URLs du Jour (9/19/2005)

  • Brad Linaweaver, Dafydd ab Hugh, and Sachiko ab Hugh have started the Big Lizards blog, which has one of the coolest graphics ever.
  • I blogged about Martin Cruz Smith's Wolves Eat Dogs a few days ago, which involved the Chernobyl nuke disaster. It relied somewhat on maximizing the death toll caused by the fallout from the reactor explosion. If you're interested, there's a debunking of those apparently exaggerated numbers this morning by Michael Fumento at Tech Central Station. Wolves Eat Dogs is still a good book, but please note that it takes place in a fictional universe.

    Communism still sucks, though. You don't want Commies running your nuclear plants or your economy or your government. Just in case you thought otherwise from the above.

  • And even though the NYT op-ed columnists have ostensibly vanished behind the veil of pay-me "Times Select", Bobby Musil lifts the veil and trashes "Herr Doktorprofessor" anyway.

Last Modified 2012-10-26 8:53 AM EDT

New Picture

One of the UNH staff photographers, Doug Prince, came by the other day to take our pictures for (I am not making this up) inclusion in a Power Point doc for the new head of our organization to see what we look like.

So I've installed one of Doug's pics over there, replacing Jim Cerny's previous fine work, showing me in my work habitat. Notice that this professional effort is probably as good as it gets, mugshot-wise. Apologies in advance for scaring your small children and pets. Hope there's nothing sensitive on the screen behind me …


Last Modified 2005-09-19 10:58 AM EDT

Fooled By Randomness

[Amazon Link]

This is an entertainingly written, occasionally bitchy, book about randomness in business and life. The author is a trader on various exchanges. I notice from his web page that he currently teaches at UMass-Amherst.

I was drawn to check the book out of the library thanks to Tyler Cowan's praise of it on his blog. (UPDATE: Tyler's removed this post because his commenters got abusive. Trust me, he liked it.) It's a quirky, personal exploration, fun to read. I've been exposed to most of the counter-intuitive results of probability theory the author explores, but the application to high finance is fascinating.

I especially enjoyed this from the preface:

My rules while writing this book have been to avoid discussing (a) anything I did not either personally witness on the topic or develop independently, and (b) anything that I have not distilled well enough to be able to write on the subject with the slightest effort. Everything that remotely felt like work was out. I had to purge the text from passages that seemed to come from a visit to the library, including scientific name dropping. I tried to use no quote that does not naturally spring from my memory and does not come from a writer whom I have intimately frequented over the years. (I detest the practice of random use of borrowed wisdom — much on that, later.) Aut taceaut loquere meliora silencio (only when the words outperform silence).

Guilty realization that if I hewed to the same rules in putting stuff in this blog, it would get real thin, real fast. Oh well …


Last Modified 2012-10-26 7:40 AM EDT