- Fusion can be good. Having a latte just isn't the same as drinking coffee and then milk.
- Some mixes are overtly functional. Mixed drinks become more popular during prohibition as a method for masking low quality liquor, and to this day college students can drink cheap alcohol thanks to coke and orange juice. Bloody Marys are a lot easier to hold down the morning after than even high quality vodka, plus they're a healthier breakfast! Low-quality coffee, at an office or gas station (but hopefully not in a coffee drinker's own kitchen), purchased merely for the caffiene can be improved by adding cream or sugar.
- Signalling something about oneself in a way that isn't pleasant for its own sake may be facilitated by something along the lines of the previous point. Somebody with no particular interest in steak, may still want to order a steak because of the connotations that go along with it. Cooking it and covering it with steak sauce until the flavor and texture distinct to the steak are lost removes all of the potential downside. Due to some cultural taboos relating to drugs, even legal ones, someone with a caffiene addiction who doesn't enjoy the taste of coffee may continue to consume it and mask its taste, rather than take caffiene pills.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
- Universities currently offer all sorts of classes, and students should be taking those classes because at some margin they are all worthwhile (even an otherwise bad class with few students will become attractive for some students who are particularly benefited by direct interaction with professors). So it's hard to make a case for one class versus another.
- The students were represented by anecdotes, or by vague assumptions about what young people want to study.
- Regardless of the varying levels of merit across current curriculums, this question is about designing a new university by allocating resources to a new set of departments(if any), professors, and courses. Covering everything, even if it is desirable for an undergraduate institution, is not a valid or relevant solution.
- There's something peculiarly difficult about discussing what people ought to be studying. It makes things easier, for me anyway, to think about artificial intelligence instead. Let's say somebody else had built an AI, and I was trying to train it to be able to engage in conversation on a wide range of topics, hold gainful employment (while telecommuting, of course), and in general be able to interact successfully with the world. My resources for teaching the AI would be limited by its design to a few hundred hours of lectures, a few hundred books, periodic questions to guide study of the material, and feedback about how well the AI was able to apply knowledge when tested. Information for the AI would be selected according to how efficiently it maximized the objectives. To the extent that the canon is related to itself, studying parts of it will increase the payoff of studying other parts of it. What is Dante without his cultural and historical context? Likewise, to the extent that the canon has developed as a part of Western Civilization, being familiar with it will facilitate interactions with political, religious, and intellectual phenomenons such as democracy, monotheism, and the scientific method, respectively. Merely developing critical reasoning by studying Mayan basket weaving, or feminist literary theory, even at the doctoral level, will fail to have the same payoffs. While there may be some value to studying any random topic, value is not maximized by randomness given time constraints which only allow a tiny fraction of human knowledge to be studied.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
President-elect Barack Obama issued a warning Sunday to officials around the country who want to fund projects with federal dollars: no more business as usual... Infrastructure, energy programs and school construction projects will get people working and ultimately help build a stronger economy, he said.Another great quote here, and more commentary here.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
My employer could get me to sign off on some megamillion dollar trade that risked taking the bank down with my head up and my shoulders squared. The next day I'd be backed into the corner of my cubicle, brandishing a red pen, crying out that those bastards could have my labor, they could have my dignity, they could have my soul, but they weren't taking my active voice. I dangle modifiers for no one.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
INTP - The ThinkersThe logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.
They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.
Linked by Tyler Cowen.
Friday, November 28, 2008
It's good for popular culture to bring up the issue of law enforcement meddling in medical decisions. The cop's character was portrayed too favorably to rile up anybody not already morally outraged by the concept of doctors or patients being punished because some drugs are taboo, but at least the issue is brought to the attention of viewers.
If only Cindy McCain's money and John's political connections could protect everybody who has to treat their pain with medication.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
So federal agents and local police officers weren't wearing full SWAT tactical gear when they broke down the door of Korbe's Indiana Township home early Wednesday to arrest him on drug trafficking charges.
Here's a crazy idea: If somebody is not considered dangerous enough for home invaders to put on a full GI Joe costume, neither Federal agents nor local police officers should initiate violence by breaking into their house in the wee hours of the morning! Of course, if the suspect is actually considered that dangerous, any non-suicidal agent will try to figure out how to avoid a confrontation.
Generally speaking most people would agree that it's a bad idea for cops to attack families at home during the night. Something about the drug war turns people into retards.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Among the 2,508 respondents, 164 say they have been elected to a government office at least once. This sub-sample of officeholders yields a startling result: elected officials score lower than the general public. Those who have held elective office earn an average score of 44% on the civic literacy test, which is five percentage points lower than the average score of 49% for those who have never been elected.
- I have no profound commentary on Kafka's parable "Before the Law", or The Trial in general, but I am haunted by them. Maybe I should tell the admissions office that I'm a paranoid Jew.
- All of the schools I'm considering cover law and economics. Based on my shallow understanding of the academic discipline, it matches my intuition well and I look forward to learning more about it. I don't know what I could do with this.
- One of my favorite books is Restoring the Lost Constitution by Randy Barnett. His understanding of the Constitution's presumption of liberty is clear and morally compelling. What will the admissions office think if I discuss Barnett's influence on myself? I could think of one or two schools where I hope the impact would be positive, but I worry this might be a strike against me at some elite law schools.
- A lot of the female law students and lawyers I've seen are hotties, and I want to meet more of them. Again, probably a strike against me. I also have a thing for nurses, but I can understand why healthcare workers would be motivated to take good care of their bodies. What can explain the hot lawyer phenomenon?
- I want to go to law school because, as the Don once said, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." (Sun-tzu has him beat by a few years) Another strike against me.
- I would enjoy the reading, contemplation, and discussion of the law that I would get to experience at law school. I don't know how to tie this in to actually being a lawyer.
- I like money.
- Atticus Finch is my hero.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
- Buying Mortgage Backed Securities from Paulson's Wall Street chums. Nobody wanted to buy this crap once the music stopped playing. The only way for financial firms to offload it after they had lost the game was for taxpayers to foot the bill.
- Contracting with financial institutions to manage the transfer of wealth. Treasury hadn't hired enough people with Wall Street experience to do the operation in house. The difficultly of setting up the necessary bureaucracy belies any legitimate sense of urgency. Since this solution would take so long to implement, its flaws cannot be excused on the grounds that something had to be done immedietely.
- "The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time." I believe this was contradicted in subsequent reports. There's a frightening difference between being able to buy $700,000,000,000 worth of MBS and then returning the proceeds back to the Treasury, and being able to buy and sell MBS until the entire credit line has dried up.
- "Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency."
So you're not a Paulson fan. Can't say I am either. I do respect the fact that he's shown a willingness to adjust his strategy when it's apparent such action is necessary.
The core of this debate is to what extent (if at all) the government should intervene in the free market system to absorb the harmful social effects of an "adjustment" in the economy. I recognize McCotter's argument that the free market system is not broken. I also recognize that I haven't heard a (serious) call for the end of capitalism.
The impetus to pass the bailout package is more politics than policy, but that doesn't mean it's a bad thing. To illustrate my point- how terrible an idea was the gas tax "holiday" plan proposed by Hillary Clinton and John McCain back in May? Even the heightened insanity of partisan politics couldn't force Washington to take that idea seriously. But Bryan Caplan, an associate professor of economics at George Mason, wrote an interesting op-ed that explained why it wasn't as terrible an idea as everyone thought. Sure, it's bad policy, but the appearance of a government that's trying can yield greater positive effects in terms of consumer confidence than a sound policy. (Of course, George Mason can still suck my balls for ruining my bracket in 2006. I guess another recent ill-advised policy is God's way of telling them to fuck off.)
Good government isn't always defined by good policy. Though the best policy option in turbulent times may be to be patient and ride things out as the market works, the choice won't ease the troubled minds of consumers or investors. Bankrolling a compulsive gambler won't solve his problems, but helping him pay off his debts while he seeks treatment for addiction covers the short and the long-term.
So chill the fuck out.
Enough finance. Stupid Garrison.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Blah, blah, blah, blah. That's my translation of the above.
This is Atticus. This is our blog. This is the thesis: to cut through the spin of the mainstream Zionist blogosphere media conglomerate international consortium and discover the real truth of the most important issues of the day.
We express different opinions from different perspectives, but the goal remains the same. We want to be right, something many people sacrifice to win. I'd rather Puppy McHitabitch, my esteemed colleague, set me straight than to continue living with a flawed idea of how something works.
What's my perspective? I'm a liberal douchebag. You'll get used to it- I have.