Random Thoughts

I'm off to the land of warm beer, inadequate dentistry, and fried fish this week for an interview in Cambridge, England.  I'd ask you to wish me luck, but we all know that doesn't exist.  So, instead, wish me an advantageous prior probability.  
Let me start by saying that I am not an economist. I’ve always been somewhat put off by the topic and felt that it was largely based on supposition and little science. After observing the antics in this country (the U.S.) over the past few months, I’ve become more convinced of it.

If there are any economists in the reading audience, I would welcome your comments, because I really would like to make sense of what’s going on, although I fear that there is little that makes sense.

What seems to be the problem in recognizing these words as being separate concepts?  Everytime I look there's another abuse of the word "selfish" when "self-interest" is intended.  Ranging from Ayn Rand's The Virtue of Selfishness (which immediately redefines selfishness so that it really isn't), to Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene (which is redefined so that it really isn't), to the following quote from The Introduction to Economic Analysis which states that people in economic models are "entirely selfish.  (The technical term is acting in one's self-interest)"

Tangential Science: it's not necessarily science, but it's still funny.

1. The Japanese have responded to the persistent outrage of Greenpeace over their whaling efforts by seeking to enrage the anti-GMO contingent as well.   Up next; a new line of 'super tuna' that will be possible thanks to the awesome power of genome sequencing.

Super tuna?   That's the best they could do for a name?  It makes Aquaman sound positively masculine.  'Super' and 'tuna' just don't go together.  This is why there are no cool Japanese superheroes.
Thanks to video we can bathe in the thoughts of the now undead Richard Feynman.  This is a brilliant, yet accessible, expression of how scientific approach affects one's world view. 

Do not fear doubt and uncertainty.  Priceless.
On Geek Love

On Geek Love

Jul 03 2009 | 0 comment(s)

I'm out of town today, so I'm doing a break from my usual work.  Instead, I thought I'd share these tales of geek love.  First up is a nice fluff piece by Ashley Nelson, 4 Reasons Why Women Dig Geeks. Only 4 reasons (you may ask)? There must be more than a dozen reasons why geeks rock!

Colonial Williamsburg is basically a theme park about colonial days in America, the time in the 18th century before and around the establishment of the United States. It can be somewhat kitschy[1], but it can also provide a good bit of education about U.S. history.

New Global Best-Seller

"The Terrorist Hunters" is a new book by Andy Hayman, C.B.E., Q.P.M., former Assistant Commisioner of Scotland Yard, and one-time head of the Yard's head of Special
Operations.  It is set to become a global best-seller.

Following a precedent set by a previous inept British government in the matter of "Spycatcher", the British Attorney General, a direct political appointee of Gordon Brown, the soon-to-be-outgoing British Prime Minister,  has obtained an order banning sales of the book in the UK.
It's late, but still morning in my time zone:

Agnosticism is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle. Positively the principle may be expressed as, in matter of intellect, follow your reason as far as it can carry you without other considerations. And negatively, in matters of the intellect, do not pretend the conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable. It is wrong for a man to say he's certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.

- Thomas Huxley, Collected Essays, vol. 5 p. 237

Tangential Science: It isn't necessarily science, but it's still funny.

1. Want a business card made out of meat and lasers? You're in luck! Meat Cards is having a contest to win one. All you have to do is recreate a classic Frank Frazetta poster and you can win, you guessed it, a meat card, which is basically beef jerky with laser writing on it.   I kind of wish I had thought of this first.