I'm extra careful in crossing streets these days, after getting whomped by an SUV in 2008. This morning I was crossing Wellesley; looked both ways twice, made extra sure no car was within whomping distance. Stepped off the curb and heard ---CRACK!---
Stepped back, looked around... Nope, no car, no gun.
It was a crow. He had dropped a walnut on the exact center of the street from a height of 30 feet, then flapped down to pick up the pieces. Carried both halves to the opposite curb where he could safely eat the good part.
There's a bumper crop of walnuts this year. Several trees are dropping hundreds of those strange spiky green balls, and squirrels have been burying them all over the place.
I'd never seen a crow using the street as a tool; don't know if it's common or a rare invention. In any case, it's an impressive display of smarts.
= = = = =
Another impressive display is this article
explaining derivatives. Author Matt Levine starts from the start with beautiful clarity: "There is a world. That world will have a future, and that future is uncertain. There are different possible states of the world, and different things will happen to you in those different states. If it's cold this winter, you will be sad, or perhaps happy if that's what you're into. If it rains tomorrow, you will get wet. ... If you are a company or an investment fund, the outcomes that you care about can pretty much be reduced to money: if it's cold this winter, individual workers and managers might be happy or sad, but the company has no feelings. The company just has money. If it's cold this winter, the company might have more money, if it's an oil company, because people will buy more oil to heat their homes. Or it might have less money, if it's in the agriculture business, because its crops will freeze. ..."
From there he proceeds to explain why hedging is an attractive technique, and the basics of how hedging works. Very helpful. Even though I've been trying since 2008 to learn this crap, it doesn't stick in my mind. Gambling is just totally alien.
But the author leaves out one basic step along the way. There's a much simpler way to "smooth out" your gains and losses. It's the way squirrels and ants and beavers discovered millions of years ago, and humans rediscovered thousands of years ago.
Hoard. Store. Bury walnuts. Dam up streams. Preserve milk as cheese. Preserve fruits as jam. Preserve grain as beer. Preserve culture as architecture.
Preserve thoughts as books. Preserve labor as money. Preserve money as land.
Perhaps he was just focusing on one question, but since he 'started from the start' you'd think he would have mentioned the older and vastly more successful
smoothing technique before detailing the newer and vastly more dangerous one.