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Category Archives: Society

Gender balance


Interpolate… Most recently Tim Bray posted about Moving the Gender Needle relative to the genders in our profession. Weeks before I was called a “sexist” by a group of guys in a Programming thread on Google+. At the same time I was discussing sexual harassment with a well-written, well-expressed girl. I have a very intelligent […]

What went wrong with nuclear power


Oddly enough, I found one of my missing pieces yesterday, quite by accident. Reading Freeman Dyson’s book “Disturbing the Universe” (1979). Did not know he had anything to do with nuclear reactors. Turns out he was part of a small very capable group that designed an early “fail-safe” nuclear reactor – one that did not […]

Change in North Africa


Simple statement – the “Arab” world I do not really understand. Past friends from that world gave some insight, but I could not measure the endurance of oppressive regimes. The present changes in the Arab world are amazing and inspiring. I know good people there are dying. I know the outcome is in doubt (there […]

What is an efficient “Free Market”?


The “Free Market” meme is very popular. The usual definition is a market without government intervention, and somehow efficient. From where does this notion come? One gift to European-derived societies, earned in the “Dark Ages”, is the notion that society and government are separate, and that society can exist without government (where we associate “government” […]

That’s not correct (on economics)


Seems the folk that write about economics are largely idiots. OK … maybe that is a bit strong, but with so many examples like this, it is hard to come to any other conclusion. The shift in income shares since the 1970s — from the middle and bottom to the top, as well as from […]

What’s Wrong with the Culture of Wall Street? – TIME


Reflections of an Anthropologist on the Wall Street mindset. What’s Wrong with the Culture of Wall Street? – TIME Before this crazy crash of 2008, bankers always landed on their feet, almost always. Job insecurity isn't the same thing for the average American worker. They often experience downward mobility or don't land on their feet.

How improve both oil production and the economy


Part of our economic mess starts with the huge flow of dollars sent outside the country to buy oil. We could produce oil from domestic sources, but the base cost is higher than pumping oil out of the ground and shipping halfway around the planet. If the market price is high enough, investing in production […]

What makes for “Global Competitiveness”?


Top Countries in Global Competitiveness: article, slideshow An observation – a number of the small countries with outsize rankings are noted as having high taxes. So high taxes need not harm – and when the tax revenues are used effectively, may benefit – competitiveness (at least as measured by this group). On a more speculative […]