Wednesday, May 31, 2017

One of the most amazing results of number theory

The prime numbers are not spaced evenly along the number line. What is the biggest gap between prime numbers?

There is no such "biggest gap." If we take the number, say, 3455324898588757997446990653578956897469994337854, we can always find a gap between prime numbers at least that large! (And I just typed a very large, completely random sequence of digits: this result holds for any number whatsoever!)

Covfefe Ops

Prediciton: "Dev Ops" will soon be replaced as a trend by "Covfefe Ops."

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Something rotten in the state of Blogger

Here are this week's stats:

Clearly, that spike was automated, and not real readers. But what is going on? And why do the bots keep visiting "Central Planning Works," rather than fanning out across all posts?

Kan't Ban

David T. Anderson is the guru of the Kanban movement for managing software projects.

But a competent economic analyst he is not. He divides economic activities into those that "add value" and those that are "wasteful." But activities that do not add value to a final product (and are known not to add value) are not the activities of an economic producer at all: they are called "consumption" or "recreation." (The whole idea of "adding value" in production is itself questionable, but let's not go into that.)

For instance, he talks about staining a wood fence for a customer:
This involved a trip to Home Depot. There was also some preparation work required on the fence: some repairs, some sanding, and trimming plants... To allow access for painting. None of these activities could be described as adding value. The customer does not care that I have to make a trip to Home Depot. The customer does not care that this activity takes time. In fact, it is annoying, as it delays the start and the end of the project. (Emphasis mine.)
No, unless David intends to stain the fence with air or dirt, the trip to Home Depot does not "delay the start of the project." It is the start of the project. And neither does the customer "care" that the staining takes time: the customer would much prefer that David could stain the entire fence merely by thinking about it being stained. And the customer surely would be very annoyed if David simply stained right over the plants growing along the fence, rather than trimming them back, or failed to sand, so the stain would not take.

What Anderson is doing is simply arbitrarily designating certain costs as "not adding value" and then pointing out that the customer would like those costs minimized. But the customer would also like the costs that Anderson claims do add value to be minimized. In fact, the ideal production process takes no time and is completely costless. Until we can achieve such a process, all work that is required to deliver the final product "adds value." Any work that does not add value should not be reduced, as Anderson suggests, but completely done away with. (In fact, that Anderson talks about minimizing this work, instead of eliminating it, demonstrating that somewhere inside he knows his distinction is arbitrary.)

When it comes to producing software, Anderson distinguishes between things like meetings, that are "waste," and actual coding, which "adds value." Again, the distinction is completely arbitrary. Imagine we have a software-generating AI that can simply listen to humans holding a meeting about a piece of software, and then write the code. In that case, the only part of the production process involving humans would be meetings! The customer does not "care" about the meetings, but, in fact, doesn't "care" about the coding either: the customer only cares about the final product doing what he wants it to, however the product came about.

Short of having such an AI, the question is, "Are the meetings being held helpful to producing a better software product?" If they are, they are "producing value." (Again, this is not really an accurate way to speak: production processes do not ladle out little dollops of value here and there into a product.) Think about a half-hour meeting where one software engineer discovers that his colleague has already written and debugged an algorithm that he was going to spend the next week writing and debugging. That meeting was "worth" a week of coding, since the first programmer is now freed up to code something else for the next week.

And if the meetings are not helping to produce a better product, they should simply be dropped.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Educators, open source your test material

I've heard from several professors that they don't like to put their course material in publicly accessible places, because then students will merely memorize that material, and be able to pass the course without any real understanding of what is going on.

That's true for a single professor posting her material from the past couple of semesters, which she hopes to re-use again in the next few semesters.

But what if an entire department established an open source repository of all of their test and homework material? Then the faculty would have access to a pool of thousands of possible test questions and homework assignments.

And what about some student who went and memorized all of this material? Well, such a student deserves an A!

In other words, the way to handle the problem of students looking up previous tests and homework assignments so that they can gain an edge in their course is not to try to hide that material (which, as my colleague admitted to me, doesn't work, since students find a way to share it anyway), but instead to overwhelm the students with so much publicly available material that any student who memorizes all of it is good to go.

Building software tools

How much time one should spend building the software the customers want, versus how much time one should spend building tools to better enable one to build the software the customers want, is simply a special case of how "round-about" one should make any production process.

My friend Howard Baetjer noted this many years ago, but it seems it is still not widely recognized in the software industry.

Puzzling blog post puzzle

And just why do so many of my recent posts have "puzzle" in the title?

Another page hit puzzle

I don't really look at these stats too often, so that's why when I occasionally do, I am so puzzled by what I see. For instance, this month, most of the top posts have gotten a thousand or so hits. But this post, from 7 years ago, has 47,000 hits this month! Say what?! It's not even a very interesting post.

What the heck is going on here? Is there some way someone could be routing spam through one of my blog posts? That doesn't seem possible, given what I know about blogs, but I ask because I don't really track how these things work, and I can't understand why one of my old, relatively uninteresting posts could suddenly be generating so much traffic.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A linguistic puzzle

I am watching a Hindi language movie. In the opening scene, a board showing the train schedule at a station is shown.

The headings on the board are all in English: "Track", "Train", "Departure", etc. But all of the entries on the board are in Hindi.

Why would anyone design a train schedule board in this fashion?

A passenger who can only read English can read the headings but not the actual train information. A passenger who can only read Hindi can read the train information, but not the headings. And anyone who can read both could read the board if it was written entirely in one language or the other.

So what could be the motivation for this mixed language board?

Traffic puzzle, part II

It seems I do have a lot of new links to this blog, but they are being recorded as coming through this site.

But what is that site? And why are my hits showing up as coming from it, rather than the actual blogs that are linking here?

Man, this software stuff is confusing!

The falsity of the "they're just reading" response

In response to my post "The Most Rapid Alteration of Human Behavior in History," A couple of readers essentially responded, "They're just reading," and sent me links to items like the photo above.

First of all, before the photo above was taken, reading had been gradually spreading amongst humans for many thousands of years. Nevertheless, the spread of literacy did represent a profound change in people: we remember far less than our preliterate ancestors did, instead relying on external documents for our memory. No less a figure than Socrates worried about this change, and apparently that is why he never wrote anything.

But the photo I used in my post (the one linked to above) was taken, not several thousand, but only a dozen years after the invention of the smartphone.

Furthermore, the behavior of smart phone users is pretty different from that of newspaper readers. True, for some time people have read newspapers while waiting in line, or riding a train. But as far as I recall, newspaper readers did not:

  • Read the newspaper while biking down a busy NYC street.
  • Drop their newspaper under a bus and die while trying to retrieve it.
  • Go on a dinner date and spend most of their time reading the newspaper.
  • Read the newspaper throughout an entire three-hour lecture that they paid many thousands of dollars to attend. (I see about half of all students at university lectures continually using their smart phone throughout the lecture.)
  • Cause 1.6 million accidents a year by reading the newspaper while driving.
  • Walk into walls, pools, and bears because they were reading the newspaper.

Now I don't deny that any of these things might have happened very rarely with newspapers (or books, etc.) in the past. But newspapers did not cause 1 in 4 car accidents, and while every few months I might encounter someone reading the newspaper while walking down the street, today, in NYC, about half the people I see out walking are also on their cell phone.

So, when you convince me that newspaper reading was causing similar problems to the above, then I will believe that nothing new is happening.

Now available for pre-order on Amazon

Our new ebook, The Idea of Science.

Why Are We Discussing the "Probability" of Something That Happened?

This is bizarre -- when illustrating how dominant the Warriors were during the NBA regular-season, Ben Alamar chooses to discuss their "win probability"... rather than, say, their actual number of wins! Statistics have become more real to him than actual events!

Dynamic Programming, the video

Greedy Choice Versus Dynamic Programing

To give a mini lecture on when one can use a greedy algorithm and when one must resort to dynamic programming, I had a little cross disciplinary breakthrough: we can make the greedy choice (and thus use a greedy algorithm) when there is no opportunity cost for doing so. When are choice does come with opportunity costs, the greedy choice won't work.

I hope to post the lecture later.

"Contacting" Amazon

On their Kindle publishing site, Amazon has a "Contact Us" button. (It is at the bottom left on this page.)

Is it just me, or does the "Contact Us" button just lead you around and around more web pages, with no ability to contact anyone at all?

UPDATE: I finally found a link leading to an actual contact page!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Philosophy of Nature

My review of Paul Feyerabend's Philosophy of Nature is now published at British Journal for the History of Philosophy.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Blog readership puzzle

Here's the chart of hits per month for La Bocca:

The puzzle is, I have no idea what caused the liftoff in readership a year ago, or why it has climbed with three distinct peaks as it has. And when I look through my referrals, the main source of traffic seems to be, not a link from some big name blogger, but Google.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Garden in May

The relevance of van Bavel

As you may know, I am currently reviewing Bas van Bavel's The Invisible Hand? for History: Review of New Books. As I am reaching the end of the book, I am ready to write the introduction for my review!

Van Bavel's work might best be characterized as "applied history." (Students of Michael Oakeshott will recognize that this means van Bavel, while doing serious historical research, is primarily dealing with the "practical past," i.e., the past viewed as providing lessons for present choices.) The context in which this work is set is the ongoing debate over optimal economic policy. For a time, from the collapse of the Soviet Union until about a decade ago, it seemed that this debate might be settled: neoliberalism had triumphed, and the best political economy prescription clearly involved a heavy dose of free markets. Certainly, there was debate at the margins: Should healthcare be publicly provisioned? How big a welfare state should one have? What is the proper role for central banks and international economic institutions like the IMF? And there were always heretics like Marxists and Catholic social theorists who demurred from this consensus, but they were like flat earthers or creationists, and could be safely ignored.

But then came the financial crisis of 2007-2008, and all that had seemed settled was at play again. The response to the crisis by free-market advocates most typically ran along these lines: "Yes, the crisis was bad, but it was the result of crony capitalism, not of true free markets. If the central banks and the international economic institutions had not gotten in bed with the big banks, this all could have been avoided." And there is, I think, a good deal of truth in this response.

But van Bavel's work provides a very important counter-response. Van Bavel's main thesis is that open markets work well, for a time, at producing wealth and lifting all boats. But with the rise of factor markets, meaning market dominance over the allocation of land, labor, and capital, there arises an increasingly wealthy financial elite, and that wealth gives them an increasing influence over social conditions in general. In particular, this elite becomes more and more able to bend the legal system of their society to serve their own interests. In short, unfettered free markets produce crony capitalism as their probable (at times van Bavel seems to suggest inevitable) outcome, much as consuming crystal meth, while providing a boost for a time, sooner or later produces a collapse in health.

Van Bavel backs his thesis with extensive evidence from three case studies: Iraq between 500 and 1100 CE, Northern Italy from 1000 to 1500, and the Low Countries between 1100 and 1800. He also touches, much more lightly, upon other instances of market societies, such as England, the United States, early modern China, and the Roman Empire.

My next post on this topic will be the conclusion of my review.

The most rapid alteration of human behavior in history

And it seems nobody is paying it much attention. Well, of course not: they are too busy checking twitter!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

My enthusiasm for DevOps

It might appear that I am simply latching on to a trendy topic.

But it actually goes a little deeper than that: the previous time I was involved in professional software engineering ended in about 2004. At the time, my friends and I had been pushing ideas like software as infrastructure, why one should prefer open-source software, and the advantages of text-based systems. But we faced a lot of opposition.

Fast-forward a dozen years: I dive back into the professional development world, and discover... we won! And the name of that victory is: DevOps.

Of course, like every other marketing term, "DevOps" will be over-hyped, and claims about its wonderfulness and ability to make babies' poop smell good need to be taken with a grain of salt. And, of course, in 2004 we hadn't yet forseen every aspect of the DevOps revolution: after all, a whole lot of smart people have devoted a whole lot of thought to this topic in the dozen years I was gone. And I am now in the process of enthusiastically absorbing the many great ideas they have added to what we knew in 2004. But these are great ideas built on top of the approach to developing and deploying software that we are ready knew was the best approach out there.

And I am far from alone in having experienced this: I have been listening to the DevOps Cafe podcast, and a number of guests have remarked that when they first encountered "DevOps," their imediate reaction was, "I've been advocating DevOps for years: I just didn't know that's what it was called."

What's more: the DevOps principles don't just apply to software development. You may not have noticed, but I've increasingly been "DevOpsing" my writing projects. For instance, as you know, I have been working on my review of The Invisible Hand? recently. In doing so, I have been creating "continually deployable" parts of my review: the blog posts you have seen here. Furthermore, I have been continually integrating those "gists" into my actual review.

DevOping the MS computer science curriculum

What I am going to say here applies mostly to training software engineers. Training theoretical computer scientists is a different matter, and my guess is that that is already being done pretty well.

The problem I perceive is that software engineers are being trained at universities by using methods more appropriate to training theoretical computer scientists: what's students get when they sign-up for an MS in computer science is the first portion of the curriculum used to train theoretical computer scientists for doing a PhD. Now, that knowledge is not useless to a working software engineer: all of the top working engineers have some understanding of theoretical computer science. Certainly, a good engineer should know what is being said when someone points out, "But your algorithm will run in exponential time," and have knowledge of how to determine the asymptomatic complexity of an algorithm they are considering.

But this is a minor part of most working engineers jobs. When presenting a proof for the runtime complexity of an algorithm in one of my lectures, I pointed out to my students, 99% of whom intend to be working engineers, and not theoreticians, that we engineers certainly should not be frightened of these proofs. But, I noted, they really won't play much of a role in your future jobs: in 20 years of professional software development, I told them, I had never once had my manager come to my office and demand a proof of the runtime complexity of the code I was developing.

To properly train of working engineer, one has to have them develop software, especially real software, that will actually be used by real users, rather than toy software developed simply to pass a class.

This implies that to properly train software engineers, MS programs must be able to offer them real projects to work on. But what kind of software for real-world use can an MS program possibly be involved in developing?

Answer: the program's own courseware! Of course.

So the new paradigm is: make your courseware open source. Make it buildable. Make it testable. Allow continuous integration and setup automated testing. Create monitoring systems that provide rapid feedback as to the success of the courseware. Put your courseware in an open source repository. But most of all:

Realize that, if you are training MS Computer Science students, you are a software company. Treat the entire enterprise as a single software project, developing agile courseware. Maximize the opportunites for sharing code and knowledge amongst all courses, and make the MS students an integral part of this process.

I'm number one!

A reader just wrote to tell me, "Your book Oakeshott on Rome in America has gone to number one at in the category 'Books on Oakeshott, Rome, and America.'"

Friday, May 19, 2017

Crony Capitalism: The Free Market Cycle, Part II

"Also, in the course of the cycle described here, those groups and organizations in society who would aim for changing the arrangements of the market in order to balance or reduce negative externalities, gradually lost their economic and political power... Their revolts in the later stages of the cycle proved futile. This is also because of the consolidation and entrenchment of the elite in these later stages... Exactly in the last phases of the cycle the elites... closed their ranks...

"In all these cases, the state increasingly came under the influence of those who benefited most from the market system...

"In the first phase of the cycle, in each of these cases, the role of the state was not yet very prominent,  and it figured next to all kinds of other organizations and associations that fulfilled semi-public roles... In the second phase, states... increasingly stimulated the rise of markets in more direct ways, induced to do so because of fiscal reason. These markets, with the associated monetization and commodification of land and labour, enabled them to tap resources and tax transactions and wealth more easily than with other forms of exchange and allocation, such as barter or communal redistribution.

"Each of the cases discussed saw growing state repression, armed violence, and warfare by state and public authorities, in the last stage of the cycle. It is telling that this was done after the militias of ordinary people were replaced by professional soldiers or slaves, hired or bought in the market and being more dependent on their employers or masters than the independent producers in the former militias were."

-- Bas van Bavel, The Invisible Hand?, pp. 268-270

van Bavel on McCloskey

"I do not think the market fosters immorality of individuals... On the single point... I would agree with McCloskey that such a critique would be mistaken. However, this is not because capitalism will improve our ethics, as McCloskey argues, but rather because such a critique misses the crucial mechanism and the essential point. Even if the market itself is not anti-moral, and market behavior at the micro level is not immoral either, the outcome of market dominance at the macro level in the longer run will likely be a negative one, as shown in the cases investigated... This negative outcome is bound to occur particularly within a skewed social context..." -- Bas van Bavel, The Invisible Hand, p. 267

Microservices running on unikernels

That's the future of computing, my friend.

For example, that you were writing the weather prediction application, that needs to rapidly execute matrix operations on very large matrices. Your first thought may be, "Well, I find a good linear algebra library, and compile it into my program."

But there are several problems with this approach:

  1. Every time the producers of the library find a bug and fix it, you will have to recompile your program and redeploy it.
  2. Every time the producers of the library add a feature you want or improve the performance of the features you use, you will have to recompile your program and redeploy it.
  3. If there are security holes in the linear algebra library, they are now in your program also.
  4. Your program is now larger by the size of the linear algebra library.
  5. If there is specialized hardware for running these sorts of computations, you will need to make sure your program runs on it or forego the speed improvements it would provide.

A better solution is for your weather application to rely on a microservice. Some specialists in computational linear algebra will build the service, run it on some highly optimized hardware, and allow people to subscribe to it. When you need a large matrix multiplication, you will passe this service a message across the Internet, and it will do your computation for you, and bill you based upon the size of the computation. Every time the specialists fix a bug, you immediately have their bug fix. Every time they upgrade their hardware, you have upgraded your hardware! Every time they speed up the calculation, you have instant access to the faster version.

And these microservices will increasingly run on unikernels: they will be built by taking a library of operating system components, and compiling in just the minimum set of modules that will enable the service to run. So, for example, the linear algebra microservice does not need a graphical user interface. It does not need mouse drivers, or printer drivers, for display drivers. It does not need code for handling user logins or starting terminal sessions. It does not need process or memory management: it is built to run a single application. It probably does not even need a filesystem: just a way to access disk cache for intermediate results.

Tech-support running out the clock

"Please install the latest updates to your phone, watch, Apple TV, Mac Book, and thermostat before we go any further."

THIS time, I'm sure they are correct!

"Trump will never survive this Comey scandal."
Brought to you by the people who told you:

  • Trump will never survive those remarks about Mexicans.
  • Trump will never survive the first GOP debate.
  • Trump will never survive the first Republican primary.
  • Trump will never survive Big Tuesday.
  • Trump will never survive the GOP field narrowing.
  • Trump will never survive the GOP convention delegates coming to their senses.
  • Trump will never survive the first presidential debate.
  • Trump will never survive the hot mike tapes.
  • Trump will never survive election day.
  • Trump will never survive the revolt of the electors.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Corporatist new-left alliance

McDonald's is now advertising itself as a force for "diversity." This is hilarious: is there a single corporation in the world that does more to wipe out diverse local cuisine's then McDonald's does?

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A man after my own heart

I have previously pointed out that the new left's hedonic individualism plays right into the hands of global corporate interests. Here is a nice statement of why this is so:

'Nevertheless, what Korab-Karpowicz rejects is treating the dominant culture as a whipping boy and substituting it with a bland, sterile relativism. As thesis 7.6232 states, the goal of such actions is often “the reduction of human beings to the same kind of individuals, motivated only by primitive lust”. Moreover, modern global business elites, sadly, welcome this process. As Korab-Karpowicz states “such [motivated only by lust] individuals make ideal consumers, whether for commercial goods or for sex, and are at the same time (as persons deprived of higher values, such as virtues), easy to manipulate to instigate to quarrel” (p. 156).'

A curious claim

"Output per worker around 1300 was as high as after 1348, even despite the windfall gains caused by the population decline of the Black Death..." -- Bas van Bavel, The Invisible Hand, p. 107.

The thinking here seems to be that with fewer workers working the same amount of land, employing the same amount of capital, output per worker "should" have gone up. But this seems to ignore some important factors, such as the fact that many people were ill, while those who were not ill were often tending to the ill, or burying the dead, or fleeing to a remote retreat in order to avoid becoming ill. Once we take these countervailing factors into account, it is not at all obvious to me that a plague will present a "windfall gain" in output per worker.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Algorithm textbook complaint

When I took algorithms, we used Robert Sedgwick's book, called, quite imaginatively on his part, Algorithms. Today, the book usually known as CLRS, for the initials of the last names of the authors, dominates the algorithm textbook market.

I am re-reading Sedgwick at the moment, leading me to say: I think this is a shame. Sedgwick's book is much clearer and better written. It also has a much more useful approach for engineering students, with emphasis on how to actually implement the algorithms, rather than pages of mathematical proofs of their run-time complexity.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Worst Part about Pornography (for males, at least)

Note: here I am not talking just about "Internet porn," or dirty magazines: I am talking also about the constant flow of pornography that arises from our mainstream movie industry and our advertising industry, both of which constantly try to sell males on the idea: "You will be made most happy by a woman if the shape of her body conforms to certain socially admired standards."

This is total and absolute rubbish. Men: your life will be enhanced by a woman to the extent she loves you, supports you, and desires to help you. Whether she has a "big butt" or "small" whatevers will have very little impact on your life with her.

Of course, if a woman's (or a man's) body is grotesquely extreme, that can (quite naturally) preclude a sexual relationship with that person (as it is often a sign of deeper malady). An adult woman who weighs 60 pounds or one who weighs 400 pounds each might be very hard to embrace as a sexual partner. But in the broad range in between anorexia and gross obesity, you really should pay very little attention to the woman's body, and much more to how you and she interact.

Monday, May 08, 2017

The free-market cycle

As a student of social cycles, I am always on the lookout for new instances of social cycle theories. And in writing my current book review, I have come across one: the free-market cycle. Here is the author of The Invisible Hand?, Bas van Bavel, describing this cycle:
The three main cases analyzed in the book, and also the three modern cases that are more tentatively discussed, show a similar pattern in the interaction of society, market institutions, and economy. In this pattern, an originally positive feedback cycle -- between increasing freedom, growing factor markets, and economic growth -- turns into a negative one, with the increasing social polarization, institutional sclerosis, markets that become increasingly skewed towards the interests of market elites, and economic growth stagnating and turning into relative or absolute decline. (251)
The cases being analyzed are ones in which factor markets -- for land, labor, and capital -- come to increasingly dominate the allocation of those resources. At first, the process yields good results: "these markets acquired favorable institution organization which offered security, transparency, and broad accessibility" (252). An important factor in these favorable results was that non-elite actors "had access to alternative mechanisms of exchange outside the market and therefore were free to choose whether to use factor markets or not" (253). (Such mechanisms included guilds, strong family institutions, networks of barter exchange, and production for home consumption from one's own land.)

But as factor markets began to eliminate such alternatives, often through "outright attacks" (254) on them -- e.g., enclosure laws, or anti-guild legislation -- "wealth inequality rose to high, or even unprecedented levels" (255). To preserve their wealth, the new elites "tied it up in family foundations, religious foundation, or fiduciary entails" (258-259). Despite the fact that such events often prompted an artistic florescence, they indicated "a tipping point in the cycle had passed, together with other signals including a highly skewed distribution of property, the increasing volatility of financial markets, big public indebtedness, the increasing application of non-economic coercion, and the freezing of capital" (259).

"For Iraq... in the early tenth century, after three centuries of intense market development, it had become one of the most unequal societies recorded in history" (261). Similar results hold for Italy around 1400, for the Low Countries in the 1500s and 1600s. And the less rigorous studies the author offers for the UK and the US more recently show the same dynamic at work.

Van Bavel offers a number of reasons for this result, e.g., "the wealthy usually have more access to information or legal expertise. With the growing scale and complexity of markets, the advantage this offers them also grows" (263). This factor weighs heavily against the anarcho-capitalist antidote to crony capitalism: there is no reason to believe that a financial elite cannot dominate the anarcho-capitalist "market" for law even more thoroughly than they can dominate the "production" of law in purportedly democratic societies.

Van Bavel asserts there is a predictable feedback mechanism at work here: "in all the cases of market economies discussed [increasing wealth inequality] became translated into inequality and political influence and decision-making power, which in its turn was used to adapt the institutional organization of factor markets to the interests of the wealthy" (264).

In short, "mature market economies as a result of this feedback cycle change from being open and equitable to become unequal and distorted" (265).

This is what we actually see in every single case where "free markets" come to dominate a society. It is all well and good for libertarians to bemoan "crony capitalism": but if this is the predictable outcome of their polices, they bemoan in vain.

The moral principles that market advocates often posit as counter-balances to the rise of crony capitalism are also ruled out in van Bavel's analysis:
Moreover, the elements that reduce or compensate for negative externalities of market exchange they mainly be supplied by nonmarket organizations and by norms and values generated outside the market. In the course of time these norms and values, and the associated organizations, are instead eroded, as this book shows, their roles are usurped or superseded by the market. (266)

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Availability bias

I used to never see two G trains in a row at the Carroll Street station, but I would often see two, or even three, F trains coming before the G did. "Why," I wondered, "are there so many more F trains than G trains?"

That was when I was riding the G. Now I take the F... and I never see two Fs in a row. For the same reason that lost things are always in "the last place you look for them"... because once you find them, you stop looking. And once your train comes, you stop waiting. So you only ever see the other guy's train come several times in a row.

You mentioned you were interested in learning about VMware?

Zeno for the computer age

If you wish to better understand Zeno's worry about the continuum, you could do worse than to consider loops in software. Case 1: You...