Archive for October, 2008


A great cartoon from Frank Clotham.


Broken rear spoke

Sunday I broke a rear spoke while cruising along Division..No prob, just stopped in City Bikes, picked up a 291mm, and I was back in action..City Bikes is just one of the plethora of cycle shops throughout Portland, and one of the many catering to the hipster crowd. 


The Icelandic meltdown and dilettantism of finacial markets

So how can we calculate the absolute risk aversion in the Icelandic banking industry?—As the curvature of u(c) increases, so does one’s aversion to risk..Outside of those parameters I’m lost.


It’s funny because if you don’t study history you get the great opportunity of repeating it..1,000 years ago Icelanders left Scandinavia in search of freedom and a better life far away from Medieval feudal establishment. Combine this cultural risk-seeking behavior with a desire to be modern, and a neo-culture of inflation and debt, and we begin to see the very underpinnings of a financial meltdown.

The people are industrious and dynamic, and they have a tendency to take on tasks that are beyond them. The current prime minister used to be the foreign minister and he also happened to be the minister of finance – at the time when the head of the central bank, who also did a stint as foreign minster, was the prime minister, and the current finance minister was serving office as minister of fisheries.

Now things are almost back to the way they were in the 80s: the inflation rate is almost double-digit; the state controls the banks and rations currency exchange. All we need now is to re-introduce the beer-ban, and it will look as if the Icelanders want to start the process of globalisation all over again.

Read the entire article via Financial Times Deutschland.


Somali Pirates: 34 Brigade des Forces Spéciales Terre:1

It seems as though French Special Forces have drawn blood against Somali pirates off the coast of the semi-autonomous region of Puntland. Nine suspected pirates have been apprehended in the Gulf of Aden and face possible punishment from local authorities.

Read the article, via BBC.


Txtng: The Gr8 Db8

So what sorts of cultural ramifications exist as texting becomes even more widespread? Professional Linguist, David Crystal, argues (as most linguist tend to do) that naturally occurring changes in a language are not so bad.

It is good to know that the estimated three billion human beings who own cell phones, and who use them to send more than a trillion text messages every year, are having no effect on anything that we should care about. A trillion text messages, Crystal says, “appear as no more than a few ripples on the surface of the sea of language.

In some respects, texting is a giant leap backward in the science of communication. Sending a text message with a numeric keypad feels primitive and improvisational—like the way prisoners speak to each other by tapping on the walls of their cells in “Darkness at Noon,” or the way the guy in “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” writes a book. And, as Crystal points out, although cell phones keep getting smaller, thumbs do not.

Read the review of David Crystal’s book, Txtng: The Gr8 Db8.

Homer Simpson ~(_8^(|)


The Bicycle Commuter Act

Next year, employers who provide bike friendly facilities, i.e. parking, maintenance facilities, and other commuting support can deduct up to $20 a month per participating emplyee from their taxable income.

In General- Paragraph (1) of section 132(f) is amended by adding at the
end the following:(a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 132(f) is
amended by adding at the end the following:’(D) Any qualified bicycle
commuting reimbursement’. …

The $20 bike benefit, should employers actually make the effort to
create a program for their cycle commuters, compares rather poorly to
the $115 mass-transit benefit already available, or the subsidies
nearly double that aimed at helping those who drive to work.

Read here for the entire review, hidden amongst our bailout package.


Economics of Ethnic Dining

Tyler presents his guide on ethnic dining and covers everything from how to identify quality raw ingredients, to understanding the competitive market scope of a developed culinary environment. Something to keep in mind while patronizing neighborhood restaurants.

The best ethnic restaurants are often found in suburban strip malls, where rents are lower and the degree of feasible experimentation is greater. Small and cheap ethnic restaurants are often better than large ones.

Let’s jump ahead to rule three:

Rule 3: Order strategically. In fancy restaurants, never ask, “What should I get?” Instead, ask, “What’s best?” That allows the waiter to highlight what’s special and reveals how informed the staff is. If the waiter’s answer is “everything” — an uninformed or cowardly response — head for the door. In ethnic restaurants, in contrast, asking what’s best often gets you the most watered-down dishes, designed for gringos. Look at what teh ethnic diners are eating and order that.

Click to read Tyler’s write-up. Also, his ethnic dining guide.

October 2008
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