Jury Duty

In a comment to the post “Not Guilty“, Anirudh wrote:

Would you be in favor of bringing the jury system back to the Indian courts?

Are you familiar with the case of Nanavati vs. The State of Maharashtra? Even though the case was an open and shut case, the jury declared Commander Nanavati as not guilty. Wouldn’t that have been a miscarriage of justice? As in this case, is the jury not likely to be influenced or misled by popular media?

Why do you say a jury trial is “the least flawed compromise”?

Continue reading “Jury Duty”

AMA – The Naming of Parts

This poem by Henry Reed, published in 1946, is very close to my pacifist heart. Listen.

***

Today we have naming of parts. Yesterday,
We had daily cleaning. And tomorrow morning,
We shall have what to do after firing. But today,
Today we have naming of parts. Japonica
Glistens like coral in all of the neighboring gardens,
And today we have naming of parts.

This is the lower sling swivel. And this
Is the upper sling swivel, whose use you will see,
When you are given your slings. And this is the piling swivel,
Which in your case you have not got. The branches
Hold in the gardens their silent, eloquent gestures,
Which in our case we have not got.
Continue reading “AMA – The Naming of Parts”

Friedman on Free Lunch

In 1993, at the grand opening of the Cato Institute’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., Dr Milton Friedman gave a talk. It is worth listening to even after 28 years. He was introduced as “the Nobel Prize winner, economic trailblazer, author, scholar, statesman, champion of political freedom and economic liberty, Dr. Milton Friedman.”

Friedman was awarded the Nobel Memorial prize in economic sciences in 1976. He died in 2006 at the age of 94.

Although the substance of his talk at the Cato Institute relates to the US, it is relevant in a much larger contemporary context of what is going on around the world and in the US. Understanding Friedman’s points helps us make sense of the world. Besides being informative, he is as always delightfully funny and entertaining. Here’s the .mp3 audio of the talk. Continue reading “Friedman on Free Lunch”

Winter Solstice 2021

Today, Dec 21st, is the first day of winter 2021. The winter solstice — an event in which a the earth’s poles are most extremely inclined toward or away from the sun — will be at 10:59 am EST (which is 12:29 pm IST). Continue reading “Winter Solstice 2021”

Maintaining Agreement

“And the main, most serious problem of social order and progress is . . . the problem of having the rules obeyed, or preventing cheating. As far as I can see there is no intellectual solution of that problem. No social machinery of “sanctions” will keep the game from breaking up in a quarrel, or a fight (the game of being a society can rarely just dissolve!) unless the participants have an irrational preference to having it go on even when they seem individually to get the worst of it. Or else the society must be maintained by force, from without — for a dictator is not a member of the society he rules — and then it is questionable whether it can be called a society in the moral sense.”

Frank H. Knight. “Intellectual Confusion on Morals and Economics” (Jan 1935. The International Journal of Ethics.) Continue reading “Maintaining Agreement”

First Powered Flight

Orville piloting; Wilbur on the right

In a field south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, exactly 118 years ago today, Dec 17th, 1903, Orville Wright took off in what is described as “the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft.” He and his older brother, Wilbur, were mechanics from Dayton, Ohio. What they invented has revolutionized the world. Continue reading “First Powered Flight”

Porcupine Pie

Pictures and videos of cats and babies makes up for the socialist idiocy one comes across on the internet.

I like baby animals, the most favored being human babies. Human babies in animal suits are the best. So I share with you this picture of a baby in a porcupine suit.

I am not too sure about the suit. It could be a piggy suit — notice the snout and the hoofs. But then it has spiky things all over it. So it could be a porcupine suit. It looks like it to me.  And then this old favorite song popped into my head: Porcupine Pie by Neil Diamond. Continue reading “Porcupine Pie”

Hayek on Monotheism

I have the most profound respect for F. A. Hayek (1899 – 1992). He was one of the greatest economists of the 20th century CE. I am supremely grateful that I have access to his ideas, thanks to my formal training in economics. All the effort of studying economics is worth the reward of being able to read Hayek.

I was delighted to learn what Hayek thought of monotheism, one of the two ideologies — the other being socialism/communism — that I thoroughly detest. Here it is: Continue reading “Hayek on Monotheism”

Tornadoes

Nature is awesome in the sense that it evokes a sense of awe in us. Last Saturday a bunch of tornadoes tore through central and southern United states:  Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

About three-fourths of all tornadoes occur in the United States. I have never witnessed one since I spent most of my life in California — where we have droughts, floods and earthquakes but no tornadoes. Continue reading “Tornadoes”

Friedman on Inflation

“Perhaps the single most important and most thoroughly documented yet obstinately rejected proposition is that “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” That proposition has been known by some scholars and men of affairs for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. Yet it has not prevented governmental authorities from yielding to the temptation to mulct their subjects by debasing their money—taxation without representation—while vigorously denying that they are doing anything of the kind and attributing the resulting inflation to all sorts of other devils incarnate.”

That quote is from Milton Friedman’s final chapter “An Epilogue” of his 1992 book Money Mischief. Governments, he correctly notes, cheat people out of their wealth by inflating the currency. It’s a pernicious way of levying taxes. This is exactly what the US government is recently doing with gay abandon. But as certain as the fact that the sun will rise tomorrow is the fact that inflating the dollar will end up badly.

Let’s continue with what Friedman wrote: Continue reading “Friedman on Inflation”

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