The daily view 4/10/2024: Bitcoin, Life Expectancy, Crisis, Ukraine, and IQ

Item 1: Bitcoin stalls out at $70k, more downside ahead. After crossing $70k on Monday, BTC resumes plunge to $68k as of posting this. The ‘triple top’ in the $60-70k range, as indicated by the red circles, portends to much more downside, possibly as low as $15-20k in a year or so:

I have lost track of all of the times experts have said it would be at $100k by now, only to keep falling as soon as it tries to break $70k.

Each cycle is getting smaller and smaller. BTC went up 20x in 2017, from its 2013 highs of $1,000 to $20,000, but in 2021 peaking at only 3.2x from its 2017 highs, at around $65k. This makes the risk/reward metrics much worse, as returns have clearly gotten smaller but volatility/downside has not.

Item 2:

Not always. The U.S. always rises to the occasion during crisis, like after 911, 2008, or Covid, in the latter being among the first to mass-produce and deploy a vaccine (even if did not stop the spread as promised), and in the former pioneering QE and other unorthodox policy to mitigate the banking crisis, as other countries struggled for far longer. Same for the stimulus programs, which may have helped U.S. economy exit Covid the fastest among developed nations. The U.S. is unrivaled at summoning its brainpower and military capacity when it needs to.

Item #3:

Russia-Ukraine 2 years later, still a stalemate: War in Ukraine Is Turning in Putin’s Favor After Months of Stalemate.

In Feb/March 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine, I correctly predicted it would be stalemate that would drag on for years, which is exactly what has happened. How was I right despite not being a military historian, a foreign policy expert, or not even having that much background knowledge or interest in the topic, whereas the vast majority of experts and pundits were wrong.

1. Russia, despite being more powerful, would be self-restrained in its military capabilities and would have to fight with a hand behind its back. Because the world was watching, Putin knew that unleashing too much firepower, such as by deploying Russia’s air force, would be bad from an optics standpoint, such as on social media and in the eyes of ‘international community’ which largely favored Ukraine and could lead to other countries aiding Ukraine. Putin is a smart enough strategist to know what lines cannot be crossed, like by avoiding excess civilian deaths or collateral damage.

2. Meanwhile, Ukraine has the full assistance of U.S. intelligence and other aid, and is not constrained at all, being that it’s universally perceived as the underdog.

3. Russia’s overreliance on tanks makes it vulnerable to strategic airstrikes by drones assisted by U.S. intelligence, which can pinpoint the location of the tanks.

Putting these together, you have the perfect conditions for a stalemate.

Item #4:

Of all the reasons the rich live longer, this is not one of them. The rich, especially rich men, not uncommonly live sedentary lifestyles and eat tons of bad food and are obese or overweight, yet still live a long time (although, unlike men, rich women tend to be much slimmer compared to lower-middle-class women). Charlie Munger and Kissinger both lived to 100, both were obese, had bad diets, and were sedentary. Same for Warren Buffett, who is still going strong at 93 despite a famously bad diet consisting of Coca-Colas and McDonald’s Quarter Pounders and no exercise.

The rich live longer due to higher IQs (which is correlated with longer life expectancy and reduced all-cause mortality), lower stress (having money and social status reduces stress), and better medical care (which is how Cheney is still alive). Genes that confer high IQ are correlated with genes that are protective against disease or confer less risk taking, like avoiding skydiving or motorcycling. This is enough to counteract bad diets, sedentary lifestyles, and obesity. John Adams, Winston Churchill, and Benjamin Franklin lived to 91, 90, and 84 respectively and they fit the profile of being sedentary and fat, but had high IQ and high social status going for them.

Item #5 IQ discourse is increasingly unhinged

The content does not match the lofty premise of the article, that IQ discourse online is becoming unhinged, which is quite a searing indictment. It’s more like his complaint is that a particular well-cited study, SMPY, is frequently misunderstood by those who cite it.

But it should never be forgotten that IQ research is not physics. It is not chemistry. It is a soft science like psychology or sociology. More modern papers have lots of fancy statistics, but that does nothing to lessen its plushy, silky, softness. It is not ba

But outside of a handful of physical laws that are empirically robust, a lot of physics is speculative, such as theoretical physics. Chemistry involves trial and error as to trying to find compounds that yield a treatment or other desired outcome. IQ ‘works’ for its explanatory power even if correlations are low. This may by counterintuitive or contradictory, but consider that few high IQ people work at Google, but almost all Google employees are high IQ. So, IQ is extremely accurate in this sense, almost 100%. So much for being a ‘soft science’.