The Convulsions of Political Economy

Excellent George Magnus.

UBS-ByGeorge_The Convulsions of Political Economy2011!08!16

via Zero Hedge

ArXiv at 20

Fascinating Nature piece on the scholarly paper archive “arXiv” at 20. A graphic from the piece showing its growth and makeup.


ArXiv at 20 : Nature : Nature Publishing Group.

Twitter Digest: 2011-08-19

Coping with Chaos

“Danger, disquiet, anxiety attend the unknown — the first instinct is to eliminate these distressing states. First principle: any explanation is better than none.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

via The Physics of Finance: Coping with chaos — with false certainty.

Moody’s is Going to Need a Bigger Boat

Moody’s is going to need a bigger boat:

My name is William J. Harrington. I was employed by Moody’s Investors Services (“Moody’s) as an analyst in the Derivatives Group from June 1999 until my resignation in July 2010.

Lots more in an SEC filing here. None of it good for Moody’s.

Where are the Papers?

From Paul Mason on the current scurry to come up with ideas … or something:

So why is the thinking beginning to change?

One of the most brilliant observations in Alistair Cookes memoir Six Men concerns the difference he observed in Edward VIIIs mien, with and without access to intelligence briefing.

Cooke wrote:”Daily possession of the papers is, in fact, the main and most deceptive perquisite of high office”. Cooke A, Six Men, 1977Without them, Edward would fume as they hustled him onto a plane at the outbreak of war: “We know damn all about what is happening.”

That is the situation for most of us today. I interpret the sudden flurry of blue skies thinking as a sign that those who do get “daily possession of the papers” are bracing themselves for more trouble in the autumn – banking trouble, real-economy downturn trouble and political protest trouble.

via BBC News – What to do if the double dip is real?.

There’s More to Worry About Than Markets. Like, Aliens

Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis

While humanity has not yet observed any extraterrestrial intelligence ETI, contact with ETI remains possible. Contact could occur through a broad range of scenarios that have varying consequences for humanity. However, many discussions of this question assume that contact will follow a particular scenario that derives from the hopes and fears of the author. In this paper, we analyze a broad range of contact scenarios in terms of whether contact with ETI would benefit or harm humanity. This type of broad analysis can help us prepare for actual contact with ETI even if the details of contact do not fully resemble any specific scenario.

via [1104.4462] Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis.

Your Moment of Counter-Programming

Snow on Cuba Mall in central Wellington (HD) on Vimeo on Vimeo

Twitter Digest: 2011-08-17

The End of (Financial) Evolution

Intriguing comment from Gillian Tett in the FT. She rightly argues markets are deep in Star Trek territory when it comes to technology, but something funny happened during the financial crisis: Evolution turned backward.

But when Lehman Brothers collapsed, evolutionary “progress” crumbled. Suddenly, traders started placing orders by telephone, rather than computer, dealing only with people they knew personally. They were also refusing to take long-term decisions. Sometimes there were entirely rational explanations for this shift, but mostly the reaction was instinctive. “It was almost primeval,” my friend quips.

via Beware the inner reptile –