Ghost of Christmas Presents

December 21, 2011 by

It is likely a bit late for most, but I do have a suggestion for removing one of the stresses of Christmastime: Declare a gift giving truce.

Read the rest of this entry »


The Placebo Effect

December 18, 2011 by

The placebo effect, the ability of an inert substance to deliver a cure, is an oft-remarked part of hypothesis testing. Such results are dismissed with a cursory “that is just the placebo effect.”

Rarely mentioned is just how amazing such a thing is.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Republican Primary

December 13, 2011 by

Because I know everyone is waiting to hear what I think of the Republican presidential contenders, I present my rundown of the candidates.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Buffet Tax?

December 4, 2011 by

Warren Buffet along with various other wealthy individuals called for higher taxes on the wealthy. His claim was that he was under taxed, suffering a rate lower than his secretary and other employees (who must be well paid, as he claims they are suffering a 33 percent burden). Perhaps there is a way we can give Buffet and friends what they want.

Read the rest of this entry »

Who Wants to Live Forever?

November 28, 2011 by

One of the philosophical quandaries of my youth was the question of whether eternal life (on this earth) was actually desirable. A cult movie from the mid 1980s (Highlander) considered this question (well sort of).

While few of us have death wishes, the thought of living forever can cause some queasiness. I suspect this is due to how they consider the question.

Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Go Galt, Go Rhett

November 19, 2011 by

Many dissatisfied with the current social order consider dropping out or withholding their best effort, going Galt in the evocative phrase of the moment. Others, even if not completely happy, wish to enjoy the fruits of full participation in society. For them, going Galt may not be the preferred option. If you cannot (or do not want to) go Galt, you can always follow the line of another fictional character: Rhett Butler.

Read the rest of this entry »

Blood or Treasure

November 18, 2011 by

Republicans in congress love to describe how they will hold the line on spending and fight any tax increase. Indeed, they seem reluctant to even consider tax code changes that might eliminate narrowly focused concessions (co-called “loopholes”).

Read the rest of this entry »

Hand of God

November 13, 2011 by

It is popular to talk of the debate (or even “battle”) between science and religion. I am not sure they are really that much at odds. In some ways they are both looking for truth, or at least some description of our reality. Is the belief in a “creator” really much worse than the belief (by some) of superstrings and dark matter (or any other currently unprovable theory)?

Rather than attempt to fight an unwinnable battle, I want to consider the ways in which what science knows is similar to what religion preaches.

Read the rest of this entry »

Herman Cain?

November 9, 2011 by

On a previous post, commenter Rebekah asked me what I thought of the Herman Cain sexual harassment charges. At that time I hesitated to offer an opinion because, after all, we are just in a he said, she said situation.

While I will remain agnostic on the truth of the charges, I do have some thoughts

Read the rest of this entry »

Selling the Rope…

October 26, 2011 by

Modern capitalist won’t just sell the rope; they will borrow the money, outsource its manufacture to china, and then hand the rope over as part of a “technology transfer.”

Read the rest of this entry »