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Showing posts from February 10, 2013

The age of organic reproduction

It is easy to forget that the age of mechanical reproduction is a mere speck in the eye of the age of organic reproduction. Organic reproduction is much on my mind, since I’ve come back to Atlanta in order to apply for my carte de longue sejour at the French consulate in Atlanta. Whenever I return to the Atlanta area, the landscape, the suburban streets, the lawns, the houses, and above all the particular slant of sunshine or lack of it always start up that peculiar form of organic reproduction called memory. Involuntary memory, Bergson called it – not the intentional kind, when I cast my mind back to recall exactly where I put the wallet and the keys, or the last time we changed Adam. Although I’ve been through the routine of remembering – through the medium of travelling down, say, Lavaca Road, past the I-285 exit, in the day’s mix of weather – every time I come back to Atlanta, still, it is not something I can control, nor can I predict the outcome of the mood it induces. Yester

Tesla vs. Broder

I am loving the fight between Tesla and John M. Broder, the NYT hack . Broder's story about not being able to drive a Tesla Model S to Boston was responded to with a blizzard of data by Musk, the CEO of Tesla . In turn, Broder's story has turned from - I'm a normal guy on a normal drive and the model S failed me -  to I'm a clueless guy calling Tesla personnel every five minutes and they told me nasty lies which made me screw up my d rive.   Some tech writer on the web wrote that the response to this dispute differs between the automobile fans and the tech fans - the former are, predictably, all pro-Broder, the latter find him laughable. Polls show that the Ute, or Youth as they are also known, don't like cars. They like computers. I think this is a shot in that war. The automobilists cling to the gas powered car as though their whole lifestyle were at stake. And they aren't wrong. That lifestyle is at stake, and it is in its last stages. The automobile went fro

500 Days

I’ve started reading Eichenwald’s 500 Days, which is about the reign of error and terror that characterized the first half of the Bush administration. The preface contains an abbreviated countdown to 9/11, citing this or that FBI man or reporter who stumbled on the fact that something big was being planned. As is usual in the establishment press, we go easy here on the obvious: the massive incompetence of the Bush administration. If Al Gore had managed to pass through the coup designed by the court and the Bush handlers and actually assume the office of president to which he was elected, I’m pretty confident that Mohammed Atta and his merry crew would have ended up crashing a private plane into a tower in Portland Maine – if they managed to get on board a plane at all. Americans have a hard time facing up to the fact that the elite that they pay so much to is basically as dumb as any elite in history. These aren’t the smartest guys in the room, unless they have rented the room and

zombies and totems in economics

The Efficient Markets Hypothesis is one of John Quiggins Zombie ideas – intellectually discredited, yet still alive. And yet, this doesn’t mean that Quiggins is right about EMH, because he deals with it as though it were a model developed in a laboratory, which is the way economists regularly see themselves. I would state the case much differently. EMH – the idea that at any moment, the market collectively embodies more information than any one subject within it could have, and so is ultimately unriggable by any one subject – or, as it is more commonly put, the market can’t be beat -   is actually the belated justification for the speculative structure that sprang up in the financial community after the progressive wave at the beginning of the twentieth century ebbed. The ebbing of that wave was too bad. Roosevelt Republicans - partly just to bedevil Taft, but partly driven by the brain trust that had helped design the income tax and the laws governing interstate commerce - put u