Implied Dissent

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Man writes a column on Wal-mart, its affect on the poor and the use of offshore operations. He references that one of column's subjects worked for John Kerry, reminding us that Kerry used the despicable term "Benedict Arnold CEOs" by calling him "John 'Benedict Arnold' Kerry" to burnish the guy's credentials as a fighter for the poor. Idiot, sorry, I mean Atrios, takes this as a random libel of Kerry as a traitor. One of his commenters points out the 'misunderstanding', and Atrios' response (in the comments) is to facetiously deny that the allusion had anything to do with the column, so his outrage was justified. He hasn't even put up a note on his post to at least let people who don't remember the reference know that there was some reason for it to be there. Wanker. (via Balko)

It's not complicated

Why is Africa so poor? There are many reasons, of course, but the biggest, most obvious one is the easiest to fix. Malawi's top personal income tax rate is 40%, which doesn't sound out of line, until you realize that it's hit at a mere annual income of $933.71. These are fairly typical numbers on the continent. It's hard to save enough money to invest and think past the range of the moment when your government takes so much of your income that you can barely survive each day. Combine this with the tremendous corruption endemic there (which is also partly a symptom of the tax system), and it's no wonder that African economies don't perform well. I'm not saying cutting taxes will solve all of their woes, but it will help and will make the other problems easier to deal with.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I Hear that Train a coming...

Just saw Walk the Line. It was quite good. I'm not much of a Phoenix fan, but he was excellent, as was Reese. The movie was much more balanced than most biopics, in that June Carter isn't just a two-dimensional character, she had her own stuff going on, but at the same time we never lose sight of the fact that this is about Mr. Johnny Cash. The director successfully, um, walks that line.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

We're No 2, or could be....

Pacing Sports Guy, I don't think the Patriots are locked into the #4. Looking at the standings and the schedules of the Pats, Steelers, Bengals, and Broncos, we have a good shot at the 3 slot, and a definite chance to be the second seed and thus earning a first-round bye. This Sunday's game against Kansas City is the only tough game remaining on the Pats schedule (I know I sometimes use the third-person and sometimes the first-person plural; so sue me). If we win out and this week Indy beats the Steelers and Dallas defeats the Broncos, we're tied with Pittsburgh, one game behind Cincy and Denver. Then Pittsburgh beats Cincy and KC beats Denver next week, and it's a four-way tie at 8-4. This is a realistic scenario, and if it plays out we're in good position to capture that #2 slot. Denver does own a tiebreaker over us, but we have one over Pittsburgh. Of course, I wouldn't make a straight bet on this happening, but it is most definitely possible. This week's game is crucial.

What does it take to become an expert?

Four hours a day, every day, for 10 years. So, get going!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dead to Rights

So, Schmidt completely lied about what one Marine said to denigrate another Marine's honest difference of opinion about Iraq. What a fucking ass.

How to Argue Correctly

Scott Adams provides a few rules, with examples, to govern how to argue online. For some reason I thought of Atrios.

Monday, November 21, 2005

So Fresh and So Clean

Wash your clothes without water.

Also, try to figure out The Hardest Logical Puzzle Ever.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Flippin' Sweet

A pretty damn cool presentation (via Mahalanobis). Some of the stuff in it is positive, a lot is negative, but you can practically ignore all that and watch how the present the information.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Starting a tech company?

First answer Paul Graham's five questions (slightly edited here), then read the rest of his insights into the funding process.

- What are you going to do?
- Why do users need it?
- How large is the market?
- How will you make money?
- Who are the competitors and why are you going to beat them (be more specific than "they suck" or "we'll work really hard")?

That's just silly

Creative, life-saving uses of kids' toys.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Change is in the Winds

Well, maybe. Microsoft is thinking about making some desktop apps free (via Kirk Report). Of course, if they do they'll be accused of acting like a monopolist, trying to capture the market and drive out competitors. Which is also pretty much what they would be accused of if they raise prices instead.

How to Become an Enemy of the State

Take some innocent pictures. Or criticize some officers. (both via Balko)

Monday, November 14, 2005

Callousness laid bare

The Washington Post chooses the possibility of saving a few bugs over real people. Explicitly. Nice.


What's the simple explanation: That the guy cured himself of AIDS by taking vitamins, that the many tests he's taken that show he doesn't have AIDS are incorrect, or that the one test that showed that he did was wrong? I mean, really.

What were they thinking?

I can't believe Sony really thought (and still thinks!) that this would go over well.

Update: You can use this link to get a patch to uninstall the spyware. I think it will fix the problem, but I don't really trust Sony anymore, so we'll see.

Friday, November 11, 2005

My 2 cents

Well, more like half a cent and request for your more informed 2 cents. This whole Google Print case hinges on Google copying copyrighted works. But they're only copying them to the extent that a program pulls out some relevant excerpts so that they can index the books. Libraries do the same thing with card catalogs, but it isn't done by a program but by hand. So the issue seems to be that the case is purely about a technicality and that the AAP is missing the intent of the law. Am I right, or am I misunderstanding this?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Fuck yeah!

What oil execs should have said to Congress. Suweet. (via Balko)

Sunday night

If you're in the Boston-area, hit Harper's Ferry in Allston Sunday night. There's a concert there raising money for Operation Home Delivery, which is a project run by Habitat for Humanity dedicated to helping Katrina victims. I don't know most of the bands, but the ones I do are good, it's just $10 to get in, and you can win stuff.

I feel fine

Cowen points us to some Doomsday links, including this takedown of it. I think this idea is all a bunch of hooey, that is to say bullshit. The universe doesn't work this way, there is no set number of people who will ever live, so using this kind of Bayesian reasoning is like using a ruler to weigh yourself. Alternatively, the universe does work like this, so there is nothing we can do about it, we can't even choose to try to do anything about it, so whatever. Also, why would the end of humanity mean 'Doom'? That's a loaded word to use; humanity could end because we evolve so much that our descendents 1000 years in the future are a different species than we are. Or because the Flying Spaghetti Monster takes us all to Heaven. Read the links to learn some things about Bayesian reasoning, but you should look on the Doomsday Argument as the joke it is.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Some interesting posts on steroids and baseball. Perhaps it's not the issue most of us think it is. Palmeiro is still an idiot for taking the stuff when he knew that he'd be tested for them and then suspended, but I like to hear informed contrarian takes like De Vany's.


Defending the defenders of the free market from a supposed heavyweight.

Where do gay people come from?

You'll be surprised at the answer Volokh has uncovered.