An Interesting Puzzle with an Easy Answer

Overcoming Bias has a cool conundrum “directed to Free Market admirers.” Since I qualify, I’m posting my answer. The conundrum is this: in a company of 100 employees, there is a sure chance to make $1billion in profit if either (a) a specific employee dies or (b) 3 randomly-chosen employees die. Now, let’s suppose the…

More Slander

Michael Medved has a charming little bit out today accusing Ron Paul of accepting support from wackos. As a guest on my syndicated radio show, you answered my questions directly and fearlessly. Will you now answer these pressing questions, and eliminate all associations between your campaign and some of the most loathsome fringe groups in…

Democracy Index?

Today’s bit of silliness comes from The Economist in the form of its Intelligence Unit Democracy Index. Apparently, the United States is only the 17th most democratic nation in the world, behind Canada (???), Sweden (!!!) and FINLAND. In fact, Sweden tops the list. Sweden, ladies and gentlemen, is meant to be the the model…

Shogi vs. Chess

Recently my interest in Shogi has been rekindled. This is the Japanese version of Chess (literally – the two games are probably derived from the same source) – similar in some ways, but played on a 9X9 board with some different pieces (notably without a queen) and with drops allowed after captures. I first got…

Mozart and Salieri

Like everyone who grew up in the 80s, my perceptions of musical history are greatly skewed by this excellent movie, based, in turn, on Peter Shaffer‘s highly successful play. Everyone knows the premise: Antonio Salieri drives himself to suicide (attempted and failed) over his obsession with the idea that God is taunting him through Mozart.…

Don’t Think of a Ticking Timebomb

Andrew Gelman over at Overcoming Bias proposes that there is a “one-sided bet” fallacy. He describes it as “see[ing] only half the problem” and “not realiz[ing] that there are any tradeoffs at all.” To get my nitpicking out of the way: his description isn’t quite accurate as he applies it to many situations where the…

An Exercise in Selective Offense-Taking

Anyone looking for a reason to support Islamofascist Awareness Week need look no further than to the fact that James Watson has been suspended for being racist. Ok – but before I go on, the Rules of Commentary© require that I unequivocally declare my opposition to racism in hyperbolic terms – preferably including the words…

The Quantifiability Constraint (on Leftism)

A week or so ago I blogged about Warren Buffet’s pedestrian leftism – which gave me more occasion to ponder just why it is that there seems to be no shortage of leftist celebrities. Some speculative answers offered by Lew Rockwell(via his favorite dead Capitalists): Arrogance – intellectuals and celebrities fancy themselves smarter than the…

More Logic Lessons from my Favorite Teacher

I have often thought that if, by some miracle, IU decided to include argumentative logic in its core requirements, and if, by a further miracle, they asked me to teach it, I would simply use the IDS Opinion Page in place of a textbook. It’s a cornucopia – YES, a COR-U-COPIA – of lessons in…