Saturday, April 8, 2017
We all went to see Beauty and the Beast at the cinema last night. The kids grew up watching the Disney animated version, oh, at least twenty times. The 2017 live acting version may even be better; great casting, great music, digital wizardry, a little more depth to the story. Pure family fun. Do go see it. If you see the 3D version, you get these really cool glasses (I'm never taking them off):
"......all of the knowledge and technological advances in the world are never enough to change behavior."
-Ben Carlson, as culled from this "it's always and never different" post. that leads off this way:
"I'm fascinated with financial market history because learning about prior cycles gives you a sense about how some things never change while others are in a constant state of flux. It’s both always and never different this time."
........................of bubbles of different sorts:
Diversity of thoughts and ideas, amicably and thoughtfully exchanged, are the ideals. All three of the cited writers want that. Many more of us, including "The resistance", ought to take up the banner.
-Peter Gordon, as borrowed from here
Friday, April 7, 2017
................................On the wisdom of re-legislating Glass-Steagall while repealing Dodd-Frank:
"Hence, we find ourselves in the unusual circumstances where potential regulatory legislation that started on the political left also has appeal to the political right."
-Barry Ritholtz, as extracted from this knowledgeable post on the subject.
It would certainly be fun to watch.
"So we have a crop of young bored billionaires looking to change the world. I think that’s cool. I hope they succeed."
-Steven Novella, as lifted from here
One should be very careful about what one wishes for.
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Not sure exactly what the phrase means (I suspect Fred borrowed the word from Spanish), but one can use one's imagination:
The anger is dangerous because it is not visible. The rigorous censorship we call “political correctness” prevents expression of ideas disliked by the ruling classes. It leads to surprises. It is why the Talking Heads were consistently, universally, and utterly wrong about Donald Trump’s chances of being elected. They continue to suffer from this cerebrocolonic congruence.
-as taken from here
3. I find it easier to be anti-anti-Trump than to be pro-Trump. Left-wing campus activism repels me. The Democratic Party’s identity politics repels me. The outrage-manufacturing machine that is the Washington Post front page repels me. The arrogance of those in power regarding ordinary citizens repels me, although I do not think that American’s citizenry is blameless when it comes to the health care mess, for example.
-Arnold Kling, as extracted from here
.................................................................Wisdom from Nicholas Bate:
3. Play Beat the Robot by being excellent in your field. The 'OK' will be outsourced and/or replaced by robot.
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Good-by to you whom I shall see tomorrow,
Next year and when I'm fifty; still good-by.
This is the leave we never really take.
If you were dead or gone to live in China
The event might draw your stature in my mind.
I should be forced to look upon you whole
The way we look upon the things we lose.
We see each other daily and in segments;
Parting might make us meet anew, entire.
You asked me once, and I could give no answer,
How far dare we throw off the daily ruse,
Official treacheries of face and name,
Have out our true identity? I could hazard
An answer now, if you are asking still.
We are a small and lonely human race
Showing no sign of mastering solitude
Out on this stony planet that we farm.
The most that we can do for one another
Is let our blunders and our blind mischances
Argue a certain brusque abrupt compassion.
We might as well be truthful. I should say
They're luckiest who know they're not unique;
But only art or common interchange
Can teach that kindest truth. And even art
Can only hint at what disturbed a Melville
Or calmed a Mahler's frenzy; you and I
Still look from separate windows every morning
Upon the same white daylight in the square.
And when we come into each other's rooms
Once in awhile, encumbered and self-conscious,
We hover awkwardly about the threshold
And usually regret the visit later.
Perhaps the harshest fact is, only lovers--
And once in a while two with the grace of lovers--
Unlearn that clumsiness of rare intrusion
And let each other freely come and go.
Most of us shut too quickly into cupboards
The margin-scribbled books, the dried geranium,
The penny horoscope, letters never mailed.
The door may open, but the room is altered;
Not the same room we look from night and day.
It takes a late and slowly blooming wisdom
To learn that those we marked infallible
Are tragi-comic stumblers like ourselves.
The knowledge breeds reserve. We walk on tiptoe,
Demanding more than we know how to render.
Two-edged discovery hunts us finally down;
The human act will make us real again,
And then perhaps we come to know each other.
Let us return to imperfection's school.
No longer wandering after Plato's ghost,
Seeking the garden where all fruit is flawless,
We must at last renounce that ultimate blue
And take a walk in other kinds of weather.
The sourest apple makes its wry announcement
That imperfection has a certain tang.
Maybe we shouldn't turn our pockets out
To the last crumb or lingering bit of fluff,
But all we can confess of what we are
Has in it the defeat of isolation--
If not our own, then someone's, anyway.
So I come back to saying this good-by,
A sort of ceremony of my own,
This stepping backward for another glance.
Perhaps you'll say we need no ceremony,
Because we know each other, crack and flaw,
Like two irregular stones that fit together.
Yet still good-by, because we live by inches
And only sometimes see the full dimension.
Your stature's one I want to memorize--
Your whole level of being, to impose
On any other comers, man or woman.
I'd ask them that they carry what they are
With your particular bearing, as you wear
The flaws that make you both yourself and human.
The bedrock lesson here is as old as time: The future — not all of it, but much of it — is too complex to be predicted. There are too many moving parts; too much is unknown; people wrongly think the future will resemble the past; they don’t foresee political, economic and technological change.
-culled from this Robert J. Samuelson essay, "Why Economists Can't Forecast"
Tuesday, April 4, 2017
If you torture financial data enough and play around with start and end dates you can show almost anything you want historically, but it’s obvious that the stock market is cyclical in nature. Periods of high returns are eventually followed by periods of low returns. Cycles are one of the few dependable aspects of investing in stocks.
.............................................................................Say it isn't so!
The reality: We can’t be anybody we want to be and we won’t get rich overnight. The possibilities are not limitless. Our lives are not Disney movies. Except in a few rare instances—where success is often built on a modicum of talent and an excess of luck—we will not earn ridiculous amounts of money and we won’t end up fabulously wealthy.
-Jonathan Clements, as borrowed from this post suggesting we make the best use of the time and gifts given us
Monday, April 3, 2017
............................but the mental image of it makes me smile:
“IF YOU WANT TO transfer a few hundred gigabytes of data, it’s generally faster to FedEx a hard drive than to send the files over the Internet. This isn’t a new idea—it’s often dubbed “SneakerNet”—and it’s even how Google transfers large amounts of data internally.”
In other words, the top students were applying some of the habits of deliberate practice—mindfulness, an ability to observe their own performance, a sense that their time was valuable and needed to be spent wisely—to their downtime. They were discovering the immense value of deliberate rest. They figured out early that rest is important, that some of our most creative work happens when we take the kinds of breaks that allow our unconscious minds to keep plugging away, and that we can learn how to rest better. In the conservatory, deliberate rest is the partner of deliberate practice. It is in the studio and laboratory and publishing house, too. As Dickens and Poincaré and Darwin discovered, each is necessary. Each is half of a creative life. Together they form a whole.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
“There are two ways of being happy — we may either diminish our wants or augment our means — either will do, the result is the same; and it is for each man to decide for himself, and do that which happens to be the easiest. If you are idle or sick or poor, however hard it may be to diminish your wants, it will be harder to augment your means. If you are active and prosperous, or young, or in good health, it may be easier for you to augment your means than to diminish your wants. But if you are wise, you will do both at the same time, young or old, rich or poor, sick or well; and if you are wise, you will do both in such a way as to augment the general happiness of society.”
-Ben Franklin, as cited here
So why are people thinking about Putin as much as they do? Because he has become a symbol of national self-determination. Populist conservatives see him the way progressives once saw Fidel Castro, as the one person who says he won't submit to the world that surrounds him. You didn't have to be a Communist to appreciate the way Castro, whatever his excesses, was carving out a space of autonomy for his country.
In the same way, Putin's conduct is bound to win sympathy even from some of Russia's enemies, the ones who feel the international system is not delivering for them. Generally, if you like that system, you will consider Vladimir Putin a menace. If you don't like it, you will have some sympathy for him. Putin has become a symbol of national sovereignty in its battle with globalism. That turns out to be the big battle of our times. As our last election shows, that's true even here.
-Christopher Caldwell, as excerpted from this essay, How to Think About Vladimir Putin
Of course, as the twentieth century - the century of the modernists - taught us, people have an astonishing ability to march toward catastrophe. But why should we endorse that behavior when we still retain our critical faculties?
-Roger Scruton, as excerpted from this essay, Cities For Living.
I don't care how you define it, but if you don't think this is one of the greatest acts of public service ever completed (and likely not yet completely completed).............well, you are just wrong.