Happy Birthday, JK

Ignorance, stupidity, in great affairs of state is not something that is commonly cited. A certain political and historical correctlness requires us to assign some measure of purpose, of rationality, even where, all to obviously, it does not exist. Nonetheless one cannot look with detachment on the Great War (and also its aftermath) without thought as to the mental insularity and defectiveness of those involved and responsible.

Thus wrote John Kenneth Galbraith in his 1994 book A Journey Through Economic Time.

Today he celebrates his 97th birthday. Born in Ontario, Canada, in 1908, he has been one of the keenest observers of the 20th century. A profile the Guardian did in April 2002 called him the last of the old-style liberals. Continue reading

The Age of Superfluous Information — Part 2

Sorting and searching through information are uniquely human activities because only humans have an external store of information which needs to be accessed and acted upon. The notion of acting on information stored externally is not associated with non-human animals.

The larger the stock of information, the more expensive it is to search through it to locate the precise bit that is relevant at any particular instance. To make the task of searching more tractable, ordering the information in some fashion—called sorting—becomes paramount. Computer scientists have worked on the problem of sorting and searching for decades with phenomenally successful advancement in our understanding in this regard.
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