Archive for October 2011
One does not wish to leap to conclusions, but at its rosiest this picture is grim.
Good article—and high time, too—on airline boarding dysfunction. From the article:
. . . It now takes 30 to 40 minutes to board about 140 passengers on a domestic flight, up from around 15 minutes in the 1970s. . .
You must look at two simple charts. I think pretense has been thrown overboard and the brass knuckles (metaphorically) are coming out: the wealthy are flagrantly asserting their ownership of the power structure.
And remember that Congress has been able to accomplish nothing purely and simply due to GOP obstruction and irresponsibility.
When I first learned Go, I couldn’t stop seeing Go positions in the objects around me; now, I can’t stop seeing examples of Bayes’ theorem in action—and let me again recommend McGrayne’s The Theory That Would Not Die.
I just realized that I have based my shave recommendations on a Bayesian foundation, in this sense: I have long recommended—in print—that a beginner’s second razor should be a Slant Bar. (For the first razor, I initially recommended the Merkur Hefty Classic (aka “HD”), but switched to any of the Edwin Jagger DE8x series once that razor was available with the new head design, and that continues to be my recommendation.)
A guy on the Wicked_Edge posted that he started with the Weishi, then tried the Gillette Red-tipped Super Speed, and then a Gillette Slim adjustable. In the course of his description of his razors and their performance, he mentioned that he had a thick, tough beard. That, to me, is Slant Bar bait.
So of course I immediately weighed in to recommend he try a Slant, and wrote:
In my book I stress that the beginner’s second razor should be a Slant Bar (and I recommend one of the Edwin Jagger DE8x series as a first razor).
For much the same reason—gaining experience by trying something different—I would recommend that a beginner’s second brush be of a different sort of bristle than his first: If he began with boar, get a badger; if a badger was first, get a horsehair second; and so on.
I’m reading (with great interest) a book about Bayes’ theorem, so of course I’m now seeing it everywhere, and my recommendation of making a big rather than an incremental change is quite Bayesian and is more likely to lead more quickly to optimal outcomes.
And I realized as I described this to The Wife (who hears, I think she would agree, rather a lot of shaving theories from Yours Truly) that this is a search strategy that quickly gives information on the overall characteristics of the search space by testing widely separated points—for one, a search space of razors; for the other, brushes.
Indeed, now that I have the notion, I can do it better. For razors, for example:
a. Edwin Jagger DE8x
b. Slant Bar
d. Straight Razor
Again: the idea is to avoid trying incremental change (i.e., nearby points in the search space) and instead trying a different neighborhood. In fact, I could be persuaded that “c.” should be the Straight Razor.
I read Bill Keller’s op-ed column in the NY Times today. Keller was the editor thumping the drum in favor of the Iraq War, pushing the WMD idea hard, and he’s also the editor who embargoed the story on NSA’s warrantless surveillance program ordered by President George W. Bush until after Bush was safely re-elected—it was a close election, and had the public been informed of what the Bush Administration had done the election likely would have gone the other way. His column today, as well as his past actions, makes clear that he really is an odious man. Also not very smart.
Very interesting column by Paul Krugman in the NY Times today:
A few years back Representative Barney Frank coined an apt phrase for many of his colleagues: weaponized Keynesians, defined as those who believe “that the government does not create jobs when it funds the building of bridges or important research or retrains workers, but when it builds airplanes that are never going to be used in combat, that is of course economic salvation.”
Right now the weaponized Keynesians are out in full force — which makes this a good time to see what’s really going on in debates over economic policy.
What’s bringing out the military big spenders is the approaching deadline for the so-called supercommittee to agree on a plan for deficit reduction. If no agreement is reached, this failure is supposed to trigger cuts in the defense budget.
Faced with this prospect, Republicans — who normally insist that the government can’t create jobs, and who have argued that lower, not higher, federal spending is the key to recovery — have rushed to oppose any cuts in military spending. Why? Because, they say, such cuts would destroy jobs.
Thus Representative Buck McKeon, Republican of California, once attacked the Obama stimulus plan because “more spending is not what California or this country needs.” But two weeks ago, writing in The Wall Street Journal, Mr. McKeon — now the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee — warned that the defense cuts that are scheduled to take place if the supercommittee fails to agree would eliminate jobs and raise the unemployment rate.
Oh, the hypocrisy! But what makes this particular form of hypocrisy so enduring?
First things first: . . .