Assorted links

by on June 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. A primer on interbank Chinese credit.

2. Symposium on the future of scientific publishing.

3. Why is it so hard to find Thomas Pynchon?

4. Lego figures are getting angrier.

5. Baltimore pit beef is gaining more attention.

6. The economics of 3-D printer arbitrage.

Vernunft June 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm

#4 is the silliest, stupidest thing I’ve read today, but then it’s not even 1 PM. I’m sure the world will offer something to top that.

JWatts June 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm

“#4 is the silliest, stupidest thing I’ve read today” — You’re obviously just reaction to all of those ‘Angry’ Lego Minipeople. ;)

Andrew' June 21, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Everything Lego is driven by the licensing- primarily Star Wars. Even then it is probably just an averaging effect. There are no snow bunnies in Star Wars and there is The Emperor.

mofo. June 21, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Best part of #4:

Researchers have discovered that the faces on LEGO Minifigures are becoming increasingly angry and less happy. Combined with a trend towards more combat-related LEGO themes, a team led by Christoph Bartneck at the University of Canterbury said “we cannot help but wonder how … this impacts how children play.”

Not just ‘researchers’, but a team of them.

Urso June 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm

Yeah it’s irritating. I had a medieval knight set when I was a kid. Now it’s an officially licensed Lord of the Rings set, which is basically the same thing, but more expensive. And with orcs.

Andrew' June 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Does that make you angrier?

Urso June 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm

You’d think it would, but my face is frozen in this non-threatening smile!

Andrew' June 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Lego figures are angrier because they actually pay attention to Supreme Court rulings.

ad*m June 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm

This kind of thing has jumped the shark. I was fine playing with neutral Lego minimen years ago. But the marginalization of everything that is heroic or male or that has to with maleness, especially in school, such as the outlawing of pizza in the shape of a gun in schools
ttp://abcnews.go.com/US/video/student-suspended-pizza-gun-school-biting-waving-like-gun-other-kids-us-15171514
leads to a few reservations of hypermasculinized toys, and this happens to include Lego minimen.

This also struck me with the books my boys read a few years ago. At their age I read books about heroic boys. Such books are beyond the pale now, except if they are about heroic girls or oppressed minorities. Thus the current proliferation of boys about heroic ***animals*** which then tend to be hypermasculinized too, just like the Lego minimen. These are probably the favorite books of 6-12 year boys nowadays:

Warriors – http://www.warriorcats.com/books
Redwall series – http://www.redwallabbey.com/

Helen Smith just wrote “Men on Strike” about this issue: http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/1594036756

Todd June 21, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Chap’s sandwiches are really delicious. And, I assume, very healthful.

Erik Gahner Larsen June 21, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Are Lego figures really getting angrier? This seems more like a null finding to me.

Andrew' June 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Survey reports indicate Lego figures are angry due to the collapse of construction.

Nick_L June 21, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Probably comes from all those shifts on the Death Star.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv5iEK-IEzw

Willitts June 22, 2013 at 3:41 am

Flat tiles 1×1 are the 1%.

derek June 21, 2013 at 3:24 pm

China’s banking system has increased 50% of GDP for three years running. It is 350% of GDP. Their non performing loans has been less than 1%, but over the years it has averaged 19% and in times of stress up to 35%. If I was in a position to lend to a chinese bank, I would want loan shark rates, as well as their home address so I could break some knees, just for insurance. The BOC has the nasty choice of how much of their resources they pour into the unlimited maw of insolvency.

The chinese growth that has been going on for decades has been continuous, every year people’s lives have improved. That has been the basis for the tolerance of the authoritarian dictatorship. I remember when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the reason China didn’t go the same way was because the chinese folks were better off every year.

I suspect that we will see the first real economic contraction in China since liberalization. We shall see if the social and political structures are robust enough to withstand it. May we live in interesting times.

Barkley Rosser June 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm

It is obvious. All those years of reclusion by Pynchon are just a publicity stunt to sell books, :-).

So Much For Subtlety June 21, 2013 at 11:48 pm

Or perhaps no one gives a shit? I never bought Salinger as a recluse. I mean if it wasn’t for High School requirements who would read such a piece of crap? Pynchon? Again a lot of people *have* to read him, but he doesn’t seem to have managed to get a single stalker. He even had to marry his own agent. I would guess that means no groupies. In the meantime he goes out, he goes to literary events. And no one gives a damn.

Most of the modern Art world seems to have been hijacked by a tiny group of people with questionable taste but access to funding and publicity. Perhaps Pynchon is just evidence that they have nothing to say to the 99% and if it was not for the occassional article like this no one would have ever heard of him?

Gig June 22, 2013 at 10:51 am

I want an Angry Literary Critic Lego man.

john personna June 21, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Numbers 4 and 6 are at odds, of course. If 6 were really happening, everybody would be tuning the happiness of their cheap plastic toys. “Vader, Happiness: 6.5″

Willitts June 22, 2013 at 3:44 am

I’m going to build 3D printers to make 3D printers that make angry Legos.

Then I’m going to sit back and watch Denmark and China go to war.

Mitch Berkson June 22, 2013 at 9:15 am

#6: When did opening up a print shop (2D or 3D) become “arbitrage”?

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