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anciendaze

This is an effort to pull this discursive discourse together into something coherent. I'll start with the purely economic side. At the largest scale we have a macroeconomic view found in "This Time is Different". There is a great deal of dense material in this book, but I'm only going to...
While some problems can be traced far back in history, the fundamental change in the economy before the current crisis can be conveniently bounded by the War on Terror. This is a touchy subject, and I will do my best to avoid unnecessary judgments. There is an economic aspect which needs to be...
anciendaze
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My last peroration concerned the way one major component of the economic fiasco of 2008 could have been made visible. A diagram, on a single (if large) piece of paper, of the way credit default swaps (CDS) connected major financial institutions could have made it obvious at a glance that the...
anciendaze
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The latest financial news seems to be that the U.S. economic system isn't as bad off as it seemed; paradoxically, this is because Europe may be in a bigger mess than previously thought. A meeting between leaders of Germany and France did not produce dramatic results, which markets were hoping...
anciendaze
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Our global education in modern economics continues apace. Recent financial news introduced many people to the unfamiliar term 'quantitative easing', as well as the acronym FOMC (Federal Open Markets Committee). This is a measure designed to boost the money supply when ordinary fiscal and...
My goals in starting this series have been obscured by subsequent events, but one underlying theme has been strongly reinforced. Individual humans exhibit 'bounded rationality', even when pursuing narrow self-interest defined in numerical terms. If any participants in the debate in Congress...
anciendaze
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Events have provided the excitement I feared. (Brace yourself for another digression.) S&P has announced that the U.S. government is about as reliable a debtor as Belgium, (which can scarcely agree on the language in which to debate issues.) Their published reasoning offers a little for each...
anciendaze
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Today's financial news provokes yet another digression from me on the origin of the Eurozone. Don't expect this to match official histories. We have been asking what is this stuff called money, without pinning it down. One common assumption is that money is something issued and regulated...
anciendaze
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A long list of people who have tried to analyze wars from an economic standpoint have ended up with contradictory conclusions. In "Vom Kreige", Clausewitz couldn't find any separate purpose for war. "War is the extension of politics by other means." (Possibly true, but this begs another...
anciendaze
7 min read
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During the Great Depression there was a recurrent theme of "Where did all the money go?" It has been a constant surprise to me that scarcely anyone asks where the money which had fueled the roaring twenties came from. My answer is that the U.S. enjoyed prosperity because all parties in the...
anciendaze
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Today's news tells me the U.S. will not go out of business just yet. (This will prevent me from buying some choice items at the going-out-of-business sale.) Further down the page I find reports allowing me to add two more financial institutions to the list of those still figuring out what hit...
anciendaze
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While I don't pretend to understand the current budget deal, I will hazard some observations about things noticed in the previous week. We had a House plan from Republicans, a Senate plan from Democrats, and a proposal from the Tea party for a balanced budget amendment, plus an analysis by the...
I have previously suggested the problem with research on ME/CFS centers on a lack of funding for meaningful research with some chance of changing a dismal situation. I have also traced some current controversies to what I believe were scientific errors made decades ago, even before the label...
One aspect of the Lipkin talk at WPI was surreal, his appeal for someone to write a check for one million dollars to research CFS, MS, Parkinson's or diabetes. This at an institute which has been effectively blacklisted ever since they had the temerity to claim a new retrovirus was loose in the...
anciendaze
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The last landing of a Space Shuttle provided a poignant moment for those interested in space exploration. For the foreseeable future U.S. astronauts will be riding expendable Russian rockets into space at some $60,000,000 a pop. That this represents a considerable savings reveals quite a story...
In 2009 there was a study using pyrosequencing to compare the viral communities in sputum from the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis (CF) to viral communities in sputum of healthy individuals. Pyrosequencing (and 454 sequencing) is one of several competing methods generally referred to as...
While researchers dealing with biochemistry of the central nervous system were plagued by doubts, uncertainty and confusion, medical practitioners exhibited far more confidence. The distance between "this just might make you feel better" and "this will fix what ails you" is short enough to fit...
In the beginning, there were no neurotransmitters, and the brain was without form, and void of activity. (Well, O.K., maybe it had the appearance and structure of a mushroom in the morel family, or some corals, and maybe it had some kind of activity as indicated by galvanic responses and...
During the American Civil War, in 1863, Confederate General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson was shot by accident by his own sentries as his party was returning from a reconnaissance. He was hit twice in one arm, and once in one hand. Though his wounds were not immediately life-threatening, he...
Lets consider a great triumph of medicine, vaccination to prevent smallpox. This innovation is credited to Dr. Edward Jenner, who certainly deserves praise for his work. How did this come to be standard practice? The observation that people who survived one bout with smallpox were immune...

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anciendaze
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