links for 2008-09-29

29 Sep
  • …recently, after reading about how Chetan Bhagat’s books sell 10 gazillion copies every minute, I’ve realized that a chronic inability to write well, make sense and positively impact the emotions of your readers is no longer a road block to becoming a successful novelist.
    My book will be targeted at the youth of India, because the old can’t read any more and the little ones prefer Nickelodeon. It’s titled ‘One Night @ The Staff Quarters, Who Not To Do at IIM’, and it’s guaranteed to sell at least 44 billion copies, because I’m hoping all the IIM alumni, current students and aspirants buy it. I never went to an IIM myself, but I don’t see how that makes a difference to anything. Tolkien never battled any Orcs.
    I also realize that the key to the success of my novel is word-of-mouth publicity. I don’t know what that word is yet, but I’m desperately hoping to figure it out by the time I’m done.
  • The spontaneous emergence of social cooperation—the emergence of a system vastly more complex, responsive and efficient than any government could organize—is not universally acknowledged or appreciated. It discomforts a certain political sensibility, the one that exaggerates the importance of government and the competence of the political class.

    Government is important in establishing the legal framework for markets to function. The most competent political class allows markets to work wonders that government cannot replicate. Hayek, a 1974 Nobel laureate in economics, said, "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design." People, and especially political people, are rarely grateful to be taught their limits. That is why economics is called the dismal science.

  • And there’s the real trouble. Writers – at least, good writers – are vaguely unbalanced ego maniacs. They can take any kind of criticism or insult, as long as it’s delivered face-to-face. But the eavesdropping quality to the focus-group experience gets past even the most arrogant writer’s ego. It feels like you’re listening to what people might be saying behind your back.

    It feels worse than criticism. It feels like the truth.

  • History won’t declare this the day capitalism died…Capitalism will go on, not because it is perfect but because no alternative comes close in terms of creating wealth. …Much of what has happened is a consequence of the intersection of two or three developments in the international economic system.
    One, already mentioned, was the sheer expansion of capital in the economy…When its capital that’s on tap, no one has the necessary plumbing. This capital flow then joined with an information technology revolution whose intangible impact on finance, one, reduced regulation to guesswork for people like Greenspan and, two, paved the way for quant-based risk assessment…Finally, because even regulators are groping with the new financial order, the man on the street is less willing to trust governments to do the right thing…
    Welcome to 21st century capitalism. The ride has just begun.
  • While looking for good photographs of London, I was contacted by London photographer Jason Hawkes, who had some wonderful images of London, seen from above at night (from a helicopter, to be exact) – some of which which he's agreed to let me share here. From Jason: "Shooting aerial photography during the daytime had its own difficulties, you are strapped tightly into a harness leaning out of the helicopter, shouting directions through the headsets to the pilot. If shooting in the day can be difficult, night and the lack of light causes its own set of problems, but overcoming them is half the fun and the results can be stunning. I shoot at night using the very latest digital cameras, mounted on either one or two gyro stablazied mounts, depending on the format of the camera and length of lens I'm having to use." (19 photos total)
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Posted by on September 29, 2008 in Links


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