The statement “An understanding of the past is necessary for solving the problems of the present” has value in many situations, but is not a universal truth. The two primary underlying assumptions of this statement are that the past is an accurate informer of current circumstances, and that our interpretation of past events is correct. This is incorrect in many situations, and in some circumstances can be damaging or even dangerous. An example of this is the 2008-2009 collapse of the United States sub-prime mortgage market.
During the 1990’s and 2000’s a ‘common sense’ consensus developed in the American regulatory, banking, and economics community that postulated a theory that the driving forces behind the real estate market were understood and could be improved upon by increasing the level of risk tolerated in the market. This was implemented through both decreased regulation, and increased risk taking in lending behavior. Both of these strategies were justified by stating that regulators, mathematicians, and economists understood the lessons of the past and could solve the problems of the present by acting on these lessons.
And act they did. The 1990’s and early 2000’s saw unprecedented change in the regulatory and financial systems related to mortgage financing. These changes seemingly solved the problems of the present. However the past was either not completely understood, or did not contain the appropriate lessons to prevent the eventual destruction of the new system.
Some seek to rectify the problems of this collapse by looking to the past, by re-instituting old regulatory structures. This behavior will only exacerbate existing problems by forcing old rules on a new problem. What is called for in this case is an acknowledgment of the wisdom of the past, combined with a recognition that the past is not the place for new solutions. Constantly looking to the past for solutions is equivalent to driving a car with the rear view mirror, for a short time the view will be ok, but it will soon lead to disaster.
Some linguist dude is suggesting that 90% of the 6,000 languages spoken today will be extinct in a century. He suggests that minor languages are a barrier to full participation in prosperous societies and that the unique world views encoded in them are kind of boring when you think about it. I’m down with that, everyone should have universal translators in their heads by 2110 anyhow, so fuck paying to preserve obscure languages.
“A civic-spirited but ill-advised attempt to remove snow from a Canadian road caused traffic chaos, and ended up with a man being arrested for operating a snow blower while drunk.
The 41-year-old man sparked mayhem in rush-hour traffic after pushing the snow blower into a major intersection on roads in Barrie, 50 miles north of Toronto, police said.
Authorities say the man was almost hit by cars twice as traffic struggled to get through the large clouds of snow he was blowing up, before police eventually managed to reach him and put a halt to his snow-blowing efforts.
The man was arrested, held until he had sobered up, and charged with public intoxication. He didn’t offer an explanation to officers of why he was so keen to blow snow off the intersection.
‘His capacity to make sound decisions was obviously affected,’ police Sergeant Robert Allan told the Toronto Star.”
Original Article here >>.
Those wacky pirates are at it again. This time it looks as though their booty is fueling a real estate boom in Kenya. That’s right, a Pirate based real estate bubble.
“One pirate who gave his name as Osman Afrah said he bought three trucks that transport goods across East Africa. A second pirate, who only gave his name as Abdulle, said he’s investing in Kenya in preparation for leaving the pirate trade.”
What an amazing concept for time travel and cocaine jokes. A Hot Tub Time Machine. Check out the red band trailer.
Facebook strikes again!
LONDON – A grass-roots Facebook campaign has spoiled American Idol mogul Simon Cowell’s Christmas by denying one of his new acts the prestigious Christmas No. 1 spot in Britain.
Thanks to a Facebook campaign that capitalized on growing unhappiness with Cowell’s cookie-cutter approach to pop stardom, the antiestablishment Rage Against the Machine came out ahead of Joe McElderry, winner of Cowell’s popular “X Factor” TV competition.
The upset for the heavily favoured McElderry represents a setback for Cowell, who has made millions on both sides of the Atlantic for his roles in “American Idol,” “X Factor,” “Britain’s Got Talent” and other productions.
Rage Against the Machine finished first with a surge of support for their 1992 hit “Killing in the Name,” which became the first Christmas No. 1 in Britain supported only by downloads.
The Facebook campaign was organized by an English couple Jon and Tracy Morter in a concerted effort to break Cowell’s recent stranglehold on the holiday No. 1 song, a traditional source of status and bragging rights inside Britain.
“Rage Against the Machine was built for moments like this,” the band’s guitarist Tom Morello told The Associated Press. “We are honoured to have the song that liberated the U.K. pop chart.”
“Killing In The Name” surged in the last days of the competition to sell more than 500,000 copies in the past week, compared with sales of 450,000 for McElderry’s single. It also set a record for most downloads in a single week. Morello said the band would donate the profits to the British homeless charity Shelter.
Read the full article here >>.
That rocks jingle bells!
Sinbad is Bankrupt and owes $8M in back taxes. I’m sure his crappy, bland humour can pay those bills.
Here’s a fun open letter to Dr Laura with some interesting questions on how to best follow the rules set down to please Sky Dad. A few sample questions:
5. I have a neighbour who insists on working on the Sabbath.Exodus 35:2. Clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
Despite a bit of a slow (but successful) run in North America Emmerich’s end o the world due to floods picture 2012 has raked in massive amounts of that mad overseas cash. Turns out Europe absolutely loves seeing the world destroyed.