Daily Office:
Tuesday, 19 October 2010


¶ The man who gave us those beautiful fractals, Benoît Mandelbrot, died late last week, more or less estranged from the financial world that his researches transformed. In his opinion, quantitative analysts misused his work to convey a false sense of security about dangerous risks. Justin Fox, sitting in for Felix Salmon, suggests why Wall Street didn’t heed Mandelbrot’s warnings. (Also: Brain Pickings)


¶ We agree with David Cho about the finale of Man Men‘s fourth season. (We also think that it befitted a drama that is more about the world of work than any show ever.) Of course, we would have been happy with anything that put an end to the tyranny showtimes. (The Awl)


¶ At Naked Capitalism, Yves Smith rounds up objections to the proposed QE2, or second “quantitative easing.” This is a somewhat arcane issue, but it’s also quite important, and we hope that the entry, with its snips from commenters as eminent as Joseph Stiglitz, will shed light.


¶ Why Harrison Ford is awarding $10,000 prizes annually to writers who can make complex biodiversity issues intelligeible to the general public. (Wired Science)


¶ We’ve discovered a new blog (better to say that a new blog discovered us): My Dog Ate My Blog. We’re very heartened by the overlap in our interests, and the fresh writing is brisk and engaging. In a recent entry, Sarah McCarthy writes about the thorny decision in the eminent-domain case, Kelo v City of New London.


¶ Parag Khanna never mentions Jane Jacobs in a post at Foreign Policy that might as well entitled “Cities and the Wealth of Nations,” — it’s called “Beyond City Limits” insteaad — but what’s somewhat more troubling is the non-appearance of military considerations. With the exception of Venice (which established a large hinterland on both sides of the Adriatic, city states have rarely mastered the defense problem, and never for very long. Toward the end, the focus shifts somewhat, via a discussion of the gee-whiz Korean urban project at Songdo: cities are indeed our laboratories for the future. (via BLDBLOG)


¶ At HTMLGiant, Roxanne Gay announces something new: a Literary Magazine Club. Every month will feature a different “little magazine,” starting with one that we’ve never heard of, New York Tyrant. (That would be the Editor, surely.) We’ve ordered a copy!


¶ Also sitting in for Felix Salmon, Barbara Kiviat picks up a hot topic that was raised in the Times over the weekend: the renewed willingness of economists to take cultural considerations into account when talking about poverty. Such talk makes her uncomfortable, as indeed it does us. If there’s a connection, it’s mediated by other factors, ranging from education to public transport, all of which can be more or less subsidized without affecting individual income.

Have A Look

Paris en noir et blanc. (via Mnémoglyphes)

Nailing Cockerham. (The Age of Uncertainty)

Comments are closed.