Pursuit of Truthiness

my gut tells me I know economics

Archive for August 2009

Further Link Dumping

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Because the neighbors’ wireless is functioning well, finally.  Who do they think they are, expecting me to keep paying $0 for a mediocre service?  Verizon should start piping in our own internets tomorrow.

1. This should not be inspiring.  But it is.  “Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it!”

2. The Gaussian copula, the formula that killed Wall Street.  Scientists and mathematicians can empower others to wreak havoc, and not just through traditional weapons development.  Of course, Marx did the most damage of all economists and he didn’t even give people tools, merely ideas.

3. Books and Music that make you Dumb– using data from Facebook.  The pages themselves have been up and down (its up now!) but Boing Boing has an image of the books chart to match the WSJ’s partial image of the music.  Glad to see Sufjan and Freakonomics up on the higher end, though of course the whole idea is a bit silly.  It is really sad for social science that Facebook took down their network pages though, those were amazing sources of data.  I hope they will someday reappear.

4.  Badass of the Week– a good idea for a website.

5. Thoughts on recent happiness research.  They cite “scientists” who have determined that happiness is about half due to chemistry/genetics and only 10% due to actual circumstances like income.  The unimportance of circumstances does mesh with my experience, as I think people are largely as happy as they make up their minds to be; of course some circumstances might be so objectively awful that they become more important, and people in these circumstances are probably not the people US-based happiness researchers will find to answer their survey questions.

6.  7 marathons on 7 continents in under 7 consecutive days.  Run by a 42-year old.  This reminds me of a line from Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash:

Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad. Hiro used to feel that way, too, but then he ran into Raven. In a way, this is liberating. He no longer has to worry about trying to be the baddest motherfucker in the world. The position is taken.”

Written by James Bailey

August 13, 2009 at 1:34 am

Crazy Things

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1. Counterproductive craziness- I always suspected that tinfoil hats actually help the government/aliens to infiltrate your brain.  Now a study by electrical engineers at MIT confirms my suspicions.

2. So crazy it must be satire, and actually is- Obama is Literally Hitler.

3. Bridges made entirely from the roots of living trees.  Elves must have been involved.

4. Socratic dialogues as sitcoms– so crazy I would watch it.

5. The story of Genesis is officially true: I saw it on Facebook.

6.  The American Stonehenge.  Very bizarre for what it is, for the mystery of who built it, and because I had somehow never heard of it before.

7. For-credit classes in Underwater Basketweaving actually exist.  Have not confirmed if any of them qualify as full-contact.  Also, UC Berkeley is offering a class in Starcraft.

Written by James Bailey

August 13, 2009 at 12:54 am