Monday, October 11, 2004

Merry Monday -- dead white European male's holiday version.

The 2004 IgNobel Prizes have been announced -- and Krugman has been passed over again. The competition is tough though. Some recent winnners in economics:

2001: Joel Slemrod, of the University of Michigan Business School, and Wojciech Kopczuk, now of Columbia University, for their conclusion that people will find a way to postpone their deaths if it will qualify them for a lower rate of inheritance tax.

2002: Multiple winners for adapting the mathematical concept of imaginary numbers for use in corporate finance.

2003: Karl Schwärzler and the nation of Liechtenstein, for making it possible to rent the entire country for corporate conventions, weddings, and other gatherings; and

2004: The Vatican, for outsourcing prayers to India.
Better luck next year, Paul.

Personally, I consider this year's most impressive IgNobel to be the one awarded in Biology jointly to several researchers "for showing that herrings apparently communicate by farting." Let's see an economist top that.


The new car for cat haters. I'd almost move to Britain just to get one.

[the backstory]


Sean Penn versus the South Parkers...
~ quote ~
It's a shame Trey Parker and Matt Stone's hot new puppet flick, "Team America: World Police," has already gone through its final cut -- the flick that skewers self-important Hollywood stars could have used a Sean Penn cameo.

The "South Park" duo were howling with laughter Friday when they received an angry letter from Penn, who was deeply upset after Parker and Stone blasted Sean Combs for his "Vote or Die" campaign.

Penn was especially infuriated after reading on PAGE SIX about Stone's theory that the U.S. might be better off, and might elect better leaders, if apathetic, uninformed voters stayed home on Election Day.

Penn wrote Parker and Stone: "... I never mind being of service in satire and silliness. I do mind when anybody who doesn't have a child, doesn't have a child at war, or isn't or won't be in harm's way themselves is [saying] that 'there is no shame in not voting if you don't know what you are talking about' ...

"You guys are talented young guys, but alas, primarily young guys. It's all well to joke about me or whomever you choose. Not so well to encourage irresponsibility that will ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitation and death of innocent people around the world.

"The vote matters to them. No one's ignorance, including a couple of hip cross-dressers', is an excuse."

Penn signed off, "All the best and a sincere [bleep] you,"... A pal of Stone and Parker, upon reading the letter, laughed: "This is the most self-important, self-inflated letter ever! It's exactly what the movie ['Team America'] is about!" (NY Post)
~ end quote ~

Apparently it never occured to Sean that "the apathetic and uninformed ... who don't know what they are talking about" might not automatically vote Democratic.


Obit of the Week:
"Jacques Derrida, who did more than any man in history to turn mediocrities into tenured mediocrities, died Friday at age 74...", notes Jack Risko (via Minuteman).

The Rock Paper Scissors World Championship Tournament is being held in Toronto this coming October 16th. It's not too late to get in to take a shot at the $10,000 first prize, for an entry fee of only $21 (Canadian dollars.)

Get details from the World Rock Paper Scissors Society, which can help you prep with books on RPS strategy and even refer you to professional trainers.

The New York press is full of stories of contestants using computerized training and the like before heading up there to fight for the title.

You might remember Saddam practicing his RPS skills at one of his rare recent public appearances, though it's not sure he'll make it to this year's tournament.


Political quote of the day...

"In my vision of America's future there will be a place for fried Twinkies."

-- Sen. Joseph Lieberman, in Diary of a Political Tourist, tonight on HBO.