Armchair Musings

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Category archives for Armchair Musings

Bono’s Welcome to the Punditocracy

Two things happened to the New York Times recently. For one, they announced that they will place advertisements on their front page. Two, they are publishing Opinion columns written by Bono. I suspect the two are not unrelated. Which is another way of saying that I suspect the two are related, in this case, by…

In Praise of Idleness

Some things never change.  These are words from the remarkable Bertrand Russell, from 1932: One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them to some Government. In view of the fact that the bulk of the public expenditure of most civilized Governments consists in payment for past wars or preparation for…

Feminism and Collapse

The impetus for this post came from a confluence of stimuli, as is usually the case.   Recently I received a book, a biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer (American Prometheus, by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin).  The book describes the persecution of Oppenheimer during the Red Scare in postwar USA.  The current global and perpetual…

Let us all savor the season and be appreciative of our good fortune.  I really mean that, although what I am about to say will lead some to think otherwise. Earlier this year, it was reported that thirty million Americans were receiving food stamps.  That is one out of every ten persons.   Last month,…

Original Steampunk

This is a photo of the controls in the cabin of the Mallard, a steam locomotive built in 1938.  The Mallard was capable of traveling 202.7kph (126 mph), a record-high speed at the time.. The picture is from a series by David Mindell, posted at IEEE Spectrum Online.  Below is a photo of the Mallard,…

Food Again

This post ties together a number of themes that I have been harping upon for the past few years.  First, from Greg Mankiw’s blog: What’s wrong with the efficient scale? Reuters reports:     President-elect Barack Obama vowed on Tuesday to cut billions of dollars from wasteful government programs….An obvious example, Obama said, were reports of…

The Road Less Traveled

There was a time when I was vacationing, near the Bosque del Apache wildlife preserve.  There were literally thousands of birds.  Most were snow geese or sandhill cranes.  There were a lot of people, too. But off a ways, there was a trail.  It went, among other places, to a spot called Solitude Canyon.  Sounded…

This Is Your Brain…On Art

This is an image of a human brain.  It is constructed using an imaging method known as diffusion spectrum imaging.  The technique has been discussed at Neurophilosophy and Anthropology.net; both posts were based upon a paper in PLOS Biology. The image above is perhaps more visually appealing that the images in the POLS Biology paper,…

Greenspan is SHOCKED

This little (19-second) gem is from Calculated Risk (the other video there, Greenspan and The Simpsons, is good too): That says it all.  It is the short version. The longer armchair version is this: All economic activity is composed of four basic elements, or “atoms” is the Lucretian sense.  Granted, this is not the most…

Carborexia is the New Green

Carborexia is not a word.  Any string that garners only six hits on Google is not a word.   But the string appears in the New York Times, so maybe it will be a word soon.  Perhaps even by the time you read this. Carborexia is a cute play in the neologism game.  It refers…