What Wouldn’t Ben Stein Do

Words escape me:

What Would Ben Stein Do? : Applying the Wisdom of a Modern-Day Prophet to Tackle the Challenges of Work and Life

Ben Stein’s experience from Washington to Hollywood – and everywhere in between– makes him the ideal individual to offer advice to others. His expertise in countless fields make his valuable, keen observations – that  cover the range of topics and challenges that most people face every day — the perfect topic for his next book, What Would Ben Stein Do?: It’s a question we’d all be wise to ask ourselves when contemplating an array of issues in both business and life: What Would Ben Stein Do…

My question: What, apparently, wouldn’t Ben Stein do?

My Ticker Spoofs

As an homage to this dopey Microsoft/Skype deal, the first twenty anagrams of Microsoft Skype that pop up for me at Wordsmith.

Compotes Frisky

Comfier Sky Stop

Comfier Sky Opts

Comfier Sky Pots

Comfier Sky Spot

Comfier Sky Post

Comfier Sky Tops

Comfiest Sky Pro

Specify Stork Om

Forceps Skim Toy

Forceps Omit Sky

Forceps It Smoky

Forceps Ti Smoky

Force Skimp Toys

Force Skimps Toy

Force Skimpy Sot

Force Skim Typos

Force Skims Typo

Force Spiky Most

Force Spiky Mots

Force Spiky Toms

Force Skits Mopy

Force Impost Sky

Force Mists Poky

Lots more here.


The Short-Short Long

From a new speech by a Bank of England official on the vanishing idea of long term:

Is the world becoming short-sighted?  As individuals, it sometimes feels that way.  Information is streamed in ever greater volumes and at ever rising velocities.  Timelines for decision-making appear to have been compressed.  Pressures to deliver immediate results seem to have intensified.  Tenure patterns for some of our most important life choices (marriage, jobs, money) are in secular decline.1  Some have called this the era of “quarterly capitalism”.2

These forces may be altering not just the way we act, but also the way we think.  Neurologically, our brains are adapting to increasing volumes and velocities of information by shortening attention spans.  Technological innovation, such as the world wide web, may have caused a permanent neurological rewiring, as did previous technological revolutions such as the printing press and typewriter.3  Like a transistor radio, our brains may be permanently retuning to a shorter wave-length.

More here, and worth reading in its entirety.

On Parasites and Delusions

This might just be the best blog post I have read this year. It’s nominally on patients with delusions of parasitic infestations, but it’s so much more.

I saw a patient recently for parasites.

I get a sinking feeling when I see that diagnosis on the schedule, as it rarely means a real parasite.  The great Pacific NW is mostly parasite free, so either it is a traveler or someone with delusions of parasitism.

The latter comes in two forms: the classic form and Morgellons. Neither are likely to lead to a meaningful patient-doctor interaction, since it usually means conflict between my assessment of the problem and the patients assessment of the problem.  There is rarely a middle ground upon which to meet. The most memorable case of delusions of parasitism I have seen was a patient who  I saw in clinic who, while we talked, ate a raw garlic clove about every minute.

“Why the garlic?” I asked.

“To keep the parasites at bay,” he told me.

I asked him to describe the parasite.  He told me they floated in the air, fell on his skin, and then burrowed in.  Then he later plucked them out of his nose.

Much more here.

Field Notes: Gold, Apocalypse, Watches, Cisco, etc.

  • With Dollar in Turmoil, Two Debates on Gold Captivate Manhattan (Source)
  • What apocalypse reveals about us (Source)
  • Is the Wristwatch Past Its Time? (Source)
  • Why Cisco’s John Chambers has to go (Source)
  • Greece: You can’t fire me, I quit (Source)
  • Gold & Lady Gaga (Source)
  • Latest issue of Chance wiki (Source)

Bin Laden & How Information Spreads Now

Smart and empirical discussion of how the bin Laden death information spread on The Twitter, first as rumor and then as fact. Read the whole thing. It’s worth seeing how the new news works, but it’s also just superb analysis.

Current & (Mostly) Recommended Books

Since people seem to like this sort of thing, a quick list of my current reading:

Silver as the New CMGI

Over at my Bloomberg site, I delve into the theory that silver, or at least SLV, is the new CMGI. And yes, it has graphs. Or at least graph. Check it here.

Bitchy Readers

I haven’t been paying attention, mostly because I’ve been busy elsewhere, but apparently there are some bitchy readers here. Some people seem to think I should stick to finance, others are tired of random skiing/avalanche/landslide/etc videos, and others are … just being bitchy.

To all of you feeling that way I have one thing to say: Piss off. I honestly don’t care what you’d like to see.

If you want someone who surveys his/her readership and provides that content for them, go to USA Today. Or maybe some other blog. Here I put what I want, when I want, about the things I’m interested in. If that cuts across geology, finance, backcountry skiing, extreme sports and whatever else, that’s the way it goes. And it’s not changing.

Love, Paul.

David Brooks’ Weirdest Sentences

From the LRB, the weirdest sentences in David Brooks’ The Social Animal:

I’m writing this story, first, because while researchers in a wide variety of fields have shone their flashlights into different parts of the cave of the unconscious, much of their work is done in academic silos.

Imagine a man who buys a chicken from the grocery store, manages to bring himself to orgasm by penetrating it, then cooks and eats the chicken.

He wore a scruffy three-day growth of beard on his face, and his hair was perpetually shaggy, like one of those sensitive stud novelists at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

More here, if you can take it.