Saturday, 18 November 2006

Saturday afternoon ramble

I told you I'd carry on rambling this afternoon, didn't I. Here's more of my unfinished list of things that might interest you:
  • Grim Pill had one of my heroes on this morning, Professor Graham Webb about whom I've spoken here before a few times (here, for example, and here). An almost fascinating discussion which I only caught the end of, State Radio has yet to post the audio so Ci an hear it all (I guess they're all nine-to-five state employees there, huh?) So keep an eye here for the audio to be posted ... maybe Monday?
  • And on the subject of State Radio, Bryan Crump hosted an interesting discussion last night with the founders of pirate radio station Radio Hauraki. Youngsters might not realise just how "oppressive" (their words) was the wall-to-wall grey monopoly that was State Radio before Hauraki prised open the monolith. Keep an eye here for the grey ones to post that interview.
  • Oh yes, Keith Locke and Rodney Hide will be co-hosting a meeting tomorrow avo to help coordinate opposition to the white elephant proposed for the waterfront. With fitting irony, the meeting is to be held in one of Auckland's greatest white elephants, the Ayatollah Centre. Be there at 2pm. I will be. Locke, Hide to Host Meeting on Stadium.
  • What is the importance of great art? Lisa van Dame outlines how a "unique approach to analyzing a work of art has transformed my esthetic life, enhancing my enjoyment of art, of literature, and of life in general." Read on to see how just this one aspect of art can enhance your own life: The Power of Observation: From Art to Literature to Life.
  • Speaking of great art and of stadiums, can you see this by architect Renzo Piano growing out of the north-west corner of the domain? More later...

  • And I presume by now you've seen Bob Clarkson's estimate for the Bedpan to be $1.8 billion? As Illinois-based professor of economics and business Robert A. Baade says in this morning's Herald, when you're talking about the "hoopla" of so-called iconic buildings and their projected "economic benefits, "We have a kind of rule of thumb. We move the decimal place one place to the left and we're closer to what actually occurs." For construction of these things, a good rule of thumb is to move the decimal point one place to the right from the first estimate.
  • A new literary genre: blogger's books. Tim Worstall joins the throng with 2005 Blogged: Dispatches From the Blogosphere.
  • TS Eliot suggested that the greatest tragedy is to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. Joe Libertarian has some new evidence: the blue-skinned fruitcake who stood for the US Libertarian Party in
    a hotly contested Senate race where Democrat Jon Tester won by just 2,565 votes. Jones's vote count of 10,324 was more than enough to cover the difference between the Republican and Democratic candidates. By virtue of his ten thousand vote pull, Jones is being given credit for shifting the balance of power in the senate. It is an honor he does not deserve. Was the notoriety and press coverage generated by Jones good for the libertarian party? I don't think so.
    See: The Blue-Skinned Libertarian.
  • The idea of comparative advantage is at once one of the most non-intuitive and most powerful concepts of economics. If you don't understand comparative advantage, you can't begin to understand the point of Adam Smith's invisible hand, or the harmony of interests shared by free men. Russell Roberts from Cafe Hayek has published a new piece, part one of a two part series on comparative advantage. "I find it remarkable how poorly professors of economics (including this one) teach and understand a concept that many would label the single most important insight of the discipline," he says. "An easier way to understand the lesson of comparative advantage is to see that there are two ways to get fish, the direct way and the roundabout way. The direct way is go fishing. The roundabout way is to collect water and trade it for fish. Which is better? It depends of which way is cheaper." See: Treasure Island: The Hidden Elegance of Comparative Advantage.
  • More links from Stephen Hicks on the misanthropy of some environmentalists:
    Another environmentalist doom scenario meets its doom: Apocalypse Cancelled. Of course, that won’t slow down those for whom environmentalism is a cover for anti-humanism. More on anti-humanists from Robert McHenry at Tech Central Station.
  • And George Reisman chimes in on the same subject: Standards of Environmental Good and Evil: Why Environmentalism is Misanthropric.
  • And I'm still waiting to get my copy of Stephen's Nietzsche and the Nazis, A Personal View.
    Can't wait. How philosophical were the National Socialists? How socialist were they? How did the Nazis come to power in a nation as educated and civilized as Germany? What influence did heavyweight intellectuals such as Martin Heidegger, Carl Schmitt, and Oswald Spengler have? And to what extent was Nietzsche a forerunner of the Nazis? Here is the strikingly- designed 38-chapter Scene Selection Menu
  • Speaking of the late Milton Friedman (which we were yesterday), I see David Slack has posted the first Pinochet reference. Deserved, yes, but you'd think he might at least wait until Milt is buried. That's just to say that while Friedman was often very good (as most obituaries deservedly point out), he wasn't all good, as Walter Block points out at the Mises Blog. Friedman's divorce of morality and economics was his biggest failing: here's a post in which I summarised Rand's celebrated example of this failing in Friedman's early career: Helen Clark and Michael Cullen Might Like It.
  • By the way, have we mentioned recently how good is globalisation? George Reisman has chapter and verse on the benefits, a complete weekend read, on the subject. Globalisation: The Long-Run Big Picture.
  • Oh yeah, thanks for the plug, DPF. Who knows when that might be online, eh?
UPDATE: The Radio NZ links are being updated as I write. Good old Radio NZ, eh. :-)

RELATED: Stadium, Auckland, Politics-NZ, Architecture, Art, Objectivism, Economics, Obituary, History-Twentieth Century, Environment, Ethics, Politics, Libertarianism, Politics-US, Blog


  1. Ug! Don't let those things go on the domain!

    $1.8 billion? Well that supports the estimate of $1.5-2 billion I made on my blog for Waka Stadium. Mind you it's creator said in a comment to that post that it was only meant to get people's attention so that he could offer the real design. it didn't occur to him that something of objective value could of done the same trick and then only 1 design would be necessary, rather than a fake one and the real one.

    No apocalypse? Well isn't that good news? News I expected by the way.

    Yay for globalisation!

  2. You don't like "those things," Kane?


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