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From the Notebook

English: Martin Buber in Palestine/Israel עברי...

English: Martin Buber in Palestine/Israel עברית: מרטין בובר בארץ ישראל (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The year is over, my busy holiday schedule is over, and maybe I’ll have time to write stuff. Maybe.

In other news, I wrote the Foreword in Aaron Clarey’s new Bachelor Pad Economics, as well as worked with the manuscript. It was a lot of fun, and I’m very glad Aaron allowed me to help out. I intend to write a review here and on Amazon.com.

Books read/self-education/Movies:

The White House Mess by Christopher Buckley. Excellent. Played straight as a real memoir, the stuff Buckley parodies would be absolutely at home in any presidential administration since its publication in 1986.

Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover. Pretty good, I got really annoyed at the “Kate called into my radio show and [anecdote that proves how right I am]. Ramsey’s got a good plan, but he sells it like religion, instead of finance.

Good and Evil by Martin Buber. Hard to describe, Martin Buber examines several of the psalms, and the myths relating to Lucifer, good and evil, and even the nature of the afterlife. It is Buber’s description of the afterlife I found most interesting.

Audiobook: X-Files: Ground Zero by Kevin J. Anderson, read by Gillian Anderson. Not very good. Anderson delivers the story monotone and flat and awful. And the story isn’t interesting.

Museum of Modern Art’s Printmaking playlist on Khan Academy. Described the different forms of artistic printmaking. Quick and interesting.

The Hobbit; Desolation of Smaug: Very good, much better than the first one. Worth watching.

From the Notebook

English: Martin Buber in Palestine/Israel עברי...

English: Martin Buber in Palestine/Israel עברית: מרטין בובר בארץ ישראל (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

- The novel is coming along alright. I’m now doing the final edit, and waiting for feedback from my reviewers. I probably won’t be able to release it before Christmas because of my new job. But I’ll try anyway.

- If anyone wants my pWP data for 2012, I made a pdf of my spreadsheets. It’s there if anyone wants to try to replicate my results. Just email me through my About page or leave a comment in this post.

- I am currently working a new job at Walmart, and while it’s not necessary, I do want to say that anything I post here is my own work and views, and nothing here represents Walmart in any way and that I do not represent Walmart in any way, official or not.

- The futility of blogging: In nine years, I have published nearly 5000 posts and earned an invite to the 2008 RNC. In that time, I have earned $11.80 from Amazon.com’s referral program. I’ve “earned” about 17 dollars from Google ads but I can’t collect it. And I got a huge $175 from a one-time text-ad deal. That’s less than 200 dollars. And the sad part is that’s far more money than most bloggers out there will ever earn blogging. The writing bug is just about the worst ill that could befall a human being.

Some pWP notes that didn’t get published during the election, when they would have made more sense:

- Anyone looking really close at some of my pWP graphs will notice the pWP of any individual poll never goes above 95% or below 5%. This is a product of my general philosophy of statistics. There is always some level of “Black Swan-ness” that erodes the confidence I have in the predictability of something like an election. One candidate can die, or commit a crime, or say something awful, etc. These tail events are more common than you’d think, and when combined with the limitations of polling and just a generic fudge-factor, I made the decision that we can never be more than 95% confident a particular candidate will win an election except in extraordinary circumstances. There have been several polls that would have put Obama above the 95% pWP mark, just so you know.

- The tracking polls, which give rolling averages of five or more days, are my nightmare. They basically make my task of trying to calculate the impact of events on the electorate completely impossible. I don’t know how to properly account for them, and they represent a majority of the polls I use for measuring POTUS pWP. I have a few ideas on how to change things for next election, but it basically increases my workload sevenfold.

Reviews:

- How to think about God, by Mortimer Adler. This short book on “philosophic theology” is really incredible. Adler outlines the traditional deductive arguments for the existence of God, and strengthens them. His argument does not require any religious experience, feelings, supernatural experiences or any other questionable claims that are easily discarded by skeptics. His argument, focused on the idea of radical contingency, is surprisingly strong. Anyone interested in theology, and in particular arguments for the existence of God, should read this book.

- Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel, by Scott Adams. This was an abridged audiobook I got for $1.98. And it was good. Adams central thesis is that we area all weasels, and that’s okay. And I agree.

- Finished the Khan Academy Macroeconomics playlist. Conservatives and libertarians generally object to the methods of macroeconomics, and their criticisms are strong. But the vast majority of conservatives and libertarians, at least among those I know, don’t have a strong grasp of macroeconomic orthodoxy. Sal’s playlist gives a very good starting point and puts those criticisms in proper context.

- 2016: Obama’s America. I like Dinish D’Souza. I do. But he destroyed any credibility he had by making this film. imho.

- The Punisher: Kingdome Gone. This was a shortish graphic novel I found lying around the house. It’s older, and a little tame. There’s some kind of underlying political message that I didn’t entirely comprehend about the invasion of Grenada.

- The Walking Dead; Compendium 1. [It's awesome, just FYI]

- I and Thou, by Martin Buber. I was first introduced to Buber in a Freshman seminar. Since then, I’ve been a big fan.

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