“Everything reminds Milton of the money supply. Well, everything reminds me of sex, but I keep it out of the paper,” wrote Nobel prize-winning economist Robert Solow in 1966 about Milton Friedman, another Nobel laureate economist, the father of monetarism.
Everything reminds me of India’s failed education system — and by extension — the stupidity of the government policymakers, bureaucrats and politicians included. Unlike Bob Solow, however, I cannot keep it out of my posts.
You’ve got to hand it to the Americans — they think big. Thinking big is the first step to doing big things. There too they are no slouches. Both in terms of good and bad, they do think and do big things. The modern world you and I inhabit (and it is important to remember that not everybody lives in the modern world — a couple of billion of our contemporaries live in a world that is decidedly primitive) has been shaped by Americans to an extent that is hard to overstate. Love it or hate it, you cannot ignore the US.
This morning around 12:40 AM, I am sure there was an earthquake around Pune — the building shook for about 10 seconds. Having lived for decades in the San Francisco Bay area, on and around dozens of faults (San Andreas, Hayward, etc) and having been through dozens of quakes, including one of the biggest (the Loma Prieta in 1989), a little shake like that does not evoke much of a reaction. It is all ho-hum stuff.
I could find no reference to any earthquake in the news on the web. Perhaps some local Pune paper would. But did find an item in the BBC: Quake rocks Southern California. Good. Magnitude 5.4. What time? Not reported. Or even which date? Nope. The BBC report neglects to mention such minor details. Very disappointing bit of reporting. I wrote to the BBC. Let’s see if they fix it.
I admire Penn and Teller. They are sensible, forthright, articulate, and most of all very entertaining. So here’s an episode of their “Bullshit” series from 2003. It is about the hysterical reactions of some to the matter of global warming and climate change.
Penn and Teller – Bullshit! – Environmental Hysteria
The following is an article by me that appeared in ISB’s in-house magazine insight June 2008 issue.
There is a definite positive relationship between the size of the habitation and the productivity of the population.”
The full article is below.
The news of death and destruction from terrorism has become somewhat of a routine. The politicians make inane statements about how all this is most lamentable and aside from telling people to “maintain peace and quiet” they appear to go about their business as usual. The reactions from various quarters are predictable from past experience. One reaction which fills me with revulsion and disgust is the type that emanates from idiot pseudo-secularist commies. One such ended up in my mailbox just minutes ago. One Jaya Kamlani contributed this to a mailing list:
The Hindu reports that an official of the “Indian Union Muslim League has asked the media and public to not to brand the perpetrators of the deed as Muslims.”
“I appeal to the media and the public not to brand the perpetrators of the Bangalore blasts as Muslims,” State president of IUML K M Khader Mohideen told reporters here on Saturday night.
“These kind of people are neither Muslims, Hindus or Christians. The Centre and the state government should take steps to nab them quickly,” he said.
That’s an example of what is called the “No true Scotsman” fallacy, a fallacy of equivocation and question begging. Here it is, from Thinking about Thinking (1975), by Andrew Flew:
Imagine Hamish McDonald, a Scotsman, sitting down with his Glasgow Morning Herald and seeing an article about how the “Brighton Sex Maniac Strikes Again.” Hamish is shocked and declares that “No Scotsman would do such a thing.” The next day he sits down to read his Glasgow Morning Herald again and this time finds an article about an Aberdeen man whose brutal actions make the Brighton sex maniac seem almost gentlemanly. This fact shows that Hamish was wrong in his opinion but is he going to admit this? Not likely. This time he says, “No true Scotsman would do such a thing.”
As long as we are declaring that the self-proclaimed bombers who self-identify themselves as Muslims and their organizations as explicitly Islamic are not Muslims, why don’t we go the whole hog and declare that there were no terrorists bombings, that there were no deaths, that everything is peaceful and tranquil?
Let’s live in fairy-land as the reality is too painful and our so-called leaders are powerless to do sh!7.