Saturday, 2017 January 7, 21:52 — economics, politics

what, more links?

Hm, the first two links here have been lying around for five years; guess I ought to shove them out.

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry on restructuring the banks

“Zomia”, a large region in Asia that was effectively stateless until recently

James Leroy Wilson on The Limits of Utilitarianism. The payoff is near the bottom.

Thursday, 2017 January 5, 22:36 — cinema, psychology

exporting transcendence

In the film and TV series Limitless, a drug makes the protagonist temporarily super-intelligent.

In the episodes I’ve seen, it’s not established whether any skills learned with the drug remain when it wears off. I imagine that you’d want to try to develop ways to improve your unenhanced intelligence; in other words, to teach your alter-ego to learn better.

Thursday, 2017 January 5, 00:01 — blogdom

one way

Since I had this site changed to HTTPS by default, comments don’t work. I’ll, ah, look into it.

Sunday, 2017 January 1, 15:59 — spam

strange spurts

In a period of 41 seconds on December 21, this site got hits purportedly following links from 75 different pages on, 21 on, 21 on, 21 on, 20 on, 18 on *, 17 on, 16 on, 13 on, and 10 pages on 5 other sites.

And then in 33 seconds on December 26: 57 pages on, 21 on, 20 on, 14 on, 13 on, 11 on, 9 on, 8 on, 8 on, 7 on, and 63 pages on 38 other sites.

No site appears in both of these clusters. Some are obvious spammers; some are genuine blogs; fourteen are small Picasa galleries, with no outgoing links.

The requests came from 99 different addresses; again none are in both clusters.

Saturday, 2016 December 17, 13:40 — cinema, prose

Use of Symbols

In Marvel/Netflix Daredevil episode 11 “The Path of the Righteous”, [spoiler] drugs [spoiler] and takes her to a secret place. When she wakes up, he sits facing her and puts a large pistol on the table between them, “to get [her] undivided attention.” After he has made his demands and threats, his phone rings: a call that he cannot ignore. She takes advantage of his momentary distraction to grab the gun. He scoffs: “Do you think I’d put a loaded weapon within your reach?”

I thought of a scene in Randall Garrett’s “Lord Darcy” stories. Someone asks the forensic magician Sean O Lochlainn, “If you’re not going to cut anything, why are you sharpening that knife?” Master Sean replies, “The best symbol for a thing is the thing itself. This knife represents a sharp knife. I have another one that represents a dull knife.”

What, then, would be the symbolism of putting an empty gun on the table?

Monday, 2016 December 12, 10:34 — pets

the scarcity of parking spaces

When I repose in the easy-chair, Bramble likes to sit on my heart. Today Rocky got there first and took Bramble’s spot, though he usually prefers my knee. Bramble then came along; after much dithering he settled across Rocky’s back, but soon decided that this arrangement was unsatisfactory.

Monday, 2016 November 21, 14:49 — spam

a little effort, eh?

My busiest comment-spammer is not even trying: stuff like “syycvugmerscztigiejbuzgshfmb”. Come on now!

Next Page »