This week’s highlights:  College Admissions, CalPERS and Private Equity, and Calories

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Fifteen on Friday – Issue 324

Quote of the week:
“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” 
– Barbara Hemphill – Hat tip to RS

Happy Friday,

David


Food for Thought:

Top Read(s) of the Week:  The College Admissions Scandal 

Why It Matters:    Fifteen on Friday takes one week off, and likely the most ignonimous story of 2019 comes roaring into the headlines.  I’ve tried to capture a few of the better pieces of the last 2 weeks on AdmissionsGate 2019…

Consider as well:

  1. NYT – Your Environment Is Cleaner. Your Immune System Has Never Been So Unprepared.  A century ago, British scientists suggested a link between increased hygiene and allergic conditions — the first hint that our immune systems are becoming improperly “trained.”
  2. WashPo – The Lottery That’s Revolutionizing D.C. Schools  A Nobel Prize-winning economist designed an algorithm that transformed where Washington kids go to school. But how far can it go in addressing segregation and inequality?
  3. NashScene – A Violin Maker and His Apprentice Keep a Storied Tradition Alive
  4. NYT – This 8-Year-Old Chess Champion Will Make You Smile  Overcoming life’s basic truth: Talent is universal, but opportunity is not

Business/Economics:

Top Read of the Week:  BusinessWeek – How Fast Can CalPERS’s $360 Billion Grow?

Why It Matters:   CalPERS approved a sizable increase to their private equity allocation recently to try and hit their return target.  CalPERS CIO said, “So if I could give you a one-line exact summary of this entire presentation would be we need private equity, we need more of it, and we need it now.”  Of course, such sentiments bring to mind Peter Bernstein’s apt quote “The market’s not a very accommodating machine; it won’t provide high returns just because you need them.”

Consider as well:

  1. WSJ – A Growing Problem in Real Estate: Too Many Too Big Houses  Note – Paywall –  349 homes on the market in Scottsdale above $3 million….
  2. CIO – How Does Yale Do It? By Being Different  Yale’s asset allocation bears no resemblance to the average university endowment.
  3. Economist – How to be a rock-star bond investor
  4. II – Can Anyone Bury Bloomberg?  Inside the decades-long quest to bring down a financial information giant.

Culture/Tech/Science:

Top Read of the Week:  1843 – Death of the Calorie

Why It Matters:  “For more than a century we’ve counted on calories to tell us what will make us fat. Peter Wilson says it’s time to bury the world’s most misleading measure”

Consider as well:

  1. CaliforniaSunday – The Believer  After a mysterious freestyle ski run in last year’s Winter Olympics, people called Elizabeth Swaney a scam artist and the worst athlete in the history of the games. They’re wrong.
  2. Medium – 4:33 ‘til Infinity  John Cage’s 4’33” is available to stream on Spotify, which may strike you as immediately hilarious, but is nonetheless ironic
  3. Ringer – “Who’s an EGOT?” How ‘30 Rock’ Made a Fake Award Into a Real-Life Goal  The EGOT—that’s an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, for the uninitiated—was conceptualized by actor Philip Michael Thomas in 1984. But it was a ‘30 Rock’ story line, featuring a Tracy Morgan one-man play, a fake necklace, and a Whoopi Goldberg cameo, that made the EGOT a cultural touchstone. Here’s how that all came together.
  4. TAC – The World Pulls the Andon Cord on the 737 Max