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By TheophileEscargot (Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:21:54 AM EST) Theatre, Watching, MLP (all tags)
Theatre: "Collaborators". Watching: "The Trouble With Harry". Me. Links.

Saw Collaborators at the National Theatre, about a fictionalized Mikhail Bulgakov (author of The Master and Margarita) forced to write a hagiographical play about the early life of Josef Stalin. The play blurs boundaries as Bulgakov imagines Stalin writing the play himself, while Bulgakov does Stalin's paperwork: you're never quite sure what's real.

The play's deservedly got great reviews: it's very funny in places, and has good performances. Simon Russell Beale does his usual great job as a jocular yet menacing Stalin. Alex Jennings plays Bulgakov very well as he gradually starts to sympathize with the dictator.

Overall, excellent play, well worth seeing.

What I'm Watching
Saw The Trouble With Harry on DVD. 1955 Hitchcock comedy. The discovery of a body causes a cascade of events as different people believe themselves responsible.

Not bad, though some of the farce elements are pretty dated. I think it probably comes across as a lot lighter now as the black comedy where nobody particularly cares about the death isn't so shocking.

What I'm Watching 2 Saw the Confessions from the Underground Channel 4 documentary. Quite interesting. Does look like they've decided to trade away some safety in order to increase the service, but in general I think I'm in favour of that.

Went up to Hampstead Heath in the snow on Sunday, was pretty jammed with people.

Lots of pics.

Socioeconomics. Graph of US poverty by age. Seven things I learned about transition from Communism

Fifth, economists have greatly exaggerated the benefits of incentives by themselves, without changes in people. Economic theory of socialism has put way too much weight on incentives, and way too little on human capital. Winners in the communist system turned out not to be so good in a market economy. Transition to markets is accomplished by new people, not by old people with better incentives. I realised this and wrote about it in the mid-1990s, but the lesson both in firms and in politics in profound: you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, even with incentives.
Sci/Tech. The price of your soul: neural evidence for the non-utilitarian representation of sacred values. Prize for tricorder invention, via.

Pics. Zinfandel Max, more. 8 Political Photoshop Fails From 2011 . This Is What A Scientist Looks Like. Cop with a camera. Old manuscript illustrations of carrots.

Articles. Sino-America book reviews. How Brazil teaches philosophy in high schools. Apple's iPhone Business Alone Is Now Bigger Than All Of Microsoft.

Video. Analysing, Josephine Baker Videos/ Small quadrotor swarm. Shit Wizards Say. Shit Scientists Say. Shit verbal people say. Larry Griswold vintage diving routine.

Politics. Romney and Obama both unelectable? Francis Fukuyama on governance:

Conversely, I would argue that the quality of governance in the US tends to be low precisely because of a continuing tradition of Jacksonian populism. Americans with their democratic roots generally do not trust elite bureaucrats to the extent that the French, Germans, British, or Japanese have in years past. This distrust leads to micromanagement by Congress through proliferating rules and complex, self-contradictory legislative mandates which make poor quality governance a self-fulfilling prophecy. The US is thus caught in a low-level equilibrium trap, in which a hobbled bureaucracy validates everyone�s view that the government can�t do anything competently.

Random. Watchmen prequels not a joke. via. The 100 Most Beautiful Words in English. Where's the pixel game. The relationship was over when... via. Truck needed for illegal film-spool porn collection.

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No business like snow business | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden)
The Trouble With Harry by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:33:19 AM EST
I saw that at the old McLean Theater back in the 80's. I thought then that it was pretty funny. Still do.

That theater was owned by a guy who owned several strip malls locally, and ran the theater as a hobby. As long as he usually broke even he was happy. After he died it got remodeled into a high end gourmet grocery store.

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

The analysis is just wrong by sasquatchan (2.00 / 0) #2 Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 10:09:22 AM EST
apple's products are spectacularly profitable. But the analyst is quite wrong about it being "a completely new product category"

Apple didn't invent the mp3 player, nor the smart phone, nor tablet computing. They did design and market a very nice, slick, better functionality/capability, but they did not by any means create a new product category.

There was something before the Newton? by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 10:18:36 AM EST

[ Parent ]
completely new product category by lm (4.00 / 1) #5 Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 07:35:11 AM EST
A fair argument could be made that "relatively inexpensive smartphone wanted by casual users" was a new market category.

Or at the very least, "mp3 player, smart phone, and tablet computing in one device" was be a new category when the iPhone was introduced.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
"relatively inexpensive" by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 12:08:48 PM EST
I am fairly certain that the iPhone was no cheaper than other phones of the time.  In fact, I think it was more expensive.

What Apple really brought to the table is a user interface that didn't look like it was written by an engineering intern based on drawings on napkins from a drunk marketing executive.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
And by Merekat (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 12:12:29 PM EST
at a time where other phone manufacturers seemed to be getting worse, not better or were just vanishing.

I was a happy Siemens phone user for several years until they basically stopped making real phones, moved to Sony Ericsson where they developed brainfart in design almost from day 1, so the iPhone became the first phone I had owned in about two years that I didn't want to throw against a wall on a daily basis.

[ Parent ]
Show how often I buy cell phones by lm (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 06:53:04 PM EST
I guess I did not properly recollect the going price for smart phones at the time.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I think it'd be correct to say by ambrosen (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 01:31:30 PM EST
It was the first touchscreen that didn't need a stylus.

[ Parent ]
100 words by clover kicker (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 10:19:46 AM EST
Oddly enough he left out Carlin's 7 words.

I feel this link needs to be in this diary by nathan (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 11:53:43 AM EST

Like the communism and highschool philosophy by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 09:42:10 AM EST
It's interesting to think about the populism and incentives comments together (in the commie transition article). I'm no great fan of populism - very sympathetic to Fukuyama's point about technocrats actually. But even Jacksonian populism requires some sophistication in the construction of democratic institutions, ie a party. Existing or nascent elites, by contrast, already have a head start in institution formation. They have their own capital or power networks, for instance.

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No business like snow business | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 hidden)