Four Parameters and an Elephant

With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.

Attributed to von Neumann by Enrico Fermi, as quoted by Freeman Dyson in “A meeting with Enrico Fermi” in Nature 427 22 January 2004 p. 297

via John von Neumann – Wikiquote.

Twitter Digest: 2011-09-12

  • "Cheesy good girl / Crazy about elvish / Loves horses and Bombadil too" #todayinlotrmondegreens ->
  • My Kauffman colleague Dane Stangler on creating a "producer society" – http://t.co/LkpIqdW ->
  • This US Open final is like a cross between the best tennis match ever and a video game. Unbelievable. ->
  • NEJM on the antibiotic miracle, or why being a germ isn't easy. http://t.co/vPzTRCF /via @DrVes ->
  • Will someone please explain to me why the US Open crowd is so over-fond of Nadal over Djokovic? I just don't get it. ->

Danny Kahneman on Intuition

[via Edge]

Trailer for From the Sky Down

Trailer for new U2 documentary “From the Sky Down”, on the moment when U2 changed during the making of “Achtung Baby”. Looks interesting.

First Snow

First snow of the year has arrived in peaks adjacent to Mammoth CA.

Snow

[via Mammoth]

Twitter Digest: 2011-09-11

  • Germany Readies Surrender Over Greece – http://t.co/DTwrFsc ->
  • Because it came up multiple times in conversation today … Man On Wire Trailer. http://t.co/R93bdu6 ->
  • QotD: "… we don't know the outcome and everybody has a chance. That's what we love about [tennis] but it's also very cruel and tough." ->
  • Checking out William Mulholland's handiwork — a dessicated Owens Lake, California — from space – http://j.mp/pshdEN ->
  • Men Selling Panties May Disappear as Saudi Lingerie Stores Can Hire Women – Bloomberg http://j.mp/mQWQPB ->
  • WSJ: Amazon in Talks to Launch Netflix for books http://t.co/izOEURO ->

What caused the recession of 1937-38?

Provocative re-appraisal. Note: I have not yet read underlying paper.

If we are to avoid the mistakes of the past, it is important to have an accurate assessment of what those past mistakes were. The severity of the Recession of 1937-38 was not due to contractionary fiscal policy or higher reserve requirements. By contrast, the policy tightening associated with gold sterilisation was not modest – it did not simply reduce the growth of the monetary base by a few percentage points, it stopped its growth altogether. While the Federal Reserve is often blamed for its poor policy choices during the Great Depression, the Treasury Department was responsible for this particular policy error.

The recession of 1937-38 occurred long ago, but it does have policy lessons for today. It suggests that, in a weak recovery, a pre-emptive monetary strike against inflation which was very low at the time, as it is today is capable of producing a devastating recession.

via What caused the recession of 1937-38? A new lesson for today’s policymakers | vox – Research-based policy analysis and commentary from leading economists.

Paul Samuelson on Social Security

Samuelson

Google via MarRev

Twitter Digest: 2011-09-10

  • Some more provocative soc sec quotes along same lines from Alex at Marginal Rev – http://t.co/Fgf3HFu ->
  • Paul Samuelson on social security: The beauty of social security is that it is actuarially unsound. http://t.co/AuRPZja ->
  • 'People Are Close to Revolt': Views From Afar – http://t.co/XCJ90Kv ->
  • What is the optimal dial setting for societal inequality? http://t.co/oZIH0um ->
  • Headlines from near CA future: Riot police fired teargas to disperse trade unions, university students and some cross-dressing surfers." ->
  • Wrt Greece quote, I liked how the football club got themselves some protest action. ->
  • Greece QotD: "Riot police fired teargas to disperse … trade unions, university students and supporters of a local football club." ->

Playing Taps for Jobs?

Elegiac cover of current Economist:

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