Showing posts from 2012

Secrecy in the USA

Much ink has been spilled over the publication of "No Easy Day" , the book authored by a former Navy Seal detailing how Bin Laden was killed. The Department of Defense is obviously  quite upset  with information coming out which was supposed to remain in. To me the story is mainly a reaffirmation of why I don't believe in conspiracy theories of the "We never went to the moon" or "CIA planned 9-11" varieties. If it involves the intelligence community, and there isn't a tell all book on the Amazon best-seller list authored by one of the main participants, I say it never happened.

London Tube Lines

This is the "Northern Line" of the London tube: It should be clear that whoever designed the tube system in London had a pretty hazy notion of the geometric concept of "line".

Quote of the Week: British Library

Registering for a reader pass at the British Library: Registration Officer: "Are you a PhD student?" Me: "Yes, would you like to see my student card?" Registration Officer: "It's ok. Nobody ever lies about doing a PhD." Incidentally the staff at the BL is amongst the most polite and friendly I have ever encountered.

Una modesta proposta per aiutare ad uscire dalla crisi

Premetto che sono vari mesi che cerco di scrivere questa cosa con piu' ordine, ma l'argomento e' talmente ampio che poi mi areno e non continuo. Quindi esporro' semplicemente alcuni obbietivi auspicabili, e poi cerchero' di spiegare perche' credo che siano problemi tecnicamente risolvibili. Sulla fattibilita' politica di quanto discutero', preferisco non esprimermi in questa fase. Obbiettivi: Stimolare la domanda. Ridurre i costi della politica e incentivare un'amministrazione morigerata dello stato. Migliorare la posizione fiscale dello stato. Creare una piattaforma per valorizzare il patrimonio artistico nazionale Come fare: Annunciare che l'apparato statale italiano viene spostato in una nuova localita'. Io la farei qui , ma se conoscete altri luoghi pianeggianti con ottimi collegamenti autostradali e ferroviari esistenti, ditemi pure. Espropriare i terreni agricoli a valore di mercato, costruire case, ed offrirle a prezzo di

The Stanstead Serengeti: the Problem with Ryanair

This item arose my interest, along with a few couple hundred thousand people. A family was forced to pay €300 (€60 per person)  because they had neglected to print their boarding passes (they had them on their cell phones as .pdf, which most carriers find sufficient). Most people find this excessive, but a few comments apparently sided with Ryanair's view that the family had agreed to the terms and conditions, which clearly stated that they would be charged that amount if they filed to show up with the printout. Coincidentally enough, Ryanair was the subject of the first, and i believe last, case study I ever wrote, back for my first undergraduate course ever (sometime in fall 2002). At the time I thought it was actually rather clever to disassemble what was effectively a bundled good (seat+luggage+refreshments+white glove treatment) so that people could decide what to pay for. If I'm travelling with no stowed luggage, why should I be subsidizing my neighbor's suitcase

Twenty Twelve, and the EUR 8,000 uniforms.

The excellent BBC comedy series Twenty Twelve had managed to fly under my radar for the entirety of its two-series run. I only found out about it thanks to the in-flight entertainment system of my Singapore Airlines flight to Sao Paulo. A few notes: Twenty-Twelve is the closest spiritual successor to Yes, Minister that I have ever seen.    The Thick of It  was also a competent comedy, but the unpleasant source material  made for a more restricted viewing niche. The Office  was a great series, but personally I find the mockumentary format is now a bit over-exploited. Especially since their cinematographic style is diverging from that of contemporary documentaries. An other arguable  Office influence: all characters essentially represent various shades and declination of bumbling ineffectualness. Fine, this might approximate your average government department, but frankly I find the lack of a Humphrey Appleby figure a bit distressing. Is it to Italian to ask that political fictio

Photoshop Cropping: a step in the right direction

It looks like the Adobe Photoshop team did some of what I suggested in a previous post. According to this video , the new CS6 version has the center of the photo remain constant as you crop an image. What's missing is the idea of the image being zoomed in as you crop, so that it always fills the screen. Presumably, we'll have to wait until CS7...

Economist Blogs

The Economist's blogs are now much better than the magazine articles. Take this gem on the TSA . It is a rare article indeed which reaches these levels of informative comedy.

Less Facebook posts

It doesn't really make sense to post stuff where only Facebook users can see them. From now on, blog posts!