bash: Cryptocurrency Price From the Linux Terminal

printf -v coin '%s' -1    
curl -X 'GET' ''"$1"'&vs_currencies=usd' \
  -H 'accept: application/json' 2> /dev/null | 
sed  's/.*usd"://' |   
sed 's/..$//' |        
sed 's/^/\$/'          
echo ""                

h/t Techstructive for the basic idea. I simplified their code by cutting out the I/O and putting the coin as a variable when calling the script, e.g. bitcoin, and formatting it by piping it through sed. Have I mentioned how much I love sed?

Hal Higdon’s Running Programs

“[Hal Higdon]’s all about the democratization of running,” his daughter, Laura Sandall, said. “He was all about making sure that anyone who wanted to get out and run could have a training program at their fingertips.”

At their fingertips, and at the top of Google search results. His free training plans have remained some of the most frequently used — a rarity in a world where most plans and coaches cater to runners who are willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for personalized schedules.

-Talya Minsberg, “The 90-Year-Old King of Training Plans.” The New York Times: Running Newsletter. July 19, 2021

The Hal Higdon website has a variety of plans for various distances. I simply looked at the base plan for intermediate runners, which as you can see below, is a perfectly sane running program. Bookmarking for future reference.

Deflationary Individualism

“My considerations of inflation have been limited to discussions on index components, labor/wage dynamics, and menu pricing. I liked the exercise of placing preferences surrounding good, services, and activities on the inflation/deflation spectrum.

What are other examples of inflationary/deflationary preferences? And what happens if you place inflation/deflation towards the center of your personal aesthetics? And if you do, which way on the spectrum should you optimize towards?”

-Thomas Frank, “Creating Your Own Deflation.” July 15, 2021.

Open question: What things are we wasting time, money or energy on that would be better to either do less of or not at all?

This is an aesthetic I have developed over the years. It first started with books, when I realized that I could go to a second-hand book shop and the library to get certain items, where you only have to buy retail when it is something other people in your community truly do not want. Over the years, it turned into a trend, where I look for ways to not buy anything retail. I buy and use computers and cell phones that are decades old and bought second-hand for <20% of their price new. I buy last year’s model of running shoes and buy many clothes second-hand..

But, the true deflation is to go without. How many things are you buying that you don’t really need at all? What things are you paying attention to that you shouldn’t pay any attention to? Questions in this space are among the most useful in life.

Levels of Friendship in Arabic

  1. Zameel – someone you have a nodding acquaintance with
  2. Jalees – someone you’re comfortable sitting with for a period of time
  3. Sameer – you have good conversation with them
  4. Nadeem – a drinking companion (just tea) that you might call when you’re free
  5. Sahib – someone who’s concerned for your wellbeing
  6. Rafeeq – someone you can depend upon, you’d probably go on holiday with them
  7. Sadeeq – a true friend, someone who doesn’t befriend you for an ulterior motive
  8. Khaleel – an intimate friend, someone whose presence makes you happy
  9. Anees – someone with whom you’re really comfortable and familiar
  10. Najiyy – a confidant, someone you trust deeply
  11. Safiyy – your best friend, someone you’ve chosen over other friends
  12. Qareen – someone who’s inseparable from you, you know how they think (and vice versa)

One interesting thing I notice is that in the Bengali language, Sahib is used as an honorific, like Sir, and I suspect that it originates from the Mughal Empire and has similar roots.

The Two Reasons People Fail

“The two reasons that people fail to attain path knowledge and fruition knowledge in this life are bad companionship and insufficient practice or instruction…Today there are many people [who] know the method but never put it into practice or are not serious in their efforts, and so they missed out on attaining path and fruition. This is insufficient practice.

-Mahasi Sayadaw, The Manual of Insight, Somerville, Mass. Wisdom Publications, 2016, pg 36.

True of enlightenment. True of life generally. Surround yourself with good people and make an effort, and many things become possible.

This July 4th, Let’s Remember What Patriotism Isn’t

Fuck every single one of these people involved in storming the Capitol and the people giving them cover. Watching this little shit show, I cannot help but marvel at the discipline of the Capitol Police and how well they stuck to the rules of engagement, and how this “riot” could have been contained Texas ranger style, if a few key people had been either pulled from the crowd and detained and/or shot from the start. It’s not hard to figure out who, many were at the front of the line, some even with megaphones. Of course, the building was cleared in 20 minutes once the guys with the heavy weapons came out, and it was clear they were prepared to use them. If that had been true from the beginning, this little farce wouldn’t have happened in the first place.

So, happy Fourth of July. If you think this is patriotism and are celebrating the beating of police by a crowd with greater numbers and when the police have their weapons holstered due to “optics” and the subsequent turning of tail when the odds start looking like they are not in the mob’s favor, I’d suggest you spend some time this holiday rethinking what qualifies as patriotism and courage.

The Referendum

“The Referendum is a phenomenon typical of (but not limited to) midlife, whereby people, increasingly aware of the finiteness of their time in the world, the limitations placed on them by their choices so far, and the narrowing options remaining to them, start judging their peers’ differing choices with reactions ranging from envy to contempt. The Referendum can subtly poison formerly close and uncomplicated relationships, creating tensions between the married and the single, the childless and parents, careerists and the stay-at-home. It’s exacerbated by the far greater diversity of options available to us now than a few decades ago, when everyone had to follow the same drill. We’re all anxiously sizing up how everyone else’s decisions have worked out to reassure ourselves that our own are vindicated — that we are, in some sense, winning….

….Quite a lot of what passes itself off as a dialogue about our society consists of people trying to justify their own choices as the only right or natural ones by denouncing others’ as selfish or pathological or wrong. So it’s easy to overlook that hidden beneath all this smug certainty is a poignant insecurity, and the naked 3 A.M. terror of regret.”

-Tim Kreider, “The Referendum.” The New York Times. September 17, 2009.

This is so good, h/t Austin Kleon. Also, this line: “It’s not as if being married means you’re any less alone.”

Advice is a Dangerous Gift

“Gildor was silent for a moment. ‘I do not like this news,’ he said at last. ‘That Gandalf should be late, does not bode well. But it is said: Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger. The choice is yours: to go or wait.’

‘And it is also said,’ answered Frodo: ‘Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.’

‘Is it indeed?’ laughed Gildor. ‘Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill. But what would you? You have not told me all concerning yourself; and how then shall I choose better than you? But if you demand advice, I will for friendship’s sake give it. I think you should now go at once, without delay; and if Gandalf does not come before you set out, then I also advise this: do not go alone. Take such friends as are trusty and willing. Now you should be grateful, for I do not give this counsel gladly.'”

-J.R.R. Tolkien, Fellowship of the Ring

Zuihitsu: 2021-06

Collecting these little ideas has become a major focus. Here’s this month’s installment.

1. “I’m not saying we’ll live to see some sort of paradise. But just fighting for change makes you stronger. Not hoping for anything will kill you for sure.” —Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues
2. Figure out what game you’re playing, then play it (and only it).
3. “Tomorrow belongs to those who can hear it coming.”—David Bowie
4. Betteridge’s law of headlines: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.”
5. “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” —Blaise Pascal
6. It’s always darkest before it’s pitch black.
7. I used to think I was scared of heights but now I know I was just scared of gravity.—Reid Wiseman (NASA astronaut)
8. One time is coincidence; two times is enemy action.
9. A professional is an amateur who didn’t quit.
10. Planning leads to dictatorship.
11. First thought is your socialization; second thought is reflection.
12. A misnamed thing is a mismanaged thing.
13. When one is trying to be oneself, competition will inevitably get in the way.
14. Figure out what you want to do, and do it fast. If you can’t do that, do plan B. Fast.
15. There’s nothing like real risk to clarify one’s opinions.
16. In the religion of animals, humans are the devil.
17. Judge it later. You’ll have plenty of time to judge it. Ignore the judgments of others.
18. Do not learn how to react. Learn how to respond.—The Buddha
19. Everyone is different, but the differences aren’t due to being male or female.
20. “If there’s risk involved, eliminate it.” —John Havens
21. The e in email is for evidence.
22. What incentive do we have to evolve?
23. Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.—Robert Frost
24. Be prepared to lose everything.
25. Productive interactions are better than destructive interactions.
26. Whenever we try to impose control on people and situations we only serve to make them more uncontrollable.—paraphrase of Margaret Wheatley and Leia in Star Wars
27. Don’t believe anything you have to believe.
28. A perfectly tuned conversation is a vision of sanity.
29. A positive attitude, unpretentious kindness, hard work, and a sense of humor can be useful for living.
30. Life is one continuous mistake.
31. Lack of gratitude is endemic.
32. Nail down what you’ve got.
33. Once you’ve learned to see angels, you’ll see devils too.
34. Mental illness is anything that interferes with love or work.
35. Develop a good understanding of the mind, then discipline it.
36. Joy is an act of resistance.
37. Imagine another, better world.
38. Miami: a sunny place for shady people.
39. Innuendo without fact is immoral.
40. For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.—H.L. Mencken
41. Adulthood is patience. Mastery is nine times patience.
42. To hear, one must be silent.
43. Danger surrounds power as darkness surrounds the light.
44. It is impossible to tell the difference between spellcasting and prognostication.
45. Each person makes their own prison, but few think to make a key.
46. Alone, no one wins freedom.
47. Freedom is not a gift, but a choice.
48. We live in a tabloid world now.

Safe Withdrawal Rate for Early Retirees & What It Means for Retirement

* The 4% rule is actually very safe for a 30-year retirement

* A withdrawal rate of 3.5% can be considered the floor, no matter how long the retirement time horizon

-“Safe Withdrawal Rate for Early Retirees“, October 19. 2015.

I thought this was interesting because it gives you a target for retirement. According to the American Community Survey, the median household income in the United States was $62,860 in 2019. Median earnings for a worker was $41,537 (Table A-6). Thresholds for poverty for a single person are $13,300 if they are below 65 years of age and $12,261 if they are older than 65 years old (Table B-1). Let’s calculate:

  • $12,261 / 0.035 = ~$350,315
  • $13,300 / 0.035 = ~$380,000
  • $41,537 / 0.035 = ~$1,186,772
  • $62,860 / 0.035 = ~$1,796,000

Now, let’s go the other direction. How long would it take you to reach these thresholds, if you managed to save 20% of your total income?

  • $350,315 / ($12,261 * 20%) = ~142 years
  • $380,000 / ($13,300 * 20%) = ~155 years
  • $1,186,772 / ($41,537 * 20%) = ~143 years
  • $1,796,000 / ($62,860 * 20%) = ~142 years

Since we are multiplying by 0.035, it is obvious these numbers would all be around the same. Equally obvious, you either need to quadruple the savings rate or the annual salary, or double both, in order to retire after 35 years of work.

Which really brings us to the point of this exercise, the only people that can look to be an early retiree are either a) using leverage to build equity, such as real estate and renting, b) investing in some kind of investment vehicle that returns at least a 7% rate of return (using the rule of 72, this gives us a doubling of savings roughly every 10 years), or c) radically increase your savings rate by living as frugally as possible, or d) have a much higher than median salary.

Doing the calculations over with a 7% interest rate, it takes about 35 years with a 20% savings rate for every income level mentioned above to get the necessary savings to do a safe withdrawal rate that replaces income. It’s rather sobering when you work through the numbers when someone starts talking about safe withdrawal rates and early retirement. Who is this advice for?

It can be done. If you are smart enough to do this kind of calculation before you go to work, you have a relatively high income, you pool your resources with a partner, you get a sizable inheritance, you get involved with index funds early or you do real estate. These are the options. Otherwise, you are working your whole life.