July 27, 2018

Side Effects May Include”

We should treat laws passed by Congress the way we treat pills prescribed by doctors. Each bill should come with a section of potential side effects.

This regulation may cause…”

What goes on the law’s warning label should also be debated, pros and cons included. Lawmakers can attach their names to the various side effects. The more accurate each lawmaker’s predictions are over time, the higher their side effect claims live on the list.

July 25, 2018

Anti-Bike-Shedding

One of the first interesting experiences I had in this project at Princeton was meeting great men. I had never met very many great men before. But there was an evaluation committee that had to try to help us along, and help us ultimately decide which way we were going to separate the uranium.

This committee had men like Compton and Tolman and Smyth and Urey and Rabi and Oppenheimer on it. I would sit in because I understood the theory of how our process of separating isotopes worked, and so they’d ask me questions and talk about it.

In these discussions one man would make a point. Then Compton, for example, would explain a different point of view. He would say it should be this way, and he was perfectly right. Another guy would say, well, maybe there’s this other possibility we have to consider against it.

So everybody is disagreeing, all around the table. I am surprised and disturbed that Compton doesn’t repeat and emphasize his point. Finally, at the end, Tolman, who’s the chairman, would say, Well, having heard all these arguments, I guess it’s true that Compton’s argument is the best of all, and now we have to go ahead.”

It was such a shock to me to see that a committee of men could present a whole lot of ideas, each one thinking of a new facet, while remembering what the other fella said, so that, at the end, the decision is made as to which idea was the best - summing it all up - without having to say it three times. These were very great men indeed.”

- Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

July 25, 2018

Enthusiasm

I’ve written before about how enthusiasm is my favorite quality in others. It’s what pulls me closer to people.

Here, a student describes Richard Feynman’s enthusiasm:

I remember when I was his student how it was when you walked into one of his lectures. He would be standing in front of the hall smiling at us all as we came in, his fingers tapping out a complicated rhythm on the black top of the demonstration bench that crossed the front of the lecture hall. As latecomers took their seats, he picked up the chalk and began spinning it rapidly through his fingers in a manner of a professional gambler playing with a poker chip, still smiling happily as if at some secret joke. And then - still smiling - he talked to us about physics, his diagrams and equations helping us to share his understanding. It was no secret joke that brought that smile and the sparkle in his eye, it was physics. The joy of physics! The joy was contagious. We are fortunate who caught that infection.” -from the foreward of Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

June 30, 2018 brown line to kimball
June 28, 2018

Fewer people moving and taking risks

Here are two surprising facts: the number of people who have moved across state lines is down 51% since the mid-20th century; the number of business owners under the age of 30 is down 65% since the 1980′s.1

Watch the news and you’d get a different impression. Why is dynamism falling?

I’ve added Tyler Cowen’s book to my Goodreads list.


  1. From The Complacent Class by Tyler Cowen.

June 27, 2018

Sourdough, June 2018 Vintage

The starter fermenting

The starter fermenting

My first levain sourdough loaf. It’s the hybrid Pan de Campagne from from Ken Forkish’s book Flour Water Salt Yeast.

I started fermenting the sourdough culture on June 20th.

I mixed the first dough on June 25th.

That dough went into the oven in the morning of June 26th.

There was a tang of sourness, but it was light and airy. A great sandwich bread.

The next batch is coming tomorrow.