Saturday, September 21, 2002
Friday, September 20, 2002
Public versus private initiative in Arctic exploration: The effects of incentives and organizational structure
Karpoff, Jonathan M
Journal of Political Economy, v. 109(1), February 2001
From 1818 to 1909, 35 government and 57 privately funded expeditions sought to locate and navigate a Northwest Passage, discover the North Pole, and make other significant discoveries in Arctic regions. Most major Arctic discoveries were made by private expeditions. Most tragedies were publicly funded. Public expeditions were better funded than their private counterparts yet lost more ships, experienced poorer crew health, and had more men die. Public expeditions' poor performance is not attributable to differences in objectives, available technologies, or country of origin. Rather, it reflects a tendency toward poor leadership structures, slow adaptation to new information, and perverse incentives.
There is also a brief description from ABC News of his work here.
Thursday, September 19, 2002
Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
On forgiveness, the Catechism of the Catholic Church offers these comments on forgiveness: "There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest." Pope John Paul II made these remarks on forgiveness as well. (It is harder to talk about the views of non-Catholic Christians, because there are many denominations, and the denominations are usually less centralized.) On Jewish ideas, I ran across "Repentance and Forgiveness", a summary of Jewish doctrine by Rabbi David Blumenthal (a professor of Judaic studies at Emory University) in Cross Currents, although I am not competent to say how representative or good it is.
Put simply, Bush made a stand, insisted the world take sides, and offered other nations, through the UN, a face-saving way of joining him. Sensing the stiff windward breeze, the rest of the world immediately tacked accordingly. This is called leadership.
I grant that this position is not too surprising from them, but still, it needed to be said, and good for them.
As I read Franklin, I keep thinking about the Iraq debate. The "don't invade until you are certain Saddam has weapons of mass destruction" crowd is pretty silent on what would be necessary to establish certainty, and what kind of evidence makes for certainty. These questions have been worked on for centuries. This crowd ought to look at them too.
Perritt is running for the seat in the Illinois 10th district. Roll Call, describing him as a "second tier" candidate, does not give him much chance of winning (http://www.rollcall.com/pages/politics/00/2002/05/pol0520f.html), and he has raised much less money than his opponent.
Perhaps Perritt's article is a safe feeler. If the article gets a positive reception, it gives Perritt's campaign a boost, and the Democrats gain. If the article gets a hostile reception, Perritt is too unknown to cause damage, and he wasn't likely to win anyway. In short, Perritt appears to be the Democrat's cannon fodder on Iraq. Better him than Daschle.
Monday, September 16, 2002
So what do we get? "The moral high ground will be lost if we attack Iraq now" as a headline. (I know, I know. Writers don't usually pick their headlines. Maybe the Telegraph was just making fun of Harris.) The usual tripe about there being no evidence that poor little Iraq is bothering anybody. But the doozy is the opening, so mindlessly awful that maybe the Guardian turned it down.
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the population of Oceania is daily conditioned to fight its enemies by newsreel screenings known as the Two Minutes Hate. These are insidiously effective. As Winston Smith, the hero of the novel, reflects: "The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in."
Perhaps it was my imagination, but it seemed to me that something similar occurred last week, only our Two Minutes Hate was a Two Minutes Silence: harrowing footage of grieving families mourning those killed on September 11 was screened again and again, while British and American politicians seized the moment to whip up a war psychosis about Iraq.
Clearly the consensus opinion, that Bush has pretty much creamed his opposition on this whole issue, is pretty much correct. How else to explain this sort of decrepit excuse for thought?
He was just 18 when they found him, half dead. After surviving five years in concentration camps, where both of his parents were killed, Eddie, a German, and a Dutch friend named Mike Swaab managed to flee their SS guards while on a death march in the waning weeks of World War II. Four others were shot in the escape, and a German shepherd chasing them down bit Mike in the leg. Crawling at night from bush to bush, the two Jewish teenagers slowly made their way toward a sound they recognized as U.S. artillery.
On April 12, 1945, they heard the rumble of tanks approaching and ran out in their ragged prison uniforms, pointing to the identification numbers tattooed on their arms. The "A" stood for Auschwitz.
"They could have just thrown us K-rations and moved on," said Eddie, now 76. Survivors liberated from the camps were supposed to be sent to special compounds for displaced persons. But Eddie and his friend pointed out the German foxholes they had spotted during their three days of hiding, and the Americans easily took the nearby village as they pressed east toward the Elbe River. There was no big debate, no official decision, to let Eddie and Mike stay.
Orwell wrote about the British left and their rabid appeasement of Hitler. Their followers want desparately to appease the latest batch of Nazis. Try this story from the left-wing Mirror (link from InstaPundit)
Sunday, September 15, 2002
Mrs. Robinson will be replaced by Sergio Vieira de Mello, a Brazilian who has served in a variety of U.N. posts over the past few decades, including high commissioner for refugees. He would do well to learn from her many mistakes, and avoid Mrs. Robinson's practice of permitting democracies under siege by terrorists to be smeared as violators of human rights when they defend themselves.
Mrs. Robinson did not merely permit this sort of behavior, she practiced it regularly. She is an unpleasant bully suffering from a severe case of the arrested adolescence of leftist European intellectuals. She belongs in a university or mental hospital (like there's a difference).