Quick Roundup 398

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Powell History Recommends...

... FRS!

Whether you love his history courses and wonder how he does it, or have found other advice from his blog useful in the past, or -- as in my case -- both, follow the link.

Criticism of Peter Schiff

Awhile back, I pointed to a video clip of economist Peter Schiff standing his ground even in the face of open ridicule as he correctly called the collapse of the housing bubble. Last night, via Donald Luskin, I encountered a very long post by Mike Shedlock (aka Mish) criticizing Schiff. My impression is that it is a mixed bag, but I found the following noteworthy:

I have talked with many who claim they have invested with Schiff and are down anywhere from 40% to 70% in 2008. There are many other such claims on the internet.
Also, although I haven't gotten to them yet, I saw this morning that an HBL post mentioned two critiques of that very post.

What will publishing look like?

Yesterday, Dismuke forwarded me a link to an article about how publishing is changing with the advent of electronic media. It's geared more towards novelists, but I think any writer would do well to take a look at it.

Here's s sample:
If you think about it, shipping physical books back and forth across the country is starting to seem pretty 20th century. Novels are getting restless, shrugging off their expensive papery husks and transmigrating digitally into other forms. Devices like the Sony Reader and Amazon's Kindle have gained devoted followings. Google has scanned more than 7 million books into its online database; the plan is to scan them all, every single one, within 10 years. Writers podcast their books and post them, chapter by chapter, on blogs. Four of the five best-selling novels in Japan in 2007 belonged to an entirely new literary form called keitai shosetsu: novels written, and read, on cell phones. Compared with the time and cost of replicating a digital file and shipping it around the world--i.e., zero and nothing--printing books on paper feels a little Paleolithic. [links dropped]
I have several Japanese coworkers. I'll have to ask them about keitai shosetsu....

On the subject of writing, a quiz over at Rational Jenn's says I'd have been a playwright in the Middle Ages.


Word to the wise: Don't place a cell phone too close to something you might not want to "answer":

Also file under, "I know I shouldn't find this funny, but...." Something about the ring tone just kills me. (HT: The Fail Blog)

25 Random Facts...

... about Alexander Marriott! Regarding item 23, I think many will ignore his advice. Half of the doctoral rite of initiation is the mind-games the candidate ends up playing on himself directly because of the fact named in the middle sentence in item 6.

-- CAV


Daniel said...

Chao Gus,

Just so you know, I've (finally!) completed the 6 part series on Amelie. Whew.

After seeing your comments here on it though I can give you the short version: what you've been heard on it (which made you not want to see it) is the plot-theme.

The movie actually shows the (sad) emotional state that one can expect after putting other people's lives first and "perhaps" worrying about one's own.

It's theme is the "need to face reality (or one's fears) in order to attain happiness.


The Nearby Pen

Brad Eisenhauer said...

Something about that video looks staged. The subject reacts very quickly to the cell phone, like he's expecting it to ring. There's no audible or visible reaction from whomever is operating the camera, no expression of shock or concern, not even cruel laughter. I don't believe it.

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for the heads-up!


The rapid reach doesn't necessarily bother me, but I now think the ring tone doesn't stop as soon as he answers the phone.

I hope for that guy's sake you're right!


Jim May said...

Hey Gus, regarding economics and Peter Schiff, you might want to take a look at these two pieces openly calling for deliberate inflation:

Steve Chapman

and now this morning, Glenn Reynolds links without comment to Andrew Stuttaford over at National Review, approvingly cites Crispin Odey at Financial times calling for the same thing.

Here we have a libertarian and a conservative openly supporting the redistribution of wealth from creditors (read: savers) to debtors -- in other words, looting -- as the way out of our current predicament.

And they propose this as a solution to the debt problem?!?!.

It is said that the definition of insanity is the repetition of the same actions, expecting different results. This insanity warps the space-time continuum.

First, inflation *encourages* debt by lowering real interest rates even further. That's what happened in the 1970's -- people were running up debt to get ahead of inflation, enough that Jimmy Carter called for people to stop going into debt and cut up their credit cards.

THIS WAS ONLY THIRTY YEARS AGO. *I* remember it from direct experience.

Stuttaford even goes so far as to accuse "market fundamentalists" of not accounting for the danger of "political and social ferment". This was the argument of last resort for the defenders of the New Deal: the cowardly fear of fascist or communist revolution in America.

On what grounds do any of these idiots believe that inflation *won't* cause unrest? Is it all that peace and love breaking out in Zimbabwe?

History (and hell, today's bloody news) might as well go unrecorded, for all the good it does these characters!

With "defenders" of capitalism like these, of what use is the Left?

Jim May said...

Hey Gus, remember this?

Well, that place is back in the news again.

Gus Van Horn said...

The left are, at least now officially in charge. The clowns you're talking about still aren't helping matters, but at least when the left reenacts the Carter Presidency, capitalism will be harder to blame.

z said...

Re Peter Schiff: It reminds me how Howard Roark was going hungry for a time. Sometimes following rational principles leads to short-term hardships. I think Schiff's explanation of the hits his clients have taken is pretty solid. No one can predict short-term trends in stocks. We'll have to revisit this in 10 years.

Gus Van Horn said...

Noted. I'll be visiting this for the first time, really, probably some time in March.

Gus Van Horn said...

Damn! I was amazed at how cheap some houses were there until I read about the low value of human life....

SN said...

Re: Schiff. First, here is his rebuttal to Mish's article.

Schiff is fun to watch when he is showing up others who have blinders on. Problem is: his hypobole. Libertarians like to talk about the US being doomed. Or, perhaps it is broader; perhaps that is fine as political talk (i.e. "if we go on doing this, we're doomed"). It does not work as well, as investment talk, because "we" will probably not go on doing... whatever.

In his rebuttal, Schiff says that hyperinflation won't happen (it is only a "worst case scenario", which will "likely be avoided"). Would a typical listener have understood that from his TV appearances?

Also, the way Schiff (and some others) talk, one would think that U.S. government policies are significantly worse than the policies of Europe, China and Japan. It isn't true. His focus on this one government would be fine if his purpose was political; however, as an adviser of whether to buy Dollar vs. Euros, he must focus on the relative problems as well.

Gus Van Horn said...

That sounds quite reasonable to me. Thanks.