Monthly Archives: December 2009

Line of the Day

From a paper titled The Extended Mind by Clark and Chalmers:

Thus consider the use of pen and paper to perform long multiplication (McClelland et al 1986, Clark 1989), the use of physical re-arrangements of letter tiles to prompt word recall in Scrabble (Kirsh 1995), the use of instruments such as the nautical slide rule (Hutchins 1995), and the general paraphernalia of language, books, diagrams, and culture.


The Currency of Independence

A new player has emerged in the roiling political theater of the Caucasus: the tiny, destitute Pacific island nation of Nauru, which on Tuesday became the fourth country to formally establish diplomatic relations with Abkhazia, effectively recognizing its sovereignty.

The announcement comes 15 months after Russia began lobbying its allies to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the two separatist territories at the center of its 2008 war with Georgia.

Nauru, an eight-square-mile rock in the South Pacific with about 11,000 inhabitants, was no pushover, according to the influential Russian daily newspaper Kommersant. In talks with Russian officials, Nauru requested $50 million for “urgent social and economic projects,” the newspaper reported, citing unnamed Russian diplomats.

The article is interesting throughout. Perhaps this is a good way to think about the process of statehood: you have to be clever and or lucky enough to be able to buy in.

Tagged , ,

The Economist and the M&M

The ubiquitous peanut M&M, incidentally:

Mr. Vernon, the renowned student of multinationals, was once employed by a multinational-in-the-making. In 1954 he went to work for Forrest Mars Sr., who built the Mars candy empire. Mr. Vernon was placed in charge of planning, finance and new products. He oversaw the development effort that led to chocolate-covered peanut M & M’s.

The new peanut variety was a success, and, in the candy industry, Mr. Vernon was called ”the man who put the crunch in M & M’s.”

The excerpt is from the New York Times obituary for Raymond Vernon, an eminent economist whose work is important in international trade. The full article is worth a read and contains much of interest.


What I Want For Christmas

Just got an email:

Act now to purchase Mathematica 7 Home Edition at the low price
of just $249–15% off the regular price of $295. Don’t delay,
because this offer is only good until December 31, 2009:

Mathematica 7 Home Edition contains all the functionality of the
professional version of Mathematica 7 at a fraction of the cost,
giving you the same technology used by Nobel Prize winners,
Fortune 500 companies, and prestigious universities around the

With Home Edition, your possibilities are virtually endless. You
* Give your kids the edge in math and science with exciting
visuals and easy-to-use interactive tools
* Examine your stock portfolio and research trends, and develop
your own models to predict changes
* Graph your social networks by connecting to APIs with web
* Pursue hobbies such as mapping planets or stars, modeling
weather patterns, or exploring geographic data

Leave me a comment if you would like to buy this program for me.

Tagged ,