## Monday, 17 January 2011

### MONDAY RAMBLE: It’s 2011 already. Welcome back.

As we all head back from the beach and begin easing gently back into a new year, here’s some pertinent news and comment that appeared around the net while the rest of us dozed.

• Let’s face it, 2010 was a disaster. Dave Barry gives a month-by-month reminder of how awful it was, and (almost) makes it all hilariously better.
Dave Barry’s 2010 Year in Review – Dave Barry,  M I A M I   H E R A L D
• What could be more topical in 2011 NZ than a discussion of the property of waterways? NZers insisting NZ’s waterways and foreshores be kept in so-called “public ownership” while bewailing the tragic consequences of this commons might reflect that “this “public ownership”  is increasingly thwarting the life-serving nature of waterways as sources of drinking water, fish, and recreation—not to mention what it does for private property and resource use.
The Practicality of Private Waterways
– J. Brian Phillips & Alan Germani,  O B J E C T I V E  S T A N D A R D
[PS: Read the intro, and I think you’ll agree it’s worth purchasing the whole article]
• Pictures here of a state under water.
Four days that broke our hearts [Slideshow] – B R I S B A N E  C O U R I E R  M A I L
• “The shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, though a terrible tragedy, is not of historic significance. More significant is the efforts of the Left to blame this on the Right, particularly the Tea Party movement… Now consider violence in relation to the Left—the very people trying to use this tragedy to indict the Tea Partiers. I heard Bill Maher say on TV that this sort of violence is not found on the Left. Only two words are needed to refute Maher's outrageous claim: ‘Bill Ayers.’”
A Philosopher Reflects on the Giffords Shooting – Harry Binswanger,  C A P   M A G
• What could a famously contrarian investor possibly see in a country of 4 million people whose economy is mostly based on agriculture and tourism? Here's a thought: maybe Peter Thiel wants to turn New Zealand into the next Silicon Valley. Or maybe even the libertarian utopia of his dreams. [Hat tip Eric Crampton]Billionaire Facebook Investor Peter Thiel Pours Money Into His "Utopia," New Zealand – S . F .  G A T E
• For the first time ever the US Congress is reading the US Constitution in the House—and being asked to justify all new laws on the basis of the Constitution (like that’s going to last). Even the New York Times is almost excited.
House Reading of Constitution Is Not Without Issues – N E W  Y O R K  T I M E S
• Um, how interesting would it be if John Bolton ran for US President? Talk about polarising. [Hat tip (and T-shirt) Bosch Fawstin]
‘The Man with the Mustache’
– Jay Nordlinger, N A T I O N A L   R E V I E W
• Distressingly, Denis Dutton died at the end of December. He was a giant. The Wall Street Journal and the UK Spectator explain why you should care; Eric Crampton tells how inspiring it was to have such a man as friend and colleague; someone called Robin Maconie wonders how the open-minded Dutton ended up (like Karl Popper did) at such a closed-minded university; and you get the chance to enjoy again Dr Dutton’s brilliant presentation at TED just last year.
Denis Dutton showed how intellectual life can be made to flourish on the Web
–  W A L L  S T R E E T  J O U R N A L
A lesson in living the Skeptical life – James Allan,  S P E C T A T O R
Defending the Open Society: the Heritage of Denis Dutton – Robin Maconie,  S C O O P
Eulogy – Eric Crampton,  O F F S E T T I N G   B E H A V I O U R

• Austrian economics and the ideas of Ludwig Von Mises are increasingly making inroads, everywhere from academia to the US Congress’s Federal Oversight Committee. Pete Boettke discusses both.
INTERVIEW: Peter Boettke on the Rise of Austrian Economics, Its Academic Inroads and Why the Market Should Decide
-  D A I L Y  B E L L
PODCAST: Boettke on Mises - Russ Roberts,  E C O N T A L K
• “Should economics be pursued as a profession or a vocation? Below I argue that this choice of subjective orientation is enormously important, and tends to dictate whether an economist will serve the cause of truth and freedom, or waste his or her talents on convenience, ephemera, and statism.”
Economics: Vocation or Profession? – Joseph Salerno,  M I S E S  D A I L Y
• Matt Nolan has spotted the emergence of a bubble. A very, very dangerous one.
I think I’ve found a bubble – T . V . H . E .
• Despite the fatuous claims of Prime Ministers and so-called economists some months ago that the “silver lining” of Christchurch’s earthquake would be all the “stimulus” it would create, there has been precisely no economic boom in Christchurch despite the injection of up to $600m in insurance payouts. Once again, the Broken Window Fallacy wins against the economic morons.$600m in payouts - why no boom?  - S T U F F
• We’re “addicted” to oil. “Renewable” energies are better than oil. “Peak oil” is on us. Oil is a “deadly pollutant whose use must be capped.
Is there anything so crucial to modern life which has attracted so many downright untruths?
The 6 Myths About Oil – F O R B E S
• George Reisman debunks a favourite nostrum frequently peddled by labour unions and the denizens of the Sub-Standard. “Labor unions like to argue that the payment of higher wages is to the self-interest of employers because the wage earners will use their higher wages to make additional purchases from business firms, thereby increasing the sales revenues and profits of business firms. However, wrong and foolish it may be, this is an argument worth analyzing in some detail, because it can provide a gateway to a discussion of the actual sources of profit in the economic system…”
Where profit comes from – G E O R G E   R E I S M A N ‘ S   B L O G
• Crikey. You’re supposed to love Friedrich Hayek. Not looooooove Friedrich Hayek.
• I can now proudly present the winner of the Atlas Shrugged video contest …

…. which just beat out these two entries:

• Are these the perfect beach shelters? Order yours now, direct from the Crimea. And good luck getting consent from the grey ones to erect them on a beach close to you.
Y-BIO habitation  - A R C H I T I Z E R
• Religion is supposed to be crucial to achieving happiness. Hard to believe when it undercuts every important precondition of self-esteem.
Religion vs. Self-Esteem – Tom Bowden, A . R . C . T . V .
• If you're a student looking to improve your grades and can afford to spend $1.99 or$2.99, you may like three apps for iPhone/iPod Touch that Wolfram Alpha released today.
Wolfram Alpha: apps for algebra, calculus, music – R E F E R E N C E   F R A M E
• Here are more than one-hundred things real people never say about advertising. [Hat tip Joe Green]
• Here’s a remarkable map of the world: a “moving illustration of the relationships that define our modern world.”
Infographic of the Day: The Facebook Map of the World – F A S T   D E S I G N
• Aussies can’t play cricket anymore (and let’s be fair, neither can we), but anyone who can say they’re “so hungry they could eat the crotch out of a dead leper’s undies” can still piss all over anyone else’s slang. {Hat tip Quote Unquote]
Aussie slang – 6  F E E T  U N D E R
• Women have no feelings. [Hat tip Hayden W.]

• Sounds of summer. Summer Song. Louis Armstrong & Dave Brubeck. “I dig summer. that’s my time of year.”
• Sounds like summer. Singing the Blues. Bix Beiderbecke & Frankie Trumbauer.
• “Who loves the sun? Who cares that it makes breezes?”

Welcome to 2011,
Cheers
PC