29 May 2013

Anything but water

  1. This article attacks the Facebook social experience.* I agree that FB reveals our self-image in ways that others may not like or understand -- that's why it's "socially autistic" compared to conversations -- or even emails. How is blogging different? It's a personal opinion, but one presented with the idea that a reader will be there to discuss and understand. That's a MUCH clearer communication channel.

  2. Sunstein reviews Hirschman, one of the genius economists:
    In seeking to prove Hamlet wrong, Hirschman was suggesting that doubt could be a source not of paralysis and death but of creativity and self-renewal... Hirschman celebrates skepticism about his own theories and ideas, and he captures not only the insight but also the pleasure, even the joy, that can come from learning that one had it wrong.

    He insisted that human history provides “stories, intricate and often nonrepeatable,” which “look more like tricks history has up its sleeve than like social-scientific regularities, not to speak of laws.” ... Hirschman was delighted by paradoxes, unintended consequences (especially good ones), the telling detail, inventories of actual practices (rather than big theories), surprises, and improvisation. In his view, “history is nothing if not farfetched.
  3. Silly food ideas: printing food and (real, non-human) soylent green. Both have a larger production cost than real, unprocessed food, such as we see with this sample of breakfasts around the world :)

  4. Various corrupt governments are trying to reform kill the World Bank's Doing Business report. That's a terrible idea, as the report clarifies the impact of institutions (as a whole) and puts pressures on non-performing governments. Email here if you want to support it.

  5. Speaking of business, read this horror story (ongoing) of how Ranbaxy, an Indian drug company, ignored regulations on production quality and drug effectiveness (people have died), this great example of how an entrepreneur broke a cartel, and Silicon Valley's unrealistic attitude [$] towards government, politics and people. Related: our social evolution away from morality and self-reliance means that government is both more necessary and more dangerous.
H/T to BB
* Addendum: This reply to the FB piece clarifies the political views there (more progressive than libertarian).