Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Random Notes and Quotes

These things have been accumulating on my note paper. They are not
worth writing a full blog post on, so I'll put them all up now so I
can clear the clutter off my desk:


Office Conversation:
"It must be really bad to not have a sense of humor. How do they cope?"
"A feeling of superiority is a substitute for humor."

The best way to beat the odds is to make yourself better than average.

It takes a dirty mind to sound innocent all of the time. People who
really are innocent often say dirty things because they do not know
the double meanings. You have to know all of the innuendo and slang
in order to avoid saying them.

On average, people who are wrong use stronger language than people who
are right. This is because the kind of people who know the truth are
usually the kind of people who are careful with their language. This
means that people who judge opinions by 'strength of conviction'
usually believe the wrong people and things.

Supporting a few 'unfit' individuals is a small price to pay for
maintaining the long-term genetic diversity of the human race.

Too many simplifying assumptions makes a theory worthless. Too few
simplifying assumptions makes a theory impossible to work with.

A patient evil person is easily mistaken for a good person. An
impatient good person can easily cause a lot of evil.

The interest rate is the reward for patience or the punishment for impatience.

Economics is the study of what happens when people make rational
choices. It has much less predictive value in situations when people
are unwilling or unable to act rationally.

Math proofs say nothing about reality. They are only show the
self-consistency of a language system.

Beware of anybody who judges reality against an imaginary perfect world.

An economist understands people the same way a bridge builder understands cars.

I looked for economist jokes online, and found very few original ones.
Almost all of them were recycled lawyer jokes or scientist jokes.
That, in itself, is an interesting result: An economist is someone
about whom you can tell both layer jokes and scientist jokes.

For a certain definition of rationality, animal behavior is always
more rational than human behavior. There is more selection pressure,
and less room for error.

You will never make money if you assume that everyone else is rational.

"Politicians always talk about 'a level playing field.' They have
never seen a level playing field. You don't want a level playing
field; the water never drains off." - My Micro Professor

Macroeconomic growth models are based on the assumption that people
maximize their happiness. This is fundamentally flawed because it
does not have an evolutionary perspective. Assuming that behavior is
passed onto children, the only behavior we will see in the long run is
behavior that maximizes the number of successful children. Behavior
patterns that focus on anything other than children will quickly
disappear from the population.

Intelligence is what you know. Wisdom is your ability to define the
limits of your knowledge.


Whew. Unfortunately, that did nothing to clear my desk. Each sheet
of notes had exactly one topic that deserves to be expanded into a
full blog post...

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