21 February 2011

Haute: The EZ of 2011

Groupon in Austin today was a special from a company calling itself Haute Cakes Couture Desserts. Let me explain why that’s a horrible name for a company. Firstly, “Haute” is pronounced “oat”. So it’s oat cakes. Oatcakes are a kind of flat unleavened Scottish cake. They’re nothing like the cakes the company sells. Secondly, “Couture” is dressmaking. So put together all the concepts the name brings to mind, and we have “Fashionable dry oatmeal pancake dressmaking desserts”. ... Read more

10 January 2011

The way the world works, and the god that sucks

How The World Works in The Atlantic is the best article on economic theory I’ve read in ages. Granted, I don’t exactly go out of my way to read articles on economic theory, but that’s largely because most of them exhibit the blindness cataloged in this article. Certain (mostly American) economic theories have somehow taken on the aura of absolute truth. It is drummed into us that free markets always optimize; what’s best for the individual is best for everyone; protectionism is bad. ... Read more

2 January 2011

The gangster chic of remix culture

Giles Bowkett ponders remix culture, and writes: There’s an interesting and somewhat alarming correlation between culture based on recycling other culture and organized crime. I don’t think there’s any particular mystery about why this is the case. It’s down to the unfortunate fact that corporations have decided to try and make artistic collage and appropriation into a form of illegal art. If you make music via extensive sampling, sooner or later you’re going to get sued, or at least seriously threatened with a lawsuit. ... Read more

1 January 2011

Christmas 2010: Flying to the UK

As you may have seen on the news, the UK has been experiencing some freakishly cold weather. The weekend before Christmas was marked by a sudden record breaking cold snap. Chesham in Buckinghamshire hit -26 Celsius, a temperature I don’t think I ever experienced during the years I lived in the area. Heathrow airport was engulfed in snow and ice, thousands of passengers were stranded at the airport for days, and it started to look as if our Christmas trip to see my family was going to be canceled at the last minute. ... Read more

18 December 2010

My YouCut suggestion

The Republicans have a new program called YouCut that encourages members of the public to suggest wasteful federal government programs that should be cut in order to balance the budget. Here’s the suggestion I submitted: I propose saving a minimum of $340 million a year by abandoning the use of expensive backscatter X-ray machines at airports. The scanners are easily fooled. They actually make it easier to sneak plastic explosives onto a plane, because they fail to detect objects easily uncovered by a pat-down. ... Read more

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