Feb. 23rd, 2017

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Over the last 60 years, Asia absorbed an enormous amount of technology transfer from the US. Moreover, they are now capable of technology development themselves. By contrast, Germany does very little technology transfer to the rest of the world. Their education system is geared toward internal absorption, rather than export.
When it gets down to it — talking trade balances here — once we've brain-drained all our technology into other countries, once things have evened out, they're making cars in Bolivia and microwave ovens in Tadzhikistan and selling them here — once our edge in natural resources has been made irrelevant by giant Hong Kong ships and dirigibles that can ship North Dakota all the way to New Zealand for a nickel — once the Invisible Hand has taken away all those historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani brickmaker would consider to be prosperity — y'know what? There's only four things we do better than anyone else:
music
movies
microcode (software)
high-speed pizza delivery

― Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash. 1992.
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A couple of useful rules for those who consult in the industry:

a) you are liable for giving a bad advice; therefore, don't pretend to know what you don't know;
b) your good advice is valuable; therefore, don't waste it on people who don't want to hear it.
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This is a good way to make a visual comparison between two different transportation systems: the familiar and unfamiliar side by side.



Source: A History of Commerce, by Clive Day. 1907.
The right to a wrecked ship which had once been the prerogative of the king could be distorted so that the whole cargo of a Regensburg ship was confiscated in 1396 because a single little cask had fallen off into the Danube It was an accepted rule in Germany that if a wagon broke down so that the axle touched the ground it became a part of the land and belonged to the lord of the territory break downs must have been frequent in view of the wrecked condition of the roads and it has been suggested that lords sought to cause them by traps and pitfalls.

upd: another great quote showing how people perceived their time before movies, radio, TV, internet, mobile, social, etc... (the book was written in beginning of the 20th century):
The fairs always attracted people for social as well as business purposes life in the Middle Ages would be regarded as insufferably dull at the present time and both townspeople and country people enjoyed the excitement which the fair brought with it There were side shows in plenty then.

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