C&B Notes

Investing is a discipline built on cumulative knowledge, and it requires a continuous evaluation and assessment of new information. The purpose of C&B Notes is to pass along the ideas, concepts, stories, and information that are informing, influencing, and updating our worldview. We use them to build on our “latticework of mental models” that help us make better decisions.

121 articles in list

Cavendish Crisis?

We enjoyed the book The Fish That Ate The Whale about Sam Zemurray’s rise to be the “Banana Man” and eventually head of the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita).  Bananas grow from a rhizome, which makes all bananas of a…

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Periodic Reminder

Bloomberg profiled current applications of all the elements in the periodic table.  Did you know that modern cell phones are made from around 75 elements, nearly 3/4ths of the periodic table? The inventor Buckminster Fuller once described technological progress as…

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Zebrafish to the Rescue

Zebrafish have unique characteristics – transparent eggs and mass production of embryos – that make them ideal laboratory models to study and treat human diseases.  Their use has exploded since the mid-‘90’s, and a recent case is indicative of what…

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Migration Motivations

These beautiful graphics provide a framework for the causes of global mass migrations over the last 50 years.  Since 1967, the percentage of migrants worldwide has held steady at 3%.

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Cancer Immunotherapy Breakthrough

James Allison, winner of the 2018 Nobel prize in medicine, is a pioneer in understanding how to harness the human immune system to battle cancer.  These research findings are unlocking a powerful and transformative addition to cancer therapies.  His experience…

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What Actually Kills Us vs. Coverage

Our World In Data presented a study that compared what people in the U.S. actually die from to Google search trends for causes of death and mentions of causes of deaths in the New York Times and The Guardian newspapers. …

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A Brief History of Steel

Birmingham, our hometown and the largest metro area in Alabama, was founded in the 1870’s and grew rapidly thanks primarily to a burgeoning iron and steel industry (a suburb of Birmingham is named after the Bessemer process).  Iron ore, coal,…

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Next Gen GPS

A team of UK scientists has developed what could one day be a more reliable alternative to GPS navigation. British scientists have built the world’s first quantum ‘compass,’ a tamper-proof navigation device that does not rely on GPS, after…

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Artificial Ethics

MIT Media Lab created an updated version of the “trolley problem” that has been unexpectedly popular.  The study has provided MIT researchers with a large cross-country, cross-culture data set about the ethical choices around artificial intelligence design.  Give the thought…

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China’s National Sword Policy

China’s evolution from a fast-growing economy driven by manufacturing to a slower-growth behemoth focused on other parts of its economy is creating ripples that are hard-to-anticipate but certainly disruptive.  For example, China recently instituted a policy to exit the recycling…

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Redefining the Odds

This remarkable story about Bill Benter, who built an algorithm that cracked the code of horse racing and generated billions in winnings, reminded us of Charlie Munger’s analogy of the stock market as a pari-mutuel betting system.  Both John Kelly,…

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Not Just Via Funerals

Much more often than not, scientific findings that violate existing assumptions, patterns, or laws of nature are the result of bad data or misinterpretation. But scientists who have the courage to pursue an aberrant finding, if they are in fact…

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