27 April 2009

Heckufa job!

Thank goodness that some of those pork barrel programs were Xed out of the stimulus package.
Like preparing for a flu pandemic.

though I think they kept in the volcano research.

Labels: ,

Notes on words

E.J. Dionne Jr in today's Washington Post:

Intelligence and intellect. The two are quite different, as Richard Hofstadter noted more than four decades ago in his instructive book, "Anti-Intellectualism in American Life."

Intelligence, Hofstadter argued, is an "unfailingly practical quality" that "works within the framework of limited but clearly stated goals." Intellect, on the other hand, is the mind's "creative and contemplative side" that "examines, ponders, wonders, theorizes, criticizes, imagines."


24 April 2009

Personal note

It is the last week of the semester. Some of you know exactly what that means. This semester it is worse than usual since I have served on too many committees and made too many commitments (like giving a talk on the Templars and the Da Vinci Code last night). Oh well.

Anyway, that's why there have not been a lot of posts lately and wont be for a few more days.

oh for the days of otium et libertas.


14 April 2009

A Living History Site

One that should not be missed. It is about an obscure bit of economic history from the last century. Untold effort and research went into creating this site so please take a look at it. You almost feel as if you had been there.


Labels: , , ,

13 April 2009

Shh. Wall Street Geniuses at Work

Call me silly, but I thought that Godman Sachs, right about now, might want to hold on to all the money they still have left for stuff like, you know, business investments.

I was wrong. They have enough money to hire a law firm to try to put a blogger who posts embarrassing facts about Goldman Sachs out of business.

And you thought they were merely greedy.

Labels: , ,

Today's Quiz: What language is this?

UPDATE: So far Jack has guessed Thai (nope) and Carmen Cherokee (ditto). Here is a hint: it is a language from a mountainous region, several speakers of it were once on the Manchester City Futbol team, it uses a base 20 number system (!) and is an agglutinative language like Finno-Ugrian languages. My favorite word in the language is gvprckvni with the improbable meaning of "You peel us."

Any other guesses? Maire? Anyone?


12 April 2009

Sophie Tucker - One Tough Doggie

Accidentally falls overboard, swims 6 miles through shark infested water and survives four months on a deserted island.

OK. What have YOU done lately?

reminds me of the time Michael Jacobson told us other TAs about his wartime experience in the Israeli army. The room got very quiet.


Without Comment

(thanks to Andrew Sullivan)

08 April 2009

How Walt Disney did it

I've always wondered about the consistent productivity of the Disney studios. Andrew Sullivan has discovered how they did it.

Labels: , ,

06 April 2009

Some more on the stock market

In regard to turning any portion of Social Security into an investment portfolio, I am against it, while Jack, for one, would like to give it a try. One point I wasn't trying to make, but could, is that the American public in general (and government programs have to work "in general") does not move on an historic timeline. A few years of poor returns plays hob with most people's retirement plans. In today's Washington Post there is an interesting Q & A regarding financial advice with Jeff Mortimer, chief investment officer for Charles Schwab Investment Management.

Anonymous: I am retired now, have lost half of my 401-k. Please! What do I do right now?

Jeff Mortimer: You are not alone. Understand that I have been traveling the country and have spoken to many in similar situations. I know this may not make if any easier for you, but wanted to at least share that information w/you. Regarding what you can do about it. Here is what you shouldn't do. Don't expect the equity market to quickly return to 14,000 and all your issues to go away. Don't increase your allocation to stock looking to get it back. Instead you should modify your lifestyle to live with less. This is difficult answer to hear, but become the best option out of many. A part time job, a consulting gig, some other ways to bring in money may also ease some of the stress you're feeling. Spend less. Save more. Focus on the liability side of your balance sheet. Touch medicine, I know. But it is the best advice I have to offer.

That seems to make the point clearer than I could. 401-ks are in trouble and the fact that over the next 10, or 5, years they will improve doesn't seem to be much help according to these two. But as an economist, I make a good historian.

of course, if those guys were so smart ....

Labels: , ,

Without Comment

Politics in western North Carolina

Also known as "The Mountains." If this reader's comment to Andrew Sullivan is any indication, a very conservative part of the country is going left. Maybe not hard left, but left. The writer is in high school who says he and all of his friends are registering Democratic. Here's part of his comment:
All we know of the right is the Ultra-reactionary and barbaric performance of President Bush and the Congressional republicans, and, for the most part, all we've seen from the Left is dogged opposition to the right's inane or insane policies. Conservatism as a movement has lost its future, because it has, from what I can see, completely lost the young.

Unless the young become steadily more conservative as they age.

well, perhaps Churchill was right about being young and being old.


Labels: ,

So there.

Just in case anyone thought I (or you) was spending too much time browsing the Internet.

Labels: ,

04 April 2009

Mother of all Pillow Fights

I don't know where Andrew Sullivan finds this stuff.

Labels: ,