Showing posts from February, 2009

London vs. New York, Round 2

Topic: Trash cans / rubbish bins OK, London, you went up in round one, and probably got all cocky, but answer me this: Where the heck are all of your rubbish bins? Man, if I blow my nose in a pub in London and the toilet stall is occupied, there's just nowhere else to put the snot-filled rag in my hand. (Don't tell me to hand it to the bartender -- that's disgusting!) And the train stations would prefer to have three or four people constantly roaming around picking up after everyone then put out a few rubbish bins. After Round Two: London 1 New York 1

Sure, You Can't Beat the Market Consistently

Or can you ? "Berkshire Hathaway reported today that its net worth fell in 2008 by $11.5 billion, a decline reducing its per-share book value by 9.6%. That was Berkshire's worst result in the 44 years that Chairman Warren Buffett has run the company and, in fact, only the second decline in that period. The other drop was 6.2% in 2001, a year hurt by 9/11 and other problems in Berkshire's insurance operations." So, in a year the market was down 50%, Buffett lost only 9.6%, and that's the worst he's ever done!

London vs. New York, Round 1

Having spent a bunch of time in both cities, I'm ready to tell you what you should think of them. First item: underground transportation. OK, New Yorkers, the tube is: * cleaner * faster * quieter * with more frequent trains * and nice signs that tell you when the next train is coming, so you don't wait on the platform for 40 minutes only to find out the line is closed. Finally, when there is a delay, the posh lady who does the London Underground announcements says, "We apologize for any inconvenience." But today, on the subway, the announcer said, "We're delayed waiting for the tracks to clear. Please be patient." So, instead of apologizing for the delay, the guy gave me an order as to how to regard it! And what if I began to fidget? Would I be thrown off? Round One: London 1 New York 0

Why Are You Throwing Your Money Away Renting?

Show this to every idiot who has ever said that to you: "The CEPR also found that people who were renting homes in 2004 will have more wealth in 2009 than those who were owners. That's true for all five wealth groups the study analyzed, from the poorest to the wealthiest."

Philosophy 101

My kind of professor . Or maybe you'd like some train one-liners ?

She Probably Just Didn't Finish the Run Yet

It's very sad that this lady is missing , but she went for 'runs' at three-miles-per-hour? That's not even a quick walk!

The Field or the Object of Study?

So I want to say biology is the study of life. But I also want to say mathematics is the study of mathematics. In other words, it seems as if mathematics is an independent thing that's out there in the objective reality of the universe, and we just discover its truths. In contrast, it seems as if biology is a human invention, a fairly crude approach to grappling with the complexities of life that are "out there." Discuss.


Aristos brings to our attention this site that features several famous songs and the allegedly hidden messages in them. Some don't sound convincing at all, but check out Stairway to Heaven, Another One Bites the Dust, and ...Baby One More Time.

Literally, Figuratively Speaking

Of course it's an old and oft noted gaffe to use the word 'literally' as an intensifier, as in 'She yelled so loud she literally blew my head off', when, of course, the person doesn't mean that they actually lost their head. Or so I thought until last night, when, laying awake in my unheated London flat, I suddenly realized the truth: the person in question is using the word 'literally' figuratively! And I mean literally figuratively, at least in the figurative sense of literally. Doesn't that clear everything up for you?

Nut Bans

I've been wondering why peanut allergies seem so much more prevalent today than when I was a kid. I've finally seen a good explanation -- paranoia about kids eating peanuts! 'Dr. Christakis notes that while it’s reasonable for schools and parents to take basic precautions, there is no scientific evidence that nut bans are particularly effective at protecting children. But more important, he argues, is that limiting widespread exposure to nuts can make things worse. The “policy of avoidance” means that fewer children are being exposed to nuts, likely increasing their risk for developing an allergy. A 2008 study in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology of 10,000 British children found that early exposure to peanuts lowers risk of allergy, rather than increasing it.' NY Times

Stupid Basketball Quotes Number Seven

'"In the second half, we kind of had the mindset that we were going to outscore them," Singler said . "But you're not going to outscore Carolina."' Right. Just face facts: you're going to LOSE!

Live Near New York City?

Then come see me present "Could Better Constitutional Design Have Saved the Roman Republic?" at the NYU Colloquium on Market Institutions & Economic Processes .

Hey Joggers!

What is it with the fact that your continuing to run at a steady pace is more important than anything else going on on the sidewalk? I've been escorting a group of grade-schoolers on a class outing and had joggers plow right through the middle of the group. This morning, I made the mistake of pausing for a second at a street corner, unsure of which way to go, and I narrowly avoided being knocked by some dude in shiny purple tights. Well, joggers, let me clue you in on something: interval training. You see, years ago, it was discovered that, if you stop in your training from time to time for a few seconds, your heart rate actually gets higher than if you just keep going. So, joggers, if you pause to let that old lady on her walker pass, you'll actually get in better shape. As well, as not being a total douche bag!

Jon Stewart on the Stimulus Bill

I had worried that some Bush-bashers would be inconsistent in their treatment of the new president, but not John Stewart. Woo hoo! BTW this is mostly Republican bashing, but he hits the Dems in the beginning. The Daily Show With Jon Stewart M - Th 11p / 10c Clusterf#@k to the Poor House - Economic Recovery Plan Daily Show Full Episodes Important Things With Demetri Martin Funny Political News Joke of the Day

These Were All UK Number 1 Hits

"You Really Got Me" - The Kinks "It's Not Unusual" - Tom Jones "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" - Dusty Springfield "Green Green Grass of Home" - Tom Jones "Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)" - Edison Lighthouse "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing" - The New Seekers "Kung Fu Fighting" - Carl Douglas "When Will I See You Again" - The Three Degrees What else do they have in common? Answer in first comment.

Snow in the UK

From the BBC: 'Margaret Morrissey, of the Parents Outloud campaign group, said the decision to keep thousands of schools shut for a second day sent the wrong signals to children. 'She added: "We are giving children the message that when things get difficult you should just stay at home and have fun."' Instead of, say, invading Iraq. Not such a bad idea!

Stupidest Stat Ever?

"Connecticut is 17-1 when Thabeet logs a double-double." Now, if they were 0-3 when he didn't, I'd get ESPN's drift. But no, they're 19-1 on the season. So this statistic says... nothing?