Forecasting, The Color of Law and Carbon Offsets

Your weekly 5 things from the mind of Miles Lasater

Welcome to your Saturday! Here are your weekly five things from the mind of Miles.

  1. Does Forecasting Work? I’m a fan of Tetlock’s Superforecasting book and his theory that most forecasting doesn’t work seems right to me. That said, it is still fun to read George Friedman’s big sweeping predictions about The Next Hundred Years. I’m partial to the idea that geography, demography and technology should shape history. Friedman has a new book which is less fun but still a quick read. The Storm Before the Calm doesn’t say enough about climate change or racial issues and he is both a China and AI skeptic. But there are some interesting things including he predicts a reimagining of our government (which includes more judgement/decision delegation rather than rule-bound decisions),  life extension and solar energy harnessed in space beamed back to earth. I liked reading an ultimately optimistic prediction about America - I guess that’s why I’m sharing. If you don’t know Friedman, he was the founder of Stratfor (a private intelligence group) and you can read his international relations free newsletter from Geopolitical Futures.

  2. Naval Fiction. I’m on a naval sailing fiction kick. My favorite time period is early 1800s. As a kid I read all the Hownblower series. I never got into O’Brien based on the language. Recently I’ve been reading Dudley Pope’s Romage series. I didn’t realize how many similar series there are! For example, I read a few of Dewey Lambdin’s Alan Lewrie series. Wow - those are a bit racy. (I wish I could remember the name of the old MacOS computer game where you were the admiral of a sailing warship fleet.)

  3. Color of Law. I read the Color of Law a while ago and it is one of those books that sticks with you. I was naive about the extent to which racial housing segregation was a pervasive and explicit government policy so recently in the US. If you aren’t sure why housing is segregated or think maybe it happened by accident, please read this book.

  4. Is Politics Broken? Is politics broken or doing what it was designed to do? The Politics Industry offers an accessible analysis of politics from the perspective of markets and competition. Coauthored by business school professor Michael Porter, it is a worthwhile read.

  5. Carbon Offsets. I’m seeing carbon offsets really picking up momentum - and that’s before a big government policy mandate. Airlines, ride sharing and other travel companies have been offering them for a while as upsell at point of sale. As a family, we’ve donated to Giving What We Can recommendedCool Earth. A friend’s company just launched a carbon exchange (which I’ll be covering on the podcast soon). And I recently learned of startup Ariel that automates your purchase of carbon offsets. I’m curious with all this activity, do you think carbon offsets work? Do you agree morally with them? Do you buy them?

As a reminder, my work projects are:

Until next week,

Miles