John le Carré: 'I was a secret even to myself' | Books | The Guardian
"What have I learned over the last 50 years? Come to think of it, not much. Just that the morals of the secret world are very like our own."
april 2013
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Lost and Found : The New Yorker
it was an American story, too, in what could only be called a hysterical and insular overreaction that allowed it to become the sole national narrative. I happened to be in London on 7/7—a far more deadly and frightening terrorist attack—and by 7 P.M. on that horrible day, with the terrorists still at large (they were dead already, but no one knew that) the red double-decker buses were rolling and the traffic was turning and life, though hardly normal, was determinedly going on. The decision to shut down Boston, though doubtless made in good faith and from honest anxiety, seemed like an undue surrender to the power of the terrorist act—as did, indeed, the readiness to turn over the entire attention of the nation to a violent, scary, tragic, lurid but, in the larger scheme of things, ultimately small threat to the public peace.

The toxic combination of round-the-clock cable television—does anyone now recall the killer of Gianni Versace, who claimed exactly the same kind of attention then as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev did today?—and an already exaggerated sense of the risk of terrorism turned a horrible story of maiming and death and cruelty into a national epic of fear. What terrorists want is to terrify people; Americans always oblige.
april 2013
The devil’s defense of Bitcoin volatility
"Maybe it's in the nature of Bitcoin to have volatile prices... But that’s part of the point, isn’t it? (Have we ever posted on the two envelopes problem? I think so but I can’t find it through search.) Imagine you hold a currency which, over the next period will either double or halve in value. The expected return of such a Bitcoin is in fact (0.5 x .5) + (0.5 x 2) = 1.25."
april 2013
A unified behavioural theory of economic activity
"I am optimistic about the role that evolutionary biology will play in filling this gap. Evolution is the ultimate rationality machine, and any actions that are not rational will be ruthlessly eliminated. This is what lies behind the power of the rational agent model. But evolution can only work with the material at hand, leading to a constrained rationality. Heuristics that use less energy and time can be favoured. Many adaptations are path dependent (Robert Frank’s Passions Within Reason gives one excellent account of how path dependence might have shaped human emotions). A changed environment can result in decisions that were once rational no longer being optimal."
april 2013
Heroku Tips for the Cheap
I am using many of these on Pushpin right now.
april 2013
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