Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A review of "Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (Fully Revised and Updated)"

by Charles Wheelan

My comments are actually about the 2002 edition.
  1. I didn’t learn anything. I’ve read a bunch of finance books and a few books on economics, and this book just didn’t add anything substantial for me, so it was a waste of time.
  2. The author likes to give multiple metaphors to explain economic activities, things like people choosing a line at the grocery store. I found this to be boring padding, ymmv. I’d prefer a straightforward discussion of how it works, and then some detailed discussion of the nuances involved.
  3. I found the author’s writing style pompous on occasion, which was a turn-off.
  4. The book struck me as slanted to the right, although it’s probably true that I’m ignoring his minor attempts at appeasing the left. There’s the usual talk about “creative destruction” and rah rah for globalization. The author proposes that inhumane labor practices should be ignored in third world countries – after all, the alternative is prostitution for these workers, and no one is making them work under poor conditions in these factories, they are choosing it of their own free will! So buy your junk from Wal-Mart and feel good about all the tiny kids stabbing themselves with sewing needles for 12 hours a day, because we’re all winners in this equation! We are supposed to believe that only these two options are available, and that we have no say in adding more options for third world workers. There is not one mention of the fair trade movement. Negative effects of capitalism are sprinkled with fairy dust and swept under the rug with “yes, it really sucks to be poor, but we’ll give them a little government subsidy to soothe our consciences, but let’s not dwell on unpleasantness, but instead move right along to the next sterling example of creative destructionism.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tank one hundred and forty-two

Total miles: 49596. Trip miles: 391.1. Gallons: 7.255. Price per gallon: $2.999.

Screen mileage: 52.1 mpg. Tank mileage: 53.9 mpg.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

pie crust made from shortening

pie crust made from shortening
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

I've never made anything with shortening before. It's a little scary, solid white greasy stuff which you don't have to refrigerate, but which claims to be edible. But I found Spectrum organic shortening - no trans-fats - at the Whole Foods store, and decided to try it. My hope was for a less greasy pie crust than what I usually get with butter.

Here's the crust as I'm rolling it out. It's considerably easier to work with than a crust made from butter.

Below is the resulting pie. It looks incredibly good and the crust looks perfect! Too bad I have to wait till tomorrow to break into it.

apple pie
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tank one hundred and forty-one

Total miles: 49205. Trip miles: 406.4. Gallons: 9.155. Price per gallon: $2.979.

Screen mileage: 48.9 mpg. Tank mileage: 44.4 mpg.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

climbing followed by chinese chicken

chinese chicken
Originally uploaded by wereldmuis.

I went for another climb today. Got some practice belaying, nice!

Then I went home and made Chinese chicken for dinner. It looked so good I had to record it for posterity. It tastes even better than it looks!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

basically it's the book (rated 4 stars)

I watched The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo today.

The movie’s well done, and very closely follows the book. The only problem is that there are no surprises. I’m glad I read the book first. I’d give the movie more stars if I hadn’t.

Now I sort of want to go out and get a nose ring…

my pm3 is dead, slain by a bad battery

I haven't used my indoor rower since June, at which point the monitor was working fine. Yesterday, I decided it was time to start preparing for the Concept2 Holiday Challenge. When I started to row, the monitor didn't turn on automatically, like it usually does. I figured, "dead batteries" and opened the monitor to pop them out. Much to my chagrin, I found one of the batteries had "exploded" and leaked all over the circuit board.

I was tempted to pour some Dr Pepper over the thing, but I didn't have any in the house. Instead I tried scrubbing on some baking soda with a toothbrush. That removed some of the corrosion but not all (the photo above shows the end result, still with plenty of gunk). I had to flush a little water over the area to remove the baking soda and detritus... I let it dry overnight, and tried it out this morning. It still doesn't work, no surprise.

I could continue to row without the monitor, of course, but then I wouldn't be able to record my meters, and couldn't participate in challenges, which is something I really enjoy.

So I've ordered a PM3 retrofit kit from Concept2 for the horrifying price of $160 (I guess I'm lucky that they still sell the things). Reminder to all: remove the batteries from expensive items when you aren't going to be using them for a while.