Friday, July 09, 2010

FRIDAY MORNING RAMBLE: “I know a man with a shed…”

As the oil still spills and the Taleban remain undefeated, the news slowly dawns around the world that economic recovery will not be achieved simply by stiff doses of confident talk and stimulus packages,in New Zealand however we’re talking about two sheds.  And Andy Haden. Which in many ways sums up New Zealand.
On with this week’s ramble then, which will cast its eyes a little further. But first, those sheds…

  • …on which the two best comments comes from master speech-writer David Slack:
            ”Mr Key, Mr McCully. Embarrassing to see you couldn’t organise one on a wharf. Might
        still look OK if you can manage one in a brewery.”
    And:
            ”About this ‘evil genius’ reputation McCully enjoys. Is it a part of the trick that we cannot see it?”
  • There are many candidates, but on the basis of her recent comments, Jeff Perren reckons Nancy Pelosi must be the  Baghdad Bob of Economics.
    Nancy Pelosi = Baghdad Bob of Economics – SHAVING LEVIATHAN
  • In NZ, we’ve seen it all before. If Australian PM Julia Gillard is just Helen Clark with sex appeal, then is US Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan just Margaret Wilson with both legs?
    Elena Kagan and Margaret WilsonSTEPHEN FRANKS
  • Mark Hubbard is getting that “head for the hills” feeling.
    ”With the heavy handedness of this NZ government: the destruction of the reputation of Allan Hubbard …); with the abolition of a widely used business structure … at the stroke of a pen; with Peter the Persecutor Dunne bragging at how he has got so much money from the taxpayer to persecute the taxpayer with; the ETS foisted on us; increases in GST; increases in ACC; even the cynical move of the Double Dipper from Dipton announcing a 28% corporate tax rate, in the knowledge that from the tax law created from Case W33 through to Penny and Hooper, the IRD will take most companies trying to actually use this tax rate for anti-avoidance - with all this, I have been viewing Aunty Helen and Papa Michael with some nostalgia…”
    Heresy? Or reality.
    Very, very good Linz. I've… – Mark Hubbard, SOLO
  • I love it when economists say that “[economic'] forecasters are off with the fairies.” Rodney Dickens reckons the predictions of “the Reserve Bank and the 10 forecasters surveyed by NZIER in June … predicting robust economic growth over the next two years and robust growth in residential building activity … are dubious.” I’d say he’s being too kind.
    A rift between housing market and economic growth prospects [pdf]– RODNEY’S RAVINGS
  • “[America’s] fiscal position has deteriorated appreciably since the onset of the financial crisis and the recession.”  The origin of that observation: Chairman of of the US Fed, Ben Bernanke. 
    But he’s still missing something, says Money Morning Australia, “No mention, of course, of the crucial role of the Federal Reserve, which was to create the money to create the boom, which created the bust, and now to create the money to bail everybody out so that we, as a nation, would have time to leisurely wait for some miracle to happen, sort of like at the end of old Grecian dramas where the plot has become so impossibly and hopelessly tangled up that the only solution was to resort to a
    deus ex machina
    …”
    Government and Economy Decline In TandemMONEY MORNING AUSTRALIA
  • “The current fiscal and monetary crisis in Europe should be viewed as an opportunity to reverse course -- to do away with the Euro, and return to national currencies in a setting in which the citizens of all the European countries would have the freedom to choose and use which ever currency in which they have the most confidence.”
    Competitive Currencies Instead of the Euro Monopoly – Richard Ebeling,  IN DEFENSE OF CAPITALISM
  • He’s not entirely versed in sound economics, and I suspect CNN secretly just likes the Princeton vs Harvard schtick, but historian Niall Ferguson once again does his best to  tear down Paul Krugman’s vainglorious “let’s print money” solution to economic depression.
  • Meanwhile, George Soros plans to invest $200m to oust “free market economics” from academia.  (Free market economics? In academia!? But where would he find it?)
    Converting the Preachers – NEWSWEEK
  • And look! Here’s an “amusing 1933 propaganda film trumpeting government inflation as the cure for depression and hailing FDR as a great visionary. Yousa, yousa, happy days are here again!"
    "And Then Kiddies, We'll All Have Noodles in our Soup" – Doug Reich, THE RATIONAL CAPITALIST
  • Arizona's "Papers, please" anti-immigrant law is showing signs of unintended consequences even before it goes into effect.
    "We are getting to see more empty houses as the Mexican population is starting to leave. Not all of course, but quite a lot. I see it here in Surprise," says agent Sylvia Rivera.
    Unexpected Economic Consequences in Arizona's Immigration Law – PBS NEWS HOUR
  • John Stossell takes on Parasitic Tort Lawyers. And yes, there does appear to be a redundant word in that last sentence.
    Parasitic Tort Lawyers  - John Stossell, TOWN HALL
  • What value do speculators bring to financial markets? Tim Worstall offers Johann Hari a lesson: [hat tip Stephen Hicks]
    Please, someone teach Johann Hari some economics! – TIM WORSTALL
  • What is the real lesson and future for the tea party movement? And how large an impact will they have on the upcoming elections? The guy who kicked off the tea party movement with an onscreen rant against bailouts, Rick Santelli, is asked to opine.













  • Iraq is "reverting to its former freedom-less ways", according to Stanford University professor Joel Brinckley. Is this the failure of democracy, wonders Mike "Zemack" LaFerrara, or democracy in action?
    Iraqi Democracy vs. Freedom - Mike "Zemack" LaFerrara, PRINCIPLED PERSPECTIVES

  • And closer to Gitmo…at least in relevance, if not in proximity...
    Yet another former Gitmo inmate returns to the jihad – JIHAD WATCH

  • If you think there is any humor in the BP Oil Spill, check your premises.
    BP and Coffee or “Why I’m Not Laughing” – Kendall J, THE CRUCIBLE

  • 100614_FW_CharlesTN Here’s something for the monarchists. Christopher Hitchens on Prince Charles. “This is what you get when you found a political system on the family values of Henry VIII… This is what you get when you found a political system on the family values of Henry VIII.”
    Charles, Prince of Piffle: A very silly man gives a very sinister speech – Christopher Hitchens, SLATE

  • Here’s a big lesson in ethics.  Give this nun a big hand for forgiveness. Or appeasement.
    Ex-nun forgives men for chopping off hand – NZ HERALD
  • The three words that sum up courageous resistance to Islam are Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the brave and always articulate opponent of Islam’s culture of cruelty. In this wide-ranging interview she talks of western reaction to honour killings and other culturally-based religio-barbarism, saying  it’s not enough just to condemn the repeated acts of cruelty, especially against women, but also important to recognise its source—the source the perpetrators themselves cite.  Which is Islam.
    And I love her comments on the way people use the left-right divide as a way to refuse to listen.
  • Which seems like a good time to show you some of what you’ve been missing if you weren’t at OCON, the Objectivism conference currently being held in Las Vegas, or reading #OCON, the Twitter tag taking comments and updates from the conference. So here’s a brief selection of “tweets” slightly cleaned up—not quotes exactly, but the briefest of tantalising glimpses into the week-long conference:
    • The Enlightenment in 4 words: Nature, Reason, Rights, Constitutionalism – Brad Thompson
    • US Founding Father saw their tax rates raising from 2% to 3-4%... and they considered *that* slavery– Brad Thompson
    • Foreign policy is always an expression of domestic policy – John Lewis
    • The vault of the Vatican is as bankrupt as the church itself. – Eric Daniels
    • A crucial error close to the root of Marx's economic theory is his not understanding marginal utility. – Eric Daniels
    • Daniels on marginal utility: Would you like a beer? How about 2? How about a keg? 60 kegs? 60,000 kegs
    • Modern economists like to differentiate between “positive” and normative economics; they prefer “positive” economics, i.e., “value-free” economics, because its just a whole bunch of mathematics. But the reality is that normative economics addresses the real arguments, centered around the morality,i.e., the value,  of particular behaviours. – Eric Daniels
    • The Egalitarian view on luck : no one is fully in control therefore no one deserves anything. – Diana Hsieh
    • Going forward any PhD candidate at George Mason university in Economics will have to read Atlas Shrugged & OPAR – John Allison
    • If we're serious about changing the culture...there is only one example in modern history: Kant - John Allison
    • Rand is the powerful philosopher with the right ideas (a non-trivial competitive advantage). - John Allison
    • We should think in terms of academic "clusters". e.g. Clemson Uni has 3 objectivists and 2 fellow traveller professors. That's a cluster. The Duke cluster - 11 Objectivists & Fellow travellers... - John Allison
    • John Allison’s new Foundation will take BB&T’s programmes America-wide. Within ten years he can foresee around 200 unis participating…
    • I believe that Oism will be the dominant secular philosophy in 25 yrs. I believe its possible. Committed to make that happen – John Allison
    • There’s no alternative for the culture but for us to be successful in the next 20-25 years. – Yaron Brook
    • In 1985 I was surprised if someone knew [who Ayn Rand is], now I’m surprised when someone doesn’t. – Michael Berliner
    • Patent infringement is an indirect use of force; just like fraud and libel - I'm obtaining from you, without your consent, your property. – Adam Mossoff
    • Not enforcing a patent is allowing someone else to take your intellectual property though indirect force. – Adam Mossoff
    • Scarcity is an invalid concept on which to base property rights; value is the proper concept. – Adam Mossoff
    • Patents protect the material reproduction of an idea, because that is where the value is actually realized. – Adam Mossoff
    • Software patents are very new ... they weren't permitted until 1981... they are legitimate and valid. They recognize that the value of software is in the product (what is produced by the code, not the code itself). – Adam Mossoff
    • "The patent system added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius." Abraham Lincoln
    • “John Allison only wears digital watches because he never wants to be a second hander” - AbsoluteKeenan
    • "The good man is his own best friend" – Aristotle
    • Production=process of accumulation, Wealth=total accumulated, Money=medium of accumulation. – Eric Daniels
    • The biggest victims of welfare are the ambitious poor. – Yaron Brook
    • "Rights" must be reclaimed from the Left and its perversion of the concept. – Yaron Brook
    • "Capitalism" does not poll well. "Free enterprise" polls better. What does it mean? Well, I guess it means whatever polls well. – Yaron Brook
    • I dont believe the tragedy of the commons is valid. Certainly when you create a commons you have a tragedy. The answer: Eliminate the commons. – Yaron Brook
    • When talking about the environment, ask, 'Who's environment? – Yaron Brook
    • Man's environment has has never been better. Ever, ever, ever. – Yaron Brook
    • The role of technology is increasing the conversation. I bet someone is tweeting this right now – Yaron Brook [heh, heh]
    • "My licence plate reads: DIM WIT 1" – Leonard Peikoff
    • When Christian Religionists first heard about Aristotle in the 13th century they were astounded and horrified, it overthrew everything they believed. – Leonard Peikoff
    • Christian Religion first created Totalitarianism. Modern totalitarians stole even the small details from the Christians. I have to say emphatically and without any trace of hyperbole: Christianity invented Totalitarianism. – Leonard Peikoff
    • Conceptual shrinkage is inherent with a disintegrated mode of thinking. One comes to despise ideology altogether because an ideology is an abstract system, and the disintegrated thinker cant function there. -Peikoff
    • The more you cut back on the integrating concepts, the less help the remaining concepts are to you. Ultimate result is a scorn for concepts. – Leonard Peikoff
    • A college education today leads to a student’s (conceptual) shrinkage. – Leonard Peikoff
    • David Harriman's new book 'The Logical Leap' explores what happens to the physics when philosophers abandon reason.
    • "Both the rationalist and skeptic are trapped inside their heads, and they can't find the way out to the real world" - David Harriman
    • Methods of difference and agreement are the basic methods by which we identify causal relationships, and we use them continuously.– David Harriman
    • Today physics is lost. There has been no progress in physics in a generation. The problem is epistemological. – David Harriman
    • The Hypothetical Deduction account of science basically states that scientists just guess and hope they're right. – David Harriman
    • [By contrast] the inductive approach to the acquisition of scientific knowledge has the simple solution to all the problems facing science education.– David Harriman A random presentation of facts is not an education.– David Harriman 
    • The way science is taught today teaches children to blindly accept floating abstractions, instead of thinking for themselves. – David Harriman
    • An intimate connection between mathematics and physical science is one of the key things missing in K-12 education today– David Harriman
    • Harriman says students with a full science education from his Falling Apple Science Institute would laugh if presented with global warming theory… (Falling Apple is a non profit working to revolutionize science education, created by Tom VanDamme and David Harriman).
  • So here’s how the Ayn Rand Institute summarises its first twenty-five years.
    Staying the Course: ARI 25 Years Later – DANIELLE MORRILL
  • “The right to private property was one of the central issues involved in the American Revolution. The colonists’ cries of “taxation without representation” were but protests of what they saw as an unjust taking of private property.”
    Independence and the Right to Private Property – Joseph, C. Phillips, BIG HOLLOYWOOD
  • B956Hayek’s Road to Serfdom is doing an Atlas Shrugged. After it shot to number one on Amazon’s lists, it’s now still hovering in the top ten.  And you can buy an original Australian first edition on TradeMe—bidding is currently a snip, at $499. (Bidding closes on Sunday.)
    THE ROAD TO SERFDOM. 1st Australian edition 1944 – TRADE ME
  • Eric Crampton highlights two ways of looking at Hayek’s Road to Serfdom. Was he talking about the inevitability of serfdom attendant on central planning, or the incompatibility of central planning and freedom?
    Stopping points on the Road to Serfdom – OFFSETTING BEHAVIOUR
  • Here’s a new book on my favourite conspiracy theory, written by a chap who was (in his first life) main counsel for the Republican minority on the Joint Congressional Committee that investigated Pearl Harbor from 1945 to 1946, and who became a close confidant of Ludwig Von Mises.  “Published for the first time in 2010, it blows the top off a 70-year cover-up,” say the publicists, “reporting for the first time on long-suppressed interviews, documents, and corroborated evidence.” I certainly intend to test out its claims.
    Pearl Harbor: The Seeds and Fruits of Infamy by Percy Greaves, Jr. – MISES STORE
  • Wondering what’s going on with  that Russian spy story? Isn’t it great how comedy can sometimes illuminate an issue. Especially when the correspondents are as cutely illuminating as Olivia Munn. So, why is everybody so excited about a few Russian spies…? Because this is something we can understand.
  • The leitmotif of the Climategate emails was the eradication from the academic literature of the medieval warming period. Yet not one of the recent
    inquiries discussed that. Go figure. At least one inquiry into Climategate by a non-skeptic was not a total whitewash, however.
    The Pearce “Inquiry” – Steve McIntyre, CLIMATE AUDIT
  • But were the conclusions based on science?
    Muir Russell: IPCC Conclusions Not Based on Science – CLAES JOHNSON ON MATHEMATICS & SCIENCE
  • Muir Russell says that they “have seen no evidence of any attempt to delete information in respect of a request already made”!
    You Can’t Be Serious! - TOM NELSON’S BLOG
  • “Those using human induced global warming for political and economic ends could not allow anyone to find there was something wrong with the data or the method. Instead they laugh in our faces with the most transparent, manipulated brazen cover up possible.” – Dr Tim Ball
    Climategate Investigations Are Arrogant Insults – Dr Tim Ball, CANADA FREE PRESS
  • New Chinese study disputes Mann's hockey stick : "current warm period we live in is neither unique nor unprecedented"
    New Chinese study in GRL disputes the hockey stick conclusions – WATTS UP WITH THAT
  • As the third Climategate report is published, even computer models turn against AGW alarmists. See:
    As third Climategate report is published, even computer models turn against AGW alarmists – Gerald Warner, TELEGRAPH
  • “"In the run-up to Copenhagen, we often heard the phrase 'the science dictates' - that we need a 40% cut in rich-country emissions by 2020, for example - when in fact only a very specific, and politically loaded, interpretation of the science implied any such thing.” - Dr Myles Allen, head of the climate dynamics group at University of Oxford's Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics Department
    US climate scientists receive hate mail barrage in wake of UEA scandal - GRAUNIAD
  • If you thought that climate alarmism would die out after the revelations of the ClimateGate enails, then those three whitewashed reports released after three circumscribed inquiries into the revelations of those emails should leave you in no doubt that the roots of climate alarmism are much deeper than that—and, as Keith Lockitch points out, will require philosophical fumigation to expunge. (To view the video, follow this link, then scroll down to find the title slide for Keith’s talk.)
  • lockitchclimatechangeconf41
  • Despite a worldwide campaign against this high-yielding oil, does palm oil - a high-saturated fat tropical oil - protect against heart disease?
    Tropical Plant Fats: Palm Oil: A Fatal Case of NutritionismWHOLE HEALTH
  • I wonder if you, like me, had never seen a cardboard bridge before…
     Gallery: CARDBOARD BRIDGE by Shigeru Ban – INHABITAT
  • Paul McKeever 's short film "The Principle of Pot," “starring: Marc Emery, Ayn Rand and others,” scores a great review in California’s 'Culture magazine .
    Online Documentary Review: The Principle of Pot, Parts I and II – CULTURE
  • After the parliamentarians’ resounding rejection of medical marijuana treatment for NZers, here’s a commentary on Colorado's treatment of its nascent medical marijuana industry.
    Pot Microcosm Of Wider Markets – Jeff Montgomery, FUN WITH GRAVITY
  • About this time in a post, I always like to look at a picture of an elephant on waterskis. Well, doesn’t everyone?
    An elephant on waterskis – QUOTE UNQUOTE
  • Speaking of songs you can’t get out of your head, as someone was, this song sung by the The Who’s Keith Moon has been in mine for weeks—and I only heard it once!  I warn you, whatever you do, not to touch it.  It’s a virus, I tell you.
  • So as an emetic, here’s the first part of Ernest Bloch’s Concerto Grosso [hat tip T. Shoebotham]
  • And this? Well, this is probably just the finest piece of music ever written—the “Love Death” from Wagner’s Tristan & Isolde. And Waltraud Meier’s not bad either. (Psst: This Sunday, the Auckland Wagner Society are showing on the big screen at the Auckland Uni Music School, 6 Symonds St, a recent production of Tristan & Isolde. Come along and join us. Starts at 4:30pm, and it goes for hours.  :-)  )

I think it’s almost time for a beer. This week, I think it’ll be a Cooper’s Original Pale Ale, supplies of which are appearing in greater numbers all across this great land.
Coopers Pale Ale 
Have yourself a great weekend,
PC

Labels:

9 Comments:

Anonymous Mark Hubbard said...

Excellent, I can trundle out my favourite Mark Steyn quotation on Prince Charles:

"Capitalism and consumerism have brought the world to the brink of economic and environmental collapse, the Prince of Wales has warned. And in a searing indictment on capitalist society, Charles said we can no longer afford consumerism and that the 'age of convenience' was over."

He then got in his limo and was driven to his other palace.

Mark Steyn - From Essay, 'Warm-Mongers Prefer You In Poverty'

7/09/2010 01:52:00 pm  
Anonymous Brian Scurfield said...

[1] The Hypothetical Deduction account of science basically states that scientists just guess and hope they're right.

[2] [By contrast] the inductive approach to the acquisition of scientific knowledge has the simple solution to all the problems facing science education. 


The first method relies on no magical processes, just human creativity to come up with guesses and to whittle out bad ones. It is sufficient for knowledge creation just like Darwinian evolution is sufficient for biology.

The second method relies on magical processes. Somehow, without a guess already in mind, we magically already know what to observe. We then input our magical observations into some unstated algorithm and out comes a general theory. This method is supposed to be how we come up with theories about things we observe in everyday life and also about things we have never observed, such as the interior of stars. But magical processes can have no place in knowledge creation, just like gods can have no place in biology.

7/09/2010 06:58:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

@Brian: The first method suggests that guesswork is the only knowledge there there is. The second method says that integrating one's observations to form generalisations about existence is entirely justified.

That you consider guesswork to be knowledge is probably sufficient to dismiss any claim you yourself have to knowledge--or of those who know of what knowledge really consists.

7/09/2010 08:59:00 pm  
Anonymous Brian Scurfield said...

This is a world of difference between an arbitrary guess and one that has stood up to rigorous testing and criticism. The latter are non-arbitrary and hard to vary and I think you agree that these are knowledge. What you don't see is that this process of conjecture followed by criticism is universal and sufficient to generate *all* knowledge, including our deepest knowledge, just as the biological analogue of guess followed by criticism is sufficient to generate biology, including complex human beings.

7/09/2010 11:34:00 pm  
Blogger PC said...

@Brian: "What you don't see is that this process of conjecture followed by criticism is universal and sufficient to generate *all* knowledge"

As we've argued before, no I don't, and no it's not.

Any by your own standards, you aren't even entitled to make any claim to knowledge--since knowledge to you is no more than guesswork.

Yet the starting point to knowledge is not a guess, but observation, experience, followed by integration. Which is to say induction.

I'd recommend it it to you, but I guess it might be too late.

7/10/2010 12:28:00 am  
Anonymous Brian Scurfield said...

PC, if you think that trial-and-error guesswork by creative and critical humans can't generate all knowledge, then what knowledge can it generate? What are the limits? Why are there limits?

It seems that you are retreating from these kind of questions by now asserting that guesses can't be knowledge at all. So a well-tested guess that solves a problem is not knowledge? What else could it be? Do you think it is just some arbitrary assertion?

7/10/2010 05:03:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

Brian, I don't propose to have the same long drawn-out argument each time this topic is canvassed.

You've mnade your point, and for reasons we've covetrd at length many time before, I don't agree with it at all.

So lewt's leave it at that.

7/10/2010 10:34:00 am  
Anonymous Mo said...

What you don't see is that this process of conjecture followed by criticism is universal and sufficient to generate *all* knowledge, including our deepest knowledge, just as the biological analogue of guess followed by criticism is sufficient to generate biology, including complex human beings.


Pure nonsense.




The first method relies on no magical processes, just human creativity to come up with guesses and to whittle out bad ones. It is sufficient for knowledge creation just like Darwinian evolution is sufficient for biology.

The second method relies on magical processes. Somehow, without a guess already in mind, we magically already know what to observe. We then input our magical observations into some unstated algorithm and out comes a general theory. This method is supposed to be how we come up with theories about things we observe in everyday life and also about things we have never observed, such as the interior of stars. But magical processes can have no place in knowledge creation, just like gods can have no place in biology.




You have no clue what induction is or that Harriman answers that line of arguing.

7/10/2010 10:42:00 am  
Anonymous Brian Scurfield said...

Mo, just saying something is "pure nonsense" doesn't make it so. How about you explain yourself? Similarly, if you think Harriman has answered my line of argument how about you explain that?

7/10/2010 07:36:00 pm  

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