Assorted links

by on December 24, 2011 at 12:31 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Carved book landscapes.

2. What is it like to understand mathematics very well?

3. 25 beautiful university libraries.

4. How to get a retweet from a famous Nobel Laureate author.

5. Markets in everything; am I wrong to find this article somewhat offensive?

6. Interview with Larry Summers on the eurozone.

Mike December 24, 2011 at 12:40 pm

In re 5. Yes

Andrew' December 25, 2011 at 4:39 am

I barely know what ‘offensive’ means, but I do know if you started a club or a pub called “anyone but Heebs” that would definitely be offensive.

Willitts December 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm

2. Explains why they find the other 99.9% of us insufferable, and vice versa.

3. I can’t look at any of these antique monuments without realizing the shameful oppression that brought them into being, e.g. the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids. Those were times when income inequality really mattered because, unlike today, the 99% could NEVER gain access to these riches. Today, the plutocrats hold data for themselves, but books are practically free for the taking. I know this was more about architecture, but my point is that you wouldn’t park a Lamborghini in a broken down barn, would you?

5. Yes. Live and let live. If you can’t tolerate the offense, there are parodies of culture far more offensive and self-effacing than this. Start your quest by stopping blacks from using the N word, then move on to conquering other incongruities. This one should be low on your list.

Go to any “Stuff ________ people like” web site and have a few laughs.

zbicyclist December 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm

3. The cathedral-like architecture of many of these monuments to the dead-tree era definitely hearkens back to the days when being a scholar, like being a priest, meant you had privileged access to knowledge and power.

We do not have a perfect flow of information, but the Google era is a vast improvement in the democratization of information.

Willitts December 25, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Exactly. Few people recall that the origin of the liberal arts and sciences were the pursuits of made men who studied in their daddies’ extensive libraries and were tutored by professional private scholars.

I suppose that the accumulation of wealth sufficient to support these endeavors served the same purpose as accumulation of capital was essential to industrial growth.

It’s just good to see how very far we’ve come. People whining about inequality don’t realize how much opportunity is available to the lowest classes, and how much the contributions of the 1% are broadly distributed to the masses. From cheap gasoline to electricity to cheap food to lifesaving drugs iPhones to PCs, the sharing of technology is phenomenal.

Proprietary data is, in my view, one of the important barriers to entry into the upper ranks of academia. I’ve seen one data source go from $100 to $11,000 in the span of a year. Much of this data is (or should be) public, but the data aggregators have monopolized it. Aggregators do deserve some rewards for mining the data from difficult sources. Protecting them from free riders and regulating their monopoly status are substantial market failures.

There are very few subjects that one cannot teach themselves on the internet.

Ken Rhodes December 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

5. Wrong? Who knows? Silly? Yes, because it is (a) inconsequential, and (b) fun. Good people having a good time within the bounds of non-destructive behavior should evoke a smile, not a frown.

anon December 24, 2011 at 2:47 pm

+1

Willitts December 25, 2011 at 11:10 pm

Tyler must really have a bone to pick with Benigni for making the Holocaust funny.

msgkings December 26, 2011 at 1:02 pm

Benigni might have tried to do that, but he failed spectacularly. What a stinkeroo of a flick.

Willitts December 26, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Your opinion. I thought it was enormously funny.

Life is Beautiful won the Grand Prix award at Cannes and Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars where it had seven nominations.

Benigni won the Best Actor award for the film, the first time a male ever won for a non-English-speaking film. He beat out Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan.

It has a worldwide gross of $230 million on a negligible budget.

Hoover December 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm

5. Wrong as in ethically wrong or wrong as in logically incorrect?

Ted Craig December 24, 2011 at 2:21 pm
babar December 24, 2011 at 3:30 pm

#2, anon user’s response is extraordinarily good.

Right Wing-nut December 26, 2011 at 9:39 am

He did an excellent job of describing _work_ as a gifted mathematician. He didn’t touch what it is like to _live_ as one.

CBBB December 24, 2011 at 3:56 pm

#2 I think becoming a really good mathematician requires you to have a really good memory. They talk about expanding your mathematical arsenal but at this point I can barely remember any of the theorems from group theory or real analysis.

CBBB December 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Anon is defiantly right that a mathematics education makes you really shy away from long, tedious calculations

babar December 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm

depends on what kind of mathematician you are. also, really good memory or not depends on what kind of mathematician you are. some of the best mathematicians i know have very bad memories – they derive a lot of their insight from rethinking everything from scratch when they need it.

lnm December 24, 2011 at 5:07 pm

#5 It depends on why you find the article offensive.

The Original Frank December 24, 2011 at 5:33 pm

#6: So what did cher Larry say?

dearieme December 24, 2011 at 5:57 pm

Tyler, your question about offensiveness seems accidentally to have become connected to topic 5 rather than topic 6.

Roy December 24, 2011 at 9:00 pm

1. I find this offensive

CBBB December 24, 2011 at 10:56 pm

#5 – no more offensive then your typical Marginal Revolution post

msgkings December 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Says the biggest MR fanboy on the planet.

Blades December 25, 2011 at 12:57 am

5. Ok, I’ll bite. I find it disappointing you find this offensive.

sam December 25, 2011 at 4:45 am

Larry Summers = the guy who thinks the solution to massive debt problems is even more debt, the guy who helped contribute to the $5 trillion increase in debt under the Obama Presidency, the guy who made all kinds of asinine comments about certain groups while President at Harvard actually has a say in the matter? Of all the people qualified to talk about the ginormous mess in Europe, they pick him?

Right Wing-nut December 26, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Obviously, it’s not yet a big enough mess.

Master of None December 28, 2011 at 11:13 am

Re: #5, only if you make it so

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