Monthly Archives: May 2011

Who’s taking hostages?

A typical hostage-taker says “I will kill some innocent people unless you give me a bunch of money.” According to Paul Krugman, Republicans are hostage-takers. The only things setting them apart from typical hostage-takers are that they demanded money for … Continue reading

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1967 Borders

(Sunday 1am: update below) There has been a lot of discussion about Obama’s endorsement of Israel and Palestine’s returning to “1967 lines with mutually agreed [land] swaps.” Conservatives (e.g. Charles Krauthammer) interpreted Obama’s statement as basically just an endorsement of returning to 1967 borders, … Continue reading

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Paying back debts

Suppose a charismatic anti-debt crusader (maybe Ron Paul) persuaded everyone in the world to pay pack all of his debts. This includes the U.S. treasury, all private banks, corporations, and all individuals (but not central banks, e.g. the Federal Reserve … Continue reading

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Getting your money back

Harold Camping and his organization, Family Radio, were proved wrong this weekend when the world did not end. NPR reports that Tom Evans, a board member of Family Radio, “hopes the organization will repay people who gave their money to … Continue reading

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Another $20 Brainteaser

Update Saturday 1am: I am not totally satisfied with this puzzle as it feels a bit contrived. I think I can make it both more realistic and not that much more convoluted. I am going to try to do that … Continue reading

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Mirror Image Puzzle

Below is a puzzle I have come across on two different occasions, the latest one being when reading the introduction to Gary Drescher’s book “Good and Real: Demystifying Paradoxes from Physics to Ethics” (which I did not come close to … Continue reading

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NY Times admits to basing its linguistic decisions on U.S. government diktat

(UPDATED Monday 2pm: last paragraph changed based on feedback from my friend Adam) The New York Times’ ombudsman has a column on the Times’ practice of not (generally) using the word “torture” when describing the way the Bush administration dealt with … Continue reading

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Word usage error in NY Times

Update (Sunday 8:30pm): link to article removed, since the Times modified the story (although there is no evidence that the modification was due to their having learned their lesson about word usage!) New York Times, today: “It was 10 minutes … Continue reading

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This is what lying is (according to Whyte)

Here is a good example of a case where we should make someone bet money to prove how sure they are of something, an issue discussed in the previous post. David Brooks writes: But, remember, the debt-ceiling limit has to … Continue reading

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What is Lying?

Jamie Whyte has a guest-post on Steve Landsburg’s blog arguing that we should force politicians to put their own money on the line when they make prognostications. E.g. we should have forced Tony Blair (Whyte is British) to place a … Continue reading

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