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Showing posts from December, 2009

A Sequence of Sequences

This research was supported in part by a grant from the Universal Walloons and by a grant from the Ants of America. We thank them for their help.

Neither this infinite sequence of sequences nor any of the component sequences (which are all finite) is an unfolding sequence, but you will notice reminiscent properties. How is this generated? For component S(n), consider all words composed of "1" and "2" of length 0-n. Left justify. Sort. S(n) is the lengths of the words in sorted order. Thus S(2): Possible words are -,1,2,11,12,21,22. In sorted order, they are -,1,11,12,2,21,22. Their lengths comprising S(2) are 0,1,2,2,1,2,2.

0....................................................................0- 0

011..................................................................0- 2

0122122..............................................................0- 6

012332331233233......................................................0- 14

0123443442344344123443442344344......................…

Nagel Mildly Questions Orthodoxy, Causes Leiter to Shit a Water Buffalo

Just because you've spent half a century as one of the greatest philosophers in the world doesn't mean Brian Leiter won't trash you should you deviate from his religious dogmas!

Vegans Beware!

It turns out that plants do things like calling over parasitic insects to kill off the eggs of insects that eat the plants. So, all you vegans who have been cruelly preying upon the plant kingdom: next time you eat a carrot, watch your back!

What?! You're Not in Favor...

of a 2400-page health-care bill written by insurance companies to line their own pockets?! Why then, the "non-partisan" people at Rock the Vote declare you are a "creep" who must never be allowed to have sex again:

F the Vote w/ Zach Gilford & Eva Amurri from Zach Gilford

(Hat tip to Nick Gillespie.)

Callahan Responds to Doherty Responding to Callahan

Brian Doherty, in what is at least partially a response to one of my earlier posts here at Crash Landing, writes: "This aspect of Rothbard is sometimes used to attack him as an unserious thinker, but it isn’t fair to the purpose of this sort of polemic. While, for example, he is not capturing the full nuances of Karl Polanyi’s history or analysis in his The Great Transformation, Rothbard is doing what he was asked to do—sniffing out a detectable set of beliefs about modern civilization, currency, and markets that make Polanyi an ineffective ally for radical libertarians."

Doherty also notes:

"His critiques often have language along the lines of this comment on his beloved economist mentor Mises: 'Mises’ utilitarian, relativist approach to ethics is not nearly enough to establish a full case for liberty.'”

In "defending" Rothbard against my critique, Doherty, in fact, makes the very point I have been trying to make: in what are supposedly works on the &quo…

State Aggression

Brian Doherty writes:

"States, after all, cannot function without first aggressing against someone, if only to get tax money to fund their activities."

It's amazing to me that libertarians can make such statements as if they were obviously true or uncontroversial, and something with which their opponents already agree. "So, you see," they will continue, "you are in favor of some forms of aggression!"

But this argument is entirely circular as it is typically formed: The State is illegitimate because it engages in aggression, and we can say it must engage in aggression because its collection of taxes is illegitimate -- but, of course, since the collection of taxes is how the State survives, to say their collection is illegitimate is to just re-state that the State is illegitimate. Thus, the argument runs, "The State is illegitimate because the State is illegitimate."

Or, to put it differently, if the State is legitimate, then so is its collection …

Rothbard on Karl Polanyi

I have previously noted that Rothbard presents us with a cartoon version of Rousseau. I am now reading K. Polanyi's The Great Transformation for a class I am teaching with the same name, and I just noticed Rothbard gets Rousseau wrong in a review of that very book. So what did he have to say about Polanyi?

Shockingly (although I really shouldn't be shocked by this anymore!) Rothbard gets Polanyi even more wrong than he gets Rousseau. With Rousseau I figured that he had the excuse that he had never read him, but only read about him, but here he's actually reviewing Polanyi's book! And he attributes to it a "Worship of the Primitive" that "permeates the book."

Well, I was already halfway through Polanyi's book, and I can assure you, the thought had not once occurred to me anywhere in my readings that I was in the presence of the least bit of "worship of the primitive." Yes, occasionally Polanyi will mention this or that aspect of some prim…

Nothing to Undo!

Ever since I upgraded to the new iPhone OS, that message pops up on my screen from time to time. Underneath is a button reading 'Cancel'.

OK, if there is nothing to undo, what the heck does 'cancelling' it mean? And what if I don't cancel it? Will the phone go ahead and undo nothing?

Brett Favre Has Learned

The upshot of this column, which contains lines like, "Favre also understands this offense can't afford to be dominated like it was against Arizon," is this:

Last year, Favre did not understand that you're not supposed to suck at the end of the season and blow a chance to make the playoffs. This year, he has learned that for all those millions, he's supposed to not suck. Therefore, he won't.

Whew.

Mario Rizzo Offers Peace Agreement...

to sack of angry scorpions. Scorpions say they will sign if he just lets them out of the sack.

The World's Great Sandwiches

OK, my research has advanced to the point that I can forward two candidates. Now, when I say "sandwiches," I mean something you could eat everyday for lunch, and not "Sloth tongue with Antibean bee's jelly butter and a lacy crust of fried morel tarts" or anything like that -- some restaurant may make such a dish, and it may be fantastic, but you aren't going to be making it for your lunch. No, I mean sandwiches with readily available ingredients that cost a couple of dollars and that you can make in under 20 minutes. Also, I am looking at when the "sandwichness" itself is what is so good about them -- of course, if you take a fantastic piece of steak and place it between two decent slices of bread, it will taste good -- but not as a sandwich, but as a fantastic piece of steak that happens to be between some bread.

So, here are my two candidates (not ranked in order):

1) The Reuben
Ingredients: Pastrami (cut it out with the corned beef, already), swis…

Climategate: The Sequel

I was asked to look at the CRU source code to see if the comments looked reasonable to me, so I've gotten myself a bit familiar with this whole "Climategate" bru-ha-ha. I've read a few (knowledgeable) people saying it's nothing, and a few saying it's terrible. If you're thinking of wading in on this, I will say, confidently, that there is little to no chance that you can figure out which camp is right unless you are a professional working in this area. (Which I'm not!)

Nevertheless, many, many amateurs will post on the web extremely strong opinions on this matter. And the funny thing is, in nearly every single case, their opinion will line up exactly with just what they thought about AGW before Climategate! What a remarkable coincidence.

I Wish I Could Remember Who These Were

British Cabinet member A: Sir, you will die on the gallows or of a loathsome disease.
British Cabinet member B: That depends, sir, on whether I embrace your principles or your mistress.

Thought You Were Voting for Peace?

Sorry, but the joke's on you.