Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My thoughts exactly!

From Brad Delong's comments section:

"I doubt most people who call themselves "pro-free trade" are pro-free trade, since most of them want to extend government enforced, anti-free trade rent collection rights (so-called "intellectual property rights") via so-called free trade agreements."

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Cybercrime more lucrative than drugs

I thought that the international drug trade was more than 105 billion.

Identity theft and the subsequent credit card fraud are way too easy to commit. Technology facilitated these sorts of crimes. Can new technology prevent these sorts of crimes? Is there are a market for this prevention? Or do credit card companies make enough money from commission and interest to subsidize a certain amount of fraud?

Which produces more trade: drugs or sex-related industries (porn, prostitution)?

HE: my girl is really awesome
HE: we're both pretty crazy
I: you arent crazy
I: you're just a giddy naive skinny cycling dude
HE: theres a lot you don't know about this skinny cyclist
HE: come on, i lived in 224
HE: and by the end of the year I was nationally recognized as a drunk
I: heehe
12:40 AM
HE: in teh cycling community
I: that rocked
HE: what would you expect
HE: I did go to vegas last week
I: to do what
HE: lose money and be drunk the whole time
HE: it was pretty wild
HE: one of the guys that went with us spent $700 at the strip club the first day he was there
I: how much did you lose
I: hahahaa
HE: and he went by himself too
I: what a bobo
I: some guy i know here spent 1500 on a hooker in vegas
HE: I probably lost around $300 in gambling losses
HE: but then again its all student loans, so it wasn't my money!
I: uhh... student loans or grants?
HE: loans
HE: sure I have to pay them back
HE: but whatever
I: your a idiot.
HE: your grammer sucks engish major
HE: nah, its much more humerous that I didn't think it was a joke
I: hehe...true
I: you really thought i meant to type that sentence?
HE: well, i was hoping you really meant to because it set me up beautifully to make fun of you
12:50 AM
I: im insulted that you thought i was that dumb
HE: well, sometimes people type fast and make mistakes
I: sure

Monday, November 28, 2005

Cycling and Poetry

From a letter by the poet John Keats (1795 - 1821):

“I know not why poetry and I have been so distant lately. I must make some advances soon or she will cut me entirely (...) The nothing of the day is a machine called a velocipede. It is a wheel carriage to ride cock-horse upon sitting astride and pushing it along with toes, a rudderwheel in hand. They will go seven miles an hour. A handsome gelding will come to eight guinies, however, they will soon be cheaper unless the army takes to them. I look back upon the last month and find nothing to write about, indeed I do not recollect anything particular in it.”

Letter to George and Georgiana Keats

March 13, 1819

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Ahhh.. Life in New Jersey

Monday, November 21, 2005

What's the value of arbitrageurs, speculators, and hedgers?

Anonymous Says:
July 3rd, 2005 at 7:03 pm
There are several well known answers to the question of market speculation’s societal value.

1) Speculators assume financial risks in exchange for future returns (hopefully). Those risks don’t come out of the blue; they come from the balance books of people who do not want or can not afford them. By taking over those risks, speculators perform a service.

2) The presence of speculators in the market makes ir more liquid, improving its ability to accomodate long term investors and commercial operators when they need to perform market operations in the course of their respectable business.

3) Closely related to point 2: speculators improve the market’s ability to function as a price discovery mechanism, i.e. a way to determine the current value of an asset you hold. If you are a commercial company or long term investor, you feel a lot happier knowing not only that there are many buyers and sellers of the stuff on your books, but also knowing at what price they are willing to trade right now, not a week or a month ago.

So yes, unlike string theorists (just to pick a random example) speculators perform very useful services for the economy and therefore for society as a whole.

Andreas Says:
July 3rd, 2005 at 8:29 pm
Of course, there are societal benefits to expect from speculators if society itself is perceived as a market. While many intelligent and respectable individuals indeed see society as a great market place, such a perception is a bizarre delusion of human reality. Unfortunately, this distorted vision leads global society into crisis.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Why I want to become a teacher

Great quote from Cornel West's Democracy Matters:

"As the wise and reluctant democrat Matthew Arnold, an English critic and poet, concluded in his classic Culture and Anarchy(1869):

...but in his own breast does not every man carry about with him a possible Socrates, in that power of a disinterested play of consciousness upon his stock notions and habits, of which this wise and admirable man gave all through his lifetime the great example, and which was the secret of his incomparable influence? And he who leads men to call forth and exercise in themselves this power, and who busily calls it forth and exercises it in himself, is at the present moment, perhaps, as Socrates was in his time, more in concert with the vital working of men's minds, and more effectually significant, than any... practical operator in politics.

All in all, West's book wasn't that impressive. His concerns about American democracy strike me as obvious to anyone who has the slightest inclination to look into the American masses and the American elite. All you need is a third-grade imagination to think about the corrupt political/economic elites and the somnambulant masses. His emphasis on the Socratic questioning, tragicomic, and prophetic is just a variation on an old theme.

Something to think about

Not a great exposition, but it is worth thinking about. In fact, I agree that a phony democracy is worse than no democracy at all.

Which reminds me, "Call It Democracy" was a great documentary.

A Pimped Ride


Thursday, November 17, 2005

An Imminent Threat

"Well, of course he is.” -- White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett responding to the question: “Is Saddam an imminent threat to U.S. interests, either in that part of the world or to Americans right here at home?”, 1/26/03

"No terrorist state poses a greater or more immediate threat to the security of our people and the stability of the world than the regime of Saddam Hussein in Iraq." -- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, 9/19/02

"Absolutely." -- White House spokesman Ari Fleischer answering whether Iraq was an "imminent threat," 5/7/03

"This is about imminent threat." -- White House spokesman Scott McClellan, 2/10/03....

"The world is also uniting to answer the unique and urgent threat posed by Iraq whose dictator has already used weapons of mass destruction to kill thousands." -- President Bush, 11/23/02

"There are many dangers in the world, the threat from Iraq stands alone because it gathers the most serious dangers of our age in one place. Iraq could decide on any given day to provide a biological or chemical weapon to a terrorist group or individual terrorists." -- President Bush, 10/7/02

"The Iraqi regime is a threat of unique urgency." President Bush, 10/2/02

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Just what I was hoping for


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla


Why do Republicans obsess so much on their pre-tax income numbers? It's like they feel every dollar of income tax that comes out of their paycheck. Grown ups understand in advance that they are not getting the full amount, accept it, and move on. But Republicans look at that pre-tax number and get such a hard on for "their own money" that can't think about anything else.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I call upon you, young men, to obey your heart, and be the nobility of this land. In every age of the world, there has been a leading nation, one of a more generous sentiment, whose eminent citizens were willing to stand for the interests of general justice and humanity, at the risk of being called, by the men of the moment, chimerical and fantastic. Which should be that nation but these States? Which should lead that movement, if not New England? Who should lead the leaders, but the Young American? The people, and the world, is now suffering from the want of religion and honor in its public mind. In America, out of doors all seems a market; in doors, an air-tight stove of conventionalism. Every body who comes into our houses savors of these habits; the men, of the market; the women, of the custom. I find no expression in our state papers or legislative debate, in our lyceums or churches, specially in our newspapers, of a high national feeling, no lofty counsels that rightfully stir the blood. I speak of those organs which can be presumed to speak a popular sense. They recommend conventional virtues, whatever will earn and preserve property; always the capitalist; the college, the church, the hospital, the theatre, the hotel, the road, the ship, of the capitalist, -- whatever goes to secure, adorn, enlarge these, is good; what jeopardizes any of these, is damnable. The `opposition' papers, so called, are on the same side. They attack the great capitalist, but with the aim to make a capitalist of the poor man. The opposition is against those who have money, from those who wish to have money. But who announces to us in journal, or in pulpit, or in the street, the secret of heroism,

"Man alone Can perform the impossible?"


Apparently there is an AFL-CIO office next to Chanterelle in NYC. Made me feel a little guilty after dropping more than $100 per person on dinner. (Read Peter Singer's article on world hunger to find out why I feel guilty.)

During my ride last Tuesday

Great essay on evolution

So, will science and religion find common ground, or at least agree to divide the fundamentals into mutually exclusive domains? A great many well-meaning scholars believe that such rapprochement is both possible and desirable. A few disagree, and I am one of them. I think Darwin would have held to the same position. The battle line is, as it has ever been, in biology. The inexorable growth of this science continues to widen, not to close, the tectonic gap between science and faithbased religion.

Rapprochement may be neither possible nor desirable. There is something deep in religious belief that divides people and amplifies societal conflict. The toxic mix of religion and tribalism has become so dangerous as to justify taking seriously the alternative view, that humanism based on science is the effective antidote, the light and the way at last placed before us.

Religions continue both to render their special services and to exact their heavy costs. Can scientific humanism do as well or better, at a lower cost? Surely that ranks as one of the great unanswered questions of philosophy. It is the noble yet troubling legacy that Charles Darwin left us.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

"Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?"

Rumsfeld: Let me say one other thing. The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over, and over, and over, and it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase, and you see it 20 times, and you think, "My goodness, were there that many vases?" (Laughter.) "Is it possible that there were that many vases in the whole country?"

At least we can say that Rumsfeld has a sense of humor.

Cyclists, like students, abuse ritalin.

If the counter-analysis does show the presence of EPO, Roberto Heras would be the second rider in Vuelta a España history to have the overall title stripped away due to a doping offense.

In 1982, Angel Arroyo was docked a 10-minute penalty days after officially winning the Vuelta and Marino Lejarreta was given the win.

Anti-doping controls were in their infancy in the early 1980s and outright racing bans were yet to be introduced. Instead, riders were issued time penalties for doping infractions.

Arroyo was among several riders who tested positive for Ritalin, a banned stimulant that was detected in stage 17 of that year's Vuelta. Other riders caught en masse were Vicente Belda (current sport director at Comunidad Valenciana), Alberto Fernández and Pedro Muñoz. The results of the test weren't revealed until several days after the Vuelta and Arroyo was slapped with a 10-minute fine and dropped to 13th overall.

The Vuelta was still held in the spring and Arroyo denied the doping allegations and went on to win a stage and finish second overall in the 1983 Tour de France.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Cheese course at Chanterelle

So yummy... especially the blue cheese at 9 o'clock. It had a great smokey flavor.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

This is how I feel some days

New digi camera

Me so happy.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Aspersions upon a person's mother

"Displays containing some words--odious racial epithets, for example--would be prohibited to proponents of all views. But "fighting wor ds" that do not themselves invoke race, color, cr eed, religion, or gender--aspersions upon a person's mother, for example--would seemingly be usable ad libitum in the placards of those arguing in favor of racial, color, etc. tolerance and equality, but could not be used by that speaker's opponents." - R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, 505 U.S. 377 (1992)

I don't understand the saliency of aspersions upon a person's mother. Who invented mom jokes, anyhow? And why?