Thursday, October 27, 2016

Cab Thoughts 10/27/16

Life never knows the return of spring. --John Gay in Beggar's Opera 

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection head Patrick McDonnell, in a stop in New Stanton, talked of the DEP trying to determine “what is the right energy mix for the state.” Wow. He must be really smart and have insight and vision so many lack.

Over one million people lost their homes in the building of the 2008 Beijing games. Brazil has similarly evicted large numbers of people for the Rio Olympics, and even more to build stadiums for the 2014 World Cup.

Nassem Taleb insists, from the methods used by thirteenth-century architects building cathedrals to the development of modern computing, the story of technology is a story of rules of thumb, learning by apprenticeship, chance discoveries, trial and error, tinkering – what the French call ‘bricolage‘. Technology comes from technology far more often than from science.  And science comes from technology too.

At the same time that Cheryl Mills was working as chief of staff in the secretary of state’s office, she was also conducting interviews for the secretary of state’s foundation. The Clinton campaign  has released a statement in response insisting that all suspicions are completely ridiculous, that Mills was just doing “volunteer work for a charitable foundation,” and that “the idea that this poses a conflict of interest is absurd.” They clearly believe they can say anything.

Who is...Paul Kalanithi?

The six months under review have seen central bankers continuing what is surely the greatest experiment in monetary policy in the history of the world. We are therefore in uncharted waters and it is impossible to predict the unintended consequences of very low interest rates, with some 30% of global government debt at negative yields, combined with quantitative easing on a massive scale.--Rothschild Investment Trust Chairman, Lord Jacob Rothschild 

For all the talk of Americans ‘left behind by globalization,’ median income for low- and middle-income US households has increased by more than 30 per cent since 1970. And this excludes all the things you can’t put a price on, such as advances in medicine, an extra ten years of life expectancy, the internet, mass entertainment, and cleaner air and water.

Canadian comedian Mike Ward was fined $42,000 by Quebec’s Human Rights Tribunal for jokes he made about a disabled boy.

Golden oldie:
A blog I read spent some time cursing the structure of the Senate's population blind system of two votes per state as part of an analysis of...

“We do not pay ransom. We didn’t here, and we won’t in the future,” the president told reporters, speaking of the January payment and hostage release. On the 400 million dollars on a pallet: State Department spokesman John Kirby was asked at a press briefing: “In basic English, you’re saying you wouldn’t give them $400 million in cash until the prisoners were released, correct?” “That’s correct,” he replied.
I'm sure many are outraged. I, on the other hand, hope it is true and the money did not go somewhere worse.

Dinish D'Sousa has been on TV lately. He is just furious over what happened to him and he has written an angry book--and movie--about the Clintons. He should be more careful. He wrote an angry book about Obama and got arrested for campaign laws violations and was sentenced to jail. (He gave 20,000 dollars to a college friend's election campaign, over the allowed limit. Apparently the candidate did not have a charitable foundation.)

Christopher Sholes invented the typewriter in 1868. He allegedly studied common letter combinations and then arranged the keys so as to separate commonly used letter combinations to slow down typists and thus prevent his newfangled machine from jamming. There's no documentation to support this statement
The Dvorak, Colemak and Capewell keyboards arrange letters and characters for more efficiency,

The Dallas Police and Fire Pension System is on the verge of collapse amidst shady real estate deals that resulted in massive asset markdowns in 2015 and the FBI raid of former real estate investment manager, CDK Realty Advisors.
Stultify: v: 1. to make, or cause to appear, foolish or ridiculous. 2. to render absurdly or wholly futile or ineffectual, especially by degrading or frustrating means: Menial work can stultify the mind. Usage: I have become your poodle. You trample on my heart, you crush me, you stultify me, and I love you as I have never loved in my life.-- Honoré de Balzac, Cousin Betty, translated by James Waring, 1901. Stultify finds its roots in the Latin word stultus meaning "stupid; foolish." It entered English in the 1760s.

When neurosurgeon Paul Kalanithi passed away at age 37 from metastatic lung cancer on March 9, 2015, he left behind an unfinished manuscript with notes to his wife Lucy about publishing the text. Published posthumously, When Breath Becomes Air immediately became a national bestseller and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for nearly 3 months. The title comes from a little Elizabethan poem by Greville that starts out with,
"You that seek what life is in death
now find it air that once was breath."

Anyway, if environmentalists were as passionate as they claim to be about conserving resources for future generations, I’d expect more of them to oppose the taxation of capital income, the Social Security system, and other policies that encourage overconsumption in the present.  The absence of these issues from the environmentalists’ agenda suggests that their stance on future generations is the rhetoric not of principle but of convenience.--Landsburg

A new book by  Peter Brown of Princeton University contends that the Roman state was the engine of economic growth of late antiquity. Turning on its head the old view associated with Michael Rostovtzeff that attributed the decline of the Roman economy to high taxes imposed by the Emperor Diocletian and his successors, Brown argues that these high taxes were in fact the source of economic dynamism. A lot of economists disagree. One of the best articles I have ever read about the decline of Rome (and the rise of the Dark Ages) attributed it to the rise of Islam and the loss of the Mediterranean trade routes.

If you think that there has never been a better time to be alive — that humanity has never been safer, healthier, more prosperous or less unequal — then you’re in the minority. But that is what the evidence incontrovertibly shows. Poverty, malnutrition, illiteracy, child labour and infant mortality are falling faster than at any other time in human history. The risk of being caught up in a war, subjected to a dictatorship or of dying in a natural disaster is smaller than ever. The golden age is now.--Johan Norbert

AAAaaaaaannnnnddddddd.........advice from Princeton on how to speak:

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