Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Sunday Links

with 9 comments

* Two articles I read on the plane: “The Brain on Trial” and Aleksander Hemon’s account of his young daughter’s illness. The latter is only available offline, which (trust me) is for the best. By the end I was nearly bawling. For your own happiness do not read this article.

* Inside AOL’s content farm.

* The growing controversy over President Obama’s illegal waging of war in Libya got much bigger last night with Charlie Savage’s New York Times scoop. He reveals that top administration lawyers — Attorney General Eric Holder, OLC Chief Caroline Krass, and DoD General Counsel Jeh Johnson — all told Obama that his latest, widely panned excuse for waging war without Congressional approval (that it does not rise to the level of “hostilities” under the War Powers Resolution (WPR)) was invalid and that such authorization was legally required after 60 days: itself a generous intepretation of the President’s war powers. But Obama rejected those views and (with the support of administration lawyers in lesser positions: his White House counsel and long-time political operative Robert Bauer and State Department “legal adviser” Harold Koh) publicly claimed that the WPR does not apply to Libya.

* Rick Perry vetoes no-texting-while-driving bill because of freedom.

“I support measures that make our roads safer for everyone, but House Bill 242 is a government effort to micromanage the behavior of adults,” Perry wrote in his explanation of one of his vetoes.

Perry said in his veto statement that the key to stopping people from texting while driving is “information and education.”


* Mightygodking highlights ethical interpretation with twenty-five movies distilled to a one-sentence moral.

* And Love These Pics takes us on another trip to the New Orleans Six Flags Theme Park abandoned after Hurricane Katrina.

9 Responses

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  1. Apropos of the last link, Neil sends along the ruined bobsleigh track from the 1994 Sarajevo Olympic Games.


    June 19, 2011 at 11:43 am

  2. Typo : “moves” -> movies


    June 19, 2011 at 6:58 pm

  3. Fixed. At long last my blog is flawless.


    June 19, 2011 at 7:05 pm

  4. re: brain on trial – i was really enjoying being reminded of all the neuroscience developments i’d read about before and being informed of new ones, and was starting to get excited about the author’s bold solution, and then i finally got there and it was bad enough to make me doubt everything i’d just read. why didn’t you warn me about that one? i think i would have rather read the tragedy than the clueless policy recommendations…

    it sounds a bit like the legal/state counterpart to the economic theory suggested at the end of this article zunguzungu posted the other day:

    Adam Smith’s fundamental ideas helped explain the mechanics of Mercantile economics and the colonization of space.

    Joseph Schumpeter’s ides helped extend Smith’s ideas to cover Industrial economics and the colonization of time.

    Ronald Coase turned 100 in 2010. He is best known for his work on transaction costs, social costs and the nature of the firm. Where most classical economists have nothing much to say about the corporate form, for Coase, it has been the main focus of his life.

    Without realizing it, the hundreds of entrepreneurs, startup-studios and incubators, 4-hour-work-weekers and lifestyle designers around the world, experimenting with novel business structures and the attention mining technologies of social media, are collectively triggering the age of Coasean growth.

    Coasean growth is not measured in terms of national GDP growth. That’s a Smithian/Mercantilist measure of growth.

    It is also not measured in terms of 8% returns on the global stock market. That is a Schumpeterian growth measure. For that model of growth to continue would be a case of civilizational cancer (“growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell” as Edward Abbey put it).

    Coasean growth is fundamentally not measured in aggregate terms at all. It is measured in individual terms. An individual’s income and productivity may both actually decline, with net growth in a Coasean sense.

    How do we measure Coasean growth? I have no idea. I am open to suggestions. All I know is that the metric will need to be hyper-personalized and relative to individuals rather than countries, corporations or the global economy. There will be a meaningful notion of Venkat’s rate of Coasean growth, but no equivalent for larger entities.

    The fundamental scarce resource that Coasean growth discovers and colonizes is neither space, nor time. It is perspective.


    June 20, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    • Sorry — I don’t always link as an endorsement! With that link I was mostly only interested in the early sections about brain tumors and behavior.


      June 20, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      • sure, sure…but on the internet there is only ‘like’ and ‘dislike’

        “where irony goes to die” is a pretty good line from the AOL slave piece.


        June 20, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      • also didn’t the rest of it make you suspect every other conclusion he drew? i immediately felt like i was being taken for a ride by someone who knows much more than me about the science but framed it to lead me to a totally uninformed conclusion.


        June 20, 2011 at 1:00 pm

  5. i mean i’m SURE tailored state ‘treatment’ determined by individual genetic potential won’t result in a caste system. because we’re all such unique snowflakes! there’s also a really good anti-welfare state argument buried in there somewhere.


    June 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    • Incidentally, one of the better commentaries on that “memory implants” thing I blogged last weekend was also on the class implications of prospective cognitive improvement technologies. I think it was a derail in the MetaFilter thread but at the very least it’s a fine premise for an SF novel.


      June 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm

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