An excellent recent episode of the BBC Radio 4 math/current affairs show "More or Less" dramatized "The Parable of the Ox," a short article by John Kay originally published in the Financial Times (available from Kay's site). Fans of James Surowiecki's Wisdom of the Crowds will know the first part of this story -- wherein the average of several guesses about the weight of an ox was more accurate than the guesses of any of the experts in the crowd. What this podcast and the article adds is a coda about how the use of "guesses" (or stock trades) as a way of weighing the ox quickly departed from guesses about the weight of the ox (or the value of a firm) and turned into guesses about other peoples' guesses about other peoples' guesses -- a financialized system that soon has no connection to the real economy or the real ox. And it ends, predictably enough, when the ox dies.
Twentieth Century Flicks is the world’s oldest surviving video rental store. The offer 20,000 films (yes, many on VHS too) and even have screening rooms. This shop embodies much of what I miss about how I experienced media growing up before the dark times… Before the modern Web. Be kind, rewind. Directed by Arthur Cauty. […]
As you shiver your way through February, you’re probably thinking about paying your heating bill. But in just a few short months, the summer sun is going to come calling — and the fear of pulling that energy bill out of your mailbox will start becoming very, very real. Air conditioning accounts for about an […]
Despite legalization in 11 states and decriminalization in 15 more, marijuana-based products are still an often tough sell with many Americans. While the psychoactive THC portion of the plant remains controversial, the medicinal impact of the non-altering component of cannibis, CBD, is widely hailed. Many portions of those claims still await medical verification, but for […]
If you remember your Norse mythology (or just watched Marvel’s Thor movies), you’re probably familiar with Heimdal, the god whose ever-watchful eye was entrusted with protecting the home of the gods in Asgard. Back on Earth, Heimdal Thor is also the name of a security package from Heimdal Security, that’s actually dedicated to much the […]