Daily Notes

Friday, September 17th, 2021

‘Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t take advice from’. /r/LifeProTips.

‘3,100… people died of COVID-19 in America on the 20th anniversary of 9/11. The tally was higher than the death toll from the devastating terror attacks.’ The Economist [c].

One of the best and underrated things about the Roku streaming devices is their volume leveling mode. It’s extremely useful for content with a large contrast between sound effects and dialogue. Or for just when the sound for whatever reason is too low. My Dad couldn’t imagine watching television without it now.

And talking of Roku, it amazes me that you can get a 55″ 4K TV for £400 [c].

Remember Clubhouse? Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like its 15 minutes is over and I barely hear it mentioned anymore. And it seems like Twitter Spaces has been fairly successful in replicating Clubhouse.

‘Oh. So. Pro.’ One of the worst Apple product bylines ever?

In 1841 Charles Mackay published the classic, original book on stock market bubbles and the psychology behind them with “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”.

And yet several years later he still lost a fortune speculating during the Railway Mania bubble.

Rolling Stone magazines new list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time is so bad it’s actually funny. I mean if you ignore pretty much any song on the list from the last 20 years or so it’s actually pretty darn good. But much of the modern additions feel extremely forced. And if you click play to hear the 30 second preview of each song god does the modern dross stick out like a sore thumb alongside some of the classics from the 60s/70s.

”Historic moment’: UK beef heads to US for first time in 20 years’. Farming UK [c]. I didn’t realise that British beef hasn’t been exported to the USA ever since the mad cow disease outbreak in the 1990’s.

Today I discovered the YouTuber LEMMiNO. He makes outstanding YouTube documentaries. Using some tremendous animation and story telling he takes complicated events and explains them simply and engagingly. Honestly, check him out!

I genuinely want to know why so many websites have auto-playing mini videos when you visit. I mean the bandwidth costs alone to deliver a video to every single visitor must be huge?! But there must be some reason why they do it, right?

‘Inside the Studios’ (And Apple’s) Frenzy to Get Christopher Nolan’s Next Film’. The Hollywood Reporter [c].

The project is meant to be a smaller-scale feature film for Nolan, which in his case, meant a production budget of around $100 million and an equal marketing spend, according to sources. He asked for total creative control, 20 percent of first-dollar gross, and a blackout period from the studio wherein the company would not release another movie three weeks before or three weeks after his release. And he asked for what insiders say was around a 100-day theatrical window. (Some sources have said the number was 110 days, with one person saying it was 130 days.) These were, in fact, many of the conditions Nolan was accustomed to enjoying at Warners.

Battlefield 2042 joins recent game-delay frenzy, moves to November’. Ars Technica [c]. Noooo! Battlefield 1 is one of my favourite games of all time and I recently purchased a PlayStation 5 almost solely to try out the latest Battlefeld installment. Oh well, I’ll just have to wait a bit longer and continue to stare at my unopened PS5 in the corner of my room. 😐


The Price of Whisky

Last week the New York Times published a review [c] of a new book about the bourbon maker Pappy Van Winkle, whose bottles fetch eye-wateringly high sums in the whisky collecting world due to their high demand and limited supply (around $5,000 despite retailing for $120). The article, like nearly all New York Times book reviews, isn’t worth your time. Short, with a promising start that seems to end abruptly after 600 words (the NYT is certainly no London Review of Books). But the article did get me thinking about the price of whisky.

I like whisky. And unlike wine where I’ve never found much correlation between price and enjoyment with whisky there is usually a very linear rise in flavour with every extra pound you spend. And also unlike wine which uses nonsense like ‘terroir’ to justify high prices, the whisky world has age statements. A far simpler system. Though sadly bottlers are increasingly releasing non-age-statement bottles nowadays.

However in recent years I’ve started losing interest in buying decent whisky. Because it’s now just too expensive. Largely thanks to Diageo’s domination and near monopoly on the market. Quite simply the quality is going down while the price is rising.

But I did wonder if I was imaging these price increases. So I decided to look at the price of some whisky I purchased in 2015 (when prices were already too high) and look at the costs for the same bottles now. Here are the results (I haven’t included any companies owned by Diageo to give the whisky industry more of a chance, and there’s even a family owned one in Springbank):

Whisky Price Change % Increase
Balvenie 12 Year Old £36 –> £44 (+22%)
Glenfarclas 15 Year Old £45 –> £55 (+22%)
Glenlivet 12 Year Old £30 –> £37 (+23%)
Springbank 15 Year Old £53 –> £65 (+23%)
Springbank 10 Year Old £37 –> £46 (+24%)
Aberfeldy 12 Year Old £30 –> £38 (+27%)
Glendronach 15 Year Old £48 –> £64 (+33%)

Not utterly damming, but for such a short period of time, those price jumps are high enough to notice. Inflation of the pound over this five-year period was around +13%. So whisky is handily beating inflation. Either way, pricey fancy whisky is no longer for me.

These days I have my favourite bar standards that I always have to hand and I just buy those, only when on offer: Johnnie Walker Black and Bulleit Bourbon. (Lagavulin 16-Year-Old used to be my more high-end choice, but that now retails for a silly £60, though you can often find it discounted at places like Costco.)