Archive for December, 2009

Newt Gingrich: the big tent phase

December 31, 2009

You don’t want to come to my camp… What do I care… I have your children… Soon you will be gone… But your children will be in my camp
-Adolf Hitler 1932 speech on dissidents to the Nazi Party

Newt Gingrich recently gave a fantastic speech – you can see all forty minutes here: the speech.

While it sounds like the progressives are in trouble here, what this speech actually does is illustrate the amazing weakness of the conservatives; the progressives control all of the intellectual machinery of the country, which means that the Overton window always shifts to the left. Progressives don’t have to be in the majority now. They sink their stakes confident that in a few decades time, the majority will have caught up to them.

December Links

December 4, 2009

Anders Sandberg on Whole Brain Emulation.
Anders Sandberg on Chess

An interesting point made by Maslov is that the branching ratios of the game tree seems to approach the distribution 2/(pi sqrt(1-r^2)), which has a peak close to 1 – most positions have very few likely subsequent positions. This may be due to the database used mainly contains games by skilful players, who do their best to move the game into situations where the opponent has few choices. So if he is right, here is a signature of intelligence in the game tree statistics.

Eric S Raymond on the CRU Climate Hack 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Now we learn that the CRU has admitted to throwing away the primary data on which their climate models were based. I quote: “We do not hold the original raw data but only the value-added (quality controlled and homogenised) data.”

Eric S Raymond on parsing (x|h)tml
Ben Casnocha: Let’s Just Add Some Virality
Ted Talk: Talks Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man via Wehr in the World
Seth Roberts: Three Things Elizabeth Kolbert Doesn’t Know
Ben Casnocha: Success on the Side
Bob Sutton: Selecting Talent: The Upshot from 85 Years of Research
Alain de Botton: A Religion for Atheists via Ben Casnocha
Paul Berberian: Picking a Business
Kalid: A BetterExplained Guide to Calculus
Michael F Martin: Do Animals Cooperate with Non-kin
Michael F Martin: Rolfe Winkler Looks Like a Major New Blogging Talent
Michael F Martin: How Persuasive are You?
Michael F Martin: Functionalism and Systems Theory and the Supreme Court’s Upcoming Review of American Needle
Michael F Martin: The New Economics by W. Edwards Deming
Michael F Martin: Reflexivity Goes Deeper than Soros Himself Seems to Realize
Haseeb: Story of Isildur1 (very good read)
Thorfinn: What a Free Market in Healthcare Looks Like
Charlie Stross: Designing society for posterity
Kevin Marks: Baron Mandelson and Magna Carta
Kevin Marks: How Twitter works in theory
Michael Pettis: Lecturing each other on trade
Mark Wethman: Twilight of Secular Europe? Maybe, maybe not.
Joe Hewitt: On Middlemen
James Hamilton: Yes the future deficits are worrisome
Kevin Meyer: Team Science
Bill Waddell: Throwing in the Towel
Brad Feld: Board Meeting Lessons from the Supreme Court
Andrew Chen: Product Design Debt Versus Technical Debt
Andrew Chen: Facebook Viral Marketing: When and WHy do Apps “Jump the Shark?”
Rabiz Khan: The Short Sellers of Philanthropy
Steve Hsu: IQ, Compression and Simple Models via Rabiz Khan
Denis Mangan: The Most Read Paper in Social Science over the Last Year (direct link)
Steve Blank: Times Square Strategy Session – Web Startups and Customer Development
Steve Blank: Relentless – The Difference Between Motion And Action
Aaron Schwartz: How I Hire Programmers
The Social Pathologist: I Live in Bedford Falls

Small Business Financing

December 3, 2009

A great post on Interfluidity about (the dearth of) financing options open to small businesses. There is also an interesting proposal which involves an interesting take on tranched debt.

The United States of Europe

December 1, 2009

Interesting post in the Financial Times, “Greece can expect no gifts from Europe

The current strategy of the EU is to raise the political pressure – perhaps even provoke a political crisis – with the strategic objective that the Greek government might eventually relent.
[…]
So what happens if Greece cannot meet a payment on its bonds, or fails to roll over existing debt? About two-thirds of Greece’s public debt is held by foreigners. According to calculations from Deutsche Bank, Greece is looking to raise some €31bn ($46bn, £28bn) in new borrowing and €16bn to roll over existing debt next year. In the absence of help from the eurozone, the Greek government would have to resort to the International Monetary Fund if it were to encounter difficulties refinancing the debt.

Previously, I had assumed that the major road to European federalism was via treaties and agreements which slowly work to export sovereignty to Brussels. I hadn’t anticipated that the EU, which withholds the power to print money from its member states, would use fiscal emergencies and the natural proclivity of social democracies to run deficits to make larger, more pronounced gains in sovereignty.

While there is no evidence that this is happening yet (at last in the EU), all of the pieces and players look remarkably like the game the IMF plays with developing nations.