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Why can\'t we shoot back at the feds?

On Noodle Food, Diana Hsieh responds to a post saying: Read more »


We do not want you and Ayn Rand would not have wanted you

Amanda blogged asking whether her Harvard Law non-secular student group should be called the Humanists (more-inclusive ) or Atheists (less-inclusive). The question reminded me of the whole TOC/ARI split, one of the many reasons I find Objectivism so unappealing. It's a movement supposedly about freedom, independence, and liberty that had a major philosophical split over whether it's OK to talk to and respect people who disagree with you. Read more »


Progressives For Polygamy!

Kling and Caplan, that entertainingly bickering duo, are at it about polygamy. My two cents: I'm guessing that most feminists think of polygamy as male oppression. In a society where women are free to chose their mates, it's actually the opposite. Read more »


A practical argument against IP protection

I personally feel that it is not immoral to copy intellectual property, but the empirical case for when IP protection is economically efficient is less clear. When IP is protected, more gets produced (since producers are compensated), but less gets used (because people who value it at more than copying cost but less than price don't use it). Whether the result is a win depends on messy empirical facts about the supply and demand for each good. Read more »


The Transparent Society

At least, a little bit. Here's a roundup of some of recent incidents: Read more »


Milton Friedman Video

Thanks to all those who have sent their condolences. While memorial arrangements have not yet been made, I think it is safe to assume that those who wish to express their regrets donationally should go here.

On a lighter note, today was the first time I saw the Milton Friedman Choir and their a capella song: Read more »


Scott Adams on voting for self-image

If you haven't checked out Scott Adams blog, please do - it's fabulous. I liked Dilbert, but when is writing is unconstrained by the tiny panes of a comic, it is even better. Yesterday, he advised his California readers to vote for Prop 87 (tax on gas which pays for renewable energy research) purely in order to stoke their self-image: Read more »


Avoid Parlays!

People have very poor intuitions about probability, and some current events give good examples. For example, let's consider "The Islamist Threat", which makes Robert Bidonetto say: "National security is the only issue that truly matters these days; all else pales by comparison". In order for it to truly be a problem worth governmental action now, we need the following confluence of events:

1) Radical Islam truly is a growing and evil movement, not just one that happens to be in the news these days because of Iraq. Read more »


Policy isomorphism - Fiscal : Domestic as Civil Rights : Foreign

I am baffled by a pair of beliefs that my LJ friend Boffo holds. In one case, he looks at two aspects of government which people often treat as equal, but affect our lives very differently, points out why, and then concludes that we should care about the one which affects us much more. In the other, he looks at two aspects of government which people often treat as equal, but affect our lives very differently, and then concludes that we should care about the one which affects us much less. Read more »


The simple case against drug prohibition

Apparently Randall Parker made a dumb argument against the libertarian pro-drug-legalization position, and Crasch responded.

I think all this talk of incentives and local vs. global control is making way too complex an argument which in this case is completely unnecessary. The reason why we should legalize drugs can be summed up in four words:

Drug prohibition doesn't work.
Read more »


A sensible stock market columnist?

It's like finding a good snow cone in the Kalahari, but Marek Fuchs seems to be one.

I must guiltily admit to following my employer's stock price and news stories on a daily basis. I know from Taleb why this is a bad idea, but given how much of my net worth it affects, I can't help it. Read more »


English vs. Dutch auction dating strategies

Tylers asks "Would any of you like to ponder the difference between a Dutch and an English auction, and how it applies to dating strategy?", and Glen Whitman responds, including a summary of the isomorphism: Read more »


Interviews with Guantanamo Detainees

"As best as they can tell Badr Zamen Badr and his brother were imprisoned in Guantanamo for three years for telling a joke. Actually, for telling two jokes. They ran a satire magazine in Pakistan that poked fun at corrupt clerics, sort of the Pashtu edition of the Onion. The first joke that got them in trouble was when they published a poem about a politician...He called them up, he threatened them, and as best as they can tell, he told authorities they were involved with al-Quaeda."


Farewell to the Magna Carta (and the Constitution)

I haven't been paying much attention to politics, but the internet informs me that Congress has just passed a bill which allows the US Govt. to declare any citizen a terrorist, lock them up without proof, deny them judicial review, deny them a trial by jury, and torture them. A crazy amendment to add the explicit Constitutional right of habeas corpus was shot down 51-48. Read more »