A quote from the Black Swan by Nassim Taleb.

The very term iatrogenics, i.e., the study of the harm caused by the healer, is not widespread—I have never seen it used outside medicine. In spite of my lifelong obsession with what is called type 1 error, or the false positive, I was only introduced to the concept of iatrogenic harm very recently, thanks to a conversation with the essayist Bryan Appleyard. How can such a major idea remain hidden from our consciousness?... [Read More]


Book Review: The Creature from Jekyll Island

“The Creature from Jekyll Island” by G. Edward GriffinAlmost every time I review a book about or discuss the U.S. Federal Reserve System in a conversation or Internet post, somebody recommends this book. I’d never gotten around to reading it until recently, when a couple more mentions of it pushed me over the edge. And what an edge that turned out to be. I cannot recommend this book to anybody; there are far more coherent, focussed, and persuasive analyses of the Federal Reserve in print, for example Ron Paul’s excellent book End the Fed. The present book goes well beyond a discussion of the Federal Reserve and rambles over millennia of history in a chaotic manner prone to induce temporal vertigo in the reader, discussing the history of money, banking, political manipulation of currency, inflation, fractional reserve banking, fiat money, central banking, cartels, war profiteering, bailouts, monetary panics and bailouts, nonperforming loans to “developing” nations, the Rothschilds and Rockefellers, booms and busts, and more.

The author is inordinately fond of conspiracy theories. As we pursue our random walk through history and around the world, we encounter:... [Read More]


Hold My Beersheba

In the recent Star Wars movies, the character Rey, the ostensible protagonist, never fails, never grows, never overcomes — she just wins and grins.  Or grimaces at some points, but her travails are all patently boring, as we know that she will succeed.  She succeeds at everything.

Star Wars is not the point.... [Read More]


Air Raid!

The date was October 26, 1985 and the place was the great West Texas city of El Paso. I was ten years old and in the fifth grade, and like most El Pasoans was looking forward to the upcoming college basketball season. The UTEP (University of Texas at El Paso) Miners basketball team, coached by the legendary Don Haskins, was the pride and joy of the Sun City. They regularly ranked in the AP Top Twenty (as the rankings were then called) and were expected to not only compete for a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) championship every year, but to also go deep into the NCAA Tournament.

Expectations for UTEP Miners football, by contrast, were lower. Much lower. Gridiron-wise, UTEP was college football Siberia: a place where coaching careers went to die. Such was the fate that loomed over head coach Bill Yung during the fall of 1985. The Miners were 0-6 and the team they were slated to play on that last weekend of October was none other than the #7-ranked Cougars of Brigham Young University (BYU), the defending national champions. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was expecting a blowout. Coach Yung likely felt the same way, but not his young offensive coordinator, a native of San Antonio named Hal Mumme (pronounced “mummy”). For some time, Mumme had been studying BYU’s passing plays, in particular a play called the Y-cross, which the Cougars never expected to see used against them. But Mumme did, and that plus an inspired Miners defense resulted in a shocking upset over BYU, 23-16.... [Read More]


Mind Grenade

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Tales from My Camera Roll

In June, we had a string of storms. When it rained, it poured—and it rained often. There were high winds, and at least once, it hailed. There’s my faithful little red Subaru just waiting it out.

Hold on, trusty car. It will be over soon. At least I hope so, because there is a seeping issue in the basement. One rainstorm lasted, with varying intensity, for an hour and a half. I was up sopping up basement water after midnight. The owner worked on the gutters, and I haven’t had any more issues so far. It still rains like this, when we get occasional summer precipitation. I don’t know what is up with these extreme downpours.... [Read More]


Three Degrees of Separation

I am living in the Celsius world so at 30 degrees and above (86 plus) it becomes unbearable here. It stays about that temp for only a few weeks but it sure seems longer (like months). But if it goes down by only about 3 degrees (6) life gets back to normal. Luckily, next week the temp will go down by those three degrees. The Sweat Sock gets to be just a Sock then.

I am reminded of the old days here before air conditioning. If one could one just left for the summer to a cooler clime. For those who couldn’t would fanned themselves and opened all the windows and try to get a breeze going through the house. ... [Read More]