Friday, February 22

a valiscious person

ambitious, auspicious, capricious, delicious, factitious, fictitious, judicious, malicious, nutritious, pernicious, propitious, seditious

I Can Say with Absolute Certainty That You Are Wrong

Man: You're not mad at me?
Woman: Nah. I can't get mad at you, 'cause I look in your face and know you're not a valiscious person. You don't mean it. Some people, though -- some people are just downright valiscious.

--30th & Madison

Overheard by: Unrelenting Monkey

via Overheard in New York, Feb 22, 2008

Sunday, February 17

It's not a "feature", it's a bug!

Four features of drug prohibition:
  1. Prohibition engenders criminal enterprises and criminal subcultures.
  2. Prohibition generates more potent forms of the forbidden substance.
  3. Prohibition enlarges drug toxicity by contamination and adulteration.
  4. Those poisoned by interdicted substances in their potent or contaminated forms are blamed for their disabilities, or even their deaths, because they were engaging in outlawed conduct.

Thursday, February 7

Am I dead?

So, my wife was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer a few months ago.

For some reason I hardly ever dream of her, but last night I dreamt she wasn't paying any attention to me, and I finally found out it was because I was dead.

But then apparently I wasn't dead, but she was having an affair.

Not in real life. As she says of her attachment to me, 你燒成灰我都找得到你. ("Even if you're burnt to ashes, I'll find you.") And vice versa?

Kind of Obvious, isn't it?

How do we form preferences when we do not fully understand complex issues? We fall back on heuristics, or mental shortcuts. New research suggests the most powerful of these is to find leaders with whom we feel cultural kinship -- and then follow whatever they recommend.
And it's not just leaders; it's also peers.

Monday, February 4

Significant Insignificance

Saturday’s Washington Post reported on newly-released employment data from the Department of Labor:

“In economic terms, a loss of 17,000 jobs is statistically insignificant. For example, the Labor Department’s initial report that only 18,000 jobs were created in December was later revised to a gain of 82,000 jobs, leading some economists to say that January actually may have created a few jobs.”

The only problem with this statement was not that it was false, but that it was buried deep in a story, which was headlined Decline in U.S. Jobs Could Prove Costly to GOP Nominee, and began:

“The economic storm clouds gathering over the 2008 presidential race burst open yesterday with news that the economy shed 17,000 jobs in January, the first job loss in 52 months and the clearest sign yet that the economy may be in a recession.

For Republicans already facing an economic headwind, the jobs numbers could prove punishing.”

Yes, but only if they’re spun that way by newspapers like the Washington Post.