Tuesday, October 14, 2008


  • The Incoherent Ponderer decries people going into finance because it's not a "real" business. I've heard this from a number of physicists. I really don't know where this comes from. Sure, lots of the industry doesn't serve much of a useful purpose, but that's true of many industries (please, someone tell me what good is a Yankee Candle?). What's strange is that of all times to disparage the finance industry as not being real (surely, the industry deserves disparagement over incompetence), it would seem now is precisely the time when one would see what the industry does in fact provide...it provides financing for those that need it. I'm not a finance guru, but companies need money to buy things and often have to borrow it. They pay for this privilege. The investor lends and is paid for taking on the risk. There are lots of variations on this theme with IPOs, derivatives, etc, but again these are services that investors and companies want. We can argue about the ills and ethics of such people, but can't we agree it's a "real" business?
  • It's strange that I find myself defending these types. It reminds me once where I actually encountered someone bashing Bill Gates so much that I found myself defending him. I've got nothing much against the guy, he's a business person and a pretty good one (both in terms of being able to make money and in giving it away). His company however is criminal.
  • I've been wondering about the brain lately. I happen to watch some show that had lots of cover songs of hits from the 70s and 80s. I'm usually pretty good at naming the song and singer from that era, but I couldn't. I could easily recognize that I *knew* the song, I just couldn't identify it, not even the sex of the original singer of the song. It was so frustrating to know the memory was there but not to be able to access it without hearing the original voice (in which case, I could probably do it with just one syllable sung). It's like, I imagine, a corrupted filesystem in which the files are there, just one cannot access them.
  • The thing I'm wondering about and meant to research, but didn't is why we like music. What evolutionary advantage would there be to our appreciation for music? Is it related to our language development...probably not since we can appreciate pure instrumentals. I seem to recall people have looked into this question, I just don't remember any answers.


Anonymous said...

On the subject of why we like music...

jmstriegel: no, really. I'm quite human.
jmstriegel: test me if you want
shymuffin32: ok
shymuffin32: why do you like music?
jmstriegel: hmm. i've never really considered that.
jmstriegel: hell, i'm not going to be able to contrive a good answer for that one. ask me something else.
shymuffin32: jeesus, you're worse than eliza

How I failed the Turing test

Anonymous said...

Let's be brutally honest here: there are also lots of universities, like their private sector counterparts that really don't serve a useful purpose.

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