Saturday, March 26, 2005

famous people I admire

An ongoing list of people I admire based on talks I've heard them given, either on a C-Span program or the Charlie Rose show or some other talk show:

Leon Kass - President's Council on BioEthics
I first heard him speak when the council released the initial report on cloning.

Jeffrey Sachs - Haven't read "The End of Poverty" yet but intend to - first heard him speak on "Commanding Heights" mini-series on PBS

Muhammed Yunus - Founder of Grameen Bank

Tim O'Reilly - of the O'Reilly computer books

Friday, March 18, 2005


Impact of average lifespan on national policy

Theory: Expected average lifespan for a given generation is directly related to that generation's willingness to sacrifice for future generations.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Ex Post Regret and Unavoidable Information

I first learned about this concept from my Derivatives Professor, Professor Tim Crack. The term is typically used in finance topics but it can be applied easily to almost every choice we make.

Ex Post Regret is the regret you feel only AFTER receiving additional information that informs you the decision you have made has made you worse off than if you were to have selected a different option.

It's fascinating how a single small piece of information can effect us. Imagine buying a pair of shoes. After some time passes after making the purchase you remain fairly satisfied with it. You then find out from a friend that the shoe was marked down by 50% the day after you buy it. You would then feel upset that you didn't wait an extra day to buy the shoes. If in fact the mark down did occur, yet you didn't receive the information that told you about it, the upsetting feeling would have never been realized.

[work in progress]

" ... In short, we know that people seek happiness and firms seek profits. We know that people can register psychological impulses called “pleasure” and “pain.” We know that firms can compare total revenue to total cost and ascertain whether or not they have earned a profit. But can we know whether or not someone has registered more pleasure from eating an apple than he would have registered from eating a pear, orange, or banana? Can we know whether or not Nike has earned higher profits by producing sneakers rather than loafers? In economic parlance, can we know whether or not someone has maximized utility or whether or not a firm has maximized profit? " -- "Ex ante and ex post: What Does Rod Stewart Really Know Now?" - Walter Block, Art Carden

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

thinking problems

Generalization - required for thinking
Use of language - required for thinking - Must learn to think without using language.

Definition of Thought vs. Meaning - need to figure this out.

Communication is the passing of meaning from one entity to another.
Meaning is distorted by language. But we need language to comprehend meaning. (If this is so, how can I possibly write about this subject?)

Need to establish categories of thought. Pscyhologists and cognitive scientists have probably already done this. (Look into this.)

What are the different kinds of thoughts at the lowest levels?

If I think of an apple, what is that type of thinking called as opposed to questioning what is an apple?