Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Dark Art of ‘Breaking Bad’ -

The Dark Art of ‘Breaking Bad’ - "“If religion is a reaction of man, and nothing more, it seems to me that it represents a human desire for wrongdoers to be punished. I hate the idea of Idi Amin living in Saudi Arabia for the last 25 years of his life. That galls me to no end.”

He paused for a moment and speared a few tater tots in a white plastic-foam tray perched on his lap.

“I feel some sort of need for biblical atonement, or justice, or something,” he said between chews. “I like to believe there is some comeuppance, that karma kicks in at some point, even if it takes years or decades to happen,” he went on. “My girlfriend says this great thing that’s become my philosophy as well. ‘I want to believe there’s a heaven. But I can’t not believe there’s a hell.’ ”"

The Elusive Big Idea -

The Elusive Big Idea - "It is no secret, especially here in America, that we live in a post-Enlightenment age in which rationality, science, evidence, logical argument and debate have lost the battle in many sectors, and perhaps even in society generally, to superstition, faith, opinion and orthodoxy."

Saturday, July 30, 2011

15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent

mental_floss Blog � 15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent: "15 Wonderful Words With No English Equivalent"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

book notes

The Psychopath Test - Jon Ronson

"TV is is just troubled people being bood these days"

"The right sort of mad are people who are a bit madder than we fear we are becoming, and in a recognizable way. We might be anxious but we aren't as anxious as they are" etc.

The Rosenhan experiment

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Schumpeter: Great bad men as bosses | The Economist

Schumpeter: Great bad men as bosses | The Economist: "Richard Tedlow of Harvard Business School argues that many “giants of enterprise” suffer from what Norwegians call stormannsgalskap, the madness of great men."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summers on the Winklevoss Twins

Google Reader (22): "�'One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o'clock, there are two possibilities. One is that they're looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an asshole. This was the latter case.'"

Monday, May 30, 2011


Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Santorum: "santorum (san-TOR-um) n.
���1. The frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter
������that is sometimes the by-product of anal sex."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Letter from Southern France: First Impressions : The New Yorker

Letter from Southern France: First Impressions : The New Yorker: "The pathos of their workmanship—the attempt to copy something novel and marvellous by the dimming light of their existence—nearly makes you weep. And here, perhaps, the cruel notion that we call fashion, a coded expression of rivalry and desire, was born."

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hindsight bias

Every writer on 1989 wrestles with an almost unavoidable human proclivity that psychologists have christened “hindsight bias”—the tendency, that is, to regard actual historical outcomes as more probable than alternatives that seemed real at the time (for example, a Tiananmen-style crackdown in Central Europe).1

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Death map

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Book notes

America aflame by David goldfield

Us only country that required civil war to abolish slavery

Darwin never used "survival Of the fittest" coined by Herbert Spencer

Monday, March 14, 2011

Japan's nuclear crisis and the 2011 earthquake tsunami: Let's cool the political meltdown. - By William Saletan - Slate Magazine

Japan's nuclear crisis and the 2011 earthquake tsunami: Let's cool the political meltdown. - By William Saletan - Slate Magazine: "The rate of direct fatalities per unit of energy production is 18 times worse for oil than it is for nuclear power"

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Law of Poe

Google Reader (3): "Law of Poe which states that the satirical expression of extreme views is indistinguishable from those that hold those views as truth when the expression is made sans some sign, symbol or “tell” (such as an emoticon) that lets the recipient know it is in fact satire."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

book notes

Cairo: The City Victorious by Max Rodenbeck

overcrowding, traffic and pollution all problems going back 3000 years.

p. 101 -- Cherries ferried by flock of doves from Lebanon, 980's

1099 ad, Crusaders revolutionized middle eastern war by slaughtering entire civilian population in Jerusalem

Friday, February 11, 2011

book notes

All Things Shining by Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly

When Nietzsche proclaimed God is dead, he believed that "it would be a long time before God's grounding role in the culture was no longer obvious or taken for granted"

Christian excellence: humility, love
Roman: duty
Greek: gratitude, wonder

Furies v. Apollo, old tribalism v. new reason, law

"The Chorus recognizes that the Furies notion of blood vengeance, creating an unending cycle of revenge, will destroy any culture that adheres to it."

Saturday, February 05, 2011

book notes

City of Thieves

"May your children shit in your soup"

"You have all the romance of a train station whore"

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hooray for Colorado!!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The King's Speech: good movie, very bad history. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine

The King's Speech: good movie, very bad history. - By Christopher Hitchens - Slate Magazine: "In a few months, the British royal family will be yet again rebranded and relaunched in the panoply of a wedding. Terms like 'national unity' and 'people's monarchy' will be freely flung around. Almost the entire moral capital of this rather odd little German dynasty is invested in the post-fabricated myth of its participation in 'Britain's finest hour.' In fact, had it been up to them, the finest hour would never have taken place. So this is not a detail but a major desecration of the historical record—now apparently gliding unopposed toward a baptism by Oscar."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Book notes

Monsoon by Robert Kaplan

In gujarat, globalization spurs division between Hindu and Muslim

"whether it is the Nauruan empire in India or the achaemendin empire in Persia, for millions lifted out of poverty and recently educated, the bomb now summons forth these great kingdoms of anquity."

Friday, December 31, 2010

Book notes

Sex at dawn

If prehistoric man lived such a stressful life, why does modern man react so poorly to stress. Should have been culled by natural selection

Life expectancy v life span

Low sexual dimorphism doesn't necessarily indicate monogamy. It could be low competition for females, as in chimps & bonobos

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

books notes

Why the West Rules -- For Now by Ian Morris

Global cooling in 3800 BCE may have been the birth of the city -- monsoon rains in Mesopotamia dried up, forcing villages to centralize and specialize in orider to survive.

High end vs. low end state (taxes, bureaucracy, standing army)

1279-- Mongols break China just at the point where it was about to break into a an industrial revolution.

China at center + size of pacific discourage discovery of NA. Europe more desperate and closer

Perfection of gun with infantry breaks the nomads of Asian steppe in 17th, allowing old world to break out of old ceiling of social development -- no more raids and sackings.

Roanake founded as a pirates' lair for raiding Spanish gold shipments

P603 - h1n1 killed more people 50m than black death in a century Or aids in last 30 yrs

fatal dose to effective dose

Thursday, November 18, 2010

book notes

The Places In Between by Rory Stewart

Discussion of how interpretation of Koran differs from interpretation of Bible

gay coffin