UPDATED: Office Hours for Fall, 2013
Now Up: AnnaLee Newitz of IO9 on Mass Extinction

Noted for Your Morning Procrastination for October 25, 2013


  1. "Hirschman’s goal was not simply to probe the anatomy of conservatism but to illuminate the 'rhetorics of intransigence'.... He believed, for example, that the 'conservative futility thesis', which is based on faith in deep structures or immutable laws of motion within society, is mirrored precisely in Marxism.... For conservatives, the thesis holds that all human action to change social conditions invariably results in making them worse. For the left, the thesis implies that, precisely if one has nothing to lose, one should engage in social action in any event, even to the point of a nihilistic politics of the apocalypse. He concluded the book on a coy note, worrying that his diagnosis of the weaknesses of progressive thought would lose him many friends who are 'long on moral indignation and short on irony'": Seyla Benhabib: Oracle’s Odyssey: Albert Hirschman
  2. "Joss Whedon’s Much Ado about Nothing is a tender, sexy, and very funny film production of Shakespeare’s comedy, but what made it most satisfying was its creepy presentation of Hero’s public shaming and its concluding on a melancholy note rather than with victorious fanfare.... The unimaginative Claudio and his friends simply assume that Hero is guilty, “an approved wanton” and no maid, a mere “sign and semblance of her honour.”  Before a crowd of guests and the priest who expects to hear the couple’s vows, Claudo shoves Hero back to her father, intent not be be married to her. Eventually Hero’s innocence and modesty come to light, but much grief could have been saved had Claudo given his beloved the respect due a person.... Hero’s accusers are mistaken, but they’re acting in line with social expectations and norms.... Setting the film as Whedon did really helped get these social expectations across. The structural sexism is more apparent alongside the occasionally seen smart phone, within the film noir stylization, and with 'Sigh No More' sung with a hint of sadness.  We in the audience expect that these classic characters would know better than to treat Hero as goods damaged before the date of sale.  The fact that they don’t know any better helps bring the social context in which they act to the foreground": Kyle Cupp: Much Ado about a Public Shaming
  3. "Criticisms of the industry as a whole, be it managed futures or hedge funds, tend to be answered with the characteristics of individual funds: 'Don’t blame me if other funds are useless and investors are stupid. We do things properly and our interests are aligned--we only make money when our investors do'... But when past performance is the only signpost for manager quality, it naturally encourages cash to flood in on the back of good results. The industry is full of examples of rockstar funds that grow huge and then suffer big losses, wiping out in dollar terms most or all of their previous dollar gains for investors: Tiger Management, Aramanth, Harbinger, Paulson & Co, for instance. Time-weighted returns, what the fund made each year in simple percentage terms, fail to capture that effect": Dan McCrum: A managed futures smackback to the Bloomberg takedown
  4. "Assuming conjectural variations of one is almost but not quite the same as simply assuming that firms collude.... This is just a clumsy way of solving the Econ 101 monopolist’s problem. Steve Keen’s arguments are simply wrong. They cannot be rescued by any appeal to realism or empirical evidence, because he is arguing about math, not empirical implications, and he simply has the math wrong.... Steve Keen is offering just plain wrong arguments about very basic versions of very basic models taught to second-year undergraduates. I hope that people who take these arguments seriously attempt to reproduce Keen’s results, so they can demonstrate for themselves that Keen is wrong. If you can’t do basic calculus, consider this: it is either the case that Keen has made basic errors in basic math, or it is the case that hundreds of thousands of economists and mathematicians over many generations have all made basic errors in basic math. Which seems more likely?": Chris Auld: Steve Keen still butchering basic microeconomics

Plus: Long:

Stan Greenberg et al.: Inside the GOP: Report on focus groups with Evangelical, Tea Party, and Moderate Republicans |

Plus: Short:

Marco Nappolini: Physiocracy and Abundance | Portland Steakhouse | Urban Farmer Restaurant | Brian Resnick: Science Says NBC's Hope for the 'American Center' Is Wrong | Chris Auld: 18 signs you’re reading bad criticism of economics | Starker's Restaurant | Gillian Bradshaw |