28 October 2013

Anything but water

  1. Read "the ideological migration of the economics laureates" if you want to see how flexible (or not) leading thinkers have been with respect to their views of the world

  2. As Cornelia says, it's not a question of IF, but WHEN oil pipelines will spill. There have been 300 spills in North Dakota. That rate may not be bad if (1) they are cleaned up or (2) there would be more spills from using trucks or trails to haul oil/gas, but we may never know how bad some of these spills are if the government covers them up (the 300) or if the government fails to report, regulate or punish pollution -- as is all-too-frequently the case with Alberta's oil sands

  3. Listen to this podcast if you want to understand how the dead hand of government (monopoly, regulation) stifles and slows transportation

  4. Anyone with a career should read this wisdom from Scott Adams (Dilbert): Have a system, not a goal. Systems help you adapt and expand; goals, once met, are useless. My system is to stay engaged in water sector debates and change directions according to the opportunities that arise

  5. Trolls may have the right to free speech but do they have the right to disrupt the conversation? I was at a conference a few years ago where a young woman was trying to ask a question that did not fit within the topic at hand (blogging). When the moderator cut her off, she complained about her rights being infringed. She may have a private right to say what she wants, where she wants, but she does not have the right to disrupt a "club" conversation or break its rules. So, I think it's okay to cut off people who are not on topic, given past agreements on the topic. On that note, does Russell Brand have the right to call for a revolution? Yes, in terms of speech (he was being interviewed), and yes, in terms of his complaint that politicians pay more attention to the 1 percent than the 99 percent. Taking Brand's critique as relevant, how did we get to such inequality in the US (and, to a lesser extent, in other rich countries)? James Surowiecki points out that CEO-pay benchmarking ends up inflating salaries because compensation committees target "above-average" (the miserable version of the Lake Wobegon effect).

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