Lest you wonder

Why the media is dying:

Taking the Plunge With a New Dog

The first article in a weekly series about the challenges and satisfactions of raising a puppy through its first year of life.

All the news that’s fit to print….

A win-win

Well, okay, it’s not so great for the Crimson Tower. But its toppling would be good for the nation and the greater Academy:

If Harvard were a serious business facing a liquidity crisis, it would have done something drastic by now: fired senior employees, closed departments, sold off real estate. But Harvard, like most other leading universities, is stubborn and inflexible. “None of these schools has the ability to cut expenses fast enough” is how a hedge-fund manager who counts Harvard among his investors explained the problem. Running the numbers for me, proving how impossible it is for a shrinking endowment to keep up with the university’s bloated, immovable costs, the hedge-fund manager concluded, “They are completely fucked.”

One particularly interesting fact about Harvard’s financial crsis is that the gentleman who created this situation is now duly employed… as the top economic advisor to the present administration.

Reading List

1. Spook Country by William Gibson

2. The Cambridge Medieval History Series vol I: The Christian Era edited by J.B. Bury

3. The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan

The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert: 7/10. I was surprised to learn that this novel was published 13 years after Dune, since the ideas it contains appear to be rather less well-formed and less interesting than those in the earlier book.

Manias, Panics and Crashes: A History of Financial Crises by Charles Kindleberger: 6/10. A detailed, but unsystematic chronicle of historical financial crises. Kindleberger describes these events in an engaging manner, but is handicapped by having no coherent economic or socionomic philosophy through which he can explain why they took place.

The Darwath Trilogy by Barbara Hambly: 8/10. I read The Time of the Dark as a boy and was deeply impressed by the awesome horror of the Dark. They must be one of the most inherently frightening monsters in the history of the fantasy genre. But the books are even better when seen from the perspective of an adult writer, as the scope of the books and the way in which they draw on various scientific disciplines as an integral part of the plot is truly impressive.

The $24 trillion bailout

More from the No, It’s Still Not Working department:

The federal government has devoted $4.7 trillion to help the financial sector through its crisis, a level of assistance equal to about one-third of the overall U.S. economy, a watchdog report said Monday. Under the worst of circumstances, the report said, the government’s maximum exposure could total nearly $24 trillion, or $80,000 for every American.

I’d very much like to know how many of the nominal conservatives in the media who supported the bailouts would have done so if they’d known the price tag was going to be somewhere between $5 and 25 trillion. And it’s amusing to hear those defending the status quo protesting that the $24 trillion estimate is an unlikely, worst-case scenario.

When, one wonders, has a cost estimate of a government program EVER failed to hit the over?