Episode 7 of “Cosmos”: The Ionians and an ancient kind of science

From Google+

Recently watched Episode 7 of “Cosmos.” It had a tragic ending, because the followers of Pythagorus subverted it and substituted their mathematical mysticism, which they treated like a cult, I guess. Everything had to have relationships that could be represented by nice, neat, harmonious whole numbers. They fought against the idea of irrational numbers, even when one was found using Pythagorus’s own theorem. Quite the hard-liners. A reason it’s probably hard to relate this fanaticism to mathematics is the fact that back then mathematics and philosophy were closely tied together.


From Google+

One area where I agree/disagree with libertarians is the idea that gov’t doesn’t do anything that well, in fact it tends to do more harm than good, but we have it around to do certain prescribed things that wouldn’t be productive for us to do ourselves. I agree with that in most cases, but I’ve found exceptions. One of them being scientific R&D. I’m partial to the defense research that’s been done over the years. Nevertheless, I like what libertarians say about the private economy vs. the gov’t trying to control our lives.

John Allison

From Google+

Excellent talk on the ’08 financial crisis, and on John Allison’s philosophy of how we should be treated in an economy, and working in a business. Allison is the former Chair of BB&T Bank, and is currently a business professor at Wake Forest in NC.

He said the problem in large part is systemic, that the economic problem has been caused by gov’t policy, and the answer is to let markets work, because, “they wouldn’t have gotten us into a problem like this.” It’s just not how they behave on their own. He gets into the details of why he said this.

Interestingly, he caused me to question the notion that the FDIC is a good thing. I’ve liked the idea of it, because then people don’t have to worry about their deposits if a bank fails. What he says is the FDIC’s insurance allows unscrupulous actors in banking to make unwise financial decisions with those deposits, which destabilizes markets, and creates financial crises like what we’ve experienced. In short, it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I love his concepts that, “There is only one real natural resource, and that is the human mind,” and, “All human progress, by definition, is based on creativity.” He explains that we think of natural resources as oil and minerals that we draw up from the ground, but it’s taken human ingenuity to get at those resources and distribute them efficiently so that people can afford to use and benefit from them.