Book Review- Mining the Sky

Mining the Sky: Untold Riches from the Asteroids, Comets, and Planets
by John S. Lewis, 1997

mining the sky

This book provides a fascinating account of the material wealth of our solar system. From mining asteroids for metals to searching for water for rocket propellants to pulling helium-3 from the outer planets for fusion material, there are profitable opportunities for mining the sky. Relying upon launched material from Earth will always limit our ability to explore and colonize outer space, as the launch costs are prohibitive and lead to limiting the weight of payloads. To continue manned exploration past the moon, we will need to start pulling raw materials from other rocks in the solar system with smaller costs. The book goes through the geology of asteroids, moons, comets, and planets and describes the chemistry necessary to profitably extract valuable materials. Very interesting; I found myself reading many passages out loud to Maria. Follow-up books by Lewis appear to be “Rain of Iron and Ice” and “Asteroid Mining 101”.

NFL Picks- Week 4 of 2015

Update: Opening line on the New Orleans game is now out.

Poor performance week 3.

Reminder that my model only uses past scores to predict future scores. So the fact that Roethlisberger is out for the Steelers is not considered.

Overall Against the Spread: 14-18
Week 2: 9-7
Week 3: 5-11

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5): Predicting 19.2-26.9. Bet on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Houston Texans at Atlanta Falcons (-7.0): Predicting 19.1-26.8. Bet on the Atlanta Falcons.
New York Giants at Buffalo Bills (-5.5): Predicting 22.2-29.1. Bet on the Buffalo Bills.
Oakland Raiders at Chicago Bears (+3.0): Predicting 26.5-23.8. Bet on the Chicago Bears.
Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5): Predicting 21.4-28.7. Bet on the Cincinnati Bengals.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-9.5): Predicting 18.9-26.0. Bet on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.0): Predicting 22.4-19.5. Bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (+3.0): Predicting 19.8-20.4. Bet on the Washington Redskins.
Cleveland Browns at San Diego Chargers (-9.0): Predicting 21.6-24.7. Bet on the Cleveland Browns.
St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals (-7.5): Predicting 17.3-31.5. Bet on the Arizona Cardinals.
Minnesota Vikings at Denver Broncos (-7.0): Predicting 15.6-22.4. Bet on the Minnesota Vikings.
Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers (+9.5): Predicting 27.0-22.3. Bet on the San Francisco 49ers.
Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints (-7): Predicting 23.8-24.4. Bet on the Dallas Cowboys.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (+2.5): Predicting 22.0-18.6. Bet on the New York Jets.
Detroit Lions at Seattle Seahawks (-10.0): Predicting 19.2-26.9. Bet on the Detroit Lions.

Book Review- The Winner-Take-All Society

The Winner-Take-All Society
by Robert H. Frank and Philip J. Cook, 1995


A 1990’s primer on increasing economic inequality and the rise of markets in which small relative differences in ability lead to huge differences in income. Things have only gotten more extreme. It’s written from an academic point of view, so there are more data and facts than the typically business book.

While many of the trends in this book are worrisome, I don’t see many ways to counter the proliferation of winner-take-all. With easier access to the best in the world in most fields, the demand for the best has skyrocketed while the demand for “good enough” has fallen off. “Arms Control Agreements”, the topic of Chapter 9, describe ways that various fields try to dampen competition for the top spot (e.g. salary caps and tests for performance enhancing drugs in sports), but most of these agreements are terribly hard to patrol. There is always incentive to deviate from the agreement to gain a leg up in obtaining top ability/talent, similar to the incentive to deviate in the prisoner’s dilemma.