Miscellany

1) I just had an extremely pleasant walk around the Beale Street area in Memphis, which strikes me, roughly, as Bourbon Street without the urine. (Also without the trash and the high general level of obnoxiousness — though also of course without the magnificent architecture, etc.) Yes, I realize it’s also a different musical genre (though in both cases it’s a sub-genre of “too loud”). But it’s astonishing to me how clean the streets are here, and how well-behaved the crowds, compared to what I’ve seen in Louisiana. If they can do that here, why can’t they do it there?

2) This weekend marks the anniversary of a world-changing event — an event that might be of particular interest to readers of The Big Questions, both the book and the blog. Who can tell me what event I have in mind? (Hint: It’s an anniversary ending in zero.) I’ll blog the answer on Monday.

3) The discussion of the Allais paradox rages on in comments on multiple posts. For the few of you who have not yet tuned this out, my latest comment is an attempt to cut through the fog and identify the locus of some commenters’ confusion, or disagreement, or both. I think it will very much help focus the discussion if the dissenters could tell us where they stand on these questions. (My answers are all “yes”.)

4) In view of my travel schedule, I’m unlikely to blog on Friday (unless, of course, something either delights or annoys me so much that I can’t resist). I’ll be back on Monday with the big anniversary post.

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6 Responses to “Miscellany”


  1. 1 1 Super-Fly

    Isn’t this Saturday is the 80th anniversary of Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem?

    I had a party last year on the 150th anniversary of On The Origin of Species being published. I wonder how Godel would want me to celebrate.

  2. 2 2 nobody.really

    1) My rational friend Frieda prefers cats to dogs. Do you agree that her rationality requires her to prefer A) an 11% chance of a cat to B) an 11% chance of a dog?</blockquote.

    1. She’s rational? And a friend of yours?

    2. Like, simultaneously?

    3. If I recall correctly, Von Neumann would treat an 11% chance of getting a cat as the equivalent of having 11% of a cat. Of course, he spent his childhood playing at Schrödinger’s pets, so big surprise. They were both rational friends of yours, too? Ok, I’m getting the picture now.

    4. I recall a scene in one of the Godfather movies with a guy who really loved horses. Makes me reflect that if Frieda really loved cats, she might very well prefer to receive 11% of a dog.

    5. Oh, wait – perhaps Frieda is part of an average American household with 2.5 bathrooms and 2.2 kids? In the current economy, the .2 kid might get along well with the 11% cat. While singing about Eric the Half-a-Bee. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_-vxAFcQIU

  3. 3 3 Steve Landsburg

    Super-Fly: You win!

  4. 4 4 Neil

    A theorem can have an anniversary? To the day? Is it the day he proved it to himself, or the day that he wrote it up, or the day it was published, or the day someone else confirmed the proof….?

  5. 5 5 Michael L.

    Dear Dr. Landsburg,

    Why the loss of the beard and sudden appearance of the glasses? I am concerned you may be becoming to “hip” for my literary interests.

    Signed,

    Michael L.

  6. 6 6 Tom Grey

    You were walking in Memphis? !!*
    Were you walking, 10 feet off of Beale?

    Eat any catfish?

    (*one of my fav songs)

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