Monday 13 June, 2022

Warning: economist at work!

Portrait of Maynard Keynes by Duncan Grant, probably painted at Charleston.

You need some nerve to wear a hat like that.

Quote of the Day

”Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgement; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”

  • Edmund Burke, Speech to the Electors of Bristol, 3 November, 1774

Really sound argument for representative democracy and against the idea of government by Twitter poll, but it didn’t get him elected! (Unsurprisingly.)

Musical alternative to the morning’s radio news

Regina Spektor | Better


One of my long-time favourites.

Long Read of the Day

 We Need To Talk About The Carbon Footprints Of The Rich

I hate the term ‘carbon footprint’ because it was an invention of an oil company to convince individuals that global heating is their fault, rather than that of the energy extractors. But this essay by Genevieve Guenther makes good use of the idea

The discretionary carbon footprints of the 1% are not only unjust on a symbolic level. They are also quite literally a material cause of the climate crisis. Researchers estimate that more than half of the emissions generated by humanity since our emergence on this planet have been emitted since 1990. But in these past 30 years, the emissions of the poorest 50% of people have grown hardly at all: They represented a little under 7% of global emissions in 1990, and they remain a little over 7% of global emissions today. By contrast, the richest 10% of people are responsible for 52% of cumulative global emissions — and the 1% for a full 15%.

Do read the whole thing.

As energy prices soar, the bitcoin miners may find they have struck fool’s gold

Yesterday’s Observer column:

In the bad old days, prospecting for gold was a grisly business involving hysterical crowds, pickaxes, digging, the wearing of appalling hats, standing in rivers panning for nuggets, “staking” claims and so on. The California gold rush of 1848-55, for example, brought 300,000 hopefuls to the Sierra Nevada and northern California and involved the massacre of thousands of Indigenous people.

In our day, the new gold is bitcoin, a cryptocurrency, and prospecting for it has become a genteel armchair activity, although it is called “mining”, for old times’ sake. What it actually involves is using computers to perform unfathomably complicated calculations to create cryptographic “hashes” – codes that are, in practical terms, uncrackable.

Sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? But in reality anyone can play the game. You just have to have the right kit…

Read on

My commonplace booklet

What? You didn’t know Paul Simon has a brother? Neither did I — until now. But — contrary to appearances, they’re not twins. Link

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