“So what? Above a certain count, do the numbers even matter? Well, yes. The difference between the two estimates is large enough to change the way we look at the war. The new estimate suggests that more men died as a result of the Civil War than from all other American wars combined. Approximately 1 in 10 white men of military age in 1860 died from the conflict, a substantial increase from the 1 in 13 implied by the traditional estimate. The death toll is also one of our most important measures of the war’s social and economic costs. A higher death toll, for example, implies that more women were widowed and more children were orphaned as a result of the war than has long been suspected.
In other words, the war touched more lives and communities more deeply than we thought, and thus shaped the course of the ensuing decades of American history in ways we have not yet fully grasped. True, the war was terrible in either case. But just how terrible, and just how extensive its consequences, can only be known when we have a better count of the Civil War dead.”
‘While Adam Smith may be known as the philosopher who first promoted the idea that “greed is good,” his earlier work suggests we are not condemned to exploit others for the benefit of a few. In his book The Theory of Moral Sentiments, written in 1759, Smith proposed that sympathy for the plight of those who suffer is an inherent part of human nature.
“When we see one man oppressed or injured by another,” he wrote, “the sympathy which we feel with the distress of the sufferer seems to serve only to animate our fellow-feeling with his resentment against the offender.”
With the current occupation of Wall Street and the international condemnation of an economic model that would take advantage of those most in need, we are witnessing Smith’s prediction in action. It is only when the reality of people’s suffering is hidden that greed is allowed to dictate policy. While our current system has chosen the greed of the few over the needs of the many, the intellectual founder of modern capitalism suggests it doesn’t need to be this way. “When we think of the anguish of the sufferers, we take part with them more earnestly against their oppressors.”’
“So who was responsible and when is it from? Since the sheet is neither signed nor dated, we can only make this assertion thanks to the sleuthing done by earlier scholars, most importantly by John Dreyfus for his collection of type specimen facsimiles, and the source of much of the information I give here.1 This sheet can be connected to its type caster thanks to the detailed records kept by the Dutch printer Christophe Plantin and the remarkable longevity of his press, now the home of the Plantin-Moretus Museum. Plantin’s 1575 inventory of fonts includes the double pica italic typeface shown on this sheet (it’s the largest size of the italic face, on the right-hand column), with a note on the facing page identifying it as “Ascendonica Cursive de Guiot.” François Guyot was a type caster in Antwerp who worked from the 1540s until his death in 1570, and who was the main caster for Plantin from 1555 onwards; he also seems to have worked briefly for John Day in London.”
In other words, a standard Open Space:
“Essentially, it’ll be Wurman and 100 of his pals (and as he so eloquently put it, “I know fucking everybody”) talking about a particular topic for a certain amount of time. The “intellectual jazz” will be filmed in black and white, and then later released as an interactive app. ”I’m terrified,” said a coy Wurman, looking absolutely nothing of the sort. ”I don’t know if I can pull it off.” And while a gathering of 100 bigwigs in some ways sounds like the worst kind of elitist horror show, I actually found myself rooting for him. I mean, the world needs contrarians, and Wurman sure is one of them.”
“We Can’t Afford to Just Be Consumers Anymore
In the classical model of economics, a self-interested consumer like Josh would readily accept Interstate’s offer, seeing no downside.
But Josh is part of a new class of consumers who understand the idea of “voting with your dollar”, and it goes well beyond which brand of toilet paper you bring to the checkout line. There are several immediate downsides to the “resolution” Interstate brought to the table:
Firestone would be rewarded for their ridiculous 2-hour-minimum policy to change the battery.
Interstate would continue to be unable to enforce their warranty.
The customer (Josh) would have no reason to believe he’d be able to get a new battery in the future without all of the nonsense implied by the resolution — namely, paying for the 2 hours of labor himself and then securing reimbursement from Interstate.
Josh looked at the options and decided not to enable the vendors in their bullying of Interstate, and not to encourage Interstate to bend over for them. And he realized his time in chasing down his due was worth more than the value of the product in question.”
“Here’s the big picture: If the United States is to the point at which helping disaster victims means cutting other needed programs, it’s time to rethink the way we’re running this country. Today, Americans have the lightest total tax burden they’ve had since 1958. One result of that low tax burden, and the resulting inadequate federal and state revenue, is that the Federal Emergency Management Agency faces a $3 billion shortfall. And that’s before the Joplin bills arrive.
Overly optimistic projections during good times brought us to this point. Pandering politicians agreed to tax cuts that this country could not afford. But that’s the past. Going forward, we must be able to agree it is un-American to scramble and bicker over priorities every time nature strikes.”
“Warning: I am a designer by trade so I may get a little over excited about this bit. You do not have to slap an ugly QR Code on well designed media. QR Codes are just now going main stream so they tend to be the focus of the media they are included in. Big black and white squares positioned right in your face. For now this makes sense since the marketers using them tend to need to educate their audience on what they are and how to use them. As they become more common they will become something people will look for, like a web address, allowing designers to integrate functional QR art seamlessly with their design. Just because they are traditionally black and white does not mean they should be. QR codes:
• Can be any color
• Can be any modular material
• Must have at least 55% contrast between the foreground and the background
• Should have a margin or “quiet space” of 4 units
• Need to have clear detection patterns in the corner
• Can have up to 30% of the code obscured if you use the highest error correction
• Can be read with any orientation
• Can put it in perspective
• Can be anamorphic (widescreen)
• Can have the cell shape distorted
• Can have the interior made of circle or other shapes
• can have the design reversed.”
“This page provides information on the use and implementation of novelty search, an evolutionary search method that takes the radical step of ignoring the objective of search and instead rewarding only behavioral novelty. This visual demonstration (requires modern browser, IE users may need to install a plugin) contrasts a search for novelty with a search for the objective.”
“The Best Visual illusion of the Year Contest is a celebration of the ingenuity and creativity of the world’s premier visual illusion research community. Contestants from all around the world submitted novel visual illusions (unpublished, or published no earlier than 2009), and an international panel of judges rated them and narrowed them to the TOPTEN. At the Contest Gala in the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts, the top ten illusionists presented their creations and the attendees of the event voted to pick the TOPTHREEWINNERS!”
“Any two rectilinear figures with equal area can be dissected into a finite number of pieces to form each other. This is the Wallace-Bolyai-Gerwien theorem. For minimal dissections of a triangle, pentagon, and octagon into a square, see Stewart (1987, pp. 169–170) and Ball and Coxeter (1987, pp. 89–91). ”
“One interesting phenomenon is that some of the best seats in the house (near the windows, plenty of natural light, good access to the bathroom and kitchen) are avoided like the plague because they’re too near the front entrance. Nobody wants to be mistaken for the receptionist. (Which we don’t have.) With 22 companies, 5 conference rooms, and a speakeasy throughout our 2 floors, guests need to be pointed in the right direction. The problem is that on busy days that could easily mean 15+ interruptions…not ideal for productivity.”
“The Ryan plan, in other words, delivers to the older generation exactly what they’ve had all their lives—secure and predictable benefits—and to the next generation, more of what they’ve known—insecurity and risk. It’s hardly the first generational fight the GOP has started. The previous one was just last fall, when they campaigned for Medicare, and against the $500 billion in cuts (mostly by getting rid of the overgenerous subsidies to private insurers in an experimental program) passed as part of the Affordable Care Act. With an off-year electorate that was overwhelmingly older, they could put all their bets on the older side, knowing that seniors would see little benefit from the Affordable Care Act and were naturally worried about any change to the health system they enjoyed.”
“With Box, the customers are businesses for the most part. That is a key difference to other challenges by the RIAA. And It sets up a conflict between service providers and their clients who now face a determined media industry with a historic interest in litigation to protect its copyrights.”
“The main source of this speed penalty is an insistence that the result of a matrix multiply should follow R’s rules for handling infinity, NaN (not-a-number), and NA. These rules correspond to what happens with ordinary arithmetic operations on modern computers, which follow a standard for floating-point arithmetic in which, for example, 0⁄0 is NaN. You might therefore think that nothing special is needed to arrange for matrix multiplies to produce NaNs as required. However, R does matrix multiplications using the BLAS library, which comes in many versions, some of which may try to speed things up by avoiding “unnecessary” operations such as multiplication by zero — assuming that that will always result in zero. However, zero times NaN or infinity is supposed to be NaN, not zero.”
“…These properties with large negative equity positions are like ticking time bombs for the banks. Eventually these owners will grew tired of the monthly loss, and try to take action. Corelogic reported there were 11.1 million properties with negative equity at the end of last year, and close to 5 million properties with more than 25% negative equity.”
“This is a genuine YouTube rarity: a Star Trek public service announcement produced by Filmation Studios for the Keep America Beautiful anti-pollution campaign, from the early 1970s. Featuring the voices of William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and George Takei.”
“Jekyll at its core is a text transformation engine. The concept behind the system is this: you give it text written in your favorite markup language, be that Markdown, Textile, or just plain HTML, and it churns that through a layout or series of layout files. Throughout that process you can tweak how you want the site URLs to look, what data gets displayed on the layout and more. This is all done through strictly editing files, and the web interface is the final product.”
“What should be amazingingly clear is that books–trade publishers, self-publishers, ebooks, etc–are doing fine, but scholarly books are bankrupt. The old style academic blogs that many of my colleagues used to keep may be fading but blogging is shifting and proliferating. Writing is alive and growing. I imagine it has little concern for the humans that hitch a ride to it. Stop trying to save the monograph and instead try to answer the question that the monograph was originally developed to answer: how can I communicate with the world?”
“As the foundations of this crisis were laid, there were always arguments against massive regulatory intervention to deal with it. Those arguments always sounded convincing. The stayed convincing even as the situation transformed itself from a justified boom in long duration assets driven by advances in diversification and by capital inflows pushing down interest rates, to froth, to irrational exuberance, to a full-fledged bubble.”
“That cyclical component accounts for a lot of the short-run variation in hiring, but if you’re estimating the response to a demand shock, longer-term supply trends matter too and often they matter a great deal. If Ph.d. programs were stricter about enforcing standards of quality and relevance, rather than stringing along students to maintain the flow of revenue to the graduate program, the short run negative demand shocks would lead to a much less severe queuing problem. That’s simple microeconomics, and it should be macroeconomics too.”
“In this interview, Rajan, who famously told Greenspan at his last Jackson Hole conference that recent changes in financial services industry policy had increased risk, takes on the question of the role of government. He contends that economists have neglected this issue due to overspecialization.”
“…“Earlier this year Fang closed a microblog within days of opening it after thousands of Chinese internet users left comments, almost all of them deriding him. They attacked him as ‘a running dog for the government’ and ‘the enemy of netizens.’”
According to the Associated Press, who spoke to local police, Chinese authorities are searching for the egg-loving shoe-thrower. Fang’s office, however, denies the attack happened at all.”
“In many ways, this intensified recurrence may be something we can learn from rather than worry about. I think it’s sociologically interesting when or if readers have the same reaction to these kinds of fringe stories as they recur and recirculate. It tells us something about where such stories exist in larger productions of knowledge and information, that we have a firmly marked off niche for “well, that’s nuts but non-offensively so”. The story makes no lasting impression on us, we don’t learn it or incorporate it, it doesn’t challenge us, but we also have a continuing expectation that these stories will continue to be with us and continue to be of interest to us. We’re not repelled by them, not transformed by them, we expect them and find them momentarily intriguing.”
“In-memory is a hot topic right now, thanks in part to SAP pushing its in-memory analytics platform HANA at Sapphire last week. HANA, however, is not a direct competitor to BigMemory. According to RedMonk co-founder James Governor, competitors include Oracle Coherence, IBM eXtreme Scale, Hazelcast and Gigaspaces.
“Indeed distributed cache is well known enough to be seen as a ‘competitor’ to NoSQL approaches,” Governor wrote. “Both take load off the database — less database work generally means greater scalability””
“In short, Google is borrowing $3 billion at a yield that is just about the lowest yield in modern U.S. history. The Federal Reserve has been trying very hard to convince the world to borrow dollars, and Google is simply taking its advice. If corporate tax rates decline in the next year or so — a bet that looks more attractive almost every day — and if the economy improves and interest rates rise, Google will have executed a very profitable trifecta: It could repatriate its cash at a lower tax rate and buy back its bonds at a discount.
And even if none of this works out, Google’s cost of borrowing $3 billion will only be about 2.3%, which in an historical context is not very much. And if the dollar continues to depreciate, then borrowing dollars today in order to keep cash abroad will also prove to be a profitable strategy.”
“Chatbox makes it easy to discuss or comment on files shared over Dropbox. Install it, right click on any files / folders inside Dropbox, and start conversations with people you shared the Dropbox folder with.”
“Back in the early 1970’s Armorall was introduced and quickly adopted by car owners and others who wanted to keep plastic components looking their best and lasting as long as possible. 303 Aerospace Protectant is the professional-grade version of this kind of product, and I have yet to find anything better.”
“Gingrichism is the philosophy that all means short of illegality are fair game in the struggle for political power. He came to the fore in the House minority by personal attacks on other members’ patriotism; he stirred up the Republican base with the argument that the Democrats were not merely wrong, but evil and a threat to the Republic. As Speaker, he destroyed the existing committee structure and bill mark-ups, did away with Congressional institutions to educate members (such as the Office of Technology Assessment or the Administrative Conference of the United States), and centralized power in the leadership. When he did not get his way with Clinton, he cavalierly shut down the government. Not cowed by the political disaster that ensued, he used the House’s impeachment power for political purposes and put the House Oversight Committee in the hands of Dan Burton with the express mandate to harass and cripple political opponents. Gingrich broke institutions not by accident, but on purpose.”
“In practice, all that “the exchange rate is the purview of the Treasury” means is that no official other the Treasury secretary is supposed to talk about it (and even he isn’t supposed to say very much). That strikes me as a shame. Perhaps if government officials could talk about the exchange rate forthrightly, there would be more understanding of the issues and more rational policy discussions.
Such discussions would start with some basic economics. The desire to trade with other countries or invest in them is what gives rise to the market for foreign exchange. You need euros to travel in Spain or to buy a German government bond, so you need a way to exchange currencies.”
“Form-backing objects, also known as Presenters (not to be confused with the concept of view presenters), are objects whose sole purpose is to take user-entered form data and perform some unit of work. Creating and testing form-backing objects is simple. In this situation, you might add a Registration object.”
“You have 40 bowls, all placed in a line at exact intervals of 1 meter. You also have 9 oranges. You wish to place all the oranges in the bowls, no more than one orange in each bowl, so that there are no three oranges A, B, and C such that the distance between A and B is equal to the distance between B and C. How many ways can you arrange the oranges in the bowls?.”
“As Ailes struggled with what to do with Glenn Beck in a changed political landscape, an older problem reared its head. In February, news broke that former lawyers for Judith Regan, the former HarperCollins publisher, claimed in sworn statements that Regan taped conversations in which Ailes had allegedly told her to lie to investigators about her affair with Bernie Kerik to help Ailes’s friend Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 presidential campaign. News Corp. issued a statement that quoted Regan denying she felt pressure, but it sparked a media frenzy for a couple of days. Regan blames Ailes for her negative press in the wake of her 2006 ouster from News Corp. and claims Ailes is trying to protect powerful interests. “Connect the dots,” she told me.”
“This is perhaps the most telling point about cities. Even in this age of technology – where people can collaborate with people they barely know on the other side of the globe thanks to the internet – success depends, as Harvard economics professor Edward Glaeser points out in his book “The Triumph of the City”, on communities of individuals being in close physical proximity. Hence all the attention paid to encouraging clusters, whether they are in high-tech, as is the intention in the area around Hackney in east London, or anything else. Glaeser and others have plenty of evidence suggesting that future economic growth is dependent upon the ideas and initiatives originating in cities.”