4-9-11 Hodgepodge

Saturday, April 09, 2011


Directly pertinent to Richard Salsman's column (linked below) at Forbes this week is an article in the Hillsdale College publication, Imprimis, in which, as Jeffrey Meek of Rational Public Radio notes, "Seth Lipsky, founding editor of the New York Sun, asks the question, 'What would happen if we let the kilogram float?'" The Sun itself put out a much shorter editorial making the same basic point, in February.

[O]ne could go whole hog and fix the value of both the kilogram and the dollar but float the value of time. You say you want to be paid $100 an hour. That's fine by your boss. But he gets to decide how many minutes in the hour. Or how long the minute is. You know you'll get a kilogram of meat for the price a kilogram of meat costs. But you won't know how long you have to work to earn the money. It strikes us as a risky deal. But speaking here for The New York Sun, we say if people are going to insist that the whole point of the kilogram is its constancy, then we're going to say that there's no point to it without, as well, a constant dollar.
Meek is right to praise the connection Lipsky makes between fiat money and the violation of property rights, but the shorter piece is also ingenious in its own right -- for making clear how fiat money impedes even the simplest transactions.

Weekend Reading

"Since private gold holding was legalized, the gold price has increased by nearly eight-fold, from $185/ounce to $1464/ounce, and precisely because the U.S. dollar, officially unhinged from gold, has declined in basic purchasing power." -- Richard Salsman, in "The Bank Runs of the Early 1930s and FDR’s Ban on Gold" at Forbes

"[T]o accept that the proper role of government is to facilitate ... charity doesn't just pervert our status as a capitalist economy, it destroys the basic premise of individual liberty on which the U.S. is built." -- Jonathan Hoenig, in "U.S. Should Value Greed, Not Need" at SmartMoney

"When a person rejects the very good in favor of nothing less than the perfect, he or she will most often be left with something even worse than the most menial job: The futility of having given up." -- Michael Hurd, in "Make Your Second Career a Reality" at DrHurd.com

My Two Cents

Michael Hurd addresses his column to retirees, but anyone attempting career change (or even just looking for work) would do well to read it. The grind of a job hunt added to constant reminders of how bad the economy is can make one forget what's right in the world, and become pessimistic. Hurd shows how to overcome such thinking by formulating five basic strategies for a successful search.

At this point, I'll chime in and reiterate my longstanding recommendation to look at Nick Corcodilos for additional advice on the nitty-gritty of finding opportunities and landing a job.


I like this illustrated chart of "APA Philosophy Referee Hand Signals," but I see that my favorite NFL hand signal ("Too many men on the field."), pictured at right, doesn't appear.

Perhaps it means, "not even wrong," but went missing because of its resemblance to "I'll have to consider that."/"Loss of Down."

[Fill in your own joke about how this might explain the persistence of mysticism through the ages here.]

France's "Mechanical Internet"

I think I've heard of this before, but perhaps referred to as a "mechanical telegraph."
Telecommunications got an early start in France, where inventor Claude Chappe built a series of towers between Lille and Paris in 1792. Each tower was topped with a set of movable wooden arms that could be arranged to represent symbols; if each operator viewed his neighbor through a telescope, a symbol could pass through 15 stations covering 120 miles in only 9 minutes, giving France a valuable communications advantage over the surrounding powers during the sensitive period of the revolution. It makes an appearance in The Count of Monte Cristo.
Follow the link for the relevant literary passage.

-- CAV


Realist Theorist said...

An 1840's novel's protagonist forces a semaphore operator to send a false message, making him the first hacker!

(Novel's title withheld so as not to be a spoiler.)

Gus Van Horn said...


Snedcat said...

Said book also stars one of literature's first ganja tokers.

Snedcat said...

Well, in pill form.

Snedcat said...

In liquid form at least. I like to think of it as "Jamaican cough syrup."

Gus Van Horn said...


I'm going to have to read this book the next time I want some fiction.