Friday, January 28, 2011

The Lighter Side of Miscellany 1

The streets of Ponte A Poppi in Italy have some colorful traffic signs, including angels, devils, and a crucified figure signaling a T-intersection.

Some economics haiku. Not included:
If you are so smart --
Understand how markets work --
Then why aren't you rich?

Warsh tells us the story of a wealthy economist: David Ricardo, inside trader. He learned the eventual outcome of the Battle of Waterloo early, told the English government of the glorious victory, and "Then he went down to his customary chair at the Exchange – and sold! Other traders, suspecting the worst, sold too, the prices of Treasuries tumbling, until at last, Ricardo reversed course and bought and bought and made a killing, his greatest coup ever, one that put even the Rothschild brothers in the shade."

The third in a series, Wondermark presents Socrates, railing against the written word as an abominable technological progres.
Socrates lays out an argument that the written word cannot defend itself in dialogue, and thus cannot effectively teach anything worth knowing. For only through banter, through back-and-forth discussion and rhetorical argument and the working out of problems, can true knowledge be conveyed. Reading mere words, in his mind, is akin to looking at a lake rather than swimming in it — or worse, looking at a lake and thinking that now you know how to swim.
The argument then happened in reverse as the telephone was going to destroy all the advantages of the telegraph, and today text messaging destroys the advantages of the telephone. 

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