Archive for September, 2011

New photos up: Apple Picking

I’ve put up new photos from our apple-picking trip to Afton Apple Orchard this past weekend here. Samples below the jump.

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Thoughts on “Fooled by Randomness”

I recently finished reading Fooled by Randomness, the second book I’ve read by Nassim Taleb. It was quite similar to (it actually predates) his other book The Black Swan, and it was written in a similarly amusing, “I know better than you” style that would be annoying if he were, in fact, correct much of the time.

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Policy and politics

One of the many wonderful things they teach you in a Master’s program such as MSST is policy analysis. Part of that analysis is looking at a politics versus policy matrix. Whether a certain course of action is good policy versus good politics is largely orthogonal, so you really have four different boxes that an idea can fall into: good policy and good politics, good policy but bad politics, bad policy but good politics, and the box where you never want to end up, both bad policy and bad politics.

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New photos up: University of Minnesota

About a week ago I spent the morning taking photos around the University of Minnesota. I don’t know what it is about the U, but I feel the need to excessively process the photos I take there. Hopefully, they aren’t too overdone. A few samples below the jump.

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The travails of Cassandra

Never have the policies and politics of this country been more frustrating. Not only to myself, but to everybody: approval ratings for the president, Congress, and both political parties are cratering. Is it any surprise? Nothing is getting done. The American house is on fire, Republican leadership is arguing whether now is a good time to finally hold that garage sail, and Obama, meekly pointing to the flames on the roof, capitulates and sells the water hose to the guy across the street. One side is locked into a worldview that is increasingly distanced from reality (the leading Republican candidate for president is campaigning on chain emails, apparently never hearing of Snopes). The other side has thrown up its hands and bothers less and less to fight. The winners are pundits and inside-the-Beltway types who get paid to spill ink and electrons talking about what ails us. The losers are the people who are still unemployed because the U.S. can’t bother fixing its own problems.

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