To understand the units of time we need to investigate the number systems of ancient civilizations. How did the Sumerians count to 12 on one hand and to 60 on two? What advances did the Babylonians make and how did they use this number system for measurement? And what refinements did the Egyptians make to time measurement to give us the system we still use today?
I was at Glastonbury when Jacko died. That’s not a factual statement, but a T-shirt slogan. The day after his death, souvenir tops with “I was at Glasto 09 when Jacko died” printed on them were already on sale around the site. In fact, when Jacko died, I was at home playing Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on a Nintendo DSi. I am 38 years old.
“We cannot establish society on a rational basis because society exists to serve an unreasoning need. Imposing reason on the substructure of a society only weakens its differentiating superstructure, imploding society to one of its basic forms.”—The Ruricolist: Societal contract
“I call that man rich,” Henry James’s Ralph Touchett observes in “Portrait of a Lady,” “who can satisfy the requirements of his imagination.” Living in the future tense never did that for me.”—The Joy of Less
“The Senate urged President Barack Obama Wednesday to pardon the late black heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, who was sent to prison nearly a century ago because of his romantic ties with a white woman. Senators approved the resolution by voice vote; it now goes to the House.”—House weighs resolution to pardon Jack Johnson - ESPN
When you come from a frame of reference, as we do, where $0 spent on legal expense would be the most preferred alternative, having to predict anything beyond that, by its nature, would become inherently and incredibly biased towards our own wants, desires and expectations. To us, this is somewhat akin to being asked to predict how many minutes after being force fed a dead frog we would throw-up…and the operative word is “force,” as we’d never elect to do either on our own. In both cases (the legal fees or swallowing the dead frog) we’re certain we would eventually throw up.
The current panic involved financial firms ‘running’ on other financial firms by not renewing sale and repurchase agreements (repo) or increasing the repo margin (‘haircut’), forcing massive deleveraging, and resulting in the banking system being insolvent. The earlier episodes have many features in common with the current crisis, and examination of history can help understand the current situation and guide thoughts about reform of bank regulation. New regulation can facilitate the functioning of the shadow banking system, making it less vulnerable to panic.
Some days I don’t understand how my own interests come about.
Menezes thinks he and Collingsworth may have identified a characteristic change that occurs as stress builds within a company: employees start talking directly to people they feel comfortable with, and stop sharing information more widely. They presented their findings at the International Workshop on Complex Networks, held last month in Catania, Italy.
Gilbert Peterson at the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio, has also worked with the Enron emails. He says that if further research backs up Menezes’s idea, this shift in communication patterns could be used as an early warning sign of growing discontent within an organisation. “Human resources folk would probably find this extremely useful,” he says.
“Using tools has lots of interesting effects on our perception. In one [study], psychologist Dennis Proffitt found that we perceive distances as shorter when we have a tool in our hand, but only when we intend to use it.”—Mind Hacks: Tooling up the body
Small LEDs on the volunteers’ hands allowed Cardinali to track their movements and calculate the speed and acceleration of their arms. She found that they reached for the block differently after they had been accustomed to the grabber, taking longer to accelerate their hands more slowly and to seize the block (although once they actually touched the blocks, they grasped them in just the same way as before). The delays even affected the speed at which they pointed at the block, a behaviour that wasn’t “trained” by the grabber.
To Cardinali, these results suggested that after using the grabber, the volunteers’ had included it into their mental representation of their own arms. Because of that, they felt that their arms were longer than they actually were and reached for the block more slowly.
So that leaves us at the mercy of privately funded planning, like with the Roosevelt Development Group. Even in the case of South Lake Union, an area that comprises about 2% of the city’s land base and is expected to accommodate nearly 20% of the city’s growth in the next dozen years, the city has no money to move forward with the necessary EIS to consider upzones. So until Vulcan and others pony up, looks like planning will stand still there too.
It’s of some interest that the lively arts of the millenial U.S.A. treat anhedonia and internal emptiness as hip and cool. It’s maybe the vestiges of the Romantic glorification of Weltschmerz, which means world-weariness or hip ennui. Maybe it’s the fact that most of the arts here are produced by world-weary and sophisticated older people and then consumed by younger people who not only consume art but study it for clues on how to be cool, hip - and keep in mind that, for kids and younger people, to be hip and cool is the same as to be admired and accepted and included and so Unalone. Forget so-called peer-pressure. It’s more like peer-hunger. No? We enter a spiritual puberty where we snap to the fact that the great transcendent horror is loneliness, excluded encagement in the self. Once we’ve hit this age, we will now give or take anything, wear any mask, to fit, be part-of, not be Alone, we young. The U.S. arts are our guide to inclusion. A how-to. We are shown how to fashion masks of ennui and jaded irony at a young age where the face is fictile enough to assume the shape of whatever it wears. And then it’s stuck there, the weary cynicism that saves us from gooey sentiment and unsophisticated naivete. Sentiment equals nativete on this continent…
…Hal, who’s empty but not dumb, theorizes privately that what passes for hip cynical transcendence of sentiment is really some kind of fear of being really human, since to be really human (at least as he conceptualizes it) is probably to be unavoidably sentimental and naive and goo-prone and generally pathetic, is to be in some basic interior way forever infantile, some sort of not-quite-right-looking infant dragging itself anaclitically around the map, with big wet eyes and froggy-soft skin, huge skull, gooey drool. One of the really American things about Hal, probably, is the way he despises what it is he’s really lonely for: this hideous internal self, incontinent of sentiment and need, that pules and writhes just under the hip empty mask, anhedonia.
I’m looking forward to when the collective geeks reading IJ this summer hit eschaton. Too bad I can’t find that scary article where it mentioned the Bush Administration reading the eschaton passage in the wake of 9/11. Will update if I find it.
Remember all the people who said that you can’t blame mortgage brokers and investment bankers for being greedy, because that’s how a capitalist economy works? Well, you could make the same defense for the McAllen doctors. We long ago stopped expecting lawyers and accountants to behave contrary to their economic interests; now we simply expect them to conform to the law and to certain professional codes of conduct, and otherwise make as much money as possible. Why should we expect anything different from doctors?
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