Saturday, May 20, 2017


"It is sometimes necessary to repeat what all know. All mapmakers should place the Mississippi in the same location, and avoid originality. It may be boring, but one has to know where he is. We cannot have the Mississippi flowing toward the Rockies for a change."--Saul Bellow in "Mr. Sammler's Planet"

Constantine Simonides (1820–90) created a vellum roll containing the first three books of the Iliad, which he claimed was more than 2,000 years old. This he sold to the great nineteenth-century collector of manuscripts Sir Thomas Phillipps (1792–1872) in 1854. This tiny manuscript (it can fit into a matchbox). The collector/scholar Toshiyuki Takamiya  characterized it as “one of the greatest forgeries in history”.

A House bill would allow bosses to ask employees to undergo genetic testing as part of voluntary wellness programs.

The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.  To the naive mind that can conceive of order only as the product of deliberate arrangement, it may seem absurd that in complex conditions order, and adaptation to the unknown, can be achieved more effectively by decentralizing decisions and that a division of authority will actually extend the possibility of overall order.  Yet that decentralization actually leads to more information being taken into account.--Hayek

Bill Clinton gave a strange speech recently. This is a line:
"People who claim to want the nation-state are actually trying to have a pan-national movement to institutionalize separatism and division within borders all over the world."
Now, I have not been paying close attention over the last months but it seems to me that the Democrat Party has forged its own identity in what would generally be thought of as "identity politics," pitting one American group against the other. No?
Another line:
"...[People]...have found more political success and met the deep psychic needs people have had to feel that their identity requires them to be juxtaposed against someone else."
And is a state limited to a people? An identity? How about a philosophy or a religion? Under a definition like that, would the State of Israel be an easy merge with, say, the State of Iran?
All this seems very simplistic for a national speech. It is astonishing as an international policy.

The demographic situation in Japan is so grim that social scientists have actually estimated the date on which the Japanese people become extinct.
People succeed in markets by reducing scarcity – that is, by easing scarcity’s grip on their fellow humans.  And the more they ease scarcity’s grip, the greater their success.  Profits are earned in competitive markets only by successfully making desired goods and services less scarce than they would otherwise be.
People succeed in politics by increasing scarcity – that is, by tightening scarcity’s grip on their fellow humans.  And the more they tighten scarcity’s grip, the greater their success.  Power and prestige in politics are gained chiefly by successfully carrying through on promises to make desired goods and services more scarce than they would otherwise be so that politically influential suppliers of those goods and services reap higher profits from the artificial increase in scarcity.--Bordeaux
A thought worth considering.

Louis J. Marinelli, the 30-year-old English teacher who is the president of the "Yes California" movement, that wants to separate California from the rest of the United States, lives in Yekaterinburg, Russia - a provincial Russian city, about 1,000 miles east of Moscow.

What is....the Loris-Melikov constitution?

From the WashPo:
In August 2015, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife made a landmark announcement: Trail cameras in northern California had captured images of a pack of gray wolves. It included two adults and five loping pups, all with unusual black coats. That made the group the first pack to settle in the state in almost a century. Gray wolves were once common in California, but by 1924 their population had been exterminated. “This news is exciting for California,” department director Charlton H. Bonham said with the announcement. “We knew wolves would eventually return home to the state, and it appears now is the time.”
Then the pack vanished.
State biologists have not spotted the wolves, which were dubbed the “Shasta Pack” because of their presence in the county home to Mount Shasta, since May, the San Francisco Chronicle reported last week. That’s puzzling because wolf packs typically stick to their territory. Then again, a lack of other wolves nearby could mean the family felt free to roam more widely.
Check your closets.

CNN is reporting that Putin might be the richest man in the world. It is just amazing how financial success seems to follow these political leaders.

Nine Navy officers, including an admiral, were charged in a federal indictment unsealed recently with offenses related to trading classified and internal defense information to a foreign defense contractor in exchange for expensive dinners and prostitutes.
I hope that no teacher in the [London] School [of Economics] will ever give any countenance to the pernicious belief that steady and honest service in satisfying the demand of the people for the necessaries and conveniences of life is something to be ashamed of because it is profitable.  The modern workman and the modern trader can practice virtue as well as a Greek philosopher, a mediaeval begging friar, or a twentieth-century social reformer.--Edwin Cannan

China's idled steel production capacity is greater than the world's entire demand last year.

Cloud computing is essentially the move away from users buying, owning and maintaining their own computer systems to a more on-demand, rental model. In the past people would buy a desktop computer, install their software and store their information on the hard drive under the desk. They would use the processing unit to run the software and the calculations. With more than one computer they could link them up – maybe via a central server – to create a network, allowing multiple users to share information, software and processing power. Moving an IT system into the cloud removes the headache and cost of buying and maintaining your own infrastructure.
This looks to be the direction of computing, cheaper with less management risk.

A Canadian commutes across the U.S.-Canadian border. In November he drives his camper from Vancouver to Miami and in March he drives it back. The US has a trade deficit in November and a trade surplus in March.--Tower

Lilly’s Cialis and Pfizer’s Viagra, both billion dollar sellers in the U.S., go off patent this year. So, presumably, the obnoxious quasi-seductive ads will decline as well. 

Golden oldie:
A few years ago there was an outburst of outrage over animal skins and furs being used by people, this in a society that allows boxing, foot...

In 1881 Czar Alexander II, the ruler of Russia since 1855, was killed in the streets of St. Petersburg by a bomb thrown by a member of the revolutionary “People’s Will” group.  He had just signed a proclamation–the so-called Loris-Melikov constitution–that would have created two legislative commissions made up of indirectly elected representatives. He was succeeded by his 36-year-old son, Alexander III, who rejected the Loris-Melikov constitution.

Through all the months of the last 100 years, the major gains in the stock market occurred in 6% of the months. The vast majority of gains occurred in 4% of the companies.
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by deficits in social and language communication, as well as repetitive behaviors and restricted interests. Children and adults with autism spectrum disorder have a wide range of abilities. Some people cannot speak at all and many have delayed or limited verbal communication. Some are greatly impaired in their cognitive thinking while others are extremely gifted. A good definition from M. Daniele Fallin Director, Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities

AAAAaaaaaaannnnnnddddddd.......a magazine cover:

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