Thursday, February 16, 2012

We'll go no more a roving

In the rapidly fading twilight that is my 20s, please indulge me.
So, we'll go no more a roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright. 

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest. 

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we'll go no more a roving
By the light of the moon.

Byron was 29 when he composed the above [heavy-handed hint, heavy-handed nudge - Ed.], but died a mere seven years later. Impossibly romantic to the end, I imagine.

Lord Byron. G-G to his mates.

PS - In truth, I'm not actually feeling very dramatic about reaching the 30s. And if this post was a bit too serious for your liking, then there's always last year.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Kings of Convenience - Me in You

If for no other reason than my apartment gets some camera time.[*]

Some very mellow Sunday night listening with suitably serene Scandinavian scenes.

[*] I'm basically famous now.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Science and distortion

Below is a video of the late climate scientist, Stephen Schneider. Please watch it and tell me that scientists are the ones trying to polarize this debate and selectively feed us alarmist harbingers of doom. Specifically note Schneider's comment at the 3:35 mark on the false dichotomies, "end of the world" and "good for you".

I see (environmental) economists as making meaningful contributions to this project as well. Cutting through the extreme and distortionist views, so that we can finally settle on some sensible solutions. At times that seems too much to hope for, but every skeptic could do with an optimistic streak...

UPDATE: From 6:04, Schneider provides a great summary of the role that risk management plays in this whole climate debate. I'd refer readers to this post, where I make very similar observations on risk probabilities and insurance decisions.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Quote of the day - Let it stand

At the beginning of last year, I announced a (mostly) informal book challenge that I'm partaking in. The goal of which is to complete six carefully selected "epics" before my friend and rival literatus, Bloomsboy[*].

Truth to be told, I'm faring pretty disappointingly on that score. Course work and related uni readings have taken over my life. What little spare time I now have is normally spent trolling the internet perusing something a shade lighter and, well, shorter.

My one consolation in all this is that -- according to my sources[**] -- his own progress has been equally unimpressive. Since he allegedly works for a publishing firm, I don't see what his excuse is...

At any rate, it was Bloomsboy who told me a great anecdote not too long ago about one of the five authors in our mandatory set, James Joyce. It concerns his relationship with protégé and Waiting for Godot playwright, Samuel Beckett, at the time when failing eyesight had left him dictating his words to others:
Beckett's mind had a subtlety and strangeness that attracted Joyce as it attracted, in another way, his daughter. [...]Once or twice he dictated a bit of Finnegans Wake to Beckett, though dictation did not work very well for him; in the middle of one such session there was a knock at the door which Beckett didn't hear. Joyce said, `Come in,' and Beckett wrote it down. Afterwards he read back what he had written and Joyce said, `What's that "Come in"?' 'Yes, you said that,' said Beckett. Joyce thought for a moment, then said, `Let it stand.' He was quite willing to accept coincidence as his collaborator.
Richard Ellmann, James Joyce (New York, 1959), pp. 661-662.

In its own small way, the above passage goes some way towards explaining the incomprehensibility of Finnegans Wake... Perhaps making it a bit more palatable at the same time.

[*] Self-styled in a moment of apparent irony.
[**] i.e. Bloomsboy.