Print Story The appetite may sicken, and so die
By R Mutt (Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 09:43:52 PM EST) MLP (all tags)
Toys? Cello challenge. Maim that tune gets songs out of your head. [X. :o]

Articles. Why no Bach cult? Too many flats in UK? How economists undermine community: book, extract. [:(]

YouTube. Time-lapse Venus fly-trap, vines. Destruction: wind turbine, Niki Lauder crash. [:o]

Nice comments. On the placebo/SSRI meta-analysis. Better ending for "No Country...". Lifehacker. [:(]

Tech. Watch users don't listen to them. How Pakistan took down YouTube worldwide. Chinese censorship. [:(]

When American technologists write about the control system, they tend to emphasize its limits. When Chinese citizens discuss it--at least with me--they tend to emphasize its strength...

In America, the Internet was originally designed to be free of choke points, so that each packet of information could be routed quickly around any temporary obstruction. In China, the Internet came with choke points built in...

What the government cares about is making the quest for information just enough of a nuisance that people generally won’t bother.

In China, "the controls mean that whole topics inconvenient for the regime simply don’t exist in public discussion." Most Chinese people remain wholly unaware of internationally noticed issues like, for instance, the controversy over the Three Gorges Dam.

[MeFi] = Stolen from Metafilter
[/.] = Stolen from Slashdot
[M] = Stolen from Memepool
[BX] = Stolen from Blogdex
[X.] = Stolen from Christdot
[)] = Stolen from Monkeyfilter
[B] = Stolen from B3ta
[GG] = Stolen from Green Gabbro
[BFB] = Stolen from Big Fat Blog
[BB] = Stolen from Boing Boing
[PU] = Stolen from PopURLs
[S2MM] = Stolen from Stuff I Send To My mates
[JR] = Stolen from Joel.Reddit
[REC] = Stolen from Really Evil Canine
[WTH] = Stolen from MC
[GR] = Stolen from Grand Rounds
[SM] = Stolen from Stumbling and Mumbling
[[:)] = Needs sound
[:(] = Serious
[:)] = Amusing
[;)] = Ironic
[:o] = Strange
[*] = Flash
[#] = Free registration required
[$] = Possible corporate shill
[NSFW] = Not Safe For Work
[NSFWFUP] = Not Safe For Work For Ultra-Prudish
[(UK)] = UK-centric
[LL] = Late or repeated link
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The appetite may sicken, and so die | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Economists by duxup (4.00 / 2) #1 Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 10:39:47 PM EST
Many economists always rubbed me the wrong way.  As a group they strike me as a bunch of folks who are oh so pleased with the way economies run.  Yet few if any seem capable of making predictions, or even understanding what is going on until it is painfully obvious.  I'm sure there are some very smart economist folks out there but of all fields economists seem to contain an insane amount of people who have little no piratical ability to do anything related to their field other than maybe study the past.  Oh and of course they somehow take credit for how the economy runs when it runs well regardless of their lack of any significant involvement....  It is almost a sort of "I knew the economy was good before it was popular!" thing.

Take Ben Bernanke for example.  I'm sure the dude is way smart but other than his current job one of his big claims to fame was his knowledge and study of ... the Great Depression.  WTF?  The study by economists over the years has been so good that a dude born more than thirty years after the event figures it all out for us?  That's one impressive field of study.  Maybe in a few years we'll figure out what was going on in the last 1970s too.

Predictions by R Mutt (4.00 / 4) #2 Tue Feb 26, 2008 at 11:23:01 PM EST
Regarding market predictions, sensible economists don't claim to be able to make them. The thing is, stock/bond/currency markets are themselves predictions of what's going to happen, produced by lots of highly motivated people. To predict a market, you have to out-predict the professional predictors.

However, economists are rather like dieticians, in that nobody wants to listen to sensible ones. Semi-nutters peddling quick fixes get much more attention.

[ Parent ]
measuring children by their height by alprazolam (4.00 / 2) #7 Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 08:44:59 AM EST
economics is a means to an end that doesn't always correlate to anything good in the real world....thats my problem with it. "oh as long as this number is getting bigger every year, everything is going well"...

[ Parent ]
Absolutely by Herring (4.00 / 2) #8 Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:29:27 PM EST
Having finally got around to reading the extract, I think the author is too limited. The problem is that economic theory seems to treat so many things as "externalities" (I'm sure this isn't a word) and community is just one of them.

Letting economists run the world is a bit like letting MBAs run companies - they aren't trying to model what happens, they are trying to make reality conform to the model.

I'm not being very coherent here. Maybe a thought-out diary at some stage, but I think that we seem to have been through a process of dehumanisation by attempting to apply simple rules to every facet of life.

christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky

[ Parent ]
Coherent enough by duxup (2.00 / 0) #9 Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:47:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ay-up on that watching users by Rogerborg (4.00 / 2) #3 Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 01:05:16 AM EST
And not just the webcam on the cute $ASIAN testers (IMPORTANT: verify which of then are actually chicks).  VNC has changed my life.  Instead of having to decipher "The grongle flobbit dibbled sharply when I gaspled it", I can now ask to see it happen, in real time, via VNC.

As a bonus, it's amazing how many problems go away when you insist on seeing them replicated.

Metus amatores matrum compescit, non clementia.

As long as you insist on complete replication by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 02:51:25 AM EST
It's annoying when, after 3 days of troubleshooting, the user says "Oh, we also turn this on." Whereupon the system starts to create the havoc they've been complaining about.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

[ Parent ]
cello by clover kicker (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 02:58:40 AM EST
I did fairly well after I figured out what you were supposed to do, but I wasn't familiar with the piece and had no idea when the tempo was going to change.

I think they should have a high difficulty version using this cello music.

I feel like I've seen this somewhere before. by ad hoc (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Feb 27, 2008 at 05:46:50 AM EST

The three things that make a diamond also make a waffle.
Artcile is mostly right . . . by slozo (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Feb 28, 2008 at 06:23:38 AM EST
. . . in China, all Chinese have to show their ID card when getting a computer to use at the internet cafe. So, at first, one assumes there is more anonymity because of the widespread use of cafes and very few people having internet access at home. But, people can be tracked down because every piece of info is attached with these ID cards.

As a foreigner, I never had to show ID, just paid money. Used the school computers as well. The last two or three months, I often had 'bad reception' on the phone . . . most foreigners are monitored in some way there, I was told by people in the know.

In China, I have googled "tibetan massacre", "tiannamen square arrests", and the ever popular "Taiwan freedom". It always brought up a bunch of links, but every one would end in "site not found".

As I reported from there, the people don't have to be dissuaded much - there is widespread political apathy. However, most young Chinese know about the three gorges dam, for instance - for some environmental issues, the Chinese do feel they can make a difference. That being said, reports of toxic waste dumping by an economically important refinery or chemical factory are not covered . . . just like here in my backyard, except that we in the west think we are morally superior.

Extract ends with poor example by Alan Crowe (2.00 / 0) #11 Fri Feb 29, 2008 at 12:48:55 PM EST
If Mr. A gives Ms. B heroin in exchange for sex, the economist will have a relatively easy time showing why this trade might be undesirable despite the wishes of the two participants. Providing heroin to Ms. B contributes to an addiction, and Ms. B might in the future rob or kill in order to satisfy her craving. The effects on Ms. B's victims, externalities of the original transaction, would swamp the benefits that Mr. A and Ms. B derived from the original exchange.

I find it easy to imagine that Ms. B's life goes downhill and that its chaotic descent ends pathetically with an overdose in a squat. Perhaps though she will get lucky. Perhaps an attempt at shoplifting will lead to her arrest and she will be one of the lucky few who is sent to rehab and benefits from it.

We have plenty of drug addicted prostitutes in Edinburgh and I don't think they commit any murders. It is the men who control the drugs trade who kill. The example comes across as weirdly out of touch.

Shit! I went googling for links to back up my complaint and found what looks like a local female drug addict committing a robbery

The appetite may sicken, and so die | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback