Sunday, September 30, 2007

The electorate's 4 boneheaded biases

Bryan Caplan at his best. The focus is on the USA, but the applicability is, unfortunately, universal.

PS. I am still reading Caplan's "The Myth of the Rational Voter. Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies", hence more on that later. The short article above can be tasted as an appetizer to an exquisite full-course prepared in the book...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Econlinks for 19-09-07

  • Good reads from Becker and Posner on the disappearance of the formal kibbutz and the rejection of socialism in general. A relevant excerpt from Becker's:

"Utopian socialistic experiments like the kibbutz movement, and countries that tried to create large-scale efficient socialism, all failed for the same reasons. They did not realize that while the zeal of pioneers, and the result of revolutions, could sustain a collectivist and other-serving mentality for a short while, these could not be maintained as the pioneers died off or became disillusioned, and as circumstances became less revolutionary. Basically, they ignored the evidence of history that self interest and family orientation is not the product of capitalism, but is human nature due to selection from evolutionary pressure over billions of years. Sure, there is abundant altruism toward one's family, and some altruism toward others, and the latter might sustain a society for a brief time. But it shows a depressing ignorance of history to believe that a little propaganda and the enthusiasm of some leaders can organize an effective long-term society on the basis of any altruism and desires of most persons to help institutions, such as a kibbutz or a country, rather than themselves and those close to them."

  • Dimitrie Cantemir's notes as inspiration source for a Swiss musician who set up to rediscover the Turkish music's roots. The Economist article describes Cantemir as "a Moldavian Christian, Prince Dimitrie Cantemir". I always had the impression that Cantemir might be more useful-- think "branding"-- on the long run, than scores of other Romanian (or what were then parts of Romania) kings, princes, leaders in general-- it has to do with wisdom over lesser qualities :-). We're almost there...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The phrase of the day

... belongs to my Italian (Economist, officially & Philosopher, undercover) friend Silvia (see, I totally acknowledge the source :-)). Simply brilliant, summarizes life in just two sentences:, you are so so so ...unbelievably men!
Fortunately, women are so incredibly women!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Song of the day: "De Música Ligera", Soda Stereo

"De Música Ligera" (from the album "Canción Animal") is one of the masterpieces (and the last song they played before breaking up, in their ''último concierto'...) of the Argentinian rock trio "Soda Stereo" (official, wiki), the best ever rock group singing in Spanish. But more importantly, I dedicate today's song to my dearest Chrisje, who-- not by coincidence-- introduced me to Soda Stereo, to start with. See/listen to the original videoclip or an awesome 'en vivo' version.

Happy Birthday, Chrisje Margaretha!

De Música Ligera

Ella durmió
Al calor de las masas
Y yo desperté
Queriendo soñarla
Algún tiempo atrás
Pensé en escribirle
Que nunca sortié
Las trampas del amor

De aquel amor
De música ligera
Nada nos libra
Nada mas queda

No le enviaré
Cenizas de rosas
Ni pienso evitar
Un roce secreto

De aquel amor
de música ligera
Nada nos libra
Nada mas queda

De aquel amor
de música ligera
Nada nos libra
Nada más queda
Nada más queda
Nada más queda
Nada más queda

You obviously cannot/should not miss my other favourite pieces from Soda Stereo: Nada Personal (album 'Nada Personal'), Cuando Pase El Temblor ('Nada Personal'), Signos ('Signos'), Profugos ('Signos'), Persiana Americana ('Signos'), En la Ciudad de la Furia ('Doble Vida'), Lo Que Sangra ('Doble Vida'), Un Millón de Años Luz ('Canción Animal'), Té para Tres ('Canción Animal'), Canción Animal ('Canción Animal'), (En) el Séptimo Día ('Canción Animal'), Zoom ('Sueño Stereo'), Ella Usó Mi Cabeza Como un Revólver ('Sueño Stereo').

Saturday, September 15, 2007

To admire: Women through the ages

A treat for Saturday afternoon: creativity+ superlative art + modern technology=3 minute video overview of 500 years of female portraits in Western Art-- with a most appropriate Bach's 'Sarabande", interpreted by Yo-Yo Ma, in the background. See it on the Saatchi Gallery blogs. Or, alternatively, on YouTube. You can also read the full information on each of the 90 portraits included. Enjoy!

Quote for week 9th - 15th of September '07

It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

Albert Einstein

Friday, September 14, 2007

This is too funny not to be mentioned

... despite the fact that I am fighting a serious time crisis.

Anyway, here it is. Thanks, Jola!

There is a dangerous virus being passed around electronically, orally, and by hand. This virus is called Weary-Overload-Recreational-Killer (WORK). If you receive WORK from any of your colleagues, your boss, or anyone else via any means DO NOT TOUCH IT. This virus will wipe out your private life completely.

If you should come into contact with WORK, put your jacket on and take two good friends to the nearest grocery store. Purchase the Antidote known as Work-Isolating-Neutralizer-Extract (WINE) or Bothersome-Employer-Elimination-Rebooter (BEER). Take the antidote repeatedly until WORK has been completely eliminated from your system.

You should forward this warning to 5 friends. If you do not have 5 friends, you have already been infected and WORK is controlling your life!!!!