Archive for April, 2009

Natural Born Killers

Posted in Random on 20090430 by Avenging Sword

Red Emma’s post brings to mind a Military Review article I read years ago entitled “Natural Killers – Turning the Tide of Battle”.  The basic notion was that some people are naturally predisposed to feel no remorse about killing; and that such personnel, properly identified & trained, could be (and often were) useful in combat.  My interest piqued, I soon made may way through Grossman’s book “On Killing” – only to discover – alas –  that it mainly dealt with killings by “ordinary” human beings who did feel remorse.

Since then, however, I’ve harbored an occasional interest in the “dark side” of human nature.  Some articles that recently made their way into that file:

1.  Coping w/ the Adolescent Psychopath – the title says it all.

2.  Origins of Antisocial Behavior – “New research on the origins of antisocial behaviour, published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, suggests that early-onset antisocial behaviour in children with psychopathic tendencies is largely inherited.”

3.  Studying psychopathy via fMRI

4.  The evolutionary roots of murderous tendencies:

http://www.nature.com/news/2008/080123/full/451512a.html

http://psom.blogspot.com/2008/01/natural-born-killers_30.html

Random Links XXXI

Posted in Links on 20090429 by Avenging Sword

Real American Heroes:

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2009/02/twin-navy-cross.html

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2008/05/the-last-stand.html

The Republic will always need heroes.

Piping Engine Sounds:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/automobiles/01NOISE.html

Democracy InAction:

http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13145207

Credit Crunch & Mafia:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/28/AR2009022801972_pf.html

Downward Mobility:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/01/us/01survival.html

And people ask me why I live so far below my means.

Gun Rights & the Disabled:

http://www.examiner.com/x-2581-St-Louis-Gun-Rights-Examiner~y2009m2d24-Restrictive-gun-laws-vs-the-rights-of-the-disabled

Automaker Downfall:

http://www.forbes.com/2009/02/19/backseat-driver-vehicles-business-autos_jerry_flint_print.html

How America OD’d on Debt:

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2009/03/fed-watch-when-does-faith-in-financial-engineering-wane.html

Japanese Stasis:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/02/opinion/02tamamoto.html

Narrow Banking Redux:

http://www.bhide.net/financial_crisis_2008/bhide_praise_of_primitive_finance.pdf

AIG Systemic Risk:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/business/economy/03sorkin.html

World Cell Phone Usage:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/02/AR2009030201931_pf.html

Impressive.

Public Pension Losses:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=alwTE0Z5.1EA

Frannie v. Private Labels:

http://blogs.cfr.org/setser/2009/02/18/mortgage-credit-and-the-housing-boom/

Note how small Frannie’s share of mortgage credit was during the bubble years.

Random Links XXX

Posted in Links on 20090428 by Avenging Sword

Soldier Survival:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/184156/output/print

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3076487/

Educational Dysfunction, Student Entitlement Edition:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/education/18college.html

Discipline vs. Niceness:

http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/942/full

Stereotype Threat:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/01/AR2009020102171_pf.html

Postmodern Dating, PDA Edition:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/no-kissing-allowed-at-warrington-station-ndash-it-blocks-the-platform-1623806.html

Slumdogs in Real Life:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/185798/output/print

Netbooks:

http://www.wired.com/gadgets/wireless/magazine/17-03/mf_netbooks

1.  This is “network computers” redux.  With WiFi instead of landline ‘Net connections.  Works so long as you’re willing to depend on the network & providers thereon.

2.  The passages re. the relative clout of manufacturing vs. “branding and marketing” were annoying to read.

3.  Note that Moore’s Law can work in more than one direction.  Instead of better performance for the same price, one can have the same performance for less price.

Interesting Times:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/feb/23/police-civil-unrest-recession

Echoes of the Chronoliths & pro/anti-Kuin protests….

Mexico Downfall:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/24/us/24border.html

We really need a Southern Wall….

Random Links XXIX

Posted in Econ on 20090426 by Avenging Sword

Fiscal Responsibility:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/print_friendly.php?ID=st_20090221_4101

The title, “Real Reaganites Raise Taxes”, says it all.

Student Loans & Credit Crunch:

http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2008/10/22/naicu

Permanent New Frugality:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/22/business/worldbusiness/22japan.html

So this is what happens when an entire country adopts my financial habits.

Bank Nationalization Done Right:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2009/02/more-on-that-dirty-word-nationalization.html

Worthy comment hoists therefrom:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2009/02/more-on-that-dirty-word-nationalization.html?showComment=1235302560000#c8191326255472127564

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2009/02/more-on-that-dirty-word-nationalization.html?showComment=1235305860000#c3397553445308065816

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2009/02/more-on-that-dirty-word-nationalization.html?showComment=1235318880000#c5708561444391692296

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2009/02/more-on-that-dirty-word-nationalization.html?showComment=1235336220000#c5993401258671191958

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2009/02/more-on-that-dirty-word-nationalization.html?showComment=1235337120000#c8324062099815947430

Transparent Society, Financial Reform Edition:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-03/wp_reboot

Gaussian Copula & Financial Crisis:

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/it/magazine/17-03/wp_quant?currentPage=all

http://www.wilmott.com/blogs/paul/index.cfm/2009/2/24/Copulas-and-Cults

http://falkenblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/dont-blame-quants-felix.html

Monetary Futures Targeting:

http://blogsandwikis.bentley.edu/themoneyillusion/?p=35

Random Links XXVIII

Posted in Econ on 20090424 by Avenging Sword

Corporate Overleveraging:

http://www.economist.com/finance/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13145730

There is always a price to efficiency, and redundancy does have benefits in a storm.

Swiss Bankruptcy?:

http://www.creditwritedowns.com/2009/02/switzerland-threatened-with-bankruptcy.html

Another one bites the dust?

Death of the Check:

http://blogs.ft.com/gapperblog/2009/02/a-long-slow-british-farewell-to-the-cheque/

EU Capital Controls:

http://blogs.ft.com/maverecon/2009/02/the-return-of-capital-controls/

P2P Mortgage Lending:

http://thomasbarker.com/content/orphaned-mortgage-article

My preference remains Denmark’s mortgage system, but this is still an interesting notion.  It would work much better with a Transparent Society.

Fiscal Responsibility:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/print_friendly.php?ID=st_20090221_4101

“Real Reaganites Raise Taxes” – the title says it all.  Bartlett’s fatalism WRT the welfare state (and adaptation thereto) brings to mind Charles Murray’s “In Our Hands” proposal.

The Great Inflation’s Aftermath:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/st_20081115_6446.php

Gold Standard & the Depression:

http://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian_initi/2009/02/at-least-we-dont-have-the-gold-standard-to-worry-about.html

Canadian Banking:

http://www.newsweek.com/id/183670

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/28/opinion/28tedesco.html

Why Canada’s banking system hasn’t imploded.

Canadian Mortgages:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/15/AR2008101503321_pf.html

http://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian_initi/2008/10/nick-rowe-on-the-outlook-for-canadas-housing-market.html

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0929/p16s01-wmgn.html

I’m still a fan of the Danish mortgage banking system, but Canada’s apparently isn’t too shabby, either.

Liquidity Insurance:

http://www.voxeu.org/index.php?q=node/3044

An interesting notion on how to regulate financial institutions going forward.

Earth Day Links

Posted in Random on 20090422 by Avenging Sword

Apropos “Earth Day”, I give you: 

How to Destroy the Earth

There’s also Part III of Larry Niven’s “The Alien in Our Minds“, which is perhaps the most entertaining discussion of the Fermi Paradox I’ve ever read. 

(Quasi-HT:  my brother, to whom I originally forwarded the first link, but who reminded me of its existence earlier today.)

Random Links XXVII

Posted in Econ on 20090421 by Avenging Sword

Financial Crisis:

http://www.housingwire.com/2008/12/22/the-blame-game-redux/

India Bank Regulation:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/20/business/20nocera.html

Bank Recapitalization Debated:

http://www.economist.com/finance/displayStory.cfm?story_id=12813430

http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/greenspan_roundtable/

Chinese Downfall:

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2008/12/guest-post-how-can-no-one-see-imminent_23.html

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/ambrose_evans-pritchard/blog/2009/01/15/will_china_lead_the_world_into_depression

Asymmetric Information, Ratings, & Guarantees:

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/12/the-value-of-re.html

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/11/the-need-for-re.html

http://brontecapital.blogspot.com/2008/11/brad-delong-question-and-how-to-design_24.html

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2008/11/how-to-design-a.html

http://falkenblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/taking-things-for-granted.html

http://blogs.ft.com/wolfforum/2008/10/recapitalising-the-banks-is-not-enough/

http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/market-movers/2009/01/06/the-problem-of-regaining-trust

Thoma (first couple links, above) brings up an important point:  even after we put down insolvent banks, it will likely take some time before credit begins flowing normally once again.  During that time, government assistance to solvent banks might be necessary IOT get the latter lending again.

Laissez-Faire Recovery:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/20/opinion/20krugman.html

Japan Downfall, Illustrated:

http://www.newsneconomics.com/2009/02/japan-is-taking-beating.html