean is that most of these family units will have residences in multiple locales, generally in differnt countries.  For example, right now, I plan on having residences in Belarus, Cyprus and Taiwan, but these 'bases of operations' will likely evolve slowly.  I am not Belarusian, Cypriot nor Taiwanese.  I will spend summers in Belarus, shoulder months in Cyprus and winters in Taiwan.  So, I will be taking four flights per year just to get from one residence to another.  Over time, the number of people living this way will increase to perhaps 100 million, creating a demand of 400 million or so Ultra Class tickets.  This is over one trillion USD of revenue per year!

The most attractive locations for residences which will include most of the world's Alpha cities and climate blessed locations, such as the Caribbean, will have no difficulty attracting enough passengers to support the route.  However, having a large and vibrant population of these InfoAge elites will be of great benefit to cities and regions.  As automation and advanced robotics increases the percentage of Gross World Product that is return on investment, rather than labor, these residents can be beneficial to local economies.  They can and probably will locate headquarters and satellite facilities near their residences. They will then hire locally.  Because of this, Beta and Gamma cities will likely subsidize Ultra Class air service, because they understand that it something that the elites will consider when deciding where they will have their residences.

Private Jet travel burns an enormous amount of fuel per passenger and the available jet fuel likely cannot support a 20X increase in that class.  Ultra Class, while hardly as efficient as current commercial air travel is substantially more efficient that private jet travel.  It is therefore, whether one is concerned about carbon emissions or not, Ultra Class will eventually be needed.  However, if offered, even today, there would likely be many routes that would be very profitable.  

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Why Leonardo Membership?

I write a lot about Leonardo because, well, I am dedicated to building it.  It's not so much that Leonardo is an end in itself, but rather, by creating access to an appropriate audience, it becomes an enabler for a whole bunch of opportunities for Polymaths.  It is less complicated than much of what we will, hopefully, do in the future.  However still, it is not a simple concept and important points get lost as I try to explain it.  So, I am writing some more focused articles about it.  This one, obviously, is intended to clarify the benefits of membership in the Leonardo Blog Network. There are three major ones.  The newsletter, virality and monetization.

When you become a Leonardo blogger, your blog will become a part of your newsletter.  The newsletter will contain an introduction from you followed by an abstract of your current article and a link to your blog for those who want to read it in its entirety.  It then has abstracts and links to the articles of four other Leonardo bloggers that you have judiciously selected to appeal to your subscribers.  You do this because it is part of the deal.  You highlight their articles and in turn, on average, four Leos will highlight you article.  However, there are benefits to your newsletter well beyond that.

The Internet has gotten flooded with sites that want you to 'subscribe to our newsletter'.  That is because, when it comes to making money, that is the start. Once they subscribe, you have control over the communication channel - at least in theory.  You still have the challenge of getting them to open your newsletter e-mail and not unsubscribing.  A lot of people will subscribe, frequently not open or read and, eventually, unsubscribe.  The likelihood of opening your e-mail and not unsubscribing will primarily be driven by the perceived value of your newsletter.  Your income will be derived from those who read your article. However, growth in subscribers, open rates and unsubscribe rates will result from the perceived value of all articles.  So, no matter how good you are as a blogger, your newsletter will be better with more articles. 

When you notify your subscribers of your newest article, the open rate, as discussed above, will result from your subscribers' impression of its value.  The click rate will be driven primarily by how well your abstract is written. However, your viral rate will be determined by how well the article, itself, is written.  That is true on two levels.  First, the more your subscribers like your article, the more likely they will be to share it with their social media contacts.  That is one of the benefits of the newsletter format.  It allows you to encourage sharing and, with buttons, make sharing easier.  However, and this is probably the most important part, the better your article, the more likely you are to get picked up and forwarded in the newsletters of other Leonardo bloggers.  If you are picked up by four Leos, your readership can increase by four times what you get with your own subscribers.  A common result is that you will get, due to sharing, about twice your subscriber base in reads.  However, if you get highlighted in four other newsletters, your potential reads increases 5X.  Because your Leo Subscribers are similar to you, but not exactly like you, your actual multiplier will likely be more like 4X.  But, that, a 4X increase in your income, is huge.  

So, suppose you have 2,000 subscribers.  You will get 4,000 direct reads and 12,000 Leo reads for a total of 16K reads.  A well monetized blog (and we'll get to that next) will get about $.30 per read per month, or about $4,800.  And the important part is, that is just the beginning.  As people read your articles, some of them (I get 0.5%) will subscribe.  In the above example, approximately 14K of the reads are coming from non-subscribers and about 14KX0.5%=70 will become new subscribers.  70/2,000=3.5% weekly growth in subscriptions.  That is about a 6X increase in subscribers, reads and income.  So, one year after your 16K reads and $4,800 per month income, your readership will increase to 100K reads and your income will increase to $28,800.  Many, but not all Leo bloggers will start hitting market saturation around here.  What that means is that as the blog exposure grows, an ever increasing number of readers have already considered subscribing and either have done so or have decided not to.  So, growth will begin to slow down.

Anyone who has tried blogging has learned that the easily accessible advertising sources do not return anything close to the industry standard $10CPM.  Amazon will pay 4% until the blogger hits a pretty impressive volume, at which point it will increase that to 6%.  I have a particular animus toward Amazon.  Suppose a person has written an e-book.  Amazon will take 70%, process the payment and deliver the download.  It will put forth nothing more than a token effort at promotion and pays an affiliate, at most, 6% for a sale.  So, the author gets 70%, the seller gets 6% and Amazon gets 24% for doing almost nothing.  No wonder Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world and no wonder that, you as a blogger, can't make any money as an Amazon affiliate.  Both the author and the blogger have a very strong incentive to cut Amazon out of the process.  The problem is that one blogger can't really implement that idea.  However, 300 to 350 successful bloggers can and we will.

The author will get 82.3% after deduction for payment processing and pay, by deduction, 15% to the blogger.  The blogger will get 12% after paying the ad agency for the placement (if not self placed) and 5% to Leonardo administration.  Leonardo will run on $8 CPM, so with, say, 20,000 reads, the blogger will need (8X20)/(1.2)=133.33 or 6.7 sales per thousand.  That is less than 1% and it is the benchmark.  Keep in mind, if achieved, rather than 160USD, Amazon, at most would pay half of that. So, the author gets 15% more of the revenue and gets more active promotion and the blogger gets 2X to 3X more ad revenue per 1,000.

A huge ad revenue category will be crowdfunding from PEN members.  These will be Patreon style promotions for arts, Experiment.com style promotions for independent researchers and Kickstarter (or Fundable) style promotions for entrepreneurs who will then create more advertising revenue when they begin selling their product or service.  Kickstarter projects typically get $.50 to $1.00 per social contact.  For a blogger with 20,000 reads, that is $10,000 to $20,000 in support, but likely spread over about 6 weeks ads.  The affiliate rate will be 10%, with 8% going to the blogger.  Taking $15,000X8%/6=$200 or $10CPM or 25% higher than the benchmark.

Some bloggers, including me, will enhance their income by advertising their own products or services.  This is done by some of the highest compensated bloggers in the world.  In my case, I am writing books and who better to sell to than my own readers?  I will get the $8 CPM on the advertising, but I will also self place, which gets me another $1.5 CPM and I get the $80CPM for being the author.   I will actually get more personal income from this one ad than I will get from my other ads combined.  Another common route is to advertise one's own premium membership or patronage style support.  Many successful bloggers will use a combination of the above, a Patreon campaign, plus sell one's product, etc.

Leonardo will have a strategic partnership with another PEN enterprise, Polymathica Publications, which will begin its operations with a weekly, PDF magazine of analysis and commentary entitled, The Polymath.  This is an important project for Leonardo bloggers because some of them will substantially augment their income by writing articles for it.  Right now, we are selling prepaid, convertible advertising, primarily to PEN members who, with a purchase of three will receive lifetime membership in PEN.  However, right after the launch of Leonardo, we will begin selling blocks of $3,000.  Leonardo bloggers can advertise this and receive $300 per unit sold.  To meet the benchmark, bloggers will need to sell one unit per 37,500 views.  Some Leos will do much better than that.

I know that many of the people who should be Leonardo bloggers have tried blogging in the past, gotten a poor result and have concluded that blogging is not for them.  I sincerely hope that they will reconsider, in light of what I have said above.  The lackluster result was about the system, not about you.  blogging is easy, save for getting readers and monetizing effectively.  Leonardo solves both

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The First 100 PEN Members

I have a page entitled 'Enterprise Networks'.  In it I predict that over the next couple of decades, the old, Industrial Age corporation will be replaced by a more flexible and responsive structure that is, rather than hierarchical, a network of mutually enabling smaller enterprises that in the corporation would be a subsidiary, division or business unit. Another page, 'The Inappropriately Excluded' concludes that beginning at an IQ of about 133, people begin being excluded from most productive environments.  By about 150 D15IQ, the exclusion is nearly complete.  I also imply, and here I state, that traditional productive environments cannot be modified in order to remediate the exclusion.  In other words, new productive environments need to be created and, given the movement toward Enterprise Networks, those new environments should be designed as such.


The exclusion is not solely about IQ.  The excluded tend to resist specialization as an unnecessary restriction of their breadth of interest and intellectual curiosity.  So, available jobs are illsuited to them at a very fundamental level.  As a corporate type would say, 'He doesn't know how to stay in his lane.'  There is also a values component that I discuss in 'Intellectual Sophistication' and 'The Finely Crafted Life'.  For all these reasons I have created Polymathica and The Polymathic Institute with the stated goal of promoting and facilitating polymathic research, education, careers, communities and lifestyles.  Put bluntly, we can be cordial with society in general, but if we are to really fulfill ourselves, we can't be part of it.  For example, we tend to be lifelong, autodidactic learners which is fundamentally incompatible with the attitudes and behaviors of the population as a whole.  We are generally interested and they are generally not interested; so we are boring.  For all these reasons, the most important initial project is to create The Polymathic Enterprise Network.  It is, however, a beginning, not an end.

Even people who have been following me for a long time, while understanding the page on Enterprise Networks, have difficulty applying the concept to practical situations.  They often will create a project idea and then, rather than seeing the benefits of an Enterprise Network, fall back into the patterns they have learned of Academia, corporate jobs and enterpreneurship.  That demonstrates that, even among the most intelligent people, internalizing concepts takes some time and effort.  When they attempt to apply the traditional, mainstream concepts, as a rule, they fail.  That usually is not that their ideas are bad. Many of them are very, very good.  They fail because they refuse to recognize the D.K. Simonton 19 point IQ persuasiveness gap. Their ideas make perfect sense to them, but they confuse, rather than inspire, the potential investors.  If they get past that, they come face to face with the problem that, though a viable market exists, there are no cost effective communication channels that will allow them to speak to their potential customers.

So, we see that the first order of business must be to create the Polymathic Enterprise Network and PEN's first order of business must be to build access to the audiences that its members will need to succeed.  Simply put, if the mean IQ of PEN members is, say, +3.2 sigma, then we need a large audience of +2.0 sigma readers and viewers.  Consistent with D.K. Simonton, those are the people that we can persuade, interest, etc.  Fortunately, that is a very large audience of approximately 100 million people.  Let me reiterate.


 The inappropriately excluded fail in remediation primarily due to a lack of access to an appropriate audience.

It is a problem that is nearly impossible for them to solve on their own.  The lone, gunslinger, entrepreneur is a model that works for the <140 IQ person because their audience has a mean IQ <120 and channels to that audience are plentiful.  For the >140 IQ person, the necessary audience is, at present, unreachable.

There are three ways that we will create these communications channels.  They are, in descending order of ease of creation, a blog network, a magazine and a social media platform.  Since our audience comprises no more than 2% or 3% of the population, none of these will really be easy to create.  However, the proper place to begin is with the Leonardo Blog Network.  This will be a network of polymathic bloggers, likely about 300 to 350 of them, each of whom will have a distinct audience of about 200,000 readers.  Once we have that base of polymathic writers, we will be ready to create Polymathica Publications which will publish magazines, starting with The Polymath, and then expanding to other magazines. Lastly, we (as in PEN) will create a dedicated social media platform, Polymathica.com.  For PEN members who want to create enterprises that provide products and services to the created audience, artists (including novelists, artisans, video story tellers, etc.) and independent researchers who will be supported primarily by this audience, their dreams will go from impractical to eminently doable.  This audience can be a source of crowdfunding, patrons, and customers.

We currently have eight people committed to The Leonardo Network.  However, this is just a start. Eventually, Leonardo and the Polymathica Enterprise Network (P.E.N.) advertisers and administrators will number in the thousands.  That is too grandiose and long term to spend much time considering right now.  However, I have set a goal that we reach 100 by June 30, 2019. That should be about 20 Leonardo bloggers and 80 P.E.N. members.  The 80 P.E.N. members will provide advertising revenue for the 20 bloggers and the Leonardo bloggers will provide the P.E.N. members with access to potential investors, patrons and customers.  Once we have reached this level, the feeback loops built into P.E.N. will take over and the system will grow quickly, perhaps as fast as 3.5% per week.  


With a Leonardo launch date of June 30, 2019, the current Leonardo Bloggers will have 4 1/2 months to create their blog, e-mail list and newsletter templates and build an initial subscriber list of 1,000.  While a challenge, that is doable.  They will begin by soliciting subscribers from their social media contacts.  With some good, well read articles and some social media reach, this can be augmented by beginning and promoting a crowdfunding effort.  Reward based crowdfunding require some originality, but if Leonardo blogger has a base of people who believe that the blog deserves a larger audience, it is most certainly a realistic undertaking.

So, I have created a relatively straightforward decision tree for P.E.N. membership.  

1) I have read 'The Inappropriately Excluded' and determined that I am a member of that demographic.  If yes, then,
2) Have I decided that I would like to pursue a polymathic lifestyle that will include one or more of the following productive activities- blogging, non-fiction novels, fiction novels, painting and/or sculpting, music, design and/or implementation of products and/or services, or independent research?  If yes, then,
3) Will my investors, customers, patrons and/or contributors likely come from the upper 2% or 3% of the population in intellectual sophistication?  If yes, then,
4) Do I have sufficient risk tolerance to become involved in P.E.N. at its earliest stages.  If yes, then, you should consider being one of the first 100 P.E.N. Members.

We will begin with Leonardo and some intitial P.E.N. members and an initial goal of 100 Members by June 30, 2019.  These 100 will actually receive lifetime P.E.N. membership and no cost when they purchase three prepaid ads in The Polymath which will convert at incorporation to 300 shares of Polymathica Publications.  To me, it is important for our founders have an equity stake in the channels of communication that we build through P.E.N.  After we have the 100, for an indefinite time, P.E.N. membership will increase to 300USD per year, but will still come with an initial granting of 300 shares of Polymathica Publications.  There is still a huge benefit to jumping in in the first 100 members, not the least of which is that the sooner you get started, the sooner you will acquire your finely crafted life and polymathic career.

Do feel free to ask questions in the comments.  We don't want our first members to feel at all pressured.  However, if you are going to join, do not dawdle.  Just select 3 below, enter the referral code of 032950 and hit the purchase button.

We are funding prelaunch operations for The Polymath by selling prepaid footer ads in future issues. As our circulation increases, their value increases. When we reach our circulation goal of 4 million, they will have a projected value of $12,000 for a 24,000% increase.

When legal, prepaid ads may be converted to 100 equity shares in Polymathica publications. This will allow the holder to participate in the equity in earning of future projects.

I strongly suggest at least a defensive purchase of one ad. That way when they go to $12,000 you can say, 'Yeah, I got in on it' rather than, 'No, I was an idiot'.

For those who want to buy larger quantities (15 or more) message me at Michael.Wells.Ferguson@gmail.com and we will transact privately.

For a limited time, those who purchase 3 ads will receive lifetime membership in the Polymathic Institute (P.E.N.)

Number of Ads
Referral Code



Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A "Before the Flood" Timeline

I am writing a book entitled, "Before the Flood". However, because I have so many current projects, it may be a year or two before it is publshed. It considers the likely prehistory of Anatomically Modern Humans from its divergence from Archaic Humans (AH) between 400kya and 300 kya and the emergence of recorded civilization around 3000 BCE. Unlike most books and videos on this subject, I do not rely much on speculative interpretation of ancient mythologies and more on harder sciences such as Evolutionary Biology, Population Genetics, Paleoclimatology, etc. In that sense, it is a more 'hard science' treatment of the topic. However, I will rely on a few of the staples of speculative prehistory such as Robert Shock's dating of the Sphinx, etc.

I am writing this article to summarize the conclusions and create what might be considered a claim of priority. It is in the form of a timeline with intermittent digressions into explanations.

700kya-350kya AMH, according to the 'genetic clock' diverged from AH. That required reproductive isolation. This range is broad because analysis of different gene sites, most commonly found on the X and Y chromosomes yield different results. The divergence most likely was the result of geographic isolation during an interglacial with one between 424kya and 374kya appearing to be the most attractive.
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Inappropriately excluded?  Remediation is possible! Subscribe to The Polymath.
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400kya-150kya AMH evolves in isolation. Developing distinct cranial, post cranial and behavioral differences. During the period genetic drift (founders' effect) resulted in the MtDNA Eve and Y Chromosomal Adam. I will argue that the during this time AMH developed agriculturally based civilizations that was the source of the various anatomical and behavioral differences.

150kya-70kya AMH expanded its range into SW Asia and South Africa. In many cases, due to climactic conditions, it reverted to hunting-gathering life tracks, but brought behavior and cognitive advantages that increased the sophistication of tool making and likely the domestication of local canids.

70kya-20kya The Toba Supervolcano severely stressed AH populations over most of South Asia and AMH populations spread, from 60kya to 35kya, across all of South Asia. From about 55kya to 20kya much of the Indian subcontinent was a moderate subtropical to tropical monsoon climate with several large rivers fed by seasonal melts from the northern mountains. Therefore, I argue that seaside cities with reliance on fishing and limited agriculture emerged.

20kya to 10kya This was a time of extreme climate variability and a sea rise of 120 metrs that would have submerged virtually all cities. Meltwater Pulse 1A took place during this time which I contend was 'the flood'. Refugees fled to higher ground and, over time, created civilizations over SW Asia, NE Africa and Eastern Europe.

I will look at several technical aspects such as the emergence of metelurgy, which appears to be more like recovered technology than innovation, with bronze smelting taking place much earlier than one would expect. I will also explore the domestication of the dog, taking place prior to 40kya which likely provided AMH with prohibitive competitive advantage over AH and contributed greatly to the ease with which AMH replaced AH. I will discuss how the reproductive habits of AH (self-imposed isolation) has led to the illusion of repeated population bottlenecks and created the curious absence of AMH-AH interbreeding. A recent paper suggests that AMH and AH may have had incompatible Y chromosomes which whould have limited all issue from interbreeding to females, leaving the AMH Y chromosome pristine, while minor evidence of interbreeding could be found on the MtDNA.

I will spend one chapter looking at mythology and how it may square with the conclusions I draw. For example, both Egyptian and Sumerian Kings' lists include kings prior to the Flood, which if defined as Meltwater Pulse 1A, took place between 13.5kya and 14.7kya.  Both lists are problematic because they likely contain lunar calendars in the earlier times and solar calendars later and, in the case of Sumerian lists may chronicle contemporanious and competing kings.  However, assuming that  the antedeluvian 'kings' on the Sumerian lists are actually chronicling royal houses measured in lunar 'years', then the list starts at about 46kya.  That makes sense, if the history begins in South Asia and continues after the flood has submerged the original kingdoms moved to Egypt and Sumer.

I have a major secondary project that dovetails with Before the Flood that I have named Paleosociology which I will discuss briefly here, but will delve into quite deeply in another book.