Monday, August 31, 2009
Which means you won't be betting the job anytime soon.
Better practice, though. Try your hand at steering our economy by taking charge of our central bank and playing the Fed Chairman Game at the San Francisco Fed's web site.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
. . . are there really 46 million uninsured? It's the current best guess, but it might be off by several million. . . .
That is, is your doctor more like your mom or an auto mechanic?
“IF FIVE hundred millions of paper had been of such advantage, five hundred millions additional would be of still greater advantage.” So Charles Mackay, author of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, described the “quantitative easing” tactics of the French regent and his economic adviser, John Law, at the time of the Mississippi bubble in the early 18th century. The Mississippi scheme was a precursor of modern attempts to reflate the economy with unorthodox monetary policies. It is hard not to be struck by parallels with recent events.
Law was a brilliant mathematician who used his understanding of probability to help his gambling habit. Escaping from his native Scotland after killing a rival in a duel, he made friends with the Duke of Orleans, the regent of the young king Louis XV.
The finances of the French government were in a terrible mess. Louis XIV had spent much of his long reign fighting expensive wars. Tax collection was in the hands of various agents, who were more concerned with enriching themselves than the state. Not only was the monarchy struggling to pay the interest on its debt, there was also a credit crunch in the form of a shortage of the gold and silver coins needed to fund economic activity.
Law’s insight was that economic activity could be boosted by the use of paper money that was not backed by gold and silver. He was well ahead of his time. . . . (more)
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
But have you heard of a "wisdom of wombats?"
Just like we use special words we already know to describe groups of species--"gaggle" of geese, "pride" of lions, "herd" of cattle--there are plenty of these you may have never heard of:
a murder of crows, a cackle of hyenas, a wisdom of wombats.
You can read even more, courtesy of the San Diego Zoo.
So when a bunch of wombats get together, make way for the wisdom.
The chart above is based on data in the American Federation of Teachers study "The State of the Higher Education Workforce 1997-2007," released in May 2009, and college enrollment data available here. The report presents a troubling picture of the higher education teaching profession because colleges and universities have been "disinvesting" in full-time tenured and tenure-track faculty while at the same time "investing" in more and more administrators, and hiring more and more part-time faculty.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
(I'd tweet this, but, well, . . . ).
Twitter was inaccessible for at least a half hour on Thursday morning, followed by a period of slowness and sporadic timeouts (and more outright downtime). It's not clear what has caused this. My theory is that it was the volume of millions of people tweeting complaints about why it can't be Friday yet. . . .
Monday, August 3, 2009
Shot last year, the video is designed to describe life in town to anyone thinking about making a move here.
The film includes a segment about our town's intellectual life, found between the 5:00 and 5:30 marks. And if you take a look, you'll see yours truly in action in the classroom.