Category Archives: Miscellany

One Story Is Enough

Why aren’t individual stories good enough? This is a question that has occupied a lot of my time for the past decade. I have a good sense of why various concentrated kinds of intellectual projects (such as social history) have … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Miscellany | 6 Comments

I For One Welcome My New Infrared Faucet Overlord

Interesting post and discussion at 11d on Sandra Tsing Loh’s latest essay in the Atlantic Monthly, which I read on the train this week. I thought the essay was terrible for a variety of reasons, many of them stylistic. There’s … Continue reading

Posted in Academia, Books, Consumerism, Advertising, Commodities, Domestic Life, Miscellany | 12 Comments

Reality Got Problem Set #3 Wrong, Not Me

The story this week about two physicists who have suggested that the Large Hadron Collider is being sabotaged from the future so that it won’t produce a Higgs boson (or is it that it will have produced a Higgs boson … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellany | 5 Comments

The Pursuit of Happiness

This is a good summary of the current state of work on the experience of happiness, and its implications for homo economicus and public policy based on assumptions that people are rational utility-maximizers. Makes an interesting companion to this article … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic Life, Miscellany | 3 Comments

Nobody Expects the Black Swans?

I liked The Black Swan better than John Holbo and much of the Crooked Timber commentariat. But I completely agree with a lot of the criticisms. The book itself is not a good read because Taleb gets so caught up … Continue reading

Posted in Books, Miscellany, Production of History | 4 Comments

A Penny Saved Is a Penny You’ll Have During the Rapture

The scene: the supermarket checkout line this afternoon. The woman ahead of me and the clerk are having an animated conversation. Clerk: “I’ve read the Left Behind books, you know. It makes you think, it really does.” Woman: “Yes, it’s … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellany | 3 Comments


I like Laura’s list of to-do and not-to-do for young women at 11D. In the comments, Western Dave follows from this list to argue that a class like home economics has big and often neglected payoffs for high school students … Continue reading

Posted in Domestic Life, Food, Miscellany | 20 Comments

Journalism, Civil Society and 21st Century Reportage

As the failure of many newspapers looms and public radio cuts its journalistic offerings, the complaint against new media by established journalists gets sharper and sharper. The key rallying cry is that new media can’t provide investigative reporting, that it … Continue reading

Posted in Blogging, Books, Information Technology and Information Literacy, Miscellany | 18 Comments

I Do Believe in Fairies! I Do!

I hadn’t heard of Paul Krsek before this NPR segment and a few other NPR pieces about his view of the market and the economy, but I’ll be looking for his name more often from here on out. Krsek struck … Continue reading

Posted in Miscellany, Politics | 5 Comments

Irreparable Complexity, Game and World

I’m interested in the kind of complexity that arises through emergent processes, in which relatively simple rules governing the action of autonomous agents within a given environment can give rise to permanent structures or changes within the environment which then … Continue reading

Posted in Games and Gaming, Miscellany, Politics | 8 Comments