Cowen and Taleb (and Norm)

It’s like we understand that we’re not in here to eat mozzarella and go to Tuscany. We’re not in here to accumulate money. We’re in here mostly to sacrifice, to do something. The way you do it is by taking risks.

It’s taking risks for the sake of becoming more human. Like Christ. He took risks and he suffered. Of course, it was a bad outcome, but you don’t have to go that far. That was the idea.

More:

TALEB: Before 15, and I reread it many times. I’d say, before 15, I read Dostoyevsky and I read The Idiot. There’s a scene that maybe I was 14 when I read it. Prince Myshkin was giving this story. Actually, it was autobiographical for Dostoyevsky.

He said he was going to be put to death. As they woke him up and were taking him to the execution place, he decided to live the last few minutes of his life with intensity. He devoured life, it was so pleasurable, and promised himself, if he survives, to enjoy every minute of life the same way.

And he survived. In fact, it was a simulacrum of an execution, and Dostoyevsky . . . effectively that says the guy survived. The lesson was he no longer did that. It was about the preferences of the moment. He couldn’t carry on later. He forgot about the episode. That marked me from Dostoyevsky when I was a kid, and then became obsessed with Dostoyevsky.

More:

I discovered that I wanted to be a writer as a kid. I realized to have an edge as a writer, you can’t really know what people know. You’ve got to know a lot of stuff that they don’t know.

source.

Also re: Jesus, how about Norm Macdonald on the topic:

source

View story at Medium.com


Go Inside

They’re making progress on the dome/orb that will one day hold the Academy Museum (motto: Go Inside The Movies).

At neighboring LACMA the American Outliers exhibit is terrific.

The Great Good Man by Marsden Hartley of Lewiston, Maine.

Struck by Horace Pippin’s John Brown Going To His Hanging:

Pippin served in K Company, 3rd Battalion of the 369th infantry, the famous Harlem Hellfighters, in Europe during World War I, where he lost the use of his right arm after being shot by a sniper. He said of his combat experience:

I did not care what or where I went. I asked God to help me, and he did so. And that is the way I came through that terrible and Hellish place. For the whole entire battlefield was hell, so it was no place for any human being to be.

While in the trenches, Pippin kept an illustrated journal which gave an account of his military service.

How about this one, Miss Van Alen:

attributed to “The Ganesvoort Limner (possibly Pieter Vanderlyn).”

Generally untrained and itinerant, limners were a class of artists who helped shape the image of colonial Americans, securing the social status of their middle-class sitters in portraits that convey an air of refinement.

says The National Gallery.

Proposed motto for LACMA: Go Inside The Art.


Meanwhile in Australia

It started when Greens leader Richard Di Natale called Nationals Senator Barry O’Sullivan an “absolute pig”, after the Senator said there was a “bit of Nick Xenophon in” Ms Hanson-Young.

“He’s an absolute pig. He should be booted out. He’s a disgrace,” Mr Di Natale shouted across the chamber. “You grub.”

An emotional Senator Hanson-Young said Senator O’Sullivan and conservative independents Fraser Anning, Cory Bernardi and David Leyonhjelm were “cowards” who had spent months levelling slurs at her.

“You are not fit to be in this chamber. You are not fit to call yourselves men,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

She backed the Greens leader for calling out Senator O’Sullivan’s “reprehensible” remarks.

“That is what real men do. Real men don’t insult and threaten women,” Senator Hanson-Young said.

“You grub.”

Enjoy reading news stories about the goings-on in other English speaking countries, you usually have to fill in the gaps just enough to piece together what’s happening.

(thanks to our Sydney correspondent for the link and background)


TMI

CIC of USS Spruance, 1975. USN-1162165.

But the most intriguing chapter is Hone’s study of a critical but largely unrecognized reorganization that transformed Navy operations beginning in late 1942. The problem was that commanders of warships were being cognitively overwhelmed by all the new information thrown at them in battle. In addition to traditional sightings and signaling, they were now receiving reports by radio from aircraft and from other ships, as well as from radar readings. The Navy’s answer was to design a new Combat Information Center on each ship. Through it, all that data could be continually funneled, sifted, integrated and passed to the captain and others on the vessel who might need it, like gunners. Such an improvement may seem mere common sense, but then many great innovations do seem obvious — in retrospect. Interestingly, Adm. Chester Nimitz told skippers what to do (establish the new centers) but not how to do it. This meant that different ships devised different approaches, which provided the basis for subsequent refinements.

CIC aboard an unknown destroyer escort during WWII, found here

Really interesting paragraph from Thomas Ricks, writing about this book:

which I will read when I have time, Trent Hone sounds serious!

Late 1942: is that the point in time where the age of information overload began?  Sorting, digesting, processing the enormous amounts of information that flow our way, telling signal from noise, is that a/the prevailing cognitive problem of the post 1942 world?

Tom Ricks=boss.


Hovenweep

What a name for a place.

between 1150-1350 these structures were built in, around, and above this canyon:

Gotta check that out sometime:

Was this era in the American Southwest something like roughly the same period, the early 12th century in Ireland:

To be glib, early medieval Ireland sounds like a somewhat crazed Wisconsin, in which every dairy farm is an armed at perpetual war with its neighbors, and every farmer claims he is a king.

Or was Hovenweep perhaps something more like a monastery?

Some Anasazi taking the Benedict Option?

Thought this was a good trip report from Hovenweep.

Got to Hovenweep trying to read about traditional architecture in the American desert regions. What kinds of buildings have people with few tools and tech built?  What lasts?

This guy took on the challenge of building a pit house and kiva.

Easier than a kiva would be a false kiva:

John Fowler for wikipedia

 

 


Tyler Cowen’s Productivity

Here is Tyler Cowen’s list of the best non-fiction books of 2018.

I take eight where the Amazon link is easily clickable and find the page count, coming up with an average of 461 pages.

Let’s discount the two books written by colleagues and the one book TC wrote himself.  That leaves us with 19 books, x 461 pages= 8,759 pages of books / 365 = TC is reading 24 pages of nonfiction on average every single day.

But remember, these are just the BEST books he’s picking.  Let’s say for every one book he picks, there’s one he doesn’t.  Call it 50 pages of nonfiction a day.

TC also picked eight fiction books, one of which is 1160 pages.

In addition to a busy travel schedule, college professor, prolific blogger, interviewer, husband, etc.

Impressed!


Flying cars

Horst Faas, found here.

We have flying cars, they are called helicopters and they suck!

Are helicopters a net good or bad?

Surely many lives have been saved by medivacs and so on, but how much disturbance and disaster has been caused by these machines?

Have they gotten us into more trouble than they’ve gotten us out of?