August, 2004

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Monetary Economics of Thurston Howell III: "After the invasion of Iraq, there was no more central bank printing dinars and no more Iraqi government to put the fiat behind its fiat currency. The American military started handing out US$20 bills and expected the Dinar to fade from existence. Instead, to the chagrin of the occupation force, the Dinar's value doubled against the Dollar in two weeks."

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Cleaner bins rubbish bag artwork: "The bag was part of Metzger's Recreation of First Public Demonstration of Auto-Destructive Art, a copy of a piece he produced in 1960."

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Henry A. Wallace, The Danger of American Fascism: "The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism. They use every opportunity to impugn democracy. They use isolationism as a slogan to conceal their own selfish imperialism. They cultivate hate and distrust of both Britain and Russia. They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest."

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Monday, August 30, 2004

Gamers' Bill of Rights: "If the platform you are using supports a standard method of uninstalling programs, your game should use that method. Violation of this clause shall result in RealPlayer being installed on the developer's machine."

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A Failure of Accountability: "he testified under oath to Congress that he had never approved this or other illegal measures listed above his signature"

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This year, the political smear is exposed even as it's happening: "t did not meet what I believe should be the standards of the Star Tribune's editorial pages. Such pieces should not appear here, and that one does so for the second time in 10 days pains me greatly."

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Doctors Grow New Jaw Bone in Man's Back: "Tests have not been done yet to verify whether the bone was created by the blank-slate stem cells and it is too early to tell whether the jaw will function normally in the long term."

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Arab Americans favor Kerry over Bush, poll indicates: "Arab Americans have experienced more discrimination and are over three times more likely than the non-Latino white population to have experienced racial profiling since the Sept. 11 attacks. For Pakistani Americans and for the Muslims polled, those numbers were even higher."

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Bush on terror war: 'I don't think you can win it'

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Sunday, August 29, 2004

American Civil Liberties Union : Government Gag Exposed: "The government even insisted that the ACLU black out a direct quote from a Supreme Court case in our brief. ('The danger to political dissent is acute where the Government attempts to act under so vague a concept as the power to protect 'domestic security.' Given the difficulty of defining the domestic security interest, the danger of abuse in acting to protect that interest becomes apparent.')"

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Rumsfeld Denies Abuses Occurred at Interrogations: "I have not seen anything thus far that says that the people abused were abused in the process of interrogating them or for interrogation purposes." - ok, really, why does this guy still have a job?

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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Spin Buster: "There have been dozens of press failures during this presidential campaign. But this one, even given the Times' and the Post's belated efforts to get to the bottom of things, has to rank as a low point. In the end, the whole ball of wax certainly did nothing to help the mainstream press' credibility with what is an increasingly dubious audience."

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Bush to Press: "You're Assuming That You Represent the Public. I Don't Accept That.": "As a first step out of this trap, journalists need to ask themselves: how did we become so predictable? Is it possisble to go back, and pull the wire that made this so? The game of Gotcha does exist."

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America’s false profits: "According to the NIPA numbers, only in the first quarter of this year did the profits of non-financial firms exceed the record of 1997: $605 billion against $595 billion. For all the talk about the miraculous “new economy” of the late 1990s, the truth is that American firms’ profitability was dismal, presumably because any company that did not squander squillions of dollars on technology and shifting out of businesses that actually made money was shunned by investors."

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Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Why vitamin D deficiency may be a hidden epidemic.: "In addition, when vitamin D is obtained through sun exposure, there is no risk of toxicity, since UV light breaks down any excess vitamin formed."

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TV Watch: "But it has grown into a lazy habit: anchors do not referee - they act as if their reportage is fair and accurate as long as they have two opposing spokesmen on any issue."

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Andrew Northrup detours from his usual surrealist sarcasm to write a good essay regarding the press's treatment of the Vietnam issue, and its place in the larger context of Bush's credibility problem and what's important in this election.

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Detoxing Alzheimer's brains keeps cognitive deficits at bay: "Applying a treatment for hydrocephalus to Alzheimer's disease, the microns-wide shunt, or catheter, is placed subcutaneously in a space at the base of the cerebellum. It runs under the skin to the peritoneum, a space in the belly where body fluids accumulate before flowing to the kidney to be filtered and eventually eliminated in the urine. The shunt is put in once, drains continuously, and is cleaned out periodically by a neurologist."

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These Charges Are False ... : "Journalists have to report the charges, usually feel obliged to report the rebuttal, and often even attempt an analysis or assessment. But the canons of the profession prevent most journalists from saying outright: These charges are false."

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Monday, August 23, 2004

HK firm develops cyber girlfriend: "On top of a general subscription, men will be charged a fee to buy flowers and gifts for the virtual girlfriend. In return, she will introduce them to different aspects of her life, like letting them meet her female friends - also electronic images."

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Mind Reading: "People playing B who receive only one or two dollars overwhelmingly reject the offer. Economists have no better explanation than simple spite over feeling shortchanged. This becomes clear when people play the same game against a computer. They tend to accept whatever they're offered, because why feel insulted by a machine? By the same token, most normal people playing A offer something close to an even split, averaging about $4. The only category of people who consistently play as game theory dictates, offering the minimum possible amount, are those who don't take into account the feelings of the other player. They are autistics."

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Google makes money managers work for a living: "This made money managers look a lot smarter than they were -- even if you set the bubble aside, there are lots of fund managers whose returns from the late nineties need an asterisk next to them -- and it wrecked the price-setting process, since there was no real attempt to let the price reflect the real demand for a stock. It also sabotaged one of the best things about capital markets, which is that in theory they aggregate the opinions of anyone with enough capital and enough risk tolerance to participate, and not just the opinions of those with the right connections."

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Language may shape human thought: "The Pirahã results provide a much stronger case for linguistic determinism, says Gordon, because, aside from their language, they are otherwise similar to other adult humans, whereas there are many more factors that separate babies and animals from adult humans."

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Sunday, August 22, 2004

Feld Thoughts: Bootstrapping Top 10 List: "If your answer to 'What kind of company are you going to start?' is something like 'Well, I have a few different ideas...' stop immediately."

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Apple Flunks First Grade Math: "On the bright side, we finally found something PCs are better than Macs at. Subtraction."

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Gravitational anomalies: "An even stranger suggestion, made in 2002 by Mikhail Gershteyn, then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is that the force of gravity is different in different directions. Most physicists do not like that one at all."

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Oil: "Haunted by that memory, the Saudis pounced on the oil market with vigour. In the past few years, argues Mr Verleger, they have been propping up the oil price by keeping inventories down in consuming economies. By manipulating their production levels, he and other economists argue, the Saudis have ensured that firms in rich countries have had strong disincentives against holding stocks. That tightness inevitably buoyed oil prices."

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Kerry Unveils One-Point Plan For Better America: "My national-defense policy will be guided by one imperative: Don't be George Bush."

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Thursday, August 12, 2004

Slowing to a trot: "Oh, and the things they have been buying with borrowed money—houses, mainly—are expensive. If and when they fall in price, consumers will have to save real money, not rely on asset markets to do the job on their behalf. More saving means less spending, and less spending almost certainly means an economic slowdown."

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Chances of aliens finding Earth disappearing: "The best estimates show that all the other crucial factors nearly cancel out, so that the number of such civilisations in our Milky Way galaxy is roughly equal to their average longevity of detectability in years."

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Friday, August 06, 2004

New Deep-Sea Creatures Found in Atlantic

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Arab foreign policy: "The Arab response to the Darfur crisis has been similarly fork-tongued."

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Thursday, August 05, 2004

Would You Like A Little Humility With That Whine?: "You will note that the Cato Institute supports pharmaceutical reimportation even though the main congressional supporters of such a measure are liberal democrats who differ from Cato in why they think this is a good idea and what it's likely consequences are. I'm inclined to think that Cato has this right, the liberal democrats have it wrong, but I -- like the Cato Institute -- will be happy to see the liberals' program enacted because I believe the results will be good for the world."

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Balancing Security and Liberty: "In airport security today, items deemed suspicious are not necessarily dangerous: Large amounts of cash, pirated CDs, pornography and, of course, drugs -- not just illegal drugs but even prescription drugs in certain circumstances. In fact, controversial books can be grounds for further investigation and arrest." - why is today's standard fare sound like yesteryear's tin-foil hat rhetoric?

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Wednesday, August 04, 2004

'Breast cancer virus' found: "The scientists believe the virus may be the human form of the mammary tumour virus. This causes 95% of breast cancer in mice."

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Sunday, August 01, 2004

The IRR: Emptying the Cupboard: "Their younger siblings, cousins and friends are going to be watching the chaos in their lives and could well decide that, while they would be prepared to serve a given term and even have that term extended during war, giving the Army control over their lives -- and those of their families -- for years afterward is simply not worth it."

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It's More Than a War: "The obsessive focus on bureaucratic reform is a product of a very American search for a simple solution. There's a problem; create a new government position to fix it."

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