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Archive for July, 2008

Old money

The basic unit of currency of the premodern world was remarkably constant: a small gold coin weighing approximately four grams—one-eighth of an ounce—and about the size of a present-day American dime, appearing in various times and places as the French livre, Florentine florin, Spanish or Venetian ducat, Portuguese cruzado, dinar of the Muslim world, Byzantine bezant, or late-Roman solidus. At the current price of gold, this corresponds to a modern value of roughly eighty American dollars.

— William J. Bernstein, A Splendid Exchange (New York: Atlantic Monthly, 2008), page 19.

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Stairs and knees

One of the great features of my new workplace is the stairwell near my cubicle. Five stories, about 135 steps — good exercise.

After straining both knees during the last five weeks (the left one badly), here is what I have learned about being careful taking the stairs:

On the way up, make sure my entire foot lands on each step rather than just the front half of the foot. Having the whole foot on the stair shifts the strain of climbing from my knees to my hamstrings.

On the way down, hold on to the rail, keep my back straight, and walk carefully, rather than bending forward to see where I am going as I race down. I am not sure why that works, but it does.

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The Onion on movies

My favorite movie genre parodies from The Onion:

“Tow-Truck Driver Has Great Idea for Tow-Truck Movie”

“Dancer Risks Everything”

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The New York Review of Books edition of The Anatomy of Melancholy is 1382 pages long.

Here’s the problem with that.

If I’m feeling melancholy, then I’m in no condition to read a serious 1382-page book with a lot of Latin in it.

If I’m not feeling melancholy, then why would I want to think about melancholia?

It all seems so simple…now that I’ve spent $25 on the book…

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Tabling

The verb tabling means the opposite in British English from its meaning in American English.  In the UK, to table an item means to begin discussing it.  In the US, to table an item means to postpone discussing it.

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My housemate’s cat, Beans, looks so sad when no one is paying attention to her. The only time I see her sadder is when someone is paying attention to her.

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Sex Pistols go Rasta

Imagine a mellow Caribbean beat slowly rising in volume.

And then soft voices chanting:

(God save the- God save the- God save the Queen)

(God save the- God save the- God save the Queen)

(God save the- God save the- God save the Queen)

And, finally, a lead singer:

God Save the Queen!

And then let it go, mon, let it go…

(God save the- God save the- God save the Queen)

A fascist regime

(God save the- God save the- God save the Queen)

They made you a moron

(God save the- God save the- God save the Queen)

Potential H-bomb

[…]

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