URLs Du Jour (7/20/2005)

Let's see … the big news of the day is Dubya's nomination of a Supreme Court justice last night, so let's look at:

  • You know the adage about the dog walking on its hind legs: not done well, but you're surprised to find it done at all. Read the inspiring story of how Laird Breyer programmed his Bayesian spam filter to play chess. This is a classic bit of technical writing in the mold of Kernighan, Plauger, Pike, et. al. as we follow Laird on his quest. OK, the result is not a very good chessplayer, but—you're surprised to find it done at all. And probably more important, just reading about his design process is a lot of fun. (Via Slashdot.)
  • We often feel we have a huge investment in our arguments, even more so when the arguments are carried out in public; so when two people debate a contentious issue, it's rare to see one persuade the other. So it's worth noting that James Glassman and Tyler Cowen debated private Social Security accounts a few months back in Reason magazine, Glassman being pro, Cowen being anti. Now, Glassman has been persuaded by Cowen's argument. The revalatory article is here. Key paragraph:

    I believe the president should focus on putting Social Security on a sound footing. The best way to do that is to adjust benefits by increasing the retirement age, cutting back payments further for those who choose to retire early and indexing the growth in benefits to the consumer price index (that is, inflation) rather than to wages. Raising payroll taxes -- or increasing the ceiling below which those taxes are collected -- should be off the table. Such a hike would have a disastrous effect on the economy.

    (Tyler Cowen's gracious comments are here.)

  • Happy 36th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Go check out Google Moon, and be sure to zoom aaaaallll the way in …

    [Update: there used to be an easter egg back in 2007. Gone in 2012.]

Last Modified 2012-10-26 10:55 AM EDT