Tuesday, July 24, 2012

House cleaning

I've been extremely busy lately and have a backlog of excellent links I want to share before they go stale.

Pierre Desrochers was interviewed by Reason.com about The Locavores Dilemna.

Not to be done, U.S. rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME) has is successfully pushing locavore pork into the federal Farm Bill.

Ken from Popehat called out Boston Mayor Tom Menino for claiming he will exceed his authority and block Chick-Fil-A from setting up show in Boston for opposing gay marriage. Most importantly, Ken did it in a way that was still critical of gay marriage foes.

Nate has turned me on to Crash Course, a history and biology YouTube video series from the Vlog Brothers. About halfway through the episode on Mesopotamia narrator John Green humorously presented the unfairness of Hammurabi's Code when is declared that if a house collapses and kills the owners son, the son of the builder was to be put to death. Green said fairness suggests the builder, not his son, should be killed.

I want to contrast that to Nassim Taleb's interpretation of the same ancient law he revealed on EconTalk, among other places.

Taleb saw this as Hammurabi's brilliance in understanding risk and incentives. Instead of looking at it as a punishment after the fact, Hammurabi saw this severe punishment as a way to discourage the builder from cutting corners. Hammurabi also required bridge engineers to sleep under the completed bridge for a few nights for the same reason.

Harsh and unjustifiable today, yes, but also very effective.

1 comment:

  1. I actually disagree that that would be unfair. You have to look at it in as full a context as you possibly can.

    At the time, your son was your legacy, something more valuable than a mans own life.

    Remember: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=gsd49ygP1bw#t=108s