Pneumatics and Bubbles

This link roundup is affectionately dedicated to my favorite female co-worker (who in a 1930s comedy-romance novel would have been described as “pneumatic”, and – probably – possessed of an “open face”, if only because novelists used to always describe characters as having “open” faces, which I can never figure out what it’s supposed to mean), whom I see chatting all day every day on Bloomberg with this shady broker guy I know, the very selfsame broker who when I spoke to him today over coffee inserted her ever so casually into the conversation, then kept asking what I thought of her looks (I approve, incidentally) while making as if he barely knew her or could remember what she looked like. Because, seriously, what’s all that about? Okay, rhetorical question.

  • Brian Moore appears to be one of the last remaining humans who, like me, actually understands what insurance is. Seeing a post like that, as I do from time to time, makes me feel somewhat like a protagonist in a zombie movie who relievedly stumbles across one of the miraculously uninfected. I feel the urge to throw him a shotgun.
  • Vox Day (HT Foseti) on the prevalence and supposed dominance of women in the workforce (but mostly in certain types of jobs):

    A private sector job which exists solely to comply with government-dictated paperwork is every bit as government-manufactured and unproductive as a public sector job. And that is precisely the type of job which is going to disappear entirely once the debt edifice collapses and the extent of the dollar-denominated imaginary economy is revealed. Just as stripping out the debt-funded component of GDP reveals that there has been no actual economic growth for decades, stripping out the paperwork jobs will demonstrate that the real labor force is still roughly 2/3rd male, just as it was in 1950.

    My view is that the government-Smart People axis can sustain bubbles (of which this appears to be an example) for a lot longer than you might think, as long as the Smart People want them to be sustained. But of course, more women than men are Smart People (that’s the whole point). And Smart People – even if not women – who have daughters all want to send them to get advanced degrees, and then have Important jobs for ten years, before settling down and having 1.4 kids. They are certainly not going to let all those gifted daughters on whom they’ve lavished so much money graduate from Vassar only to go to work folding clothes at Old Navy. They must graduate to a job requiring – if not medical scrubs – then a pants-suit, at the very least. So I suspect Important jobs (various forms of “consulting” seem to be an infinitely elastic source) will continue to be created invented for them, one way or another, come hell or high water.

    Look. If you go to Russia, you’ll probably begin to notice they have a virtual army of old babushkas in public ‘sitting-on-chair’ jobs that you never dreamed were even necessary. Sitting on a chair watching people ride down an escalator in the subway. Sitting on a chair in the corner of some room in a museum (one for each room). It’s not as if Russia actually needs anyone to actually do these “jobs”. They just need somewhere for all those old women to go every day – some reason to get on the subway and then stop at the market for milk on the way home – to make them feel good and proud and as if they make a valuable contribution. Or, perhaps, simply so as not to drive them insane puttering around the house.

    Same thing here, just starting earlier.

  • Steven Landsburg on Prop 8 and the ‘equal protection’ logic used against it – applying it to the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

    For the record, Prop. 8 does not prevent gay men and lesbians from marrying. All it does is restrict them to marrying people they’d prefer not to marry. […] The freedom to hire the person of one’s choice is a fundamental right protected by the Due Process Clause and … Title VII
    violates this fundamental right because: 1. It prevents each plaintiff from hiring the person of his or her choice; 2. The choice of an employee is sheltered by the Fourteenth Amendment from the state’s unwarranted usurpation of that choice…

  • Am I dorky enough to be excited at the prospect of a new Quantum Leap? Ziggy says the probability is 99.7%.
  • mkfreeberg’s Science Fiction Rules. My favorite is the first one:

    1. No conference tables. Conference tables are death to good science fiction. The “I Find Your Lack Of Faith Disturbing” scene is the last time anything cool has ever been done around a conference table.

    Can we just expand this to: no conference tables in any kind of fiction?

  • curi on what is “genetic”. curi on whether it makes sense to trust experts. Do you read curi? If not, you should.
  • Very good essay (PDF, HT MR) linking the credit crisis to contagion from buyer’s strike of “AAA” securities. A simpler way to say this is that it was a bubble. A house of cards. Or even a legal Ponzi scheme. And then – as was inevitable – it popped.

Sometimes my life seems to be one of bubbles popping, all around me, all the time.

2 Comments so far
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I assume that if there is a zombie outbreak, someone will invent a vaccine for it and people will refuse to take it because it might cause autism. :)

Comment by Brian Moore

[…] and note, presumably this is their “job”, essentially the modern Euro version of a ‘sitting-on-chairs’ job – what are the odds any of these girls (or, really, any of 99% of global warming […]

Pingback by Global Warming: Belief Without Knowledge, Idiocy Without Shame « Rhymes With Cars & Girls

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