pushmedia1
11.30.2003
  What are my chances of getting in?
Here's what Stanford, Berkeley, Davis and UCLA have to say about GRE scores (some of the pages may require you to search for the word "gre").

I need to seriously consider getting an undergrad degree in economics... probably while I'm still working. Here's San Jose State's program. My business major at Berkeley did a good job of preparing me for a graduate economics, but I have holes in the in my training like econometrics. Also, I don't have any academic letters of recommendation.
 
  GRE test scores are in
610 Verbal - 86th %tile
780 Quantitative - 87th %tile
5.0 Analytical Writing - 67th %tile
 
11.26.2003
 
I'd laugh if I wasn't crying... Hitchens at it again, "I can't remember what the excuse of the Jew-killers was on that previous occasion, but it most certainly wasn't their hatred for regime change. Maybe they didn't come up with an excuse, imagining that the action spoke for itself. Anyway, why bother with a justification when there are so many peace-loving and progressive types willing to volunteer to make the excuses for you?"
 
11.24.2003
  Term limits
Delong has a non-answer to Andrew Sullivan...  The problem is a little thing called term limits.  He can't run and I can't vote for Clinton.  Give me someone I can vote for in 2004!

Andrew Sullivan despairs when he contemplates the future of America:

www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish: I know I'm a broken record on this but we truly need some kind of third force again in American politics - fiscally conservative, socially inclusive, and vigilant against terror...

It was called the Clinton Administration, Mr. Sullivan.

 

 
11.22.2003
 
Hey, I'm 188 centimeters tall. And I'm 80 Kilograms. (Wait, are you x kilograms or do you have x kilograms...)
 
11.20.2003
  It's too bad that I don't trust Economists
When an Economist says something like "stock markets do better under Democratic presidents" can you assume that that difference between the performance of the stock market when there's a Democratic versus a Republican president is statistically significant. I mean, can you assume that that conclusion (given without context or substantiation) was made after much analysis. Should you be able to assume that?

This is the Fallacy of Authority... You assume an authority in a particular area has done his/her homework; you assume that there is some substance behind their conclusions. The fallacy says that you can't make these assumptions and therefore you shouldn't trust authority.

At the same time, this seems inefficient. I should be able to trust statements made by authorities, such as "stock markets do better under Democratic presidents", are made objectively and with rigorous analysis. If I had this trust, I could use that conclusion as a given in future arguments I might make.

Partisanship (Krugman and Delong are two examples) has ruined my trust in Economists as authorities and as a whole any of their conclusions as givens. It's too bad.
 
11.19.2003
  If they can hump, why can't they marry?
South Knox Bubba asks: "How would allowing two people who love each other to have the same rights and obligations as any other two people who love each other somehow diminish the rights and responsibilities of any two people who love each other?"

I agree and back when the Supreme Court decision came out in July I wrote: "If marriage is so damned important, why would making more people eligible to participate in the institution be a bad thing?"
 
  Anti-war, pre/post-war
I have to copy/paste this whole paragraph from this story... I literally lol'd:
"Given that they've now revised their [estimates of Iraqi civilian death] figures downwards by 98 per cent, it would be nice to think the protesters might reduce their budget for gallons of Dulux Mesopotamian Burgundy Gloss by a commensurate amount. The rest of us should pelt Medact with rotten tomatoes symbolising all the blood that wasn't spilt. Alternatively, they could symbolise Harold Pinter's graphically leaking rectum. In this paper before the war, Mr Pinter assured us that millions of Iraqi children's rectums were chronically leaking blood - something to do with depleted uranium from the Yanks. In every medical facility I visited in western and northern Iraq, I inquired about this phenomenon and found no one who knew of a single sufferer."

MORE:
"The fanatical Muslims despise America because it's all lapdancing and gay porn; the secular Europeans despise America because it's all born-again Christians hung up on abortion; the anti-Semites despise America because it's controlled by Jews. Too Jewish, too Christian, too Godless, America is also too isolationist, except when it's too imperialist."
 
11.16.2003
  Question of utmost importance #2
What if the counter-culture is really a post-modern discovery of culture itself?
 
11.11.2003
  GRE
It's done!

I scored 780 on the math section and... well, actually I was so excited I forgot my verbal score. Dumb ass. I think it was in the low 600's, 620, 640 or something. Anyway, I'll know for sure in a couple weeks when they send the score report.

What a long, hard slog that was. The sneaky bastards snuck in an extra verbal section. I think the extra section doesn't count in your score. ETS uses it to test new questions. The bad news is you don't know which of the two sections was the 'real' one. I repeat, bastards!

Next step, complete my math and econ courses. From the Berkeley Grad program guide:
"Applicants must have knowledge of multivariate calculus, basic matrix algebra, and differential equations; completion of a two-year math sequence, which emphasizes proofs and derivations, should provide adequate preparation. All applicants are expected to have completed intermediate math-based economic theory courses. Further education in economics and economic theory is helpful, but not required. Finally, some knowledge of statistics and elementary probability is highly desirable."

This quarter, I'm busy getting an A in Math 1b at DeAnza College. (Cocky, you think?) I plan to finish the 1 series of Calculus (which includes Multivariable Calculus) this academic year. They offer linear algebra and differential Calculus as separate classes but I'm not sure if the community college will have an emphasis on "proofs and derivation". I'll need to decide if I should take that course at a state college or a UC. Additionally, I'm not sure about what Economics courses I need.

Of course, now that I'm not studying for the GRE, I'll begin reading more Economics books and such (in addition to the weekly Economist ritual). I've Amazoned Krugman's book. It sits upon my pile. In case that pile is looking dangerously small (not likely), Mike Moffatt has a list of books that are useful for folks like me (i.e. the sort that wanna go to grad school for econ). And there's more.
 
11.10.2003
  Veterans Day
This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named, . . .
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names. . . .
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhood cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
- Henry V - Shakespeare
 
 
The Observer on fallen soldiers: "I am staggered that in 2003 we continue to require their sacrifice. We, who no longer believe that the dead live on, and that those who die have, therefore, lost everything."
 
  second gre practice test
I cheated and only did the math section, so I'm sure my practice score is inflated, but... I scored 790! Yeah baby, that's 94th %tile (72nd %tile among econ phd's).

I pulled it off with a time management strategy. Kids, if your taking the test, do the first 8 math questions in less than 15, the next 12 questions in the next 15 minutes and then use the rest of the time to do the last 8 questions.

BTW, the big test is tomorrow morning.
 
11.09.2003
  Lessig unsure on symmetry
Lessig says that you can bend the truth, but "only in one way". The two ways implied: Republican/Democrat or conservative/liberal and that the "one way" is pro-Republican/conservative. He's implying that these issues are examples of Republican/conservatives bending the truth and that that is luxury the Democrat/liberals are not afforded. It's assumed that to air the "loose with the facts" Lynch movie is a pro-Republican/conservative and therefore anti-Democrat/liberal. Similarly, to not air the "loose with the facts" Reagan movie is anti-Democrat/liberal and therefore pro-Republican/conservative.

Unfortunately, there is no such symmetry in the issues of Lynch and Reagan. In fact, neither should be described as a Republican versus Democrat issue. To run the Lynch movie, NBC is taking a pro-government position (against the will of Lynch herself). This is an interesting case in the power dynamic between the public and private sectors. To not run the Reagan movie, CBS is kowtowing to Republican pressures. This issue exemplifies special interest politics. The issues are, mostly, orthogonal and neither has much to do with partisanship (the Lynch movie much less so than the Reagan movie).

It's important to make this distinction because you would have seen the same outcome who ever was leading the government and whoever the movies were made about. Imagine Gore in office, just having prosecuted a war in Iraq in which a hapless Private Lynch is rescued. His government would be just as inclined to 'talk up' that story as a Bush government. Certainly, if the Republicans would have been just as likely to protest the Reagan movie no matter which party is in office. Furthermore, you can imagine similar protests from Democrats if an unfavorable movie regarding FDR or Carter were to be made.

I'd say that the only coincidence between these two stories is that fact that they happened at about the same time and they don't suggest some greater conspiracy or social/political imbalance.

Lessig's simplistic, and false, dichotomy is useful only for spreading a sort of cancerous cynicism. Namely, Democrat/liberals are victims of a vast right wing conspiracy to silence their opinions. That cynicism should remain in the hands of defiant first-ladies, California governors with their backs against the wall and paranoid presidential hopefuls (longshots?). I would think Lessig and his ilk would be above such things.

Lessig, I ask you please to agree or disagree with the actions of the networks and add substance to the debate. You're intellect and wisdom are wasted on empty rhetorical attacks.
 
11.08.2003
  Economy and precision in partisan language
People are to be trusted. They are innately capable and each has the potential for intelligence and wisdom. Of course, not everybody chooses to fulfill this potential, but I have a strong bias that says that that potential exists nevertheless.



Language is power. We've discovered rhetorical devices to exploit its power. Repetition of ideas and alliteration hammer words into our head. Metaphor and simile attempt to trick us into believing something strange is familiar.

It is interesting to know of these devices, but it is exploitive to use these devices in practice. Language should be dry, objective. In contructing sentences, paragraphs, statements and speeches we must separate the wheat from the chaff and only communicate function rather than form. To pretty up language or to use rhetorical devices that play to the emotions of the audience, is to commit sin against the unassuming (ignorant, victimized, lowly, etc) populace. Guard your speech, young man! Watch your metaphor and was that alliteration?

Is it cynical to use these devices (see here towards the bottom of the page)? How can it not be? People are stupid sheep that can't be trusted to think for themselves. Right?

As a business man, lazy, I produce and market things. In doing so, I think about my audience (my customers), consider what ideas and words excite them, that will get them interested in my product. It's common to use the 'groups of three' device. All the features of our product are described with three adjectives. I do this so I can exploit our customers (or potential customers) gullibility to the use of such cynical language... Or wait. No, I'm just using the language like everyone else. Do I lie? No. Am I being purposefully dishonest, or better stated, purposefully not 100% truthful, when I use language in marketing? Yes, but consider the source. I know that there are competitors out there telling different stories, that the customer has their own preformed opinion and there's a multitude of other sources to allow the customer to come to their own conclusion. I have to tell the story that puts my point of view in the best light. Truly, to do otherwise, would be disingenuous.

In a sense, in addition to selling my product, I'm selling a story. For the consumer market, selling a story is called lifestyle marketing. In my business (selling technology to other business), selling the story is selling the promise that my technology will reduce costs, increase revenue and therefore increase profits. The degree to which customers 'buy' my story is the likelihood that they'll buy by product.

Can we get past the "post-modern" realization about these meta-truths of language? Do we use this knowledge or do we just acknowledge it and continue in our pre-"post-modern" naivetè? Just because I know using suggestive language will influence my audience, does that mean that I can't use it?

It's funny see partisan's "discover" that the other side is using such devices. They're surprised by such disingenuity, given how genuine their language is. Get over it. We all use these techniques.

Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" is NOT advocating against the use of rhetorical devices. His advise is simply restated in books like Style: Ten Lessons in Clarity and Grace. He's arguing for an economy of language not for a poverty of language.

If you believe people can be trusted and they do have the potential to be intelligent in their decision making, then it is not cynical to use devises of language. If you believe that there should be a multiplicity of ideas and that society should be a marketplace of ideas, you wouldn't be intimidated by the use of this language but one or two "lazy" marketers or politicians. The audience, customers or voters, can decide what to believe.
 
11.07.2003
  Political compass
This analysis is interesting. I can't add much to the 2d vs 1d debate, but I find the table of bloggers interesting for a different reason. It's a great resource for finding new and interesting blogs to read!

There are my close neighbors: Aunty Goob, Ernest Miller, Steve Gilham and Will Cox. I'll check these out when I'm feeling lonely.

And for when I'm looking for a contrarian pov, I'll head to my polar opposites: Russell Arben Fox and The Plainsman.

 
  Google Deskbar
I installed the Google Deskbar. And I've taken Evan's advice and created "BlogThis!" custom search.
 
11.06.2003
 
All the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and the whole temple of Mans achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins.
- Bertrand Russel
 
11.05.2003
  Back on the fence
I'll stop hating Dean now. I like his "I meant to start a conversation about race, but went about it the wrong way" approach, but he'll have to convince me that he's not bigoted before I'll go back to my plan to switch parties.
 
11.03.2003
  I'm not sure what is "OUT-FREAKING-RAGEOUS"
Ok, the argument that the questioner was making was essentially "I don't like your policy." If that is the point she was making, what is Wolfowitz to infer from the out-in-left-field comment about the policies of administrations of yesteryear regarding Iraq?

Why would she dislike a policy that seems to be in line with her opinion of Iraq circa the 80s? Either she, for reasons untold, switched positions on Suddam's regime after the US change its policy towards Iraq, or she holds opinions that are contrary to her government's for the sake of being contrary. Without an explanation about her flip-flop on the Iraq issue, we can assume the second is true. Thus Wolfowitz' reasoned response, "It seems to me that the north star of your comment is that you dislike this country and its policies." She must hate this country.
 
  Dean screwed up
I was going to switch parties (I'm registered Green) and become a Democrat so I could vote for Dean in the 2004 primary... Not now 'cause Dean screwed up
 
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