Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Misc. work

On the Gabe Wisdom Show tonight at 7:30 pm ET, I'll be discussing "The Resurgent Fifties," about how the stock market recovered in that decade and its relevance to today.

Coming this July 4 weekend: a new piece at FrumForum, on a matter of historical and personal interest.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Well, I couldn't resolve a minor technical issue, so instead I opted for a complete site redesign. That's a less dramatic move than it sounds, in that it took me literally about 60 seconds with Blogger's new templates. Maybe I'll redesign it again after lunch.

Technical issue

Attaching screenshot as part of effort to iron out some glitches on site.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stocks in the '50s

My latest at Research magazine: "The Resurgent Fifties," a decade in which the stock market recovered, and which holds lessons for today. Excerpt:

In 1952, the New York Stock Exchange conducted a survey to see how many Americans participated in the stock market. The findings were sobering: just 6.5 million individuals owned shares in publicly traded companies — a mere 6 percent of the adult population.

By contrast, in the century’s first three decades, the number of individual shareholders had risen from some 1 million to 10 million, all in a less populous America.

The Great Crash of 1929 still cast a long shadow in the early 1950s. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remained below its pre-Crash high. Savings bonds were the investment of choice, while stocks retained a dicey reputation. Nearly 70 percent of families with annual incomes over $3,000 said they were opposed to buying stocks.
Whole thing here.

UPDATE: I'll be discussing this article on the Gabe Wisdom Show on Tues., 6/29 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Options for listening live or via the archive are available at the show's website, and the interview will later be available here.

Brainwave monitors

Most of the press releases that crowd into my work email account are uninteresting as well as irrelevant. Here's the opening of one whose relevance I'm not sure of, but which does catch my interest:

NeuroSky, the world’s leader in wearable consumer brainwave technology, announced that it has closed a $11.8 Million Series C round of funding led by Taicom Capital. All previous lead investors participated, including W.R. Hambrecht, bringing the total amount raised to $18.6M since the company’s inception in 2004.
Some more on this topic here.

On a vaguely related note, I see that Ryan Sager has ended his Neuroworld blog at True/Slant.

On a more or less unrelated note, I see that my own blog, when viewed in Internet Explorer, now at least sometimes has the letters "ents," as in the end of "comments," mysteriously appended to the end of posts. I hope this glitch goes away by itself, and it's a reminder that technology's imperfections require some cautions in, for example, brain-related applications.

Horgan's cross-check

Iconoclastic science writer John Horgan, whose work I've followed with great interest for some two decades, has a lively new blog at Scientific American called Cross-Check. A look back: I reviewed Horgan's The End Of Sciencefor Reason in 1996, and his Rational Mysticism for what was then TCSDaily in 2003.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Salon on Frum

Note to self: Never write a piece expressing one's loathing for the people at a cocktail party to which one wasn't invited. That can't make the author look good, and doesn't in the case of Salon's Gabriel Winant on a recent event at David Frum's house.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Am I a carbon chauvinist?

Weird things you find when you Google your own name: I'm on a Facebook page devoted to "Carbon Chauvinism." It stems from this not-recent article where I quoted Victor Stenger using that term (which article, incidentally, shows up garbled at Reason's website).

Beethoven online

It can't be a bad morning when you discover there's a vast storehouse of Beethoven and other classical music in the public domain ready to be downloaded at will. Co-blogger Mitch, did you know about this? (Via a Marginal Revolution link to a 1942 performance of the 9th Symphony.)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Shanghai skylines

I'm doing some research on the history of the Chinese stock market, and these pictures are probably worth a couple thousand words.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My early endorsement

"He played golf for several months using a garden glove from home instead of a store-bought golf glove--'I didn't want to buy one until I knew I was going to like the game enough to stick with it'."

A look at the fiscal conservative who could and should be the next president of the United States here.

UPDATE: And more reason to like him here.

UPDATE 6/15: Even more reason.

Really Wrote on Medved

Since the recent release of Who Really Wrote the Bible? (see here and here), Gil Weinreich and Eyal Rav-Noy have appeared on numerous radio shows to promote the book. On Thursday, June 17, from 1 to 2 PM Pacific Time, Gil and Eyal will be on Michael Medved's show, one of the most important in the country, to discuss the book at some length. Options for listening live by radio or Internet, or listening later via the archives, are available at the show's website.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dreaming of Chitwan

Another busy week has started, making me wish we were in Nepal's Chitwan National Park instead. Not that that's exactly an idyllic place -- problems continued with poaching, and for some time last year, amid Maoist-fomented turbulence, Nepal's government was stalling on relicensing the lodges. Still, it doesn't get much better than this.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ideas in Action

My old haunt TCSDaily has morphed into a TV show called Ideas in Action. I'll be interested to see how that goes. I have fond memories of when TCS, or Tech central Station as it was once called, was in full swing and I wrote for it on subjects ranging from MacArthur to the Strad.

Contemplating e-books

"'Vanity' Press Goes Digital," enthusiastic article about self-publishing e-books in today's Wall Street Journal (which publication, incidentally, I read on paper after picking up from the end of a fairly long driveway), makes me want to self-publish some e-books based on ideas I've had, including ones I've not yet even run by a publisher. The world has changed, and based on my experience of publishing-industry gatekeepers, their eclipse is not much of a loss.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Glamour tradeoffs

Recommended reading: Virginia Postrel on glamour, Obama, health insurance, wigs and more in an interview at Reason. One great thing about Virginia's work is the combination of diverse subject matter and unifying themes, and another is that her writing never gets caught in a rut.