Mostly Food and a Little Basketball

Staying in town for the holidays, as we usually do. Survived the big cold snap, celebrated Hanukkah a day late, but I’m blaming Google calendar for this. Got some delicious meat from my sister’s as a holiday gift (they know what we like). Went to two UT basketball games at the new Moody Arena. Not sure what was so wrong with the old arena. Sprung for the NBA season pass so we can watch the Pelicans. Made some more sauerkraut. I went light on the salt and no onions. I think the higher pH helped the fermentation. Ready for 2023.

The Company Formerly Known as Facebook

A bigger story than it appears. The Trump campaign used vast amounts of illegally obtained personal data from Facebook in the 2016 election. And this is just the part we know about, and that people have admitted to. The biggest problem with these targeted ads is they are private and not open to scrutiny like other campaign ads. A quote:

The consulting firm, now defunct, worked for Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016, and used personal information from millions of US Facebook accounts for the purposes of voter profiling and targeting.

Meta settles Cambridge Analytica scandal case for $725m

My First World Cup

I’m not a huge football / soccer fan, but I did watch some of this years World Cup. I enjoyed the final yesterday, even though I find the overtime shoot outs a strange way to settle a close contest.

I did have occasion to watch the 1970 World Cup final on TV. I was eight years old and visiting my great grandmother and the rest of the family in Sicily. One evening people slowly gathered in my great-grandmothers living room. There was a small black and white TV set in the corner, on a stand of some sort, facing the wall, unplugged. I hadn’t even noticed it until now. My cousin turned it around, plugged it in, and turned it on. Everyone was there to watch Italy vs Brazil in the finals.

It was a raucous time, but I couldn’t really see the TV well and probably wouldn’t have understood what was going on anyway. But everyone else seemed to enjoy the game.

After the game was over, everyone took to the streets in celebration. I remember a car with a sunroof, perhaps a VW or a Fiat going up and down the streets flying the Italian flag, horn honking. I had to ask my cousin: didn’t Italy lose? Well, yes, but they did so well! I couldn’t argue with that.

FTX Prosecution

I have never been fond of cryptocurrency. I don’t see the use, except perhaps for illegal transactions. I used to say it has all the disadvantages of cash combined with all the disadvantages of a credit card.

There have also been a number of cases of people losing their cryptocurrency in various ways, beginning, perhaps with Mt Gox debacle almost a decade ago. Something as inherently insecure and untraceable all but invites these problems. I hesitate to call them crimes, because they really leave no evidence behind and even actual ownership isn’t clear. I’m not aware of any significant law enforcement success in recouping cryptocurrencies that (allegedly) have gone missing. It’s an feature, not a bug.

Recently the FTX exchange (shades of Mt Gox) has had assets allegedly go missing. Prosecution seems swift but as inconclusive as ever. I can’t help but wonder if Mr Brinkman-Fried made the mistake of taking money from the Wrong People. Like Bernie Madoff, the only person I can recall convicted for the debacle of the 2008 financial crisis, he may have made the mistake of stealing from the rich and powerful.

From New York Times Dealbook.

The indictment of S.B.F. is unusually vague for a financial fraud of this kind, legal experts told DealBook. That suggests prosecutors are still looking for others with inside knowledge of the operation to explain what happened. “The very sweeping charges show they have confidence in their case, but there is no smoking gun in the indictment,” said Renato Mariotti, a partner at Bryan Cave who prosecuted securities and commodities fraud at the Justice Department.

New Old Japanese Restaurant

There is a Japanese restaurant in a strip mall by the local supermarket. The whole shopping center has been re-done and is pretty spiffy now. We walked past the Japanese place last week and it looked nice. Somehow we had never been here. Didn’t know anyone else who had been here, either. I remembered that there was a similarly named Japanese place near that spot over 20 years ago. It had the feel of a fast food joint with formica booths, order at the counter. We used to go there when the kids were really small. They would eat teriyaki and rice and if they made noise or a mess it wasn’t a big deal. The restaurant also has a big bookshelf of Japanese manga comics, otherwise not much to remember.

Today we went there for lunch. Nice place with Japanese and Korean dishes. Pretty busy at lunch. Had to park over in the supermarket parking lot. Had a pork bulgogi bento, which was really the reason I wanted to go. Our old stand-by Korean place burned down many years ago and I never found a suitable replacement.

I couldnt resist asking the waitress if there was a connection between the old Manga Teriyaki joint and this new place. Yes, there was. The parents ran the Teriyaki place and now the kids have taken over and upgraded it into a nice sit down restaurant. Not sure when the changeover happened. I’ll definitely be going back.