Randoms

September 1, 2012

Somebody’s been reading Steve Sailer.

– Tyler Cowen notes that Michael Blowhard is blogging again here (as Paleo Retiree).

– The most popular politician in DC (other than Obama) is a white woman.

– Inspector Gadget on diversity training for British cops, “we shouldn’t say ‘As sure as eggs is eggs’ in case it offends infertile women.”

Safe for democracy.

Criminals and college football.

Why we need a gold standard. More here:

But an agency that allocates credit to specific markets and institutions, or buys assets that expose taxpayers to risks, cannot stay independent of elected, and accountable, officials.

In addition, the Fed is now a gargantuan financial regulator. Its inspectors examine too-big-to-fail banks, come up with creative “stress tests” for them to pass, and haggle over thousands of pages of regulation. When we think of the Fed 10 years from now, on current trends, we’re likely to think of it as financial czar first, with monetary policy the boring backwater. . . .

when the time comes to raise interest rates, how can the Fed not consider that doing so will hurt the profits of the too-big-to-fail banks now under its protection?

I’ve been arguing for a while that if you want to understand the Fed, you need to take account of it’s mandate to regulate banks. Nice to see this point come up elsewhere.

Auster on Ayn Rand.

School discipline and race.


Review of “Pebble in the Sky” by Isaac Asimov

September 1, 2012

This was the best of the Galactic Empire books, but I couldn’t get past the fact that I found the story totally unbelievable.

A guy from Earth gets transported many millennia into the future, where he finds an Earth that’s a backwater outpost of the Galactic Empire (which we don’t know much about). He’s then made super smart. He and several others discover a plot to destroy the Empire. Earth is de facto run by a council of elders who believe that Earth was the birthplace of mankind. These elders plan to destroy the empire with biological weapons. Luckily, our newly smart guy and his friends foil the plot.

Setting aside the time travel elements, I found it hard to believe that such advanced people wouldn’t have better methods of recording events, such that they’d entirely forget that Earth was the original home of humans. Additionally, like much sci-fi it assumes huge advances in physics and chemistry but complete stagnation in biology.

The books in this series are underdeveloped. The Empire isn’t really explained (I believe the Foundation Series will rectify this) and so the events have little or no context. I’m happy to be moving on to the Foundation Series.