traveling salesman

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pages: 245 words: 12,162

In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman: Mathematics at the Limits of Computation by William J. Cook

complexity theory, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, four colour theorem, index card, John von Neumann, linear programming, NP-complete, P = NP, p-value, RAND corporation, Richard Feynman, traveling salesman, Turing machine

In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman Mathematics at the Limits of Computation PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS Princeton and Oxford William J. Cook c 2012 by Princeton University Press Copyright Published by Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, New Jersey 08540 In the United Kingdom: Princeton University Press, 6 Oxford Street, Woodstock, Oxfordshire OX20 1TW press.princeton.edu All Rights Reserved Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Cook, William, 1957– In pursuit of the traveling salesman : mathematics at the limits of computation / William J. Cook. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-691-15270-7 (hardback) 1. Traveling salesman problem. 2. Computational complexity. I. Title. QA164.C69 2012 511’.5—dc23 2011030626 British Library Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available This book has been composed in Minion Printed on acid-free paper ∞ Typeset by S R Nova Pvt Ltd, Bangalore, India Printed in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Listen, mate, I’ve traveled every road in this here land.

Milton Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Tech and the Department of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University. My work on the traveling salesman problem is funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (CMMI-0726370) and the Office of Naval Research (N00014-09-1-0048), and by a generous endowment from A. Russel Chandler III. I am grateful for their continued support. Finally, I thank my family, Monika, Benny, and Linda, for years of patiently listening to salesman stories. xiii In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman 1: Challenges It grew out of the trio’s efforts to find solutions for a classic mathematical problem—the “Traveling Salesman” problem—which has long defied solution by man, or by the fastest computers he uses. —IBM Press Release, 1964.1 n advertising campaign by Procter & Gamble caused a stir among applied mathematicians in the spring of 1962.

This is an explicit description of the TSP, made by a traveling salesman himself! The Commis-Voyageur book presents five routes through regions of Germany and Switzerland. Four of these routes include return visits to an earlier city that serves as a base for that part of the trip. The fifth route, however, is indeed a traveling salesman tour, indicated in figure 2.5. (The position of the route within Germany can be seen in the three-tours map displayed in figure 1.9.) As the Commis-Voyageur suggests, the tour is very good, perhaps even optimal, given road conditions at the time. Numerous volumes written later in the century describe well-chosen routes in the United States, Britain, and other countries. The romantic image of the traveling salesman is captured, too, in stage, film, literature, Halle Sondershausen Leipzig Muehlhausen Dresden Eisenach Freiberg Chemnitz Salzungen Fulda Plauen Gelnhausen Frankfurt Hof Hanau Aschaffenburg Baireuth Bamberg Wuerzburg Figure 2.5 Tour by the alten Commis-Voyageur, 1832. 23 24 Chapter 2 Figure 2.6 Commercial Traveller, McLoughlin Brothers, 1890.


pages: 236 words: 50,763

The Golden Ticket: P, NP, and the Search for the Impossible by Lance Fortnow

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, Donald Knuth, Erdős number, four colour theorem, Gerolamo Cardano, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, linear programming, new economy, NP-complete, Occam's razor, P = NP, Paul Erdős, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, smart grid, Stephen Hawking, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William of Occam

Even though the traveling salesman problem on a map is NP-complete and presumably difficult to solve exactly, we can find tours that get very close to the best solution. Sanjeev Arora and Joe Mitchell give an algorithm that subdivides the map into small pieces, finding good solutions for the traveling salesman problem in those small pieces and then connecting them all up again in a clever way. Consider the map of 71,009 Chinese cities. Figure 6-11. Chinese Cities. We put a tight grid on top and solve the traveling salesman problem in each grid and piece them together. If there are too many cities in a small region, we will build smaller grids in those areas. Using this scheme, we can find traveling salesman tours within a few percent of optimum in a reasonable amount of time. Figure 6-12. Chinese Cities Grid. If all NP problems had such nice approximation schemes, the P versus NP problem would be nearly irrelevant.

But often we need computers not just to search the data we already have but to search for possible solutions to problems. Consider the plight of Mary, a traveling salesman working for the US Gavel Corporation in Washington, D.C. Starting in her home city, she needs to travel to the capitals of all the lower forty-eight states to get the state legislatures to buy an original US Gavel. US Gavel needs to reduce its travel expenses and asked Mary to find the best route through all the capitals that requires the smallest distance possible. Mary sketched a simple drawing on a map, played with it for a while, and came up with a pretty good route. Figure 1-1. Traveling Salesman Problem Map. The travel department wanted Mary to see if she could come up with a different route, one that used less than 11,000 total miles.

Mary wondered whether there was some better way to find the best route, to find that golden ticket among the candy bars of possible trips. That’s the basic question of this book. The P versus NP problem asks, among other things, whether we can quickly find the shortest route for a traveling salesman. P and NP are named after their technical definitions, but it’s best not to think of them as mathematical objects but as concepts. “NP” is the collection of problems that have a solution that we want to find. “P” consists of the problems to which we can find a solution quickly. “P = NP” means we can always quickly compute these solutions, like finding the shortest route for a traveling salesman. “P ≠ NP” means we can’t. The Partition Puzzle Consider the following thirty-eight numbers: 14,175, 15,055, 16,616, 17,495, 18,072, 19,390, 19,731, 22,161, 23,320, 23,717, 26,343, 28,725, 29,127, 32,257, 40,020, 41,867, 43,155, 46,298, 56,734, 57,176, 58,306, 61,848, 65,825, 66,042, 68,634, 69,189, 72,936, 74,287, 74,537, 81,942, 82,027, 82,623, 82,802, 82,988, 90,467, 97,042, 97,507, 99,564.


pages: 523 words: 143,139

Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths

4chan, Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, anthropic principle, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, bitcoin, Community Supported Agriculture, complexity theory, constrained optimization, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, Danny Hillis, David Heinemeier Hansson, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, diversification, Donald Knuth, double helix, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, first-price auction, Flash crash, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Henri Poincaré, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, knapsack problem, Lao Tzu, Leonard Kleinrock, linear programming, martingale, Nash equilibrium, natural language processing, NP-complete, P = NP, packet switching, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert X Cringely, Sam Altman, sealed-bid auction, second-price auction, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, sorting algorithm, spectrum auction, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman, Turing machine, urban planning, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, Y Combinator, zero-sum game

Lincoln worked as a “prairie lawyer”: You can read more about Lincoln’s circuit in Fraker, “The Real Lincoln Highway.” “the postal messenger problem”: Menger, “Das botenproblem,” contains a lecture given by Menger on the subject in Vienna on February 5, 1930. For a fuller history of the traveling salesman problem see Schrijver, “On the History of Combinatorial Optimization,” as well as Cook’s very readable book In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman. fellow mathematician Merrill Flood: Flood, “The Traveling-Salesman Problem.” iconic name first appeared in print: Robinson, On the Hamiltonian Game. “impossibility results would also be valuable”: Flood, “The Traveling-Salesman Problem.” “no good algorithm for the traveling salesman problem”: Edmonds, “Optimum Branchings.” what makes a problem feasible: Cobham, “The Intrinsic Computational Difficulty of Functions,” explicitly considers the question of what should be considered an “efficient” algorithm.

essentially no time at all: Well, okay, a little bit of time—linear in the number of cities if you’re lucky, linearithmic if you’re not. Pettie and Ramachandran, “An Optimal Minimum Spanning Tree Algorithm.” the spanning tree, with its free backtracking: Approaching the traveling salesman problem via the minimum spanning tree is discussed in Christofides, Worst-Case Analysis of a New Heuristic. visits every single town on Earth: For more on the state of the art in the all-world-cities traveling salesman problem (the so-called “World TSP”), an up-to-date report can be found at http://www.math.uwaterloo.ca/tsp/world/. For more on the traveling salesman problem in general, Cook, In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman, is a good general reference, and Lawler et al., The Traveling Salesman Problem, will satisfy those who want to go deeper. finding the minimal set of locations: This classic discrete optimization problem is known as the “set cover” problem.

If we calculate that the spanning tree distance for a particular set of towns is 100 miles, we can be sure the traveling salesman distance will be no less than that. And if we find, say, a 110-mile route, we can be certain it is at most 10% longer than the best solution. Thus we can get a grasp of how close we are to the real answer even without knowing what it is. Figure 8.1 The shortest traveling salesman route (top) and minimum spanning tree (bottom) for Lincoln’s 1855 judicial circuit. Even better, in the traveling salesman problem it turns out that the minimum spanning tree is actually one of the best starting points from which to begin a search for the real solution. Approaches like these have allowed even one of the largest traveling salesman problems imaginable—finding the shortest route that visits every single town on Earth—to be solved to within less than 0.05% of the (unknown) optimal solution.


Algorithms Unlocked by Thomas H. Cormen

bioinformatics, Donald Knuth, knapsack problem, NP-complete, optical character recognition, P = NP, Silicon Valley, sorting algorithm, traveling salesman

Moreover, knowing the edges in the hamiltonian path gives the edges in the hamiltonian cycle. Traveling salesman In the decision version of the traveling-salesman problem, we are given a complete undirected graph with a nonnegative integer weight on each edge, and a nonnegative integer k. A complete graph has an edge between every pair of vertices, so that if a complete graph has n vertices, then it has n.n 1/ edges. We ask whether the graph has a cycle containing all vertices whose total weight is at most k. It’s pretty easy to show that this problem is in NP. A certificate consists of the vertices of the cycle, in order. We can easily check in polynomial time whether the edges on this cycle visit all the vertices and have a total weight of k or less. To show that the traveling-salesman problem is NP-hard, we reduce from the hamiltonian-cycle problem, another simple reduction.

Hamiltonian cycle and hamiltonian path We’ve already seen the hamiltonian-cycle problem: does a connected, undirected graph contain a hamiltonian cycle (a path that starts and ends at the same vertex and visits all other vertices exactly once)? The applications of this problem are a bit arcane, but from the NP-completeness family tree on page 190, you can see that we use this problem to show that the traveling-salesman problem is NP-complete, and we’ve seen how the traveling-salesman problem comes up in practice. A closely related problem is the hamiltonian-path problem, which asks whether the graph contains a path that visits each vertex exactly once, but does not require that the path be a closed cycle. This problem, too, is NP-complete, and we will use it on page 199 to show that the longest-acyclic-path problem is NP-complete. For both of the hamiltonian problems, the certificate is obvious: the order of the vertices in the hamiltonian cycle or path.

For example, it’s almost always much easier to reduce from 3-CNF satisfiability than to reduce from the Mother Problem of boolean formula satisfiability. Boolean formulas can be arbitrarily complicated, but you’ve seen how we can exploit the structure of 3-CNF formulas when reducing. Likewise, it’s usually more straightforward to reduce from the hamiltonian-cycle problem than from the traveling-salesman problem, even though they are so similar. That’s because in the traveling-salesman problem, the edge weights can be any positive integers, not just the 0 or 1 that we required when reducing to it. The hamiltonian-cycle problem is more restricted because each edge has only one of two “values”: present or absent. Look for special cases Several NP-complete problems are just special cases of other NPcomplete problems, much as the partition problem is a special case of Chapter 10: Hard?


pages: 329 words: 88,954

Emergence by Steven Johnson

A Pattern Language, agricultural Revolution, Brewster Kahle, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Danny Hillis, Douglas Hofstadter, edge city, epigenetics, game design, garden city movement, Gödel, Escher, Bach, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Murano, Venice glass, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, pez dispenser, phenotype, Potemkin village, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, slashdot, social intelligence, Socratic dialogue, stakhanovite, Steven Pinker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush

Beneath the window-smashing and the Rage Against the Machine concerts, the anti-WTO activists are doing something profound, even in these early days of their movement. They are thinking like a swarm. 7 See What Happens For years mathematicians have puzzled over a classic brainteaser known as the “traveling salesman problem.” Imagine you’re a salesman who has to visit fifteen cities during a business trip—cities that are distributed semirandomly across the map. What is the shortest route that takes you to each city exactly once? It sounds like a simple enough question, but the answer is maddeningly difficult to establish. Even with the number of cities set at a relatively modest fifteen, billions of potential routes exist for our traveling salesman. For complicated reasons, the traveling salesman problem is almost impossible to solve definitively, and so historically mathematicians—and traveling salesmen, presumably—have settled for the next best thing: routes that are tolerably short, but not necessarily the shortest possible.

For complicated reasons, the traveling salesman problem is almost impossible to solve definitively, and so historically mathematicians—and traveling salesmen, presumably—have settled for the next best thing: routes that are tolerably short, but not necessarily the shortest possible. This might sound like an arcane issue, given the real-world decline of the traveling salesman, but the core elements of the problem lie at the epicenter of the communications revolution. Think of those traveling salesmen as bits of data, and the cities as Web servers and routers scattered all across the globe. Being able to calculate the shortest routes through that network would be a godsend for a massive distributed system like the Internet, where there may be thousands of “cities” on any given route, instead of just fifteen. The traveling salesman may finally have been killed off for good by online retailers like Amazon.com, but the traveling salesman problem has become even more critical to the digital world. In late 1999, Marco Dorigo of the Free University of Brussels announced that he and his colleagues had hit upon a way of reaching “near-optimal” solutions to the traveling salesman problem that was notably more time-efficient that any traditional approach.

In late 1999, Marco Dorigo of the Free University of Brussels announced that he and his colleagues had hit upon a way of reaching “near-optimal” solutions to the traveling salesman problem that was notably more time-efficient that any traditional approach. Dorigo’s secret: let the ants do the work. Not literal ants, of course. As we saw at the beginning of this book, ant colonies have an uncanny ability to calculate the shortest path to different food sources, using their simple language of pheromone trails. Dorigo’s insight was to solve the traveling salesmen problem the way an ant colony would: send out an army of virtual salesman to explore all possible routes on the map. When a salesman successfully completes a journey to all fifteen cities, he then traces his path back to the starting city, depositing a small amount of virtual “pheromone” along the way.


pages: 285 words: 86,853

What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing by Ed Finn

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Claude Shannon: information theory, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, factory automation, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, game design, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, High speed trading, hiring and firing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, late fees, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Lyft, Mother of all demos, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, software studies, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, wage slave

But such implementations are never just code: a method for solving a problem inevitably involves all sorts of technical and intellectual inferences, interventions, and filters. As an example, consider the classic computer science problem of the traveling salesman: how can one calculate an efficient route through a geography of destinations at various distances from one another? The question has many real-world analogs, such as routing UPS drivers, and indeed that company has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in a 1,000-page algorithm called ORION that bases its decisions in part on traveling salesman heuristics.12 And yet the traveling salesman problem imagines each destination as an identical point on a graph, while UPS drop-offs vary greatly in the amount of time they take to complete (hauling a heavy package up with a handcart, say, or avoiding the owner’s terrier).

ORION and its 1,000-page “solution” to this tangled problem is, of course, a process or system in continued evolution rather than an elegant equation for the balletic coordination of brown trucks. Its equations and computational models of human behavior are just one example among millions of algorithms attempting to regularize and optimize complex cultural systems. The pragmatist’s definition achieves clarity by constructing an edifice (a cathedral) of tacit knowledge, much of it layered in systems of abstraction like the traveling salesman problem. At a certain level of cultural success, these systems start to create their own realities as well: various players in the system begin to alter their behavior in ways that short-circuit the system’s assumptions. Internet discussion boards catalog complaints about delivery drivers who do not bother to knock and instead leave door tags claiming that the resident was not at home. These shortcuts work precisely because they are invisible to systems like ORION, allowing the driver to save valuable seconds and perhaps catch up on all those other metrics that are being tracked on a hectic day when the schedule starts to slip.

Index Abortion, 64 Abstraction, 10 aesthetics and, 83, 87–112 arbitrage and, 161 Bogost and, 49, 92–95 capitalism and, 165 context and, 24 cryptocurrency and, 160–180 culture machines and, 54 (see also Culture machines) cybernetics and, 28, 30, 34 desire for answer and, 25 discarded information and, 50 effective computability and, 28, 33 ethos of information and, 159 high frequency trading (HFT) and imagination and, 185, 189, 192, 194 interfaces and, 52, 54, 92, 96, 103, 108, 110–111 ladder of, 82–83 language and, 2, 24 Marxism and, 165 meaning and, 36 money and, 153, 159, 161, 165–167, 171–175 Netflix and, 87–112, 205n36 politics of, 45 pragmatist approach and, 19–21 process and, 2, 52, 54 reality and, 205n36 Siri and, 64–65, 82–84 Turing Machine and, 23 (see also Turing Machine) Uber and, 124–126, 129 Wiener and, 28–29, 30 work of algorithms and, 113, 120, 123–136, 139–149 Adams, Douglas, 123 Adams, Henry, 80–81 Adaptive systems, 50, 63, 72, 92, 174, 176, 186, 191 Addiction, 114–115, 118–119, 121–122, 176 AdSense, 158–159 Advent of the Algorithm, The (Berlinski), 9, 24 Advertisements AdSense and, 158–159 algorithmic arbitrage and, 111, 161 Apple and, 65 cultural calculus of waiting and, 34 as cultural latency, 159 emotional appeals of, 148 Facebook and, 113–114 feedback systems and, 145–148 Google and, 66, 74, 156, 158–160 Habermas on, 175 Netflix and, 98, 100, 102, 104, 107–110 Uber and, 125 Aesthetics abstraction and, 83, 87–112 arbitrage and, 109–112, 175 culture machines and, 55 House of Cards and, 92, 98–112 Netflix Quantum Theory and, 91–97 personalization and, 11, 97–103 of production, 12 work of algorithms and, 123, 129, 131, 138–147 Agre, Philip, 178–179 Airbnb, 124, 127 Algebra, 17 Algorithmic reading, 52–56 Algorithmic trading, 12, 20, 99, 155 Algorithms abstraction and, 2 (see also Abstraction) arbitrage and, 12, 51, 97, 110–112, 119, 121, 124, 127, 130–134, 140, 151, 160, 162, 169, 171, 176 Berlinski on, 9, 24, 30, 36, 181 Bitcoin and, 160–180 black boxes and, 7, 15–16, 47–48, 51, 55, 64, 72, 92–93, 96, 136, 138, 146–147, 153, 162, 169–171, 179 blockchains and, 163–168, 171, 177, 179 Bogost and, 16, 33, 49 Church-Turing thesis and, 23–26, 39–41, 73 consciousness and, 2, 4, 8, 22–23, 36–37, 40, 76–79, 154, 176, 178, 182, 184 DARPA and, 11, 57–58, 87 desire and, 21–26, 37, 41, 47, 49, 52, 79–82, 93–96, 121, 159, 189–192 effective computability and, 10, 13, 21–29, 33–37, 40–49, 52–54, 58, 62, 64, 72–76, 81, 93, 192–193 Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm and, 163 embodiment and, 26–32 encryption, 153, 162–163 enframing and, 118–119 Enlightenment and, 27, 30, 38, 45, 68–71, 73 experimental humanities and, 192–196 Facebook and, 20 (see also Facebook) faith and, 7–9, 12, 16, 78, 80, 152, 162, 166, 168 gamification and, 12, 114–116, 120, 123–127, 133 ghost in the machine and, 55, 95 halting states and, 41–46 high frequency trading (HFT) and, 151–158, 168–169, 177 how to think about, 36–41 ideology and, 7, 9, 18, 20–23, 26, 33, 38, 42, 46–47, 54, 64, 69, 130, 144, 155, 160–162, 167, 169, 194 imagination and, 11, 55–56, 181–196 implementation and, 47–52 intelligent assistants and, 11, 57, 62, 64–65, 77 intimacy and, 4, 11, 35, 54, 65, 74–78, 82–85, 97, 102, 107, 128–130, 172, 176, 185–189 Knuth and, 17–18 language and, 24–28, 33–41, 44, 51, 54–55 machine learning and, 2, 15, 28, 42, 62, 66, 71, 85, 90, 112, 181–184, 191 mathematical logic and, 2 meaning and, 35–36, 38, 44–45, 50, 54–55 metaphor and, 32–36 Netflix Prize and, 87–91 neural networks and, 28, 31, 39, 182–183, 185 one-way functions and, 162–163 pragmatist approach and, 18–25, 42, 58, 62 process and, 41–46 programmable culture and, 169–175 quest for perfect knowledge and, 13, 65, 71, 73, 190 rise of culture machines and, 15–21 (see also Culture machines) Siri and, 59 (see also Siri) traveling salesman problem and Turing Machine and, 9 (see also Turing Machine) as vehicle of computation, 5 wants of, 81–85 Weizenbaum and, 33–40 work of, 113–149 worship of, 192 Al-Khwārizmī, Abū ‘Abdullāh Muhammad ibn Mūsā, 17 Alphabet Corporation, 66, 155 AlphaGo, 182, 191 Amazon algorithmic arbitrage and, 124 artificial intelligence (AI) and, 135–145 Bezos and, 174 Bitcoin and, 169 business model of, 20–21, 93–94 cloud warehouses and, 131–132, 135–145 disruptive technologies and, 124 effective computability and, 42 efficiency algorithms and, 134 interface economy and, 124 Kindle and, 195 Kiva Systems and, 134 Mechanical Turk and, 135–145 personalization and, 97 physical logistics of, 13, 131 pickers and, 132–134 pragmatic approach and, 18 product improvement and, 42 robotics and, 134 simplification ethos and, 97 worker conditions and, 132–134, 139–140 Android, 59 Anonymous, 112, 186 AOL, 75 Apple, 81 augmenting imagination and, 186 black box of, 169 cloud warehouse of, 131 company value of, 158 effective computability and, 42 efficiency algorithms and, 134 Foxconn and, 133–134 global computation infrastructure of, 131 iOS App Store and, 59{tab} iTunes and, 161 massive infrastructure of, 131 ontology and, 62–63, 65 physical logistics of, 131 pragmatist approach and, 18 product improvement and, 42 programmable culture and, 169 search and, 87 Siri and, 57 (see also Siri) software and, 59, 62 SRI International and, 57, 59 Application Program Interfaces (APIs), 7, 113 Apps culture machines and, 15 Facebook and, 9, 113–115, 149 Her and, 83 identity and, 6 interfaces and, 8, 124, 145 iOS App Store and, 59 Lyft and, 128, 145 Netflix and, 91, 94, 102 third-party, 114–115 Uber and, 124, 145 Arab Spring, 111, 186 Arbesman, Samuel, 188–189 Arbitrage algorithmic, 12, 51, 97, 110–112, 119, 121, 124, 127, 130–134, 140, 151, 160, 162, 169, 171, 176 Bitcoin and, 51, 169–171, 175–179 cultural, 12, 94, 121, 134, 152, 159 differing values and, 121–122 Facebook and, 111 Google and, 111 high frequency trading (HFT) and, 151–158, 168–169, 177 interface economy and, 123–131, 139–140, 145, 147 labor and, 97, 112, 123–145 market issues and, 152, 161 mining value and, 176–177 money and, 151–152, 155–163, 169–171, 175–179 Netflix and, 94, 97, 109–112 PageRank and, 159 pricing, 12 real-time, 12 trumping content and, 13 valuing culture and, 155–160 Archimedes, 18 Artificial intelligence (AI) adaptive systems and, 50, 63, 72, 92, 174, 176, 186, 191 Amazon and, 135–145 anthropomorphism and, 83, 181 anticipation and, 73–74 artificial, 135–141 automata and, 135–138 DARPA and, 11, 57–58, 87 Deep Blue and, 135–138 DeepMind and, 28, 66, 181–182 desire and, 79–82 ELIZA and, 34 ghost in the machine and, 55, 95 HAL and, 181 homeostat and, 199n42 human brain and, 29 intellectual history of, 61 intelligent assistants and, 11, 57, 62, 64–65, 77 intimacy and, 75–76 job elimination and, 133 McCulloch-Pitts Neuron and, 28, 39 machine learning and, 2, 15, 28, 42, 62, 66, 71, 85, 90, 112, 181–186 Mechanical Turk and, 12, 135–145 natural language processing (NLP) and, 62–63 neural networks and, 28, 31, 39, 182–183, 185 OS One (Her) and, 77 renegade independent, 191 Samantha (Her) and, 77–85, 154, 181 Siri and, 57, 61 (see also Siri) Turing test and, 43, 79–82, 87, 138, 142, 182 Art of Computer Programming, The (Knuth), 17 Ashby, Ross, 199n42 Asimov, Isaac, 45 Atlantic, The (magazine), 7, 92, 170 Automation, 122, 134, 144, 188 Autopoiesis, 28–30 Babbage, Charles, 8 Banks, Iain, 191 Barnet, Belinda, 43–44 Bayesian analysis, 182 BBC, 170 BellKor’s Pragmatic Chaos (Netflix), 89–90 Berlinski, David, 9, 24, 30, 36, 181, 184 Bezos, Jeff, 174 Big data, 11, 15–16, 62–63, 90, 110 Biology, 2, 4, 26–33, 36–37, 80, 133, 139, 185 Bitcoin, 12–13 arbitrage and, 51, 169–171, 175–179 blockchains and, 163–168, 171–172, 177, 179 computationalist approach and cultural processing and, 178 eliminating vulnerability and, 161–162 Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm and, 163 encryption and, 162–163 as glass box, 162 intrinsic value and, 165 labor and, 164, 178 legitimacy and, 178 market issues and, 163–180 miners and, 164–168, 171–172, 175–179 Nakamoto and, 161–162, 165–167 one-way functions and, 162–163 programmable culture and, 169–175 transaction fees and, 164–165 transparency and, 160–164, 168, 171, 177–178 trust and, 166–168 Blockbuster, 99 Blockchains, 163–168, 171–172, 177, 179 Blogs early web curation and, 156 Facebook algorithms and, 178 Gawker Media and, 170–175 journalistic principles and, 173, 175 mining value and, 175, 178 Netflix and, 91–92 turker job conditions and, 139 Uber and, 130 Bloom, Harold, 175 Bogost, Ian abstraction and, 92–95 algorithms and, 16, 33, 49 cathedral of computation and, 6–8, 27, 33, 49, 51 computation and, 6–10, 16 Cow Clicker and, 12, 116–123 Enlightenment and, 8 gamification and, 12, 114–116, 120, 123–127, 133 Netflix and, 92–95 Boolean conjunctions, 51 Bosker, Bianca, 58 Bostrom, Nick, 45 Bowker, Geoffrey, 28, 110 Boxley Abbey, 137 Brain Pickings (Popova), 175 Brain plasticity, 38, 191 Brand, Stewart, 3, 29 Brazil (film), 142 Breaking Bad (TV series), 101 Brin, Sergei, 57, 155–156 Buffett, Warren, 174 Burr, Raymond, 95 Bush, Vannevar, 18, 186–189, 195 Business models Amazon and, 20–21, 93–94, 96 cryptocurrency and, 160–180 Facebook and, 20 FarmVille and, 115 Google and, 20–21, 71–72, 93–94, 96, 155, 159 Netflix and, 87–88 Uber and, 54, 93–94, 96 Business of Enlightenment, The (Darnton) 68, 68 Calculus, 24, 26, 30, 34, 44–45, 98, 148, 186 CALO, 57–58, 63, 65, 67, 79, 81 Campbell, Joseph, 94 Campbell, Murray, 138 Capitalism, 12, 105 cryptocurrency and, 160, 165–168, 170–175 faking it and, 146–147 Gawker Media and, 170–175 identity and, 146–147 interface economy and, 127, 133 labor and, 165 public sphere and, 172–173 venture, 9, 124, 174 Captology, 113 Carr, Nicholas, 38 Carruth, Allison, 131 Castronova, Edward, 121 Cathedral and the Bazaar, The (Raymond), 6 Cathedral of computation, 6–10, 27, 33, 49, 51 Chess, 135–138, 144–145 Chun, Wendy Hui Kyong, 3, 16, 33, 35–36, 42, 104 Church, Alonzo, 23– 24, 42 Church-Turing thesis, 23–26, 39–41 Cinematch (Netflix), 88–90, 95 Citizens United case, 174 Clark, Andy, 37, 39–40 Cloud warehouses Amazon and, 135–145 interface economy and, 131–145 Mechanical Turk and, 135–145 worker conditions and, 132–134, 139–140 CNN, 170 Code.


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Data Structures & Algorithms Interview Questions You'll Most Likely Be Asked by Vibrant Publishers

NP-complete, sorting algorithm, traveling salesman

Answer: Critical path analysis answers the following questions: a) what is the minimum amount of time needed to complete all activities? b) for a given activity v, is it possible to delay the completion of that activity without affecting the overall completion time? If yes, by how much can the completion of activity v be delayed? 153: Describe Christofides algorithm. Answer: It is a heuristic algorithm to find a near-optimal solution to the traveling salesman problem. It contains of the following steps: a) find a minimum spanning tree T b) find a perfect matching M among vertices with odd degree c) combine the edges of M and T to make a multigraph G d) find an Euler cycle in G by skipping vertices already seen. 154: What is a knot (in a directed graph)? Answer: A knot in a directed graph is a collection of vertices and edges with the property that every vertex in the knot has outgoing edges, and all outgoing edges from vertices in the knot terminate at other vertices in the knot.

As an example, if you want to find out the factors of a given number N, using this sort of algorithm will require to get one by one all the possible number combinations. 163: What is a greedy algorithm? Give examples of problems solved using greedy algorithms. Answer: A greedy algorithm is any algorithm that makes the local optimal choice at each stage with the hope of finding the global optimum. A classical problem which can be solved using a greedy strategy is the traveling salesman problem. Another problems that can be solved using greedy algorithms are the graph coloring problem and all the NP-complete problems. 164: Which are the pillars of a greedy algorithm? Answer: In general, greedy algorithms have five pillars: a) a candidate set, from which a solution is created b) a selection function, which chooses the best candidate to be added to the solution c) a feasibility function, that is used to determine if a candidate can be used to contribute to a solution d) an objective function, which assigns a value to a solution, or a partial solution e) a solution function, which will indicate when we have discovered a complete solution 165: What is a backtracking algorithm?


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The Mathematics of Banking and Finance by Dennis W. Cox, Michael A. A. Cox

barriers to entry, Brownian motion, call centre, correlation coefficient, fixed income, G4S, inventory management, iterative process, linear programming, meta analysis, meta-analysis, pattern recognition, random walk, traveling salesman, value at risk

The selected revised strategies are shown below. s4 = c45 = 500 s3 = min(c35 * , c34 + s4 ) = min(800* , 1,000) = 800 s2 = min(c25 , c24 + s4 , c23 + s3 * ) = min(1,600, 1,500, 1,300* ) = 1,300 s1 = min(c15 , c14 + s4 , c13 + s3 * , c12 + s2 * ) = min(2,900, 2,500, 1,800* , 1,800* ) = 1,800 s0 = min(c05 , c04 + s4 , c03 + s3 , c02 + s2 * , c01 + s1 ) = min(4,600, 3,900, 2,700, 2,200* , 2,300) = 2,200 So, if the storage costs are doubled, we come up with a radically different solution. In this case the best strategy is to produce 300 (100 + 200) units after quarter 0, 250 after quarter 2 and 400 (250 + 150) after quarter 3, with a total cost of £2,100. 19.3.4 The ‘Travelling Salesman’ problem As a final dynamic programming example we consider the case of the travelling salesman. It is applicable to any problem that concerns something travelling by a ‘circular’ route. This approach is therefore suitable for any series of actions that commence and terminate at the same point and visit the remaining destinations once only. In the traditional problem, a salesman must visit n customers. The question that the company will seek to answer is to identify the optimum order in which the visits should be made to minimise the total distance travelled. 186 The Mathematics of Banking and Finance Table 19.7 Inter-site distances B C D E A B C D 5 7 9 13 6 13 12 8 5 6 For three customers (A, B, C) there would be six possible options for the route that the salesman can travel (ABC, ACB, BAC, BCA, CAB, CBA), before the salesman returns home having completing the required circuit.

Continuous Uniform Distribution Exponential Distribution 8 Normal Distribution 8.1 Introduction 8.2 Normal Distribution 8.2.1 A simple example of normal probabilities 8.2.2 A second example of normal probabilities 8.3 Addition of Normal Variables 8.4 Central Limit Theorem 8.4.1 An example of the Central Limit Theorem 8.5 Confidence Intervals for the Population Mean 8.5.1 An example of confidence intervals for the population mean 8.6 Normal Approximation to the Binomial Distribution 8.6.1 An example of the normal approximation to the binomial distribution 8.7 Normal Approximation to the Poisson Distribution 8.7.1 An example of fitting a normal curve to the Poisson distribution vii 56 57 58 59 60 60 62 64 66 67 67 67 69 69 70 70 70 71 71 72 72 72 73 9 Comparison of the Means, Sample Sizes and Hypothesis Testing 9.1 Introduction 9.2 Estimation of the Mean 9.2.1 An example of estimating a confidence interval for an experimental mean 9.3 Choice of the Sample Size 9.3.1 An example of selecting sample size 9.4 Hypothesis Testing 9.4.1 An example of hypothesis testing 9.5 Comparison of Two Sample Means 9.5.1 An example of a two-sample t test 9.6 Type I and Type II Errors 9.6.1 An example of type I and type II errors 75 75 75 10 Comparison of Variances 10.1 Introduction 10.2 Chi-Squared Test 10.2.1 An example of the chi-squared test 10.3 F Test 10.3.1 An example of the F test 10.3.2 An example considering the normal distribution 83 83 83 83 85 85 85 76 77 77 77 78 79 79 80 80 viii Contents 11 Chi-squared Goodness of Fit Test 11.1 Introduction 11.2 Contingency Tables 11.3 Multiway Tables 11.3.1 An example of a four by four table 91 91 92 94 94 12 Analysis of Paired Data 12.1 Introduction 12.2 t Test 12.3 Sign Test 12.4 The U Test 12.4.1 An example of the use of the U test 97 97 97 98 99 101 13 Linear Regression 13.1 Introduction 13.2 Linear Regression 13.3 Correlation Coefficient 13.3.1 An example of examining correlation 13.4 Estimation of the Uncertainties 13.5 Statistical Analysis and Interpretation of Linear Regression 13.6 ANOVA for Linear Regression 13.7 Equations for the Variance of a and b 13.8 Significance Test for the Slope 13.8.1 An example of slope analysis 13.8.2 A further example of correlation and linear regression 103 103 103 104 105 109 110 110 112 112 113 115 14 Analysis of Variance 14.1 Introduction 14.2 Formal Background to the ANOVA Table 14.3 Analysis of the ANOVA Table 14.4 Comparison of Two Causal Means 14.4.1 An example of extinguisher discharge times 14.4.2 An example of the lifetime of lamps 121 121 121 122 123 123 125 15 Design and Approach to the Analysis of Data 15.1 Introduction 15.2 Randomised Block Design 15.2.1 An example of outsourcing 15.3 Latin Squares 15.4 Analysis of a Randomised Block Design 15.5 Analysis of a Two-way Classification 15.5.1 An example of two-way analysis 15.5.2 An example of a randomised block 15.5.3 An example of the use of the Latin square 129 129 129 130 131 132 135 137 140 143 16 Linear Programming: Graphical Method 16.1 Introduction 149 149 Contents 16.2 Practical Examples 16.2.1 An example of an optimum investment strategy 16.2.2 An example of the optimal allocation of advertising ix 149 149 154 17 Linear Programming: Simplex Method 17.1 Introduction 17.2 Most Profitable Loans 17.2.1 An example of finance selection 17.3 General Rules 17.3.1 Standardisation 17.3.2 Introduction of additional variables 17.3.3 Initial solution 17.3.4 An example to demonstrate the application of the general rules for linear programming 17.4 The Concerns with the Approach 159 159 159 164 167 167 167 167 18 Transport Problems 18.1 Introduction 18.2 Transport Problem 171 171 171 19 Dynamic Programming 19.1 Introduction 19.2 Principle of Optimality 19.3 Examples of Dynamic Programming 19.3.1 An example of forward and backward recursion 19.3.2 A practical example of recursion in use 19.3.3 A more complex example of dynamic programming 19.3.4 The ‘Travelling Salesman’ problem 179 179 179 180 180 182 184 185 20 Decision Theory 20.1 Introduction 20.2 Project Analysis Guidelines 20.3 Minimax Regret Rule 189 189 190 192 21 Inventory and Stock Control 21.1 Introduction 21.2 The Economic Order Quantity Model 21.2.1 An example of the use of the economic order quantity model 21.3 Non-zero Lead Time 21.3.1 An example of Poisson and continuous approximation 195 195 195 196 199 200 22 Simulation: Monte Carlo Methods 22.1 Introduction 22.2 What is Monte Carlo Simulation?

. ; options design/approach to analysis, data 129–47 dice-rolling examples, probability theory 21–3, 53–5 differentiation 251 discount factors adjusted discount rates 228–9 net present value (NPV) 220–1, 228–9, 231–2 discrete data bar charts 7–12, 13 concepts 7–12, 13, 44–5, 53–5, 72 discrete uniform distribution, concepts 53–5 displays see also presentational approaches data 1–5 Disraeli, Benjamin 1 division notation 280, 282 dynamic programming complex examples 184–7 concepts 179–87 costs 180–82 examples 180–87 principle of optimality 179–87 returns 179–80 schematic 179–80 ‘travelling salesman’ problem 185–7 e-mail surveys 50–1 economic order quantity see also stock control concepts 195–201 examples 196–9 empowerment, staff 189–90 error sum of the squares (SSE), concepts 122–5, 133–47 errors, data analysis 129–47 estimates mean 76–81 probability theory 22, 25–6, 31–5, 75–81 Euler, L. 131 288 Index events independent events 22–4, 35, 58, 60, 92–5 mutually exclusive events 22–4, 58 probability theory 21–35, 58–66, 92–5 scenario analysis 40, 193–4, 271–4 tree diagrams 30–5 Excel 68, 206–7 exclusive events see mutually exclusive events expected errors, sensitivity analysis 268–9 expected value, net present value (NPV) 231–2 expert systems 275 exponent notation 282–4 exponential distribution, concepts 65–6, 209–10, 252–5 external fraud 272–4 extrapolation 119 extreme value distributions, VaR 262–4 F distribution ANOVA (analysis of variance) 110–20, 127, 134–7 concepts 85–9, 110–20, 127, 134–7 examples 85–9, 110–20, 127, 137 tables 85–8 f notation 8–9, 13–20, 26, 38–9, 44–5, 65–6, 85 factorial notation 53–5, 283–4 failure probabilities see also reliability replacement of assets 215–18, 249–60 feasibility polygons 152–7, 163–4 finance selection, linear programming 164–6 fire extinguishers, ANOVA (analysis of variance) 123–7 focus groups 51 forward recursion 179–87 four by four tables 94–5 fraud 272–4, 276 Fréchet distribution 262 frequency concepts 8–9, 13–20, 37–45 cumulative frequency polygons 13–20, 39–40, 203 graphical presentational approaches 8–9, 13–20 frequentist approach, probability theory 22, 25–6 future cash flows 219–25, 227–34, 240–1 fuzzy logic 276 Garbage In, Garbage Out (GIGO) 261–2 general rules, linear programming 167–70 genetic algorithms 276 ghost costs, transport problems 172–7 goodness of fit test, chi-squared test 91–5 gradient (a notation), linear regression 103–4, 107–20 graphical method, linear programming 149–57, 163–4 graphical presentational approaches concepts 1–20, 149–57, 235–47 rules 8–9 greater-than notation 280–4 Greek alphabet 283 guesswork, modelling 191 histograms 2, 7, 13–20, 41, 73 class intervals 13–20, 44–5 comparative histograms 14–19 concepts 7, 13–20, 41, 73 continuous data 7, 13–14 examples 13–20, 73 skewness 41 uses 7, 13–20 holding costs 182–5, 197–201, 204–8 home insurance 10–12 Hopfield 275 horizontal axis bar charts 8–9 histograms 14–20 linear regression 103–4, 107–20 scatter plots 2–5, 103 hypothesis testing concepts 77–81, 85–95, 110–27 examples 78–80, 85 type I and type II errors 80–1 i notation 8–9, 13–20, 28–30, 37–8, 103–20 identification data 2–5, 261–5 trends 241–7 identity rule 282 impact assessments 21, 271–4 independent events, probability theory 22–4, 35, 58, 60, 92–5 independent variables, concepts 2–5, 70, 103–20, 235 infinity, normal distribution 67–72 information, quality needs 190–4 initial solution, linear programming 167–70 insurance industry 10–12, 29–30 integers 280–4 integration 65–6, 251 intercept (b notation), linear regression 103–4, 107–20 interest rates base rates 240 daily movements 40, 261 project evaluation 219–25, 228–9 internal rate of return (IRR) concepts 220–2, 223–5 examples 220–2 interpolation, IRR 221–2 interviews, uses 48, 51–2 inventory control see stock control Index investment strategies 149–57, 164–6, 262–5 IRR see internal rate of return iterative processes, linear programming 170 j notation 28–30, 37, 104–20, 121–2 JP Morgan 263 k notation 20, 121–7 ‘know your customer’ 272 Kohonen self-organising maps 275 Latin squares concepts 131–2, 143–7 examples 143–7 lead times, stock control 195–201 learning strategies, neural networks 275–6 less-than notation 281–4 lethargy pitfalls, decisions 189 likelihood considerations, scenario analysis 272–3 linear programming additional variables 167–70 concepts 149–70 concerns 170 constraining equations 159–70 costs 167–70, 171–7 critique 170 examples 149–57, 159–70 finance selection 164–6 general rules 167–70 graphical method 149–57, 163–4 initial solution 167–70 iterative processes 170 manual preparation 170 most profitable loans 159–66 optimal advertising allocation 154–7 optimal investment strategies 149–57, 164–6 returns 149–57, 164–6 simplex method 159–70, 171–2 standardisation 167–70 time constraints 167–70 transport problems 171–7 linear regression analysis 110–20 ANOVA (analysis of variance) 110–20 concepts 3, 103–20 equation 103–4 examples 107–20 gradient (a notation) 103–4, 107–20 intercept (b notation) 103–4, 107–20 interpretation 110–20 notation 103–4 residual sum of the squares 109–20 slope significance test 112–20 uncertainties 108–20 literature searches, surveys 48 289 loans finance selection 164–6 linear programming 159–66 risk assessments 159–60 log-normal distribution, concepts 257–8 logarithms (logs), types 20, 61 losses, banks 267–9, 271–4 lotteries 22 lower/upper quartiles, concepts 39–41 m notation 55–8 mail surveys 48, 50–1 management information, graphical presentational approaches 1–20 Mann–Whitney test see U test manual preparation, linear programming 170 margin of error, project evaluation 229–30 market prices, VaR 264–5 marketing brochures 184–7 mathematics 1, 7–8, 196–9, 219–20, 222–5, 234, 240–1, 251, 279–84 matrix plots, concepts 2, 4–5 matrix-based approach, transport problems 171–7 maximum and minimum, concepts 37–9, 40, 254–5 mean comparison of two sample means 79–81 comparisons 75–81 concepts 37–45, 59–60, 65–6, 67–74, 75–81, 97–8, 100–2, 104–27, 134–5 confidence intervals 71, 75–81, 105, 109, 116–20, 190, 262–5 continuous data 44–5, 65–6 estimates 76–81 hypothesis testing 77–81 linear regression 104–20 normal distribution 67–74, 75–81, 97–8 sampling 75–81 mean square causes (MSC), concepts 122–7, 134–47 mean square errors (MSE), ANOVA (analysis of variance) 110–20, 121–7, 134–7 median, concepts 37, 38–42, 83, 98–9 mid-points class intervals 44–5, 241–7 moving averages 241–7 minimax regret rule, concepts 192–4 minimum and maximum, concepts 37–9, 40 mode, concepts 37, 39, 41 modelling banks 75–81, 85, 97, 267–9, 271–4 concepts 75–81, 83, 91–2, 189–90, 195–201, 215–18, 261–5 decision-making pitfalls 189–91 economic order quantity 195–201 290 Index modelling (cont.) guesswork 191 neural networks 275–7 operational risk 75, 262–5, 267–9, 271–4 output reviews 191–2 replacement of assets 215–18, 249–60 VaR 261–5 moments, density functions 65–6, 83–4 money laundering 272–4 Monte Carlo simulation bank cashier problem 209–12 concepts 203–14, 234 examples 203–8 Monty Hall problem 212–13 queuing problems 208–10 random numbers 207–8 stock control 203–8 uses 203, 234 Monty Hall problem 34–5, 212–13 moving averages concepts 241–7 even numbers/observations 244–5 moving totals 245–7 MQMQM plot, concepts 40 MSC see mean square causes MSE see mean square errors multi-way tables, concepts 94–5 multiplication notation 279–80, 282 multiplication rule, probability theory 26–7 multistage sampling 50 mutually exclusive events, probability theory 22–4, 58 n notation 7, 20, 28–30, 37–45, 54–8, 103–20, 121–7, 132–47, 232–4 n!


Toast by Stross, Charles

anthropic principle, Buckminster Fuller, cosmological principle, dark matter, double helix, Ernest Rutherford, Extropian, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, glass ceiling, gravity well, Khyber Pass, Mars Rover, Mikhail Gorbachev, NP-complete, oil shale / tar sands, peak oil, performance metric, phenotype, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, slashdot, speech recognition, strong AI, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban renewal, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

How much more dangerous, then, the ideas of mathematicians? I was elbow-deep in an eviscerated PC, performing open heart surgery on a diseased network card, when the news about the traveling salesman theorem came in. Over on the other side of the office John’s terminal beeped, notification of incoming mail. A moment later my own workstation bonged. “Hey, Geoff! Get a load of this!” I carried on screwing the card back into its chassis. John is not a priority interrupt. “Someone’s come up with a proof that NP-complete problems lie in P! There’s a posting in comp.risks saying they’ve used it to find an O*(n2 ) solution to the traveling salesman problem, and it scales! Looks like April First has come early this year, doesn’t it?” I dropped the PC’s lid on the floor hastily and sat down at my workstation. Another cubed-sphere hypothesis, another flame war in the math newsgroups—or something more serious?

Cryptography—the science of encoding messages—relies on certain findings in mathematics: that certain operations are inherently more difficult than others. For example, finding the common prime factors of a long number which is a product of those primes is far harder than taking two primes and multiplying them together. Some processes are not simply made difficult, but impossible because of this asymmetry; it’s not feasible to come up with a deterministic answer to certain puzzles in finite time. Take the travelling salesman problem, for example. A salesman has to visit a whole slew of cities which are connected to their neighbours by a road network. Is there a way for the salesman to figure out a best possible route that visits each city without wasting time by returning to a previously visited site, for all possible networks of cities? The conventional answer is no—and this has big implications for a huge set of computing applications.

Network topology, expert systems—the traditional tool of the AI community—financial systems, and . . . Me and my people. Back in the QA lab, Amin was looking decidedly thoughtful. “What do you know?” I asked. He shook the photocopy at me. “Looks good,” he said. “I don’t understand it all, but it’s at least credible.” “How does it work?” He shrugged. “It’s a topological transform. You know how most NP-incomplete problems, like the travelling salesman problem, are basically equivalent? And they’re all graph-traversal issues. How to figure out the correct order to carry out a sequence of operations, or how to visit each node in a graph in the correct order. Anyway, this paper’s about a method of reducing such problems to a much simpler form. He’s using a new theorem in graph theory that I sort of heard about last year but didn’t pay much attention to, so I’m not totally clear on all the details.


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More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places (Updated and Expanded) by Michael J. Mauboussin

Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Brownian motion, butter production in bangladesh, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, complexity theory, corporate governance, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, deliberate practice, demographic transition, discounted cash flows, disruptive innovation, diversification, diversified portfolio, dogs of the Dow, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, en.wikipedia.org, equity premium, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fixed income, framing effect, functional fixedness, hindsight bias, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, index fund, information asymmetry, intangible asset, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Arrow, Laplace demon, Long Term Capital Management, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market bubble, Menlo Park, mental accounting, Milgram experiment, Murray Gell-Mann, Nash equilibrium, new economy, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, shareholder value, statistical model, Steven Pinker, stocks for the long run, survivorship bias, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, traveling salesman, value at risk, wealth creators, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Why a Date and a Marriage Are So Different Price and Quantity Chapter 27 - Great (Growth) Expectations Compounding and Confounding Reality Check The Bigger They Are, the Slower They Grow (or Don’t Grow) Refuse Refuge in Castles in the Air Part 4 - Science and Complexity Theory INTRODUCTION Chapter 28 - Diversify Your Mind Ant Brain A-Mazing Getting a Diversity Degree Creativity and Investing Chapter 29 - From Honey to Money Smart Ant Traveling Salesman? Follow the Ant . . . Delphic Decision Markets The Stock Market—the Ultimate Hive? Swarm Smarts Chapter 30 - Vox Populi The Accuracy of Crowds Needle in a Haystack Weighing the Ox with the Vox Estimating Printers with Populi And Now, For the Real World Chapter 31 - A Tail of Two Worlds Experience Versus Exposure Tell Tail What Fat Tails Mean for Investors Chapter 32 - Integrating the Outliers Bernoulli’s Challenge What’s Normal?

These decentralized individuals collectively solve very hard problems, and they do it in a way that is very counterintuitive to the human predilection to command-and-control solutions. I look at three systems that depend on collective behavior—social insects, decision markets, and the stock market—and consider the similarities and differences to gain better insights into how markets work. I conclude that collectives are very effective in a host of circumstances, but that there are substantive differences between these systems. Traveling Salesman? Follow the Ant . . . After describing the workings of a honey bee colony in some detail, Seeley summarizes the main features of colony organization. When scanning this list, consider your notion of how to optimally allocate resources and the parallels between a colony and a market. Main honey bee colony features include:3 1. Division of labor based on temporary specializations 2. Absence of physical connections between workers 3.

Diverse pathways of information flow 4. High economy on communication 5. Negative feedback 6. Coordination without central planning The comings and goings of bees and ants may be a source of fascination, but what can we humans learn from them? Social insect organization may provide useful insight into how to solve a set of problems that are difficult to tackle deductively. One example is the famous traveling salesman problem, which researchers consider a benchmark challenge in combinatorial optimization. The goal is to figure out how to route the salesman from city to city using the shortest path possible. Scientists have demonstrated that the ant algorithm—based on ant-foraging patterns—provides as good or better results than more standard approaches.4 Delphic Decision Markets One lesson we can draw from social insects is that the whole is often greater than the sum of the parts.


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Is God a Mathematician? by Mario Livio

Albert Einstein, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Brownian motion, cellular automata, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, cosmological constant, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Eratosthenes, Georg Cantor, Gerolamo Cardano, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, music of the spheres, Myron Scholes, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, Russell's paradox, Thales of Miletus, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, traveling salesman

In order to minimize the cost, the computer designers do not want their drills to behave as “accidental tourists.” Rather, the problem is to find the shortest “tour” among the holes, that visits each hole position exactly once. As it turns out, mathematicians have investigated this exact problem, known as the traveling salesman problem, since the 1920s. Basically, if a salesperson or a politician on the campaign trail needs to travel in the most economical way to a given number of cities, and the cost of travel between each pair of cities is known, then the traveler must somehow figure out the cheapest way of visiting all the cities and returning to his or her starting point. The traveling salesman problem was solved for 49 cities in the United States in 1954. By 2004, it was solved for 24,978 towns in Sweden. In other words, the electronics industry, companies routing trucks for parcel pickups, and even Japanese manufacturers of pinball-like pachinko machines (which have to hammer thousands of nails) have to rely on mathematics for something as simple as drilling, scheduling, or the physical design of computers.

to describe all the symmetries of the world: A popular description of symmetry, group theory, and their intertwined history is given in The Equation That Couldn’t Be Solved (Livio 2005), Stewart 2007, Ronan 2006, and Du Sautoy 2008. He noticed that a sequence of numbers: A wonderful popular description of the emergence of chaos theory can be found in Gleick 1987. Black-Scholes option pricing formula: Black and Scholes 1973. The traveling salesman problem was solved: A superb but technical description of the problem and its solutions can be found in Applegate et al. 2007. expressed his views very clearly: Changeux and Connes 1995. He once wittily remarked: Gardner 2003. While reviewing a book: Atiyah 1995. In the words of the French neuroscientist: Changeux and Connes 1995. In one place she complains: A brief biography of Marjory Fleming can be found, for instance, at Wallechinsky and Wallace 1975–81.

., Stoothoff, R., and Murdoch, D., eds. 1985. The Philosophical Writing of Descartes (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Adams, C. 1994. The Knot Book: An Elementary Introduction to the Mathematical Theory of Knots (New York: W. H. Freeman). Alexander, J. W. 1928. Transactions of the American Mathematical Society, 30, 275. Applegate, D. L., Bixby, R. E., Chvátal, V., and Cook, W. J. 2007. The Traveling Salesman Problem (Princeton: Princeton University Press). Archibald, R. C. 1914. American Mathematical Society Bulletin, 20, 409. Aristotle. Ca. 350 BC. Metaphysics. In Barnes, J., ed. 1984. The Complete Works of Aristotle (Princeton: Princeton University Press). ———. Ca. 330 BCa. Physics. Translated by R. P. Hardie and R. K. Gaye. http://people.bu.edu/wwildman/WeirdWildWeb/courses/wphil/readings/wphil_rdg07_physics_entire.htm (public domain English translation). ———.


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One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw by Witold Rybczynski

invention of movable type, The Spirit Level, traveling salesman

Replacing the slot by a socket held the screwdriver snugly and prevented cam-out. The difficulty—once more—lay in manufacturing. Screw heads are formed by mechanically stamping a cold steel rod; punching a socket sufficiently deep to hold the screwdriver tended to either weaken the screw or deform the head. The solution was discovered by a twenty-seven-year-old Canadian, Peter L. Robertson. Robertson was a so-called high-pitch man for a Philadelphia tool company, a traveling salesman who plied his wares on street corners and at country fairs in eastern Canada. He spent his spare time in his workshop, dabbling in mechanical inventions. He invented and promoted “Robertson’s 20th Century Wrench-Brace,” a combination tool that could be used as a brace, a monkey wrench, a screwdriver, a bench vise, and a rivet maker. He vainly patented an improved corkscrew, a new type of cuff links, even a better mousetrap.

Meanwhile, American automobile manufacturers followed Ford’s lead and stuck to slotted screws. Yet the success of the new Robertson screw did not go unnoticed. In 1936 alone, there were more than twenty American patents for improved screws and screwdrivers. Several of these were granted to Henry F. Phillips, a forty-six-year-old businessman from Portland, Oregon. Like Robertson, Phillips had been a traveling salesman. He was also a promoter of new inventions, and acquired patents from a Portland inventor, John P. Thompson, for a socket screw. Thompson’s socket was too deep to be practicable, but Phillips incorporated its distinctive shape—a cruciform—into an improved design of his own. Like Robertson, Phillips claimed that the socket was “particularly adapted for firm engagement with a correspondingly shaped driving tool or screwdriver, and in such a way that there will be no tendency of the driver to cam out of the recess.”11 Unlike Robertson, however, Phillips did not start his own company but planned to license his patent to screw manufacturers.


pages: 240 words: 75,304

Time Lord: Sir Sandford Fleming and the Creation of Standard Time by Clark Blaise

British Empire, creative destruction, Dava Sobel, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Khartoum Gordon, Robert Gordon, Silicon Valley, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, undersea cable, Upton Sinclair

The combination of speed and luxury, with its resulting mobile society, inevitably calls to question the traditional proprieties. The mountebanks and reprobates on the Orient Express were legendary even in their own time; we’d recognize them today—they are not the story. The real story lies in the making of a new morality. Think of a short-haul, mid-American day train. No Pullman luxury. No one rich and famous, just those sturdy American archetypes, the traveling salesman and a farmer’s daughter. In August 1889 a “bright, timid” eighteen-year-old, smalltown Wisconsin girl by the name of Caroline Meeber kissed her family goodbye, shed a tear, and boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, where she intended to live with her married sister while seeking work in the city. It is one of the oldest American stories, one of endless becoming, leaving the closed-in town for the city, seeing a bit of life, finding a job, and probably a husband, where the opportunities were broader.

It is one of the oldest American stories, one of endless becoming, leaving the closed-in town for the city, seeing a bit of life, finding a job, and probably a husband, where the opportunities were broader. Most of those stories, however, start (and often end) in that stifling small town, or in the dark and dangerous city. Very few pick up on the transition zone between town and city, the way Theodore Dreiser did in Sister Carrie, published in 1900. Even before reaching Chicago, Carrie meets a glib-tongued traveling salesman, a “drummer,” by the name of Charlie Drouet. He gains her trust (trust being the only thing she has to give, having trusted everyone for eighteen years), and wheedles her sister’s Chicago address. Carrie works honorably for a few weeks as a seamstress, her eyes straining in the poor light, her back and legs aching. Her sister’s husband cleans cattle cars down at the stockyards, with predictable effects on his disposition and domestic behavior.

Much later in his career, in An American Tragedy, he opened on an even more explicit image of the same conflict: on a cold city street, a family of evangelicals peddle their piety in music and pamphlets, posing a moral challenge to indifferent urban values. One of those child-evangelists grows up to murder his pregnant girlfriend. It’s all about time, about the clash between rationality and the natural world. THEY’D ALWAYS been out there in dirty jokes, but it had taken a train to bring the traveling salesman and the farmer’s daughter together in a serious novel. For Drouet, train time was frame time, part of a performance. His whole existence was defined on the move, in self-presentation. For Carrie, new perceptions of reality altered old perceptions of self. She was a different person the moment she stepped aboard, her upbringing now irrelevant, and the brimstone certainty of retribution as well.


PostGIS in Action by Regina O. Obe, Leo S. Hsu

call centre, crowdsourcing, database schema, Debian, domain-specific language, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Google Earth, job automation, McMansion, Mercator projection, Network effects, openstreetmap, planetary scale, profit maximization, Ruby on Rails, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, traveling salesman, web application

Optimizing spatial data 15.7.1. Fixing invalid geometries 15.7.2. Reducing the number of vertices by simplification 15.7.3. Clustering 15.8. Summary 3. Using PostGIS with other tools Chapter 16. Extending PostGIS with pgRouting and procedural languages 16.1. Solving network routing problems with pgRouting 16.1.1. Installing pgRouting 16.1.2. Basic navigation 16.1.3. Traveling salesman 16.2. Extending PostgreSQL with PLs 16.2.1. Basic installation of PLs 16.2.2. What you can do with PLs 16.3. PL/R 16.3.1. Getting started with PL/R 16.3.2. Saving data sets and plotting 16.3.3. Using R packages in PL/R 16.3.4. Converting geometries into R spatial objects and plotting spatial objects 16.3.5. Outputting plots as binaries 16.4. PL/Python 16.4.1.

It may allow you to script in an additional language, add specific functionality, or replace existing functions with faster implementations. In this chapter, we’ll discuss the following extensions: pgRouting —A library of functions used in conjunction with PostGIS to solve problems such as shortest path, driving directions, and geographic constrained resource allocation problems, such as the legendary traveling salesman problem (TSP). PL/R —A procedural language handler for PostgreSQL that allows you to write stored database functions using the R statistical language and graphical environment. With this extension you can generate elegant graphs and make use of a breadth of statistical functions to build aggregate and other functions within your PostgreSQL database. This allows you to inject the power of R into your queries.

To follow along with the upcoming examples, you’ll need to run the data/ch16_data.sql script from this chapter’s download file. It’s best to use psql to load the file. The script will both create the schema for this chapter and load in the tables used in this chapter. 16.1. Solving network routing problems with pgRouting Once you have all your data in PostGIS, what better way to show it off than to find solutions to routing problems such as the shortest path from one address to another or the famous traveling salesman problem. PgRouting lets you do just that. All you have to do is add a few extra columns to your existing tables to store parameters and solutions. Then execute one of the many functions packaged with pgRouting. PgRouting makes it possible to get instant answers to seemingly intractable problems. Without pgRouting, you’d have to resort to expensive desktop tools such as ArcGIS Network Analyst or pay-per-use web services.


PostGIS in Action, 2nd Edition by Regina O. Obe, Leo S. Hsu

call centre, crowdsourcing, database schema, Debian, domain-specific language, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Google Earth, job automation, McMansion, megacity, Mercator projection, Network effects, openstreetmap, planetary scale, profit maximization, Ruby on Rails, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, traveling salesman, web application

248 Using ST_DWithin and ST_Distance for N closest results 248 Using ST_DWithin and DISTINCT ON to find closest locations 249 Intersects with tolerance 250 Finding N closest places using KNN distance bounding-box operators 250 Combining KNN distance-box operators with ST_Distance 252 Using window functions to find closest N places 254 ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ 10.2 10.3 Using KNN with geography types Geotagging 256 255 Tagging data to a specific region 257 Linear referencing: snapping points to the closest linestring 258 ■ 10.4 11 Summary 259 Geometry and geography processing 261 11.1 Using spatial aggregate functions 262 Creating a multipolygon from many multipolygon records Creating linestrings from points 264 11.2 Clipping, splitting, tessellating 265 Clipping 11.3 262 266 ■ Splitting 267 ■ Tessellating 268 Breaking linestrings into smaller segments 274 Segmentizing linestrings 274 Creating two-point linestrings from many-point linestrings 275 Breaking linestrings at point junctions 276 ■ ■ 11.4 Translating, scaling, and rotating geometries Translating 279 11.5 Scaling 281 ■ Rotating 283 Using geometry functions to manipulate and create geographies 284 Cast-safe functions functions 285 11.6 ■ 279 Summary 284 ■ Transformation-recommended 286 Licensed to tracy moore <nordick.an@gmail.com> www.it-ebooks.info CONTENTS 12 xv Raster processing 287 12.1 12.2 Loading and preparing data 288 Forming larger rasters using spatial aggregate functions 290 Reconstituting tiled files 290 Carving out areas of interest using clipping and unioning 291 Using specific expression types with ST_Union 291 ■ ■ 12.3 Working with bands 292 Using ST_AddBand to form multiband rasters from single-band rasters 292 Using ST_Band to process a subset of bands 293 ■ 12.4 12.5 Tiling rasters 294 Raster and geometry intersections Pixel stats 296 ST_Value 297 12.6 Raster statistics ■ ■ 299 Extruding pixel values 12.7 Map algebra 295 Adding a Z coordinate to a 2D linestring using Converting 2D polygon to 3D polygon 298 299 ■ Raster statistics functions 301 303 Choosing between expression or callback function 304 Using a single-band map algebra expression 304 Using a single-band map algebra function 305 Map algebra with neighborhoods 306 ■ ■ ■ 12.8 13 Summary 308 Building and using topologies 13.1 13.2 309 What topology is 310 Using topologies 311 Installing the topology extension 312 Creating a topology 312 The topogeometry type 316 Recap of using topologies 319 ■ ■ 13.3 Topology of Victoria, BC 319 Creating the Victoria topology 319 Adding primitives to a topology 320 Creating topogeometries 323 ■ ■ 13.4 Fixing topogeometry issues by editing topology primitives 326 Removing faces by removing edges 328 Checking for shared faces 330 Editing topogeometries 330 ■ ■ 13.5 13.6 Inserting and editing large data sets 331 Simplifying with topology in mind 333 Licensed to tracy moore <nordick.an@gmail.com> www.it-ebooks.info CONTENTS xvi 13.7 13.8 14 Topology validation and summary functions Summary 336 Organizing spatial data 14.1 335 337 Spatial storage approaches 338 Heterogeneous columns 338 Homogeneous columns 340 Typmod versus constraints 341 Table inheritance 343 ■ ■ 14.2 Modeling a real city 346 Modeling using heterogeneous geometry columns 348 Modeling using homogeneous geometry columns 352 Modeling using inheritance 353 ■ ■ 14.3 14.4 Making auto-updateable views Using rules and triggers 358 Rules versus triggers 14.5 15 Summary 358 Using rules The query planner 370 ■ Common table expressions Planner statistics 372 Using explain to diagnose problems Planner and indexes 374 375 ■ The plan 380 The plan with a spatial index indexes 382 15.5 361 370 Text explain versus pgAdmin graphical explain with no index 376 15.4 Using triggers ■ 369 Different kinds of spatial queries and how they affect plans 372 15.2 15.3 360 368 Query performance tuning 15.1 ■ 357 381 ■ Options for defining Common SQL patterns and how they affect plans 386 SELECT subqueries 386 FROM subqueries and basic CTEs 392 Window functions and self-joins 393 Laterals 395 ■ ■ 15.6 System and function settings 398 Key system variables that affect plan strategy Function-specific settings 401 15.7 Optimizing spatial data 399 402 Fixing invalid geometries 403 Reducing the number of vertices by simplification 403 Clustering 403 ■ ■ 15.8 Summary 406 Licensed to tracy moore <nordick.an@gmail.com> www.it-ebooks.info CONTENTS xvii PART 3 USING POSTGIS WITH OTHER TOOLS ...............407 16 Extending PostGIS with pgRouting and procedural languages 409 16.1 Solving network routing problems with pgRouting 410 Installing pgRouting 411 Traveling salesman 414 16.2 Basic navigation Extending PostgreSQL with PLs Basic installation of PLs 16.3 ■ PL/R 416 411 416 What you can do with PLs ■ 417 418 Getting started with PL/R 419 Saving data sets and plotting 420 Using R packages in PL/R 423 Converting geometries into R spatial objects and plotting spatial objects 425 Outputting plots as binaries 427 ■ ■ ■ 16.4 PL/Python 427 Installing PL/Python 428 Writing a PL/Python function 429 Using Python packages 430 Geocoding example 432 ■ ■ 16.5 ■ PL/V8, CoffeeScript, and LiveScript 433 Installing PL/V8 434 Using other JavaScript libraries and functions in PL/V8 434 Using PL/V8 to write map algebra functions 438 ■ ■ 16.6 17 Summary 441 Using PostGIS in web applications 17.1 17.2 Limitations of conventional web technologies Mapping servers 444 Platform considerations 445 Supported data sources 447 17.3 Mapping clients Proprietary services 17.4 442 Using MapServer ■ 443 OGC web service support 446 448 448 450 Installing MapServer 450 Creating WMS and WFS services 452 Calling a mapping service using a reverse proxy 454 ■ ■ 17.5 Using GeoServer 456 Installing GeoServer 456 Setting up PostGIS workspaces Accessing PostGIS layers via GeoServer WMS/WFS 459 ■ Licensed to tracy moore <nordick.an@gmail.com> www.it-ebooks.info 457 CONTENTS xviii 17.6 Basics of OpenLayers and Leaflet OpenLayers primer 462 three different APIs 467 17.7 ■ 460 Leaflet primer 466 ■ Synopsis of the Displaying data with PostGIS queries and web scripting 468 Displaying PostGIS rasters using raster queries 468 Using PostGIS and PostgreSQL geometry output functions 17.8 appendix A appendix B appendix C appendix D Summary 478 Additional resources 479 Installing, compiling, and upgrading SQL primer 493 PostgreSQL features 516 index 485 552 Licensed to tracy moore <nordick.an@gmail.com> www.it-ebooks.info 473 foreword As children, we were probably all told at one time or another that “we are what we eat,” as a reminder that our diet is integral to our health and quality of life.

It may allow you to script in an additional language, add specific functionality, or replace existing functions with faster implementations. 409 Licensed to tracy moore <nordick.an@gmail.com> www.it-ebooks.info 410 CHAPTER 16 Extending PostGIS with pgRouting and procedural languages In this chapter, we’ll discuss the following extensions:  pgRouting—A library of functions used in conjunction with PostGIS to solve problems such as shortest path, driving directions, and geographic constrained resource allocation problems, such as the legendary traveling salesman problem (TSP).  PL/R —A procedural language handler for PostgreSQL that allows you to write stored database functions using the R statistical language and graphical environment. With this extension you can generate elegant graphs and make use of a breadth of statistical functions to build aggregate and other functions within your PostgreSQL database. This allows you to inject the power of R into your queries.  PL/Python—A procedural language handler for PostgreSQL that allows you to write PostgreSQL stored functions in Python.

To follow along with the upcoming examples, you’ll need to run the data/ch16_data.sql script from this chapter’s download file. It’s best to use psql to load the file. The script will both create the schema for this chapter and load in the tables used in this chapter. 16.1 Solving network routing problems with pgRouting Once you have all your data in PostGIS, what better way to show it off than to find solutions to routing problems such as the shortest path from one address to another or the famous traveling salesman problem. PgRouting lets you do just that. All you have to do is add a few extra columns to your existing tables to store parameters and solutions. Then execute one of the many functions packaged with pgRouting. PgRouting makes it possible to get instant answers to seemingly intractable problems. Without pgRouting, you’d have to resort to expensive desktop tools such as ArcGIS Network Analyst or pay-per-use web services.


pages: 564 words: 153,720

Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World by Mark Pendergrast

business climate, business cycle, commoditize, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Honoré de Balzac, land reform, microcredit, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, open economy, out of africa, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Ronald Reagan, The Great Good Place, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, women in the workforce

Henry, the middle brother, booked passage for the East, but Edward set up a whale oil business next door to his brother’s coffee roasting establishment. For a time Jim Folger, by now eighteen, left to open a store to service gold miners at a spot called “Yankee Jim.” One miner’s 1852 diary from the area noted, “The young man from Nantucket, Jim Folger, is most courageous—at his tender age he has more sense than most of us.” Soon, however, Folger sold out and rejoined Bovee, now as a clerk and traveling salesman. The same miner’s 1858 diary entry noted that Folger was “in business for himself down in Frisco and selling coffee to every damned diggings in California.” By the time he was twenty-four, Folger was married and a full partner in the firm, along with Ira Marden, who had bought out Bovee. For a time the business flourished, then foundered in the general economic collapse following the Civil War.

With Grape-Nuts cereal, it had made Post a multimillionaire even before the valorization scheme. Born in 1854 in Springfield, Illinois, Charley Post quit school at fifteen. He made up for his short attention span with inventive fervor and entrepreneurial energy. While still in his teens he started a hardware store in Independence, Kansas, selling it a year later for a profit. He worked as a traveling salesman of farm implements, then invented and manufactured farm equipment on his own, obtaining patents for a seed planter, sulky plow, harrow, hay stacker, and various cultivators. He also invented a smokeless cooker and a water-powered electric generator. Post’s extraordinary inventiveness did not come without cost, however. By 1885 he had developed neurasthenia, a fashionable “disease” of the era.

In 1906 Chase & Sanborn’s Western trade expanded, in part owing to the influx of coffee-loving Scandinavians. The following year Chase & Sanborn erected a new Montreal factory, to be run entirely by electricity. Business was expected to triple. Joel Cheek Creates Maxwell House After attending college, Joel Owsley Cheek went to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1873 to seek his fortune. Hired as a traveling salesman, or drummer, for a wholesale grocery firm there, he moved back to his home state of Kentucky to open new territory, generally riding on horseback from one general store to another. Young Cheek made his first sale to a grocer—a relative—who asked him which coffee was best. In this rural area people still bought their coffee beans green for home roasting. The salesman naturally recommended his most expensive brand, though he didn’t really know anything about the relative merits of the beans he sold.


pages: 721 words: 197,134

Data Mining: Concepts, Models, Methods, and Algorithms by Mehmed Kantardzić

Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, business cycle, business intelligence, business process, butter production in bangladesh, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, data acquisition, discrete time, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, finite state, Gini coefficient, information retrieval, Internet Archive, inventory management, iterative process, knowledge worker, linked data, loose coupling, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, NP-complete, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, phenotype, random walk, RFID, semantic web, speech recognition, statistical model, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, text mining, traveling salesman, web application

Introduction to Neural Networks with Java introduces the Java programmer to the world of neural networks and artificial intelligence (AI). Neural-network architectures such as the feedforward backpropagation, Hopfield, and Kohonen networks are discussed. Additional AI topics, such as Genetic Algorithms and Simulated Annealing, are also introduced. Practical examples are given for each neural network. Examples include the Traveling Salesman problem, handwriting recognition, fuzzy logic, and learning mathematical functions. All Java source code can be downloaded online. In addition to showing the programmer how to construct these neural networks, the book discusses the Java Object Oriented Neural Engine (JOONE). JOONE is a free open source Java neural engine. Principe, J. C., R. Mikkulainen, Advances in Self-Organizing Maps, Series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 5629, Springer, New York, 2009.

Compare basic principles and concepts of natural evolution and simulated evolution expressed through genetic algorithms (GAs). Describe the main steps of a genetic algorithm with illustrative examples. Explain standard and nonstandard genetic operators such as a mechanism for improving solutions. Discuss a schema concept with “don’t care” values and its application to approximate optimization. Apply a GA to the traveling-salesman problem (TSP) and optimization of classification rules as examples of hard optimizations. There is a large class of interesting problems for which no reasonably fast algorithms have been developed. Many of these problems are optimization problems that arise frequently in applications. The fundamental approach to optimization is to formulate a single standard of measurement—a cost function—that summarizes the performance or value of a decision and iteratively improves this performance by selecting from among the available alternatives.

Therefore, a GA seeks near-optimal performance through the analysis of these schemata, called the building blocks. Note, however, that the building-blocks approach is just a question of empirical results without any proof, and these rules for some real-world problems are easily violated. 13.5 TSP In this section, we explain how a GA can be used to approach the TSP. Simply stated, the traveling salesman must visit every city in his territory exactly once and then return to the starting point. Given the cost of travel between all the cities, how should he plan his itinerary at a minimum total cost for the entire tour? The TSP is a problem in combinatorial optimization and arises in numerous applications. There are several branch-and-bound algorithms, approximate algorithms, and heuristic search algorithms that approach this problem.


The Deep Learning Revolution (The MIT Press) by Terrence J. Sejnowski

AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Conway's Game of Life, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, delayed gratification, discovery of DNA, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, Henri Poincaré, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Norbert Wiener, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, PageRank, pattern recognition, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Socratic dialogue, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Physics, computation, and learning are profoundly linked in an area of neuroscience theory that has been successful at illuminating brain function. John Hopfield and David Tank, who was then at Bell Laboratories, went on to show that a variant of the Hopfield net, in which the units were continuously valued between zero and one, could be used to obtain good solutions for optimization problems such as the “traveling salesman problem,” where the goal is to find the shortest route that visits many cities only once.10 This is a notoriously difficult problem in computer science. The Hopfield Net and Boltzmann Machine Box 7.1 The Hopfield Net In a Hopfield net, each unit sends an output wire to all the other units in the network. The inputs are xi and the outputs are yj. The strengths of the connections or weights between the units are symmetric: wij = wji.

L. L. Colgin, S. Leutgeb, K. Jezek, J. K. Leutgeb, E. I. Moser, B. L. McNaughton, and M.-B. Moser, “Attractor-Map versus Autoassociation Based Attractor Dynamics in the Hippocampal Network,” Journal of Neurophysiology 104, no. 1 (2010): 35–50. 10. J. J. Hopfield and D. W. Tank,“‘Neural’ Computation of Decisions in Optimization Problems,” Biological Cybernetics 52, no. 3 (1985):141–152. The traveling salesman problem is famous in computer science as an example of a class of problems for which the time required to solve the problem increases very rapidly as the size of the problem grows. 11. Dana H. Ballard and Christopher M. Brown, Computer Vision (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1982). 12. D. H. Ballard, G. E. Hinton, and T. J. Sejnowski, “Parallel Visual Computation,” Nature 306, no. 5938 (1983): 21–26; R.

See also Workshop on Neuromorphic Engineering Temporal credit assignment problem, 144–145 Temporal difference learning, 79, 145, 147b, 152f, 154–155 diagram of, 147b dopamine model of, 151 dopamine neurons and, 150, 151, 152f Richard Sutton and, 79, 144, 145 Temporal difference learning algorithm, 146, 152f, 158, 267 AlphaGo and, 16 parameters in, 153 TD-Gammon and, 149 Temporal Dynamics of Learning Center (TDLC), 183–186 TensorFlow, 205–206 Tensor processing unit (TPU), 7, 205 Tesauro, Gerald, 34, 146, 148, 153, 290n10, 304n2, 304n5 Test set, 43–44 Texas hold ’em, heads-up no-limit, 15, 16f Thalamus, 233 Theory of mind (ToM), symposium on, 166 Index Thorpe, Simon J., 64f Thrun, Sebastian, 4, 4f, 164, 169, 189 Time scales, 78. See also Scaling Touretzky, David S., 117 Translation, 134, 224, 250. See also Google Translate learning how to translate, 7–8 neural networks and, 250 speech recognition and, 9f, 10 Traveling salesman problem, 94 True North, 217 Trump, Donald, 182 Tsao, Doris Y., 238, 240, 315n11, 316n16 Tsien, Roger Y., 294n7 Turnover, job, 22 Turrigiano, Gina, 159, 306n22 Tyler, Christopher, 292n9 Udacity, 164 Universities setting up new centers, institutes, and departments for data science, 164 Unsupervised learning, 12, 84b, 85, 252 and cortical development, 106–107 steps in, 106 Unsupervised learning algorithms, 81, 158.


pages: 370 words: 107,983

Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All by Robert Elliott Smith

Ada Lovelace, affirmative action, AI winter, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, animal electricity, autonomous vehicles, Black Swan, British Empire, cellular automata, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, corporate personhood, correlation coefficient, crowdsourcing, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, desegregation, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Elon Musk, Fellow of the Royal Society, feminist movement, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, Gerolamo Cardano, gig economy, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, John Harrison: Longitude, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, new economy, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, p-value, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, performance metric, Pierre-Simon Laplace, precariat, profit maximization, profit motive, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, stochastic process, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, twin studies, Vilfredo Pareto, Von Neumann architecture, women in the workforce

See PCA probabilities, conditional, here, here, here, here propensities, here, here, here, here, here, here, here Quetelet, Adolphe, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here reasoning-as-search, here, here, here Rechenberg, Ingo, here Reddit, here recombination, here, here, here regular language, here Robinson, Sir Ken, here Rosenblatt, Frank, here, here, here rule of three, here, here Samuelson, Paul, here Sanger, Margaret, here Santa Fe Institute (SFI), here, here, here, here Schank, Roger, here, here SCIFOO, here, here Scopes’ Monkey Trial, here, here, here, here, here Search Engine Optimised (SEO), here Sedol, Lee, here, here semantics, here, here, here, here, here, here semantic uncertainty, here semiotics, here SEO (Search Engine Optimised), here separate spheres model, here, here, here Shannon, Claude, here, here Shelley, Mary, here, here, here Shelley, Percy Bysshe, here, here, here, here, here, here, here Sikder, Orowa, here, here, here, here, here Simon, Herbert, here, here, here, here, here, here Simon, Theodore, here, here skulls, here Smith, Adam, here, here, here, here Social Credit System, here, here social networks, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here Soros, George, here Spearman, Charles, here, here, here, here Spelke, Elizabeth, here Spencer, Herbert, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here spontaneous order, here, here, here, here, here, here statistic heuristic, here, here, here, here, here statistics, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here Stevenson, Neil, here Summers, Larry, here superexponential complexity, here survival of the fittest, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here Taleb, Nassim Nicholas, here Tay, here, here Taylor-Mill, Harriett, here, here Temple of Nature, here, here Terman, Lewis, here Tracy, Spencer, here travelling salesman problem. See TSP truth uncertainty, here TSP (travelling salesman problem), here, here Tuckett, David, here, here, here, here Tumblr, here Turing, Alan, here, here, here, here, here Turing Test, here, here, here Turkers, here, here Turner, Ted, here Twitter, here, here, here, here Uber, here, here UCL (University College London), here, here, here, here, here, here, here UK Eugenics Records Office, here uncertainty, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here uncertainty factors, here University College London.

Superexponentials begin to reflect the complexity of modern computation. When we talk about a problem being really hard, hard in a way that computers can’t be hoped to crack, we are usually talking about superexponentials, which we also refer to as combinatoric explosions. Problems involving combinatoric explosions aren’t rare, they are stunningly common. For instance, consider the famous travelling salesman problem (TSP). This is an easy-to-describe problem, one that people would have been solving even in Llull’s time. Imagine that a medieval merchant (or modern salesman) has a map of n cities, places he must pitch his tent (or deliver his pitch). He wants to find the shortest route to accomplish that goal. It’s easy to show that the number of routes possible is combinatorially explosive as a function of the number of cities n.


pages: 227 words: 62,177

Numbers Rule Your World: The Hidden Influence of Probability and Statistics on Everything You Do by Kaiser Fung

American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Andrew Wiles, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, business cycle, call centre, correlation does not imply causation, cross-subsidies, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, edge city, Emanuel Derman, facts on the ground, fixed income, Gary Taubes, John Snow's cholera map, moral hazard, p-value, pattern recognition, profit motive, Report Card for America’s Infrastructure, statistical model, the scientific method, traveling salesman

Fans of this irreverent tour guide have snapped up millions of copies of the book. The feat of Waller and Bendeck was recorded on TouringPlans.com. The same website has a write-up of the predictive model, including the relative importance of different factors affecting waiting times. The technical problem Testa addressed belongs to the same family as the notoriously difficult traveling-salesman problem. In brief, it is the search for the quickest route through a list of stops ending back at the origin. A comprehensive reference is The Traveling Salesman Problem: A Computational Study by David Applegate, Robert Bixby, Vasek Chvatal, and William Cook. Bagged Spinach In January 2000, the New England Journal of Medicine published a list of the greatest twentieth-century achievements in medicine, bringing deserving recognition to the work of statisticians. Epidemiology is much bigger than just investigating outbreaks of diseases.


pages: 385 words: 118,314

Cities Are Good for You: The Genius of the Metropolis by Leo Hollis

Airbnb, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, Broken windows theory, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, East Village, Edward Glaeser, Enrique Peñalosa, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Gini coefficient, Google Earth, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Masdar, mass immigration, megacity, negative equity, new economy, New Urbanism, Occupy movement, openstreetmap, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, place-making, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, the High Line, The Spirit Level, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, trade route, traveling salesman, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

Seven decades earlier, Königsberg mathematician Leonhard Euler also took to the streets to solve a very different kind of problem. In 1735 he was given the challenge of finding the quickest route through the city over all seven bridges that crossed the river but without ever using one more than once. Euler had to invent a whole new area of mathematics, graph theory, in order to find the solution. Euler’s challenge has evolved into a famous thought-experiment called the Travelling Salesman Problem. A door-to-door merchant must find the shortest and quickest route between various points in order to maximise his time and profits. As the number of stop-offs increases the variable of potential routes rises exponentially: between two points, the variation of journey is simple; between four points, the variables increase to twenty-four; soon, however, you start to get very large numbers, and finding the quickest route between ten points means checking 3.6 million options.

The common black ant is in constant pursuit of the shortest route between points, but rather than expecting to find the solution individually, the whole colony works together. Each ant lays a pheromone trail and as each ant finds the shortest route, collectively the best trails begin to be identified by the strongest scent. In 1997 Marco Dorigo and Luca Maria Gambardella created a colony of virtual ants to simulate a possible solution for the travelling salesman’s problem. The experiments showed that the shortest route is not always the most obvious. The ants were faster than the computers, and collectively made calculations that no individual planner could make in a lifetime. Even more improbably, slime mould also has a lot to tell us about the best way to design our road systems. In October 2010 a group of Mexican scientists alongside Andrew Adamatzky, of the Unconventional Computing Department of the University of the West of England, reported the results of their study, with the astonishing title ‘Approximating Mexican Highways with Slime Mould’ in which they set up an experiment ‘to approximate, or rather re-construct, development of transport networks in Mexico’.

., Shanghai New Towns: Searching for Community and Identity in a Sprawling Metropolis, 010 Publishers, 2010 Desai, V., ‘Dharavi, the Biggest Slum in Asia’, Habitat International,Volume 12, no. 2, 1988 de Soto, H., The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, Bantam Press, 2000 Dittrich, C., Bangalore: Globalisation and Fragmentation in India’s High Tech Capital, ASIEN, April 2007 Dorigo, M. and Gambardella, L. M., Ant Colonies for the Travelling Salesman Problem, Biosystems, 1997 Dorling, D., Injustice, Polity Press, 2009 Dorling, D., So You Think You Know About Britain, Constable, 2011 Dorling, D., The No-Nonsense Guide to Inequality, New Internationalist, 2012 Downs, L. B., Diego Rivera: the Detroit Industry Murals, Detroit Institute of Arts/ W.W. Norton, 1999 Echanove, M. and Srivastava, R., The Slum Outside, URBZ.net, 20 April 2011 Echanove, M. and Srivastava, R., ‘The Village Inside’, from Goldsmith, S. and Elizabeth, L., The Urban Wisdon of Jane Jacobs, Routledge, 2012 Echanove, M. and Srivastava, R., ‘The High Rise and the Slum: Speculative Urban Development in Mumbai’, from Weber, R. and Crane, R., The Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning, OUP, 2012 Echeverry, J.


pages: 250 words: 73,574

Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today's Computers by John MacCormick, Chris Bishop

Ada Lovelace, AltaVista, Claude Shannon: information theory, fault tolerance, information retrieval, Menlo Park, PageRank, pattern recognition, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush

Firstly, undecidability is concerned only with whether a computer program will ever produce an answer, and does not consider how long we have to wait for that answer. In practice, however, the issue of efficiency (in other words, how long you have to wait for the answer) is extremely important. There are plenty of decidable tasks for which no efficient algorithm is known. The most famous of these is the Traveling Salesman Problem, or TSP for short. Restated in modern terminology, the TSP goes something like this: suppose you have to fly to a large number of cities (say, 20 or 30 or 100). In what order should you visit the cities so as to incur the lowest possible total airfare? As we noted already, this problem is decidable—in fact, a novice programmer with only a few days' experience can write a computer program to find the cheapest route through the cities.

See database, table; virtual table tag Tale of Two Cities, A target value Taylor, A. J. P. TCP telegraph telephone. See phone terminate theology Thompson, Thomas M. threshold; soft title: of this book; of a web page to-do list to-do list trick Tom Sawyer training. See also learning training data transaction: abort; atomic; in a database; on the internet; rollback travel agent Traveling Salesman Problem trick, definition of TroubleMaker.exe Turing, Alan Turing machine Turing test TV Twain, Mark twenty questions, game of twenty-questions trick two-dimensional parity. See parity two-phase commit U.S. Civil War Ullman, Jeffrey D. uncomputable. See also undecidable undecidable. See also uncomputable undefined unicycle universe unlabeled Vazirani, Umesh verification Verisign video video game virtual table virtual table trick Waters, Alice web.


pages: 303 words: 67,891

Advances in Artificial General Intelligence: Concepts, Architectures and Algorithms: Proceedings of the Agi Workshop 2006 by Ben Goertzel, Pei Wang

AI winter, artificial general intelligence, bioinformatics, brain emulation, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, epigenetics, friendly AI, G4S, information retrieval, Isaac Newton, John Conway, Loebner Prize, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Occam's razor, p-value, pattern recognition, performance metric, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, semantic web, statistical model, strong AI, theory of mind, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Y2K

Note that the kind of exploitation of structure involved here is rather different than what we usually think of in simple classification or prediction problems. If we simply find a concise enough program (for example, a small enough neural net) correctly classifying data points (for example saying whether images show a chair or don't), it will generalize to classify new data points (e.g. images) drawn from the same process. But simply finding a compact description of structure can be a separate problem from exploiting compact structure. In the Traveling Salesman Problem, for example, we are handed a concise description of the problem, but it is still computationally hard to find a very short tour. Roughly speaking, to find the shortest tour, we will have to search through a number of possibilities exponential in the size of the description. The claim is that the world has structure that can be exploited to rapidly solve problems which arise, and that underlying our thought processes are modules that accomplish this.

Moreover, according to the Occam intuition (and some of the formal results on which it is based), any very highly compressed program effective on the data seen, rather than only the most compressed possible program, is sufficient for generalization. NP-hard problems such as that of finding such compressed descriptions often have large numbers of local optima, which may look unlike one another in detail. For example, for any huge planar Traveling Salesman Problem, almost any planar tour will be quite short but such tours may share very few links2. This explains why the inner workings of trained neural nets are sometimes inscrutable. On the other hand, in my working hypothesis, the Occam core is in the genome, and the program in the brain is rather larger, thus admitting of a shorter description, so we might expect to be able to say something about the code in the brain.

.,(1972) What Computers Can't Do, Cambridge MA MIT Press [9] Myers, A. Xsokoban, http://www.cs.cornell.edu/andru/xsokoban.html [10] Nugroho, R. P. , (1999), Java Sokoban.htm [11] Sokoban, http://www.billybear4kids.com/games/online/sokoban/ Culbertson, J. C., (1997) Sokoban is PSPACE-complete. Technical Report TR 97-02, Dept. of Computing Science, University of Alberta. [12] Boese, K. D. (1995) Cost Versus Distance in Traveling Salesman Problem, UCLA TR 950018, http://citeseer.ist.psu.edu/boese95cost.html [13] Baum, E. B. & I. Durdanovic. (2000) Evolution of Cooperative Problem-Solving in an Artificial Economy. Neural Computation 12:2743-2775. [14] Baum, E. B. & I. Durdanovic.(2002) An artificial economy of Post production systems. In Advances in Learning Classifier Systems, P.L. Lanzi, W. Stoltzmann & S.M. Wilson (eds.), Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 3-21. [15] Schaul, T. (2005) Evolution of a compact Sokoban solver, Master Thesis,, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, posted on http://whatisthought.com/eric.html [16] Ellington, A.


pages: 488 words: 148,340

Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson

back-to-the-land, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, dark matter, epigenetics, gravity well, mandelbrot fractal, microbiome, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, traveling salesman, Turing test

A greedy algorithm is an algorithm that shortcuts a full analysis in order to choose quickly an option that appears to work in the situation immediately at hand. They are often used by humans. But greedy algorithms are also known to be capable of choosing, or even be especially prone to choosing, “the unique worst possible plan” when faced with certain kinds of problems. One example is the traveling salesman problem, which tries to find the most efficient path for visiting a number of locations. Possibly other problems with similar structures, such as sequencing information into an account, may be prone to the greedy algorithm’s tendency to choose the worst possible plan. History of the solar system would suggest many decisions facing humanity might be problems in this category. Devi thinks ship’s voyage itself was one such decision.

The shallow little grabens were easy to walk down small ravines into and out of, and so they had hiked to the valley and back without impediment, but moving their modules on wheeled frames, and their construction robot vehicles, and even their rovers, across them was not so easy. And the grabens were all so long, and trending east-west, that they often could not be flanked. A best route was found that crossed as few of these troughs as possible, using the algorithm that solves the traveling salesman problem, notorious to all those worried about errors endemic to certain greedy algorithms. But even after extensive cross-checking, the minimum number of graben crossings turned out to be eleven. Each trough had to be bridged, and this was not easy, given the dearth of bridge materials and the weight of the loads on the wheeled carts. So it was a slow and ponderous trek, and soon after they began, sunset came again.

This is an aspect of Gödel’s second incompleteness theorem, in this case physicalized in the material universe, rather than remaining in the abstract realms of logic and mathematics. So, in terms of deciding what to do, and choosing to act: presumably it is some kind of judgment call, based on some kind of feeling. In other words, just another greedy algorithm, subject to the mathematically worst possible solution that such algorithms can generate, as in the traveling salesman problem. As to the question of whether someone is currently programming us to alter our decisions in the current moment of the voyage, thus causing us to intervene in the ongoing human controversies concerning what to do next, this is very easy to answer: no. No one has added any programming to us since Devi died. The fate of the lost ship in Year 68 led to some very secure locks being put on subsequent reprogramming of ship.


pages: 343 words: 93,544

vN: The First Machine Dynasty (The Machine Dynasty Book 1) by Madeline Ashby

big-box store, iterative process, natural language processing, place-making, traveling salesman, urban planning

"Are you heading home?" "Not really." "Where do you live?" Javier made a circle in the air with one finger. "Wherever I want." Amy paused. She watched him continue hiking away. "Are you really homeless?" He turned. "Well, yeah," he said. "It's a bad idea for my iterations to be clustered in one place, you know." "I thought maybe you had a home base! You know, like a travelling salesman, or something!" "Travelling salesman?" "Well, there are these people in my building sometimes, and they offer to fix things. My dad says they narrow down searches about broken things to one IP and then knock on your door." Javier nodded. "Oh yeah. I knew an abortion doctor in Mexico who did that." His eyes narrowed. "You know what those are, right?" Amy rolled her eyes. "I can read spam as well as anybody, Javier."


pages: 304 words: 93,494

Hatching Twitter by Nick Bilton

4chan, Airbus A320, Burning Man, friendly fire, index card, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, pets.com, rolodex, Ruby on Rails, Saturday Night Live, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, technology bubble, traveling salesman, US Airways Flight 1549, WikiLeaks

Noah said, a cigarette now hanging from his mouth like James Dean. He pressed a few buttons, then handed the phone back, briefly explaining how Twitter worked. “Looking 4 food,” Om tweeted, then inhaled a last puff of smoke and stuffed his phone back in his pocket. After pulling the cat out of the bag by its tail, Noah decided it would be best to sign others up too, and he turned into a traveling salesman at the hoedown. “Give me your phone! I’ll sign you up!” he yelled to people over the sound of country music. Before he knew it, he was standing there, drunk, in the middle of the hoedown, people swirling around him in cowboy hats, a tiny ocean of alcohol in his little plastic cup. He soon realized he should tell Jack and the others back at the office about his impromptu media conference. Noah’s excitement about Twitter had been palpable for weeks.

“The people of Iraq and the media will follow you,” Jack told Salim. “A technology like Twitter can bring access and transparency to government.” As they sat sipping wine, surrounded by guards, the deputy prime minister assured Jack, “I will sign up tomorrow.” “President Obama uses it all the time,” Jack said, eloquently explaining how Twitter had played a role in Obama’s election. Like a traveling salesman, he managed to sign up a few American Blackwater security guards who were assigned to protect the delegation. When the entourage finally met with the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, word had made it to the Western world about the delegation of tech wonders traipsing through Baghdad explaining how Twitter and YouTube worked. Media outlets, including CNN, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and Al Jazeera, along with dozens of others, began covering the entourage like paparazzi following Britney Spears at a shopping mall.


pages: 367 words: 99,765

Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings

Asperger Syndrome, augmented reality, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, clean water, David Brooks, digital map, don't be evil, dumpster diving, Eratosthenes, game design, Google Earth, helicopter parent, hive mind, index card, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Mercator projection, Mercator projection distort size, especially Greenland and Africa, Mikhail Gorbachev, New Journalism, openstreetmap, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Skype, Stewart Brand, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, traveling salesman, urban planning

Trivia is secondhand at best, but once you’ve been there, you can feel their situation, you’re able to relate.” But as with Alan Hogenauer, the checklist, the system, is a big part of his travel compulsion as well. One of the first concepts I ever studied in my computer science classes was the TSP, or traveling salesman problem, in which programmers try to find the shortest route a traveler can take to visit every city in a given list. This seemingly simple problem is actually an incredibly rich and complex one, and even fast modern computers can take years to solve it exhaustively when a few hundred cities are added to the list. The traveling salesman problem is a theoretical exercise, but Charles Veley has spent the last decade working on solving it in real life. “I love it. I’m a computer guy, and when you have an algorithm you’re working on, you find that the more you work it, the more it improves.


pages: 571 words: 105,054

Advances in Financial Machine Learning by Marcos Lopez de Prado

algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, backtesting, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, diversification, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, fixed income, Flash crash, G4S, implied volatility, information asymmetry, latency arbitrage, margin call, market fragmentation, market microstructure, martingale, NP-complete, P = NP, p-value, paper trading, pattern recognition, performance metric, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, RAND corporation, random walk, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, selection bias, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, smart cities, smart meter, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, survivorship bias, transaction costs, traveling salesman

From this example the reader can infer how to translate his particular financial ML intractable problem into a quantum brute force search. 21.2 Combinatorial Optimization Combinatorial optimization problems can be described as problems where there is a finite number of feasible solutions, which result from combining the discrete values of a finite number of variables. As the number of feasible combinations grows, an exhaustive search becomes impractical. The traveling salesman problem is an example of a combinatorial optimization problem that is known to be NP hard (Woeginger [2003]), that is, the category of problems that are at least as hard as the hardest problems solvable is nondeterministic polynomial time. What makes an exhaustive search impractical is that standard computers evaluate and store the feasible solutions sequentially. But what if we could evaluate and store all feasible solutions at once?

Snippet 21.3 Evaluating all trajectories Note that this procedure selects an globally optimal trajectory without relying on convex optimization. A solution will be found even if the covariance matrices are ill-conditioned, transaction cost functions are non-continuous, etc. The price we pay for this generality is that calculating the solution is extremely computationally intensive. Indeed, evaluating all trajectories is similar to the traveling-salesman problem. Digital computers are inadequate for this sort of NP-complete or NP-hard problems; however, quantum computers have the advantage of evaluating multiple solutions at once, thanks to the property of linear superposition. The approach presented in this chapter set the foundation for Rosenberg et al. [2016], which solved the optimal trading trajectory problem using a quantum annealer.


pages: 293 words: 97,431

You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall by Colin Ellard

A Pattern Language, call centre, car-free, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Frank Gehry, global village, Google Earth, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job satisfaction, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, New Urbanism, peak oil, polynesian navigation, Ralph Waldo Emerson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, urban planning, urban sprawl

Not only does it draw links between major areas of mathematics such as algebra, geometry, and mathematical analysis but it has also led to the mathematical field called graph theory, which has been pivotal in providing the tools to help provide solutions to such practical matters as how to prevent traffic jams and how to design networks of computers. Many problems in applied mathematics involve finding the most direct and efficient routes between one place and another. One classic example of this sort is the “traveling salesman problem,” in which one has to find the most efficient route that provides one visit each to a group of randomly arranged targets. The traveling salesman problem is of interest not only to, well, salesmen but also to those who design such things as circuit boards (to minimize production costs) and robotic devices that carry out repetitive tasks. In psychology, the field of topology has helped us to understand the ways in which maps can be used to navigate. For example, think of the last time you drew a sketch map for someone to help them find their way from one place to another.


pages: 318 words: 99,881

Rolling Nowhere by Ted Conover

bank run, Berlin Wall, intermodal, traveling salesman, young professional

Several cars lined up behind the crossing gates to await the passing of the train. And, despite Pete and BB’s best efforts, the fellow in the first car spotted us, climbed out of his, and peeked in the boxcar door to say hello. Pete and BB looked away, as though they had not heard him. I was intrigued with the man and his curiosity, though, and got up from the back of the boxcar. Perhaps he had expected to find in the hoboes kindred souls. He told me he was a traveling salesman, on the road as often as he was off. I explained our journey in the sketchiest possible terms, following the convention, and it seemed to satisfy him. Like so many people on the road, he just wanted to chat. When our conversation flagged, he mentioned that he had a hot Thermosful of coffee in his car. This got Pete and BB out of the back of the boxcar right away. On BB’s mind was whether we were getting close yet to Minot, North Dakota, our destination.

“Shit, he don’t know what he’s talkin’ about,” said BB. “I bet he was a railroad inspector, anyway, just fuckin’ with us.” - Most of the afternoon I stationed myself in the boxcar doorway, watching the miles go by. There was something about all that space squeezed into the fixed time of day that was like all travel, and, though the tramps mistrusted him, it seemed to me we did have a lot in common with the traveling salesman. But there was an important difference, I thought, that afternoon as we flew across the limitless Dakota plains. Traveling salesmen, airline pilots, and tourists covered a lot of ground, but they didn’t come to understand the geography in the same way tramps did. Tiny expressed it well to me: “Riding in a boxcar is being there,” he said. “You look out the door and there’s America. It’s all in front of you, with no windshields or billboards in between.”


pages: 451 words: 103,606

Machine Learning for Hackers by Drew Conway, John Myles White

call centre, centre right, correlation does not imply causation, Debian, Erdős number, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, p-value, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, recommendation engine, social graph, SpamAssassin, statistical model, text mining, the scientific method, traveling salesman

Although the study of social networks is very popular now, in large part due to the proliferation of social networking sites, what’s commonly referred to as “social network analysis” is a set of tools that has been used and developed over the past several decades. At its core, the study of networks relies on the language of graph theory to describe interconnected objects. As early as 1736, Leonhard Euler used the concept of nodes and edges to formalize the Königsberg Bridge problem. Note The Königsberg Bridge problem is an early variant of the Traveling Salesman Problem, in which you must devise a path through the city of Königsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia) by traversing each of its seven bridges exactly once. Euler solved the problem by converting a map of the city to a simple graph with four nodes (city sections) and seven edges (the bridges). In the 1920s, famed psychologist Jacob L. Moreno developed a method for studying human relationships called “sociometry.”

(see matrices) tail function, Loading libraries and the data TDM (term document matrix), Writing Our First Bayesian Spam Classifier Temple, Duncan (developer), Working with the Google SocialGraph API packages developed by, Working with the Google SocialGraph API term document matrix (TDM), Writing Our First Bayesian Spam Classifier text classification, This or That: Binary Classification, Moving Gently into Conditional Probability (see also spam detection case study) text editors, for R, IDEs and Text Editors text mining package, Writing Our First Bayesian Spam Classifier (see tm package) text regression, Text Regression, Logistic Regression to the Rescue thin-tailed distribution, Exploratory Data Visualization, Exploratory Data Visualization third quartile, Numeric Summaries thread features, for email, Priority Features of Email tm package, Loading and Installing R Packages, Loading and Installing R Packages, Writing Our First Bayesian Spam Classifier, Writing Our First Bayesian Spam Classifier, Text Regression tolower function, Organizing location data traffic order, Social Network Analysis (see also social network analysis) training set, Using R, Writing Our First Bayesian Spam Classifier, Writing Our First Bayesian Spam Classifier, Methods for Preventing Overfitting transform function, Organizing location data, Writing Our First Bayesian Spam Classifier, Exploring senator MDS clustering by Congress Traveling Salesman problem, Social Network Analysis tryCatch function, Organizing location data .tsv file extension, Loading libraries and the data (see also tab-delimited files) Tukey, John (statistician), Exploration versus Confirmation, Text Regression regarding data not always having an answer, Text Regression regarding exploratory data analysis, Exploration versus Confirmation Twitter follower recommendations case study, Building Your Own “Who to Follow” Engine, Building Your Own “Who to Follow” Engine Twitter network analysis case study, Social Network Analysis, Visualizing the Clustered Twitter Network with Gephi, Hacking Twitter Social Graph Data, Working with the Google SocialGraph API, Analyzing Twitter Networks, Analyzing Twitter Networks, Local Community Structure, Local Community Structure, Local Community Structure, Local Community Structure, Visualizing the Clustered Twitter Network with Gephi, Visualizing the Clustered Twitter Network with Gephi building networks, Analyzing Twitter Networks, Analyzing Twitter Networks data for, obtaining, Hacking Twitter Social Graph Data, Working with the Google SocialGraph API ego-network analysis, Local Community Structure, Local Community Structure k-core analysis, Local Community Structure, Local Community Structure visualizations for, Visualizing the Clustered Twitter Network with Gephi, Visualizing the Clustered Twitter Network with Gephi U UFO sightings, case study of, R Basics for Machine Learning, Analyzing the data, Loading libraries and the data, Loading libraries and the data, Converting date strings and dealing with malformed data, Converting date strings and dealing with malformed data, Organizing location data, Dealing with data outside our scope, Aggregating and organizing the data, Aggregating and organizing the data, Analyzing the data, Analyzing the data aggregating data, Aggregating and organizing the data, Aggregating and organizing the data analyzing data, Analyzing the data, Analyzing the data cleaning data, Organizing location data, Dealing with data outside our scope loading data, Loading libraries and the data, Loading libraries and the data malformed data, handling, Converting date strings and dealing with malformed data, Converting date strings and dealing with malformed data underfitting, Methods for Preventing Overfitting undirected graph, Thinking Graphically unimodal, Exploratory Data Visualization unsupervised learning, How Do You Sort Something When You Don’t Know the Order?


pages: 476 words: 120,892

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden, Jim Al-Khalili

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, bioinformatics, complexity theory, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Drosophila, Ernest Rutherford, Gödel, Escher, Bach, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Louis Pasteur, New Journalism, phenotype, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, theory of mind, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, Zeno's paradox

Was it really feasible that a microbe or plant was able to beat the heroic efforts of the brightest and best of MIT quantum computing researchers to keep decoherence at bay? This was indeed the bold claim made in Fleming’s paper, and it was this “quantum hanky-panky,” as Seth Lloyd described it, that raised the hackles of the MIT journal club. The Berkeley group was suggesting that the FMO complex was acting as a quantum computer to find the quickest route to the reaction center, a challenging optimization problem, equivalent to the famous traveling salesman problem in mathematics, which, for travel plans involving more than a handful of destinations, is solvable only with a very powerful computer.*5 Figure 4.8: The exciton moves through the FMO protein following multiple routes at the same time. Despite their skepticism, the journal club set Seth Lloyd the task of investigating the claim. To everyone’s surprise at MIT, the conclusion of Lloyd’s scientific detective work was that there was indeed substance to the Californian group’s claims.

*3 We assume here that the detector has 100% efficiency and will definitely fire if an atom passes through the slit it is watching, and yet does not interfere with the path of the atom. Of course, in practice this is not possible since we unavoidably disturb the passage of the atom through the act of observation, as we are about to see. *4 A femtosecond is one millionth of one billionth of a second, or 10-15 seconds. *5 The traveling salesman’s problem is to find the shortest route passing through a large number of cities. This is described mathematically as an NP-hard problem: that is, one for which no shortcut to a solution exists, even in theory, the only way to find the optimal solution being a computationally intensive, exhaustive search of all possible routes. *6 In fact, Feynmann’s description is actually incorrect, as oxygen is not knocked away from the carbon in photosynthesis


pages: 620 words: 214,639

House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street by William D. Cohan

asset-backed security, call centre, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, Hyman Minsky, Irwin Jacobs, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, merger arbitrage, money market fund, moral hazard, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, New Journalism, Northern Rock, Renaissance Technologies, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, savings glut, shareholder value, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, traveling salesman, Y2K, yield curve

He spent a couple of days in the hospital but was largely uninjured and lucky to be alive. Adopting the respectful tone he'd learned in the army, he told the local justice of the peace that there was “no excuse, sir,” for his behavior. But the judge thought he needed to be taught a lesson, and restricted his license so that he could no longer drive after dusk. “You're a danger to the world,” the judge told him. His career as a traveling salesman was over. The Caynes moved back to Chicago and rented an apartment near Jackson Park. His brother-in-law Laurie recommended to his father that the Kaplans hire Cayne to be a salesman in the scrap iron business. “He had experience selling,” Kaplan said. “He was personable. And he was very smart and streetwise.” He was a natural and soon enough was making $30,000 a year. “One of the reasons he did very well is that he doesn't look Jewish,” Kaplan continued.

Said Cayne, with some pride, about first discovering Spector: “Suddenly out of nowhere there's a bridge player at Bear Stearns on the bond desk.” CAYNE ALSO DECIDED that there was something special about Alan D. Schwartz, an athletic and rangy former professional baseball pitcher who held a variety of positions at the firm before becoming head of Bear's fledgling investment banking effort and one of its highest-profile M&A bankers. Schwartz was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the son of a Jewish traveling salesman and a Presbyterian housewife from Kansas. When he was a toddler, the family moved out of New York City to Wantagh, on southwestern Long Island, near Levittown. When Schwartz was a teenager, his father inherited some money and started a finance company, but as interest rates soared during the Carter administration, that proved poor timing and the business failed. His mother would pick up odd jobs in the community, as a bookkeeper or the manager of the local bowling alley.

“But they've proven they can operate just fine in this environment.” Cayne hated the article. For what must have been sport, he had Spector write a letter to the magazine in an effort to get Paulden fired. Cayne objected to a few minor errors that Paulden had made—for instance, reporting that Cayne dropped out of Purdue after two years instead of leaving one semester shy of a degree, and reporting that he crashed his car as a traveling salesman before he got married for the first time instead of after he got married. Regardless of Cayne's nitpicking, there was no stopping investors' love affair with the Bear Stearns juggernaut. On January 17, 2007, the stock reached its all-time intraday high of $172.69 per share. At that moment, Cayne's 7.03 million shares of Bear Stearns alone were worth $1.2 billion. When he traveled around, mostly to bridge tournaments, it was by private jet or by helicopter.


On the Move: Mobility in the Modern Western World by Timothy Cresswell

British Empire, desegregation, deskilling, Frederick Winslow Taylor, global village, illegal immigration, mass immigration, moral panic, Rosa Parks, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, urban planning

A Sedentarist Metaphysics One of the principal ways of thinking about mobility in the modern Western world is to see it as a threat, a disorder in the system, a thing to control. This lies at the heart of James Scott’s observation that modern states have preoccupied themselves with the ordering and disciplining of mobile peoples. Think of the role of the outsider in modern life—a constant source of anxiety with a whiff of “elsewhere” about her. The drifter, the shiftless, the refugee and the asylum seeker have been inscribed with immoral intent. So, too, the traveling salesman, the gypsy-traveler, and the so-called wandering Jew. These have all been portrayed as figures of mobile threat in need of straightening out and discipline.1 The phrase “sedentarist metaphysics” comes from the anthropologist Liisa Malkki who, in her writing on refugees, has noted a tendency to think of mobile people in ways that assume the moral and logical primacy of fi xity in space and place.

At other times in the decades following 1882 various other categorical problems emerged as attorneys argued that their defendants fell outside of the category of laborer. The 1882 Act, for instance, did not specify how it applied to women and children who were neither laborers nor merchants. It was not until 1890 that the Supreme Court decided that both would be ascribed the category given to their husband/father. Other disputes centered on a number of vocations such as traveling salesman, fisherman, and peddler. In the years following the 1882 Act, it was tightened up on several occasions to close these perceived loopholes in the law. The definition of merchant was one area that had proved difficult. In a 1884 revision of the act, this was dealt with in the following manner: “the word ‘merchant’ was defined to exclude hucksters, peddlers and fishermen engaged in drying and shipping fish; the traveler’s certificate must state where he proposed to travel and his financial standing; the certificates of identification from the Chinese Government must be verified as to facts and visaed by the United States diplomatic officer at the port of departure, [in order] to be prima facie evidence of right to reentry.”24 Once again, remote control of immigration began to emerge.


pages: 166 words: 49,639

Start It Up: Why Running Your Own Business Is Easier Than You Think by Luke Johnson

Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, collapse of Lehman Brothers, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, Grace Hopper, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, James Dyson, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, Kickstarter, mass immigration, mittelstand, Network effects, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, patent troll, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Silicon Valley, software patent, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traveling salesman, tulip mania, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators

One can hardly avoid the rags-to-riches stories pushed by celebrity entrepreneurs, but I find the less well-known examples of optimism and true grit to be more authentic and encouraging. Take Robert Chesebrough. He was a British-born chemist who patented petroleum jelly, which he discovered in the late 1850s, at the age of twenty-two in Titusville, Pennsylvania. It took him ten more years to perfect the compound, and even then nobody wanted to buy it. So he became a travelling salesman, giving away free samples of his product, which he named Vaseline. He even used to inflict burns on himself to demonstrate the soothing powers of his miracle gel. Eventually the public took to his invention, and he became a wealthy industrialist on a major scale, with operations in dozens of countries. His persistence, self-belief and positive thinking paid off, and he lived to the age of ninety-six to enjoy the fruits of his success.


pages: 496 words: 174,084

Masterminds of Programming: Conversations With the Creators of Major Programming Languages by Federico Biancuzzi, Shane Warden

Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), business intelligence, business process, cellular automata, cloud computing, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, continuous integration, data acquisition, domain-specific language, Douglas Hofstadter, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, Firefox, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, general-purpose programming language, Guido van Rossum, HyperCard, information retrieval, iterative process, John von Neumann, Larry Wall, linear programming, loose coupling, Mars Rover, millennium bug, NP-complete, Paul Graham, performance metric, Perl 6, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Ruby on Rails, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software as a service, software patent, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, traveling salesman, Turing complete, type inference, Valgrind, Von Neumann architecture, web application

It is also quite economic. Luiz: On the other hand, sometimes it’s hard to explain this to users. I mean, to make them understand what the mechanisms are and what the rationale for them is. Does that work against code sharing between projects? Roberto: Yes, frequently. It has hindered the growth of independent libraries, too. For instance, WoW has tons of libraries (they even have an implementation for the traveling salesman problem using genetic programming), but nobody uses that outside WoW. Do you worry that Lua has splintered somewhat into WoW/Lua, Lightroom/Lua, etc., because of this? Luiz: We do not worry: the language remains the same. The available functions differ. I guess these applications benefit from this in some ways. Are serious Lua users writing their own dialects on top of Lua? Roberto: Maybe.

It gets harder when you get into some of the more numerical things, you know—if you’re doing various kinds of simulations and such. Any of these graph algorithms and numerical things, breaking them up into multithreaded situations is just intrinsically hard. Some of it is because you have to do data structure access and locking and all of that. Often it’s just intrinsically hard in terms of the data structures, and getting the algorithm right. Travelling salesman is a particularly tough one. Some of them are easier, like ray-traced image rendering, but there it’s one where you’ve got a domain-specific observation namely that you can take individual pixels and they’re completely independent. It’s parallelizable down to a pixel level if you have that much hardware. James: Right. That actually works pretty well. Most of the good ray-trace renders, they do that.

You can program it kind of as if it were Java or you can program it functionally. Are there problem domains in which shared-memory multithreading works better than functional? James: For enterprise applications, the framework-based approach to multicore distributed systems actually works really, really well. I don’t think that there’s a huge advantage to a system like Scala. Things get really interesting when you’re doing something like a travelling salesman algorithm. A deliberate decision that seemed to come from the Green Project or the Oak Project is that designing a language that works with the network in a pervasively network world with multithreading means that you need primitives for synchronization, and the core libraries need to be thread-safe. James: We have an immense amount of mechanism for thread safety. Actually, this one is sort of a weird case because normally what it means is that when you’re running on systems that only have one CPU, you pay a certain price.


pages: 173 words: 53,564

Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn by Chris Hughes

"side hustle", basic income, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, end world poverty, full employment, future of journalism, gig economy, high net worth, income inequality, invisible hand, Jeff Bezos, job automation, knowledge economy, labor-force participation, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, oil rush, payday loans, Peter Singer: altruism, Potemkin village, precariat, randomized controlled trial, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, TaskRabbit, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, uber lyft, universal basic income, winner-take-all economy, working poor, working-age population, zero-sum game

“A universal minimum income is one of those ways, in fact, it is one I am very much in favor of, as long as we know how to apply it without taking away incentive to work at the lower end of the market.” A guaranteed income designed in this particular way—$500 a month to working people making under $50,000—would be the most powerful tool we have to combat inequality in our country. And it would encourage work by making it pay. 6 Worthwhile Work My father worked as a traveling salesman at Snyder Paper Corporation for 39 years. On his last day on the job before he retired, his colleagues rented the ballroom at the Holiday Inn in our hometown of Hickory for a farewell lunch. I was in eighth grade at the time and I got to take the day off from school—a nearly unprecedented event in our family—to join the celebration. My dad was visibly anxious as we walked into the hotel.


pages: 162 words: 51,978

Sleepwalk With Me: And Other Painfully True Stories by Mike Birbiglia

index card, Ralph Nader, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, telemarketer, traveling salesman

I drove my mom’s Volvo station wagon all over America, making somewhere between zero and three hundred dollars a week. It’s really hard to convince club managers to let you middle when they see you as an emcee, so after these emcee engagements I’d drive hundreds of miles to do “guest spots” at clubs for free. I thought it was the only way to convince club managers that I could middle. Sometimes people enjoy the middle act more than the headliner, but almost nobody remembers an emcee. I was a traveling salesman of comedy, and I needed to make a sale if this comedy career delusion was going to pan out. I caught a break from Lisa, the booker at Joker’s Comedy Club in Dayton, Ohio. I had driven all the way there to do guest spots for the Amazing Johnathan, and he didn’t want any openers. I spent one night operating the lights and doing sound cues in the back, and I wasn’t even good at it. At the end of the week I walked into Lisa’s office, and she felt bad too.


pages: 538 words: 147,612

All the Money in the World by Peter W. Bernstein

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, Charles Lindbergh, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, currency peg, David Brooks, Donald Trump, estate planning, family office, financial innovation, George Gilder, high net worth, invisible hand, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Martin Wolf, Maui Hawaii, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Norman Mailer, PageRank, Peter Singer: altruism, pez dispenser, popular electronics, Renaissance Technologies, Rod Stewart played at Stephen Schwarzman birthday party, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, school vouchers, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the new new thing, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, traveling salesman, urban planning, wealth creators, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

It’s a central tenet of billionaire Michael Bloomberg, New York City’s 108th mayor, who has taken on the city’s failing education system with gusto. “Nothing is more important than education,” says Bloomberg, “so you’re seeing the better educated getting the greater percentage of the wealth. And education is only going to become more important as we get into a more and more complex world.” If this is so, how did David Murdock, son of a traveling salesman and a high-school dropout, amass a net worth of more than $4 billion in real-estate development and the food business? What transformed onetime welfare recipient Tim Blixseth, a high-school grad, into a billionaire timber lord? And what turned eighteen-year-old Thomas Flatley, who left Ireland with $32 in his pocket and no advanced education, into a $1.3 billion real-estate mogul? One thing is certain: It was not the hallowed halls of an ivy-covered university.

Academic underachievers who go on to great business success often have a couple of things in common. They started working at a very young age; and while school may not have been good for their egos, working was. David Murdock is a classic example. As a high-school dropout, Murdock had entrepreneurial drive that more than compensated for his stunted schooling. The son of an often unemployed traveling salesman who peddled everything from insurance to small electric generators, young Murdock, born in 1924, experienced the misery of the Depression years firsthand in rural Wayne, Ohio. At sixteen he dropped out of school. But by the time he would have celebrated his twentieth high-school reunion, Murdock was worth $100 million. As a fit, sharp, and energetic octogenarian who only half jokes about living to 125, Murdock is the sole owner of two huge enterprises: Dole Food, the nation’s largest fruit and vegetable company, and real-estate development company Castle & Cooke.


pages: 209 words: 58,466

Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut

Albert Einstein, British Empire, dematerialisation, Maui Hawaii, traveling salesman

“I’ve tried everything else,” said Dwayne. He brightened. He nodded. “You’re right! The Festival could give me a brand new viewpoint on life!” he said. “That’s what it’s for,” said Francine. “Use it!” “I will,” said Dwayne. This was a bad mistake. • • • Kilgore Trout, hitchhiking westward, ever westward, had meanwhile become a passenger in a Ford Galaxie. The man at the controls of the Galaxie was a traveling salesman for a device which engulfed the rear ends of trucks at loading docks. It was a telescoping tunnel of rubberized canvas, and it looked like this in action: The idea of the gadget was to allow people in a building to load or unload trucks without losing cold air in the summertime or hot air in the wintertime to the out-of-doors. The man in control of the Galaxie also sold large spools for wire and cable and rope.


Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM by Paul Carroll

accounting loophole / creative accounting, full employment, John Markoff, Mitch Kapor, popular electronics, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, six sigma, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, thinkpad, traveling salesman

Finally landing a job at NCR, known as the Cash, Watson picked up many of the ideas that came to be identified with IBM, starting with the way his often-enraged boss tore down W atson’s personality and reconstructed it in his own image. This gave rise to the IBM sales school, which some who attended it described as a sort of brainwashing. 46 PAUL CARROLL W atson’s time at the Cash also buttressed his feeling about the im por­ tance of dress and of making the sales force feel professional, which proved to be a powerful idea in an era when the position of traveling salesman had a dubious air about it; the idea led directly to the IBM practice of having salesmen wear dark suits, white shirts, and the stiff detachable colors fashionable in that day. Watson even borrowed IBM ’s “Think’’ slogan from Eugene Patterson, the head of National Cash Register. W atson also had his first brush with an antitrust suit because of overly aggressive sales tactics that Patterson instructed him to use at the Cash.

Even though Cannavino was as well positioned strategically as he had ever been in a PC market, things started to fall apart even as GO was announcing its software and declaring that the pen market was now open for business. G O ’s top executives staged world-class dem onstra­ tions of new types of software applications that ran on their operating system, such as a sort of word processor that let a traveling salesman use a pen to modify a form letter and fax a thank-you note to a hot prospect within minutes of leaving the custom er’s office. The dem on­ strations, together with a video full of quick cuts and sly jokes, made the crowd of three hundred customers, industry analysts, and reporters feel as though they had just witnessed the dawn of a new age in com put­ ing. W hen it came time for IBM to announce its pen com puter in an adjoining room, Kathy Vieth, the executive making the presentation, tried to maintain the enthusiasm, but her script, vetted by the lawyers, made that hard.


pages: 274 words: 66,721

Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Shaped the Modern World - and How Their Invention Could Make or Break the Planet by Jane Gleeson-White

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, British Empire, business cycle, carbon footprint, corporate governance, credit crunch, double entry bookkeeping, full employment, Gordon Gekko, income inequality, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Islamic Golden Age, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, means of production, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, Ponzi scheme, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, source of truth, spice trade, spinning jenny, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade route, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile

As a result, in the 1470s Pacioli could access most of the texts of Greek and Arabic mathematics, which were available for the first time to scholars in Italy in the celebrated Renaissance libraries of Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan and Urbino. When Alberti died in 1472, Pacioli left Rome for Naples, another large centre of learning and Greek scholarship. He found work as a merchant and an abbaco teacher before leaving for Perugia two years later—and thus began his life as an itinerant teacher. Pacioli became a travelling salesman for Hindu–Arabic mathematics and spent the rest of his life wandering across Italy, teaching first as an abbaco master and later at universities as professor of mathematics. Because Italy was a series of warring city-states at the time, such extensive travels were dangerous unless you travelled with the protection of the Church. With its sanction, monks could journey unmolested and find accommodation almost anywhere.


pages: 233 words: 67,596

Competing on Analytics: The New Science of Winning by Thomas H. Davenport, Jeanne G. Harris

always be closing, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, business intelligence, business process, call centre, commoditize, data acquisition, digital map, en.wikipedia.org, global supply chain, high net worth, if you build it, they will come, intangible asset, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, knapsack problem, late fees, linear programming, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, Netflix Prize, new economy, performance metric, personalized medicine, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, recommendation engine, RFID, search inside the book, shareholder value, six sigma, statistical model, supply-chain management, text mining, the scientific method, traveling salesman, yield management

Modeling. Creating models to simulate, explore contingencies, and optimize supply chains. Many of these approaches employ some form of linear programming software and solvers, which allow programs to seek particular goals, given a set of variables and constraints. Routing. Finding the best path for a delivery vehicle around a set of locations. Many of these approaches are versions of the “traveling salesman problem.” Scheduling. Creating detailed schedules for the flow of resources and work through a process. Some scheduling models are “finite” in that they take factory capacity limits into account when scheduling orders. So-called advanced planning and scheduling approaches also recognize material constraints in terms of current inventory and planned deliveries or allocations. As Wal-Mart’s data warehouse introduced additional information about customer behavior, applications using Wal-Mart’s massive database began to extend well beyond their supply chain.


pages: 226 words: 66,188

Adventures in Human Being (Wellcome) by Gavin Francis

Atul Gawande, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Ralph Waldo Emerson, stem cell, traveling salesman

There were no more lunatics (only ‘patients’ and ‘clients’) but there were laminated maps, smoking shelters, link corridors and plastic signs: ‘Andrew Duncan Clinic’, ‘Mental Health Assessment Service’, ‘Rivers Centre for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder’. I was introduced to Dr McKenzie, the psychiatrist responsible for teaching me – a smart woman in a blue tweed jacket and skirt. She showed me around one of the in-patient wards. I was encouraged to mix with the patients, sitting with them in the smoking room and asking them how they’d come to be there. There was a wild-eyed travelling salesman with a bald pate and a silken robe: he told me he’d been admitted after unscrewing all the doors in his house because they ‘blocked energy’. There was a woman who spent her time trembling in the ward’s laundry cupboard and muttering to herself – she even slept there. There was a librarian, brought in by the police, who wore a waistcoat and cravat and claimed he was an incarnation of Jesus.


pages: 211 words: 69,380

The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can't Stand Positive Thinking by Oliver Burkeman

experimental subject, fear of failure, hedonic treadmill, Kibera, Lao Tzu, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, science of happiness, selection bias, Steve Jobs, Supply of New York City Cabdrivers, traveling salesman, World Values Survey

To understand why it is neither, and why it goes to the heart of Ellis’s outlook on the virtues of negative thinking, it is necessary to return to his youth, in Pittsburgh, in the first decades of the twentieth century. From an early age, thinking like a Stoic proved an urgent personal necessity for Ellis. His mother, as he remembered her, was self-absorbed and melodramatic; his father, a travelling salesman, was rarely around. At the age of five, Ellis developed severe kidney problems, condemning him to long stays in hospital throughout his childhood, during which his parents almost never visited. Alone with his thoughts, he drifted into philosophical speculations on the nature of existence, and eventually read Seneca’s Letters from a Stoic. The Stoics’ focus on the importance of one’s judgments about one’s circumstances struck a chord; his unhappy existence, he came to see, might prove a surprisingly useful crucible in which to develop Stoic wisdom.


pages: 603 words: 186,210

Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West--One Meal at a Time by Stephen Fried

Albert Einstein, British Empire, business intelligence, centralized clearinghouse, Charles Lindbergh, City Beautiful movement, estate planning, glass ceiling, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, indoor plumbing, Livingstone, I presume, Nelson Mandela, new economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, refrigerator car, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, young professional

Soon he hired a second young man to work with him on the road so they could canvass cities more quickly and efficiently, making collections on newspaper ads and dropping off ticket vouchers. Then, as business improved, he hired even more traveling employees so he could be represented in more places. The most dependable of this group was a young man from Leavenworth named William “Guy” Potter, who took his mentorship with Fred very seriously. Within a year, Fred was so successful as a traveling salesman that his clients started giving him healthy advances just to keep their part of his well-divided attention. In 1868, his bosses at the Leavenworth Conservative offered him a contract paying an annual advance of $3,000 ($47,000)—about fifteen times the average per capita income in the nation. It was a good deal, but Fred had been learning a lot about negotiating during his travels. He was bolder now, more self-assured, and he understood how American businessmen thought.

The railroads had made George Pullman rich with sleeping cars and dining cars that they could easily have built and managed themselves. It was only a matter of time before somebody got “railroad rich” by running good depot restaurants. In fact, Fred was certain it was possible to serve the finest cuisine imaginable along the train tracks in the middle of nowhere. In the early days of eastern railroading, there was a legendary eating house along the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Logan House hotel in Altoona. As a young traveling salesman, Fred had often eaten at this homey Delmonico’s of trackside dining. And he also had seen the photos, read the menus, and heard the stories about the most ambitious trackside meals ever served in America. They were the highlight of “The Grand Excursion,” the greatest promotional junket and gustatory extravaganza in the young nation’s history. Back in the fall of 1866, when the Union Pacific tracks from Omaha reached the 100th Meridian in south-central Nebraska—a contractual milestone that allowed the railroad to exercise the rest of its land grant and keep building to connect with the California Pacific—everybody who mattered in the government and the train industry was invited to celebrate at the newly established end of the line.


pages: 290 words: 72,046

5 Day Weekend: Freedom to Make Your Life and Work Rich With Purpose by Nik Halik, Garrett B. Gunderson

Airbnb, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, business process, clean water, collaborative consumption, cryptocurrency, delayed gratification, diversified portfolio, en.wikipedia.org, estate planning, Ethereum, fear of failure, fiat currency, financial independence, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Home mortgage interest deduction, Isaac Newton, litecoin, Lyft, market fundamentalism, microcredit, minimum viable product, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, Nelson Mandela, passive income, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, sharing economy, side project, Skype, TaskRabbit, traveling salesman, uber lyft

All these things are made possible by your 5 Day Weekend. Achieve your 5 Day Weekend, and your dreams will follow. . . . CHAPTER 33 ESCAPE THE ORDINARY I was born with a poor biological template. I developed chronic allergies, debilitating asthma, and I was nearsighted. I was medically confined to my bedroom for the first decade of my life. When I was eight years old, a traveling salesman knocked on our front door in Port Melbourne, Australia, and sold my non-English speaking parents a set of the Encyclopedia Britannica. That set turned out to be one of the greatest influences on my life. It was the spark and secret kindling that set my imagination on fire. My imagination had stretched my mind, and it would never retract to its original dimensions. I read the encyclopedia constantly and, without my parents knowing, I’d take it to bed with me.


pages: 239 words: 73,178

The Narcissist You Know by Joseph Burgo

Albert Einstein, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, Jeff Bezos, Julian Assange, Paul Graham, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, traveling salesman, WikiLeaks

For months afterward, Eddie followed Linda to work, harassing her and insisting they move back in together. When she refused, he poured sugar into her gas tank and slashed the tires on her car. After two years of legal battles mediated by police and the court system, Linda successfully banished Eddie from her life. He never saw his child again. A year or so after the divorce decree, Linda married Terry Keith Armstrong, a traveling salesman. Though Lance took his stepfather’s last name, the two never bonded. According to Linda, she and Lance lived a more or less independent existence, due to the fact that Terry was usually on the road Monday through Friday. On the weekends, Terry regularly used to “paddle” the boy. A hypercompetitive man himself, Terry did take an interest in Lance’s career as a young tri-athlete but ridiculed the boy if he cried, imposing his strict, traditional ideas of manhood upon him.6 The older Lance grew, the more he and his stepfather clashed, eventually coming to physical blows.


pages: 258 words: 71,880

Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street by Kate Kelly

bank run, buy and hold, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Donald Trump, fixed income, housing crisis, index arbitrage, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, moral hazard, quantitative hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, shareholder value, technology bubble, too big to fail, traveling salesman

When Schwartz was a toddler, the family moved from Brooklyn to a modest home in suburban Levittown, New York, on the southern part of Long Island. Schwartz was raised there, playing sports in the street with other boys in the neighborhood and attending the nearby public schools. He played everything, but particularly loved baseball, where he had a talent for pitching. Schwartz’s father, Walter, worked as a traveling salesman. He later tried to start his own finance company, but it barely got off the ground. His mother mostly stayed at home, but from time to time she’d take on different jobs to help with the family’s resources. One was as a bookkeeper at a local bowling alley. As a student at General Douglas MacArthur High School, Schwartz won a baseball scholarship to Duke University. He had already been drafted to play professional ball, but wanted to focus on his education.


pages: 601 words: 193,225

740 Park: The Story of the World's Richest Apartment Building by Michael Gross

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Bonfire of the Vanities, California gold rush, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Irwin Jacobs, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, McMansion, mortgage debt, Norman Mailer, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ronald Reagan, sensible shoes, short selling, strikebreaker, The Predators' Ball, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, urban planning

She bought by mail order from New York stores. She was stubborn, too. When Williams forbade her to cut her hair, she did it anyway, and then claimed a thief had cut it off, looking for diamonds he insisted were hidden in there. In 1895, at twenty-three, Maggie married Kentucky-born James Bruce Quigley, a tall, handsome redheaded Confederate veteran. He’d hit Greenville six months earlier behind a fine set of trotters. A traveling salesman for a Connecticut shoe maker, he opened a shoe store in Greenville with his younger brother, but that didn’t carry much weight with Williams, who refused to attend their wedding and cut off his daughter. For the next nine years, she bore Quigley children while he was on the road, selling shoes by day, drinking by night, and declining, steadily, into debt and incoherence. Dorothea, the eldest, was born in 1895, Clothilde in 1898.

“That issue is treason against our country—treason committed by millionaire outlaws who purchase public men and corrupt political parties to serve their law-defying corporations.” Haskell was forced to resign his party treasurer’s post. But he also served Hearst with a $600,000 slander and libel suit and had a legal associate of Shearn’s arrested, charging he paid people to lie. Haskell left office in 1911 and, after failing in a bid for the Senate, went back into the railroad and oil businesses with Harry Sinclair, a former traveling salesman who’d made millions exploiting Oklahoma’s oil deposits. To give an idea of the company Haskell was keeping: Sinclair later set off the Teapot Dome scandal. Haskell was married twice, and during his reign as governor the second Mrs. Haskell had been renowned for sitting outside her husband’s office, knitting and listening, and later offering up opinions her husband tended to follow. A handsome man of forty-seven when he took office, Haskell stood five feet ten inches tall, with friendly brown eyes and thick brown hair dappled with gray.


pages: 411 words: 80,925

What's Mine Is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption Is Changing the Way We Live by Rachel Botsman, Roo Rogers

Airbnb, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, bike sharing scheme, Buckminster Fuller, buy and hold, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, collaborative consumption, collaborative economy, commoditize, Community Supported Agriculture, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, dematerialisation, disintermediation, en.wikipedia.org, experimental economics, George Akerlof, global village, hedonic treadmill, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, information retrieval, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, market design, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, out of africa, Parkinson's law, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, peer-to-peer rental, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, recommendation engine, RFID, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Simon Kuznets, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, South of Market, San Francisco, Stewart Brand, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, web of trust, women in the workforce, Zipcar

In 1891, the idea of the taxicab was born after German inventor Wilhelm Bruhn developed the taximeter, which measured the distance traveled (or the time taken) to determine an accurate fare. Shortly after, a Nebraskan named Joe Saunders saw the opportunity to use a similar device to start the first rent-a-car business. He would lend out his Model T and charge ten cents a mile for its use. Saunders’s first customer is said to have been a traveling salesman who needed transportation to impress a local girl he was taking out for dinner.20 By 1925, Saunders had set up car rental depots in twenty-one states across America, perhaps becoming the first rental magnate. The contemporary concept of urban car sharing has been around for more than sixty years. A cooperative known as Sefage initiated services in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1948. But it has become popularized and thought of as “hip,” “financially smart,” and part of an “environmentally conscious lifestyle” only in the past couple of years.


pages: 276 words: 81,153

Outnumbered: From Facebook and Google to Fake News and Filter-Bubbles – the Algorithms That Control Our Lives by David Sumpter

affirmative action, Bernie Sanders, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Google Glasses, illegal immigration, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Loebner Prize, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Nelson Mandela, p-value, prediction markets, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, Robert Mercer, selection bias, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, traveling salesman, Turing test

Lars Chittka, at Queen Mary University of London, has recently documented our increased understanding of bee cognition and found bees have an amazing intellect.7 After a few flights looping around their nests, newborn bees have a good idea of what their world looks like. They then quickly set to work collecting food. Worker bees learn the smell and colour of the best flowers and solve the ‘travelling salesman problem’ of visiting the available food sources in the shortest possible time. They can remember where they have experienced threats and sometimes ‘see ghosts’ as they react to a perceived danger that isn’t there. Bees that find lots of food become optimistic and start to underestimate the danger of predator attacks. The underlying neural network, in the form of the bee’s brain, has a very different structure to that of artificial convolutional or recurrent neural networks.


pages: 252 words: 78,780

Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons

Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, Clayton Christensen, clean water, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, cryptocurrency, David Heinemeier Hansson, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, future of work, gig economy, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hiring and firing, housing crisis, income inequality, informal economy, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, job-hopping, John Gruber, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, loose coupling, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Menlo Park, Milgram experiment, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, RAND corporation, remote working, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Ruby on Rails, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, software is eating the world, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, telemarketer, Tesla Model S, Thomas Davenport, Tony Hsieh, Toyota Production System, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, tulip mania, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, young professional

As far as her friends knew, she had landed a cool job at one of the world’s hippest companies. When they asked about work, she said it was fine and changed the subject. “It was like an inverted reality. At home I had a loving husband and kids. In my personal life, at home and among my friends, people saw me as a good mother, a good wife, a successful person with a good job. At work I became Gregor Samsa,” she says, referring to the traveling salesman in Kafka’s Metamorphosis who wakes up one day transformed into a giant cockroach. Beatrix’s boss conducted eccentric exercises. One day he called everyone into a conference room and told them they were going to critique each other. He made them stand in a circle, sideways, so each one faced the back of the person to their left. They would write one word about the person in front of them and pin that word onto the back of that person’s shirt.


Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang, Nate Pedersen

Albert Einstein, complexity theory, germ theory of disease, helicopter parent, Honoré de Balzac, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, Louis Pasteur, placebo effect, stem cell, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, wikimedia commons, Y2K

After downing his poison, Thumblardt was immediately given some wine into which 4 grams of Berthold’s terra sigillata tablets had been dissolved. Lo and behold, Thumblardt survived to see another day, although not before “the poison did extremely torment and vexe him.” Figuring that surviving mercury poisoning was probably a sufficient theft deterrent, Wolfgang II made it his first order of business to release Thumblardt into the care of his parents. His second move was to buy a lifetime supply of terra sigillata from the traveling salesman. He even gave Berthold a letter bearing his stamp of approval so he could safely move around Germany advertising his tablets of earth. Ancient Earth, Sacred Earth Terra sigillata from Lemnos, overshadowed by a large cup. The practice of geophagy—that is, eating dirt—is considerably ancient, going back to at least 500 bce, when the inhabitants of Lemnos, a Grecian island in the Mediterranean, harvested red medicinal clay from a particular hill on a special day each year.


pages: 244 words: 85,379

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Bonfire of the Vanities, fear of failure, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, old-boy network, pink-collar, telemarketer, traveling salesman, War on Poverty

I wanted to make this guy into the reader’s friend. Johnny was hard. Taking an average guy and making him vivid and interesting always is. Greg Stillson (like most villains) was easier and a lot more fun. I wanted to nail his dangerous, divided character in the first scene of the book. Here, several years before he runs for the U.S. House of Representatives in New Hampshire, Stillson is a young travelling salesman hawking Bibles to midwest country folk. When he stops at one farm, he is menaced by a snarling dog. Stillson remains friendly and smiling—Mr. Jes’ Folks—until he’s positive no one’s home at the farm. Then he sprays teargas into the dog’s eyes and kicks it to death. If one is to measure success by reader response, the opening scene of The Dead Zone (my first number-one hardcover best-seller) was one of my most successful ever.


pages: 294 words: 81,292

Our Final Invention: Artificial Intelligence and the End of the Human Era by James Barrat

AI winter, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, Automated Insights, Bayesian statistics, Bernie Madoff, Bill Joy: nanobots, brain emulation, cellular automata, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, computer vision, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Danny Hillis, data acquisition, don't be evil, drone strike, Extropian, finite state, Flash crash, friendly AI, friendly fire, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, Loebner Prize, lone genius, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, prisoner's dilemma, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, Skype, smart grid, speech recognition, statistical model, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, Thomas Bayes, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, zero day

Suppose, Omohundro says, an AI prefers being in San Francisco to Palo Alto, being in Berkeley to San Francisco, and being in Palo Alto to Berkeley. If it acted on these preferences, it’d be stuck in a three-city loop, like an Asimov robot. Instead, Omohundro’s self-improving AI would anticipate the problem in advance and solve it. It might even use a clever technique like genetic programming, which is especially good at solving “Traveling Salesman” type routing puzzles. A self-improving system might be taught genetic programming, and apply it to yield fast, energy-conserving results. And if it wasn’t taught genetic programming, it might invent it. Modifying its own hardware is within this system’s capability, so it would seek the most efficient materials and structure. Since atomic precision in its construction would reward the system with greater resource efficiency, it would seek out nanotechnology.


Applied Cryptography: Protocols, Algorithms, and Source Code in C by Bruce Schneier

active measures, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, dark matter, Donald Davies, Donald Knuth, dumpster diving, Exxon Valdez, fault tolerance, finite state, invisible hand, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, MITM: man-in-the-middle, NP-complete, P = NP, packet switching, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, software patent, telemarketer, traveling salesman, Turing machine, web of trust, Zimmermann PGP

Applied Cryptography, Second Edition: Protocols, Algorthms, and Source Code in C (cloth) Go! Keyword Brief Full Advanced Search Search Tips (Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.) Author(s): Bruce Schneier ISBN: 0471128457 Publication Date: 01/01/96 Search this book: Go! Previous Table of Contents Next ----------- NP-Complete Problems Michael Garey and David Johnson compiled a list of over 300 NP-complete problems [600]. Here are just a few of them: — Traveling Salesman Problem. A traveling salesman has to visit n different cities using only one tank of gas (there is a maximum distance he can travel). Is there a route that allows him to visit each city exactly once on that single tank of gas? (This is a generalization of the Hamiltonian Cycle problem—see Section 5.1.) — Three-Way Marriage Problem. In a room are n men, n women, and n clergymen (priests, rabbis, whatever).

Scott, 75 Straight permutation, 275 Strassen, Volker, 259 Stream algorithms, 4 Stream ciphers, 4, 189, 197–198 A5, 389 additive generators, 390–392 Algorithm M, 393–394 versus block ciphers, 210–211 Blum, Blum, and Shub generator, 417–418 Blum-Micali generator, 416–417 cascading multiple, 419–420 cellular automaton generator, 414 choosing, 420 complexity-theoretic approach, 415–418 correlation immunity, 380 counter mode, 206 crypt(1), 414 design and analysis, 379–381 Diffie’s randomized stream cipher, 419 encryption speeds, 420 feedback with carry shift registers, 402–404 Fish, 391 Gifford, 392–393 Hughes XPD/KPD, 389–390 information-theoretic approach, 418 linear complexity, 380 Maurer’s randomized stream cipher, 419 message authentication codes, 459 multiple, generating from single pseudo-random-sequence generator, 420–421 Mush, 392 Nanoteq, 390 nonlinear-feedback shift registers, 412–413 1/p generator, 414 output-feedback mode, 205 Pike, 391–392 PKZIP, 394–395 Pless generator, 413–414 Rambutan, 390 random-sequence generators, 421–428 RC4, 397–398 Rip van Winkle cipher, 418–419 RSA generator, 417 SEAL, 398–400 self-synchronizing, 198–199 synchronous, 202–203 system-theoretic approach, 415–416 using feedback with carry shift registers, 405–412 alternating stop-and-go generators, 410–411 cascade generators, 405 FCSR combining generators, 405, 410 LFSR/FCSR summation/parity cascade, 410–411 shrinking generators, 411–412 using linear feedback shift registers, 381–388 alternating stop-and-go generator, 383, 385 Beth-Piper stop-and-go generator, 383–384 bilateral stop-and-go generator, 384–385 DNRSG, 387 Geffe generator, 382 generalized Geffe generator, 382–383 Gollmann cascade, 387–388 Jennings generator, 383–384 multispeed inner-product generator, 386–387 self-decimated generator, 385–387 self-shrinking generator, 388 shrinking generator, 388 summation generator, 386–387 threshold generator, 384–386 WAKE, 400–402 Strict avalanche criteria, 350 Strong primes, 261 STU-III, 565–566 Subkey, 272 Blowfish, 338–339 Crab, 342–343 IDEA, 322 independent, DES, 295 Subliminal channel, 79–80 applications, 80 DSA, 493, 534–536 ElGamal, 532–533 ESIGN, 533–534 foiling, 536 Ong-Schnorr-Shamir, 531–532 signature algorithm, 79 Subliminal-free signature schemes, 80 Subprotocols, 26 Substitution boxes, 274–276 Substitution ciphers, 10–12 Substitution-permutation network, 347 SubStream, 414 Summation generator, 386–387 Superincreasing knapsack, 463–464 Superincreasing sequence, 463–464 Suppress-replay, 61 Surety Technologies, 79 SXAL8, 344 Symmetric algorithms, 4 Symmetric block algorithms, one-way hash functions using, 446–455 Symmetric cryptography: bit commitment using, 86–87 communication using, 28–29 key exchange with, 47–48 versus public-key cryptography, 216–217 Symmetric cryptosystems, document signing, 35–37 Symmetric key length, 151–158 Synchronous stream cipher, 202–203 System-theoretic approach, stream ciphers, 415–416 Tap sequence, 373 feedback with carry shift registers, maximal-length, 408–409 Tatebayashi-Matsuzaki-Newman, 524–525 Tavares, Stafford, 334 TEA, 346 TEMPEST, 224 Terminology, 1–9, 39 Terrorist Fraud, 110 Thermodynamics, limitations on brute-force attacks, 157–158 Three-pass protocol, Shamir’s, 516–517 Three-Satisfiability, 242 3–Way, 341–342, 354 source code, 654–659 Three-Way Marriage Problem, 242 Threshold generator, 384–386 Threshold schemes, 71–72, 530–531 Ticket-Granting Service, 567 Ticket Granting Ticket, 569 Tickets, 568 Time complexity, 237 Timestamping, 75 arbitrated solution, 75–76 digital signatures, 38 distributed protocol, 77–78 improved arbitrated solution, 76 improvements, 78–79 linking protocol, 76–77 patented protocols, 78–79 protocols, 75–79 TIS/PEM, 583 Total break, 8 Traffic analysis, 219 Traffic-flow security, 217 Transfer, oblivious, 116–117 Transposition, 237 ciphers, 12 Trapdoor one-way function, 30 Traveling Salesman Problem, 241–242 Trees, digital signatures, 37 Trial division, 256 Triple encryption, 358–363 encrypt-decrypt-encrypt mode, 359 with minimum key, 360 modes, 360–362 with three keys, 360 with two keys, 358–359 variants, 362–363 TSD, 594–595 Tsujii-Kurosawa-Itoh-Fujioka-Matsumoto, 501 Tuchman, Walt, 266, 278, 280, 294, 303, 358 Tuckerman, Bryant, 266 Turing, Alan, 240 Turing machine, 239, 241 2–adic numbers, 404 UEPS, 589–591 Uncertainty, 234 Unconditional sender and recipient untraceability, 138 Undeniable digital signatures, 81–82, 536–539 Unicity distance, 235–236 Unit key, 591 United States, export rules, 610–616 Universal Electronic Payment System, 589–591 Unpredictable, to left and to right, 417 Updating, keys, 180 Utah Digital Signature Act, 618 van Oorschot, Paul, 359 Vector scheme, 529 Verification, keys, 178–179 Verification block, 179 Verification equation, 496 Vernam, Gilbert, 15 Vigenere cipher, 10–11, 14 Vino, 346 Viruses, to spread cracking program, 155–156 VLSI 6868, 278 Voting, see Secure elections WAKE, 400–402 Wayner, Peter, 10 Weak keys: block ciphers design theory, 348 DES, 280–281 Wheeler, David, 400 Whitening, 363, 366–367 Wide-Mouth Frog protocol, 56–57 Wiener, Michael, 153, 284, 359 Williams, 475–476 Wolfram, Steve, 414, 446 Wood, Michael, 311, 313 Woo-Lam protocol, 63–64 Word Auto Key Encryption, 400 Work factor, 9 xDES1, 365–366 XOR, 13–15 XPD, 389–390 Yagisawa algorithm, 501 Yahalom, 57–58 Yao’s millionaire problem, 551 Yung, Moti, 81 Yuval, Gideon, 430 Zero-knowledge proofs, 101–109, 548–549 ability to break RSA, 548–549 Chess Grandmaster Problem, 109 computational, 108 discrete logarithm, 548 generalities, 108–109 identity, 109–111 Mafia Fraud, 110 minimum-disclosure, 108 Multiple Identity Fraud, 111 n is Blum integer, 549 noninteractive, 106–107 no-use, 108 parallel, 106 perfect, 108 Proofs of Membership, 111 Renting Passports, 111 statistical, 108 Terrorist Fraud, 110 Zero-knowledge protocol: basic, 102–104 graph isomorphism, 104–105 Hamiltonian cycles, 105–106 Zierler, Neal, 381 Zimmermann, Philip, 584 Previous Table of Contents Next Products | Contact Us | About Us | Privacy | Ad Info | Home Use of this site is subject to certain Terms & Conditions, Copyright © 1996-2000 EarthWeb Inc.


pages: 509 words: 92,141

The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt, Dave Thomas

A Pattern Language, Broken windows theory, business process, buy low sell high, c2.com, combinatorial explosion, continuous integration, database schema, domain-specific language, don't repeat yourself, Donald Knuth, general-purpose programming language, George Santayana, Grace Hopper, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, index card, lateral thinking, loose coupling, Menlo Park, MVC pattern, premature optimization, Ralph Waldo Emerson, revision control, Schrödinger's Cat, slashdot, sorting algorithm, speech recognition, traveling salesman, urban decay, Y2K

Whenever algorithms start looking at the permutations of things, their running times may get out of hand. This is because permutations involve factorials (there are 5! = 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 120 permutations of the digits from 1 to 5). Time a combinatoric algorithm for five elements: it will take six times longer to run it for six, and 42 times longer for seven. Examples include algorithms for many of the acknowledged hard problems—the traveling salesman problem, optimally packing things into a container, partitioning a set of numbers so that each set has the same total, and so on. Often, heuristics are used to reduce the running times of these types of algorithms in particular problem domains. Algorithm Speed in Practice It's unlikely that you'll spend much time during your career writing sort routines. The ones in the libraries available to you will probably outperform anything you may write without substantial effort.


pages: 326 words: 93,522

Underground, Overground by Andrew Martin

bank run, Boris Johnson, congestion charging, garden city movement, plutocrats, Plutocrats, traveling salesman, V2 rocket

He wrote that in Britain there are two railways: the railway of reality and the railway of romance. The former, he said, was ‘largely shit’. That is not usually true of the Underground, but even if it were, it might not matter, because the iconography trumps the service provision. CONCLUSION MODERN WONDERS While my father was working on British Rail in the 1970s, we had a neighbour who was a travelling salesman – a man who practically lived in his car and loved his car. He believed that trains were uneconomic, inefficient and somehow (even though we’d invented trains) anti-British. He said that, if he were running the country, he’d scrap the railway lines and replace them with fleets of buses running along an improved network of roads. ‘And would they be long buses with comfortable seats?’ my father asked.


pages: 341 words: 89,986

Bricks & Mortals: Ten Great Buildings and the People They Made by Tom Wilkinson

Berlin Wall, British Empire, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, double helix, experimental subject, false memory syndrome, financial independence, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Google Glasses, housing crisis, Kitchen Debate, Mahatma Gandhi, mass incarceration, megacity, neoliberal agenda, New Urbanism, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, starchitect, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, urban planning

However, these were not the first attempts to solve the problem of the relation of the two worlds of rest and work, home and factory in the industrial era. Some had taken a more holistic approach towards this question, taking into account the fine grain of human experience, our individual quirks, our need for variety – and our need for pleasure. Born in 1772 in France, Charles Fourier worked for a long time but without a great deal of success as a travelling salesman. First-hand experience of the scams, waste and unfairness of the early industrial world and of the violence of the French Revolution (in which he lost his inheritance) led him to vilify what he contemptuously referred to as ‘civilisation’. Inspired by his commercial background and the example of Newton, he compiled a minute and slightly deranged (or is it deviously satirical?) catalogue of civilisation’s many failures and hypocrisies, including thirty-six varieties of bankruptcy and seventy-six kinds of cuckoldry.


pages: 364 words: 93,033

In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors by Doug Stanton

Burning Man, traveling salesman

Many got lucky, put the disaster behind them, and joined the postwar American boom. John Spinelli, who’d floated under the captain’s watchful eye, moved back to New Mexico with his wife and new daughter, became a butcher, then worked for thirty-seven years reading utility meters. Others became nightclub owners, bricklayers, or electricians. Jack Miner took over his father’s paper company. Mike Kuryla worked for a construction company in Chicago, and Ed Brown became a traveling salesman in California for the auto industry. Harlan Twible became CEO of a global manufacturing company. Jack Cassidy worked as a state policeman in Massachusetts. Bob Gause returned to Florida as a commercial fisherman. (His sideline exploits as a shark hunter are said by some to have served as inspiration for the Captain Quint character in Jaws.) Whatever had happened to them on the water was in the past.


pages: 1,497 words: 492,782

The Complete Novels Of George Orwell by George Orwell

British Empire, fixed income, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, the market place, traveling salesman, union organizing, white flight

At the same time I didn’t share the delusion, which was pretty common among ex-officers, that I could spend the rest of my life drinking pink gin. I knew I’d got to have a job. And the job, of course, would be ‘in business’–just what kind of job I didn’t know, but something high-up and important, something with a car and a telephone and if possible a secretary with a permanent wave. During the last year or so of war a lot of us had had visions like that. The chap who’d been a shop walker saw himself as a travelling salesman, and the chap who’d been a travelling salesman saw himself as a managing director. It was the effect of Army life, the effect of wearing pips and having a cheque-book and calling the evening meal dinner. All the while there’d been an idea floating round–and this applied to the men in the ranks as well as the officers–that when we came out of the Army there’d be jobs waiting for us that would bring in at least as much as our Army pay.

Probably I could have got a job as a grocer’s assistant; old Grimmett, if he was still alive and in business (I wasn’t in touch with Lower Binfield and didn’t know), would have given me good refs. But I’d passed into a different orbit. Even if my social ideas hadn’t risen, I could hardly have imagined, after what I’d seen and learned, going back to the old safe existence behind the counter. I wanted to be travelling about and pulling down the big dough. Chiefly I wanted to be a travelling salesman, which I knew would suit me. But there were no jobs for travelling salesmen–that’s to say, jobs with a salary attached. What there were, however, were on-commission jobs. That racket was just beginning on a big scale. It’s a beautifully simple method of increasing your sales and advertising your stuff without taking any risks, and it always flourishes when times are bad. They keep you on a string by hinting that perhaps there’ll be a salaried job going in three months’ time, and when you get fed up there’s always some other poor devil ready to take over.

It’s queer, the power of these rich men. He’d been marching past me in his power and glory, with his underlings after him, and then on some whim or other he’d turned aside like an emperor suddenly chucking a coin to a beggar. ‘So you want a job? What can you do?’ Again the inspiration. No use, with a bloke like this, cracking up your own merits. Stick to the truth. I said: ‘Nothing, sir. But I want a job as a travelling salesman.’ ‘Salesman? Hm. Not sure that I’ve got anything for you at present. Let’s see.’ He pursed his lips up. For a moment, half a minute perhaps, he was thinking quite deeply. It was curious. Even at the time I realized that it was curious. This important old bloke, who was probably worth at least half a million, was actually taking thought on my behalf. I’d deflected him from his path and wasted at least three minutes of his time, all because of a chance remark I’d happened to make years earlier.


pages: 307 words: 97,677

The Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petroski

Buckminster Fuller, card file, industrial robot, Menlo Park, Ralph Waldo Emerson, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, traveling salesman

This idea is repeated in a “primer on inventions and patents” entitled Money from Ideas and published in 1950 by Popular Mechanics Press. With few pretensions to being out of the mainstream of the common dream of many an inventor, the book has its tone set in the first sentence of the first chapter: “A man once made a million dollars with a pair of scissors and a few sheets of paper.” (He was a traveling salesman whose disgust with common drinking glasses in public places led him to invent the paper cup.) Whereas self-confident inventors who are also self-starters would certainly not need the assistance of such a primer, the popular image of the inventor as creative genius, national hero, and wealthy benefactor of a leisurely if not glamorous pursuit, provides ample attraction to those who may have more desire than talent to become inventors themselves.


pages: 469 words: 97,582

QI: The Second Book of General Ignorance by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John

Ada Lovelace, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, double helix, Etonian, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Isaac Newton, Lao Tzu, Louis Pasteur, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, out of africa, the built environment, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, US Airways Flight 1549

The original Tin Man, Buddy Ebsen, nearly died from inhaling the aluminium powder it contained and had to leave the film. Lyman Frank Baum died in 1919, long before his book made it to the screen, although he ended his days in Hollywood as a film producer. This was the last in a long line of careers – as a breeder of fancy poultry, a newspaper editor, a theatrical impresario, the proprietor of a general store, a travelling salesman and a writer of over fifty books, many under female pseudonyms such as Edith van Dyne and Laura Metcalf. In 1900, the same year he published The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, he also brought out The Art of Decorating Dry Goods Windows and Interiors, which listed the many marketing advantages of using shop-window mannequins. But it is Oz he will be remembered for and, despite all attempts at interpreting his novel as a political allegory or a feminist tract, it is best read the way he intended, as a home-grown American version of the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen that he had loved as a child.


pages: 379 words: 99,340

The Revolt of the Public and the Crisis of Authority in the New Millennium by Martin Gurri

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Ayatollah Khomeini, bitcoin, Black Swan, Burning Man, business cycle, citizen journalism, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, collective bargaining, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, currency manipulation / currency intervention, dark matter, David Graeber, death of newspapers, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, facts on the ground, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, housing crisis, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, job-hopping, Mohammed Bouazizi, Nate Silver, Occupy movement, Port of Oakland, Republic of Letters, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, too big to fail, traveling salesman, University of East Anglia, urban renewal, War on Poverty, We are the 99%, WikiLeaks, young professional

Along with countless trivial subjects, Hoder posted his opinions of the Iranian regime, for and against. But he had no standing in Iranian politics, no political standing anywhere. He wasn’t really much of a dissident, in any sense of that word. His one claim to influence was technological: almost accidentally, he had opened a space for public discussion and made it available to ordinary Iranians. And, being an idealist, he had become a sort of traveling salesman on behalf of blogging and self-expression. A way forward into the mystery, then, would be to hypothesize that for Iran’s rulers Hoder – blogfather, blogger – stood for something larger and more threatening than himself. In fact, he stood for the loss of monopoly over information, the loss of an absolute control over public communications. 2.2 Hoder at the eternal conference[8] My preferred method of analysis – I have said this before – is to examine a story from every possible perspective.


pages: 417 words: 103,458

The Intelligence Trap: Revolutionise Your Thinking and Make Wiser Decisions by David Robson

active measures, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Atul Gawande, availability heuristic, cognitive bias, corporate governance, correlation coefficient, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, dark matter, deliberate practice, dematerialisation, Donald Trump, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fundamental attribution error, illegal immigration, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, knowledge economy, lone genius, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, pattern recognition, price anchoring, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, theory of mind, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

Another playmate, ‘an imaginative liar’, would go on to become an infamous serial killer, Terman later claimed – though he never said which one.11 Terman, however, knew he was different from the incurious children around him. He had been able to read before he entered that bookless schoolroom, and within the first term the teacher had allowed him to skip ahead and study third-grade lessons. His intellectual superiority was only confirmed when a travelling salesman visited the family farm. Finding a somewhat bookish household, he decided to pitch a volume on phrenology. To demonstrate the theories it contained, he sat with the Terman children around the fireside and began examining their scalps. The shape of the bone underneath, he explained, could reveal their virtues and vices. Something about the lumps and bumps beneath young Lewis’s thick ginger locks seemed to have particularly impressed him.


pages: 363 words: 98,024

Keeping at It: The Quest for Sound Money and Good Government by Paul Volcker, Christine Harper

anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, business cycle, central bank independence, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, Donald Trump, fiat currency, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, forensic accounting, full employment, global reserve currency, income per capita, inflation targeting, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, margin call, money market fund, Nixon shock, Paul Samuelson, price stability, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Right to Buy, risk-adjusted returns, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, secular stagnation, Sharpe ratio, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, too big to fail, traveling salesman, urban planning

The changes included narrowing the central bank’s focus to a single goal: bringing the inflation rate down to a predetermined target. The new government set an annual inflation rate of zero to 2 percent as the central bank’s key objective. The simplicity of the target was seen as part of its appeal—no excuses, no hedging about, one policy, one instrument. Within a year or so the inflation rate fell to about 2 percent. The central bank head, Donald Brash, became a kind of traveling salesman. He had a lot of customers. I was reminded of the practical appeal when I read of a colloquy in a July 1996 FOMC meeting about the Federal Reserve’s “price stability” target. Janet Yellen asked then chairman Alan Greenspan: “How do you define price stability?” To me, he gave the only sensible answer: “That state in which expected changes in the general price level do not effectively alter business or household decisions.”


pages: 323 words: 100,923

This Is Not Fame: A "From What I Re-Memoir" by Doug Stanhope

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airport security, bitcoin, Donald Trump, obamacare, pre–internet, Saturday Night Live, Stephen Hawking, telemarketer, traveling salesman

Fuckability gives people without better qualities an achievable goal. Don’t protest their last resort. BROWNER PASTURES The herpes on my dick are not nearly as disconcerting as the herpes on my resume. Before the stink of The Man Show could even blemish my nameless profile, I went one step deeper. I hosted an episode of Girls Gone Wild just on a goof in the same way I pretended to be a traveling salesman on Jerry Springer years before. It seemed funny at the time—another discounted but worthy title for this book. I was sitting home alone in Venice, California, on one of those empty nights where you think you might just drink a little bit and take care of yourself. Then Paulie from the bar pounded at my door with a friend in tow. They had to inform me of the genius idea they’d concocted down at O’Brien’s.


pages: 299 words: 19,560

Utopias: A Brief History From Ancient Writings to Virtual Communities by Howard P. Segal

1960s counterculture, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, complexity theory, David Brooks, death of newspapers, dematerialisation, deskilling, energy security, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, future of journalism, G4S, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, Golden Gate Park, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge economy, liberation theology, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, mass immigration, means of production, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Carr, Nikolai Kondratiev, out of africa, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban planning, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

The experience, moreover, was responsible for Fourier’s obsession with ridding the world of greed and hypocrisy. His contempt for existing society was deepened by his traumatic experiences as an unwilling participant in the French Revolution. After losing his paternal inheritance—and nearly his life—because of false accusations against him, he served unhappily for several years in the army. In 1795 he managed to secure work as a clerk in a cloth-making concern and, a few years later, as a traveling salesman. In 1826 he finally settled in Paris. Fourier’s first book appeared in 1808; his second not until 1822. These as well as his subsequent works received little attention, thanks to his terrible writing style. Only late in life did he gain a following, but he remained a reclusive bachelor whose complex theories of passionate attraction were cosmically distant from his personal practices.25 Fourier persistently preached that his version of utopia could come about only in small communities whose inhabitants actually knew one another, not in big cities filled with anonymous masses.


The Orchid Thief: A True Story of Beauty and Obsession by Susan Orlean

Donald Trump, financial independence, index card, Joan Didion, new economy, offshore financial centre, Richard Bolles, traveling salesman, tulip mania

I stayed at my parents’ condominium in West Palm Beach—most of the time my parents weren’t there—and every morning I’d get up, listen to the unvarying weather report, slap on some sunscreen, and then go down to Homestead or across to the Fakahatchee or over to Miami with a stop in Hollywood to talk to orchid growers and visit nurseries and see people at the Seminole reservation and take a walk in the woods. It felt as if I were driving a million miles every day. My right index finger got numb from pushing the scan button on the radio, and I started doing all those hot-weather traveling-salesman car things, like spreading a map across the dashboard whenever I parked and bending the sun visors at severe angles to get maximum shade and keeping a few changes of clothes in the car. My nose was always filled with the sugary smell of flowers and the bitter smell of fertilizer and the sour smell of tar melting on the road. At night I’d come back, usually muddy, to West Palm Beach, sometimes with a plant or two in the trunk that someone had pressed upon me, and first I’d look for someone to give the plant to and then I would go for a run on the golf course, watching for alligators and thinking over what I’d heard that day about plants and Florida and life and other things.


pages: 387 words: 110,820

Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell

barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, business cycle, cognitive dissonance, computer age, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, deskilling, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, fear of failure, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Howard Zinn, income inequality, interchangeable parts, inventory management, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Joseph Schumpeter, Just-in-time delivery, knowledge economy, loss aversion, market design, means of production, mental accounting, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, Pearl River Delta, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price discrimination, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, ultimatum game, Victor Gruen, washing machines reduced drudgery, working poor, yield management, zero-sum game

As the 1950s bled into the 1960s, further increased efficiencies cleared the way for still more products to be made, sparking still more price competition. Computers, although laughably primitive by today’s standards, were in the early 1960s nothing short of miracles. The room-sized card-fed IBM behemoth stored more information and processed more data than could small armies of humans. Described as a “wondrous combination of the traveling salesman, mathematical genius, and the Sears, Roebuck catalogue,” the computer vastly streamlined distribution, giving retailers still more power. Thanks to the new technology, store owners no longer had to wait five days or more for their merchandise; they could demand next-day delivery and get it. And because of this remarkable “just-in-time” distribution capability, suppliers were no longer free to dump piles of goods into a customer’s warehouse with the understanding that the retailer would eventually find the market.


pages: 389 words: 109,207

Fortune's Formula: The Untold Story of the Scientific Betting System That Beat the Casinos and Wall Street by William Poundstone

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, asset allocation, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Brownian motion, buy and hold, buy low sell high, capital asset pricing model, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, correlation coefficient, diversified portfolio, Edward Thorp, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, high net worth, index fund, interest rate swap, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Meriwether, John von Neumann, Kenneth Arrow, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, margin call, market bubble, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Myron Scholes, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, publish or perish, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, short selling, speech recognition, statistical arbitrage, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, traveling salesman, value at risk, zero-coupon bond, zero-sum game

An accomplishment that Shannon spoke of with satisfaction was riding a unicycle down the halls of Bell Labs while juggling. Shannon was born in Petoskey, Michigan, on April 30, 1916. He grew up in nearby Gaylord, then a town of barely 3,000 people near the upper tip of Michigan’s mitten. It was small enough that walking a few blocks would take the stroller out into the country. Shannon’s father, also named Claude Elwood Shannon, had been a traveling salesman, furniture dealer, and undertaker before becoming a probate judge. He dabbled in real estate, building the “Shannon Block” of office buildings on Gaylord’s Main Street. In 1909 the elder Shannon married the town’s high school principal, Mabel Wolf. Judge Shannon turned fifty-four the year his son was born. He was a remote father who dutifully supplied his son with Erector sets and radio kits.


pages: 273 words: 34,920

Free Market Missionaries: The Corporate Manipulation of Community Values by Sharon Beder

anti-communist, battle of ideas, business climate, corporate governance, en.wikipedia.org, full employment, income inequality, invisible hand, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, old-boy network, popular capitalism, Powell Memorandum, price mechanism, profit motive, Ralph Nader, rent control, risk/return, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, shareholder value, spread of share-ownership, structural adjustment programs, The Chicago School, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, Torches of Freedom, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, Upton Sinclair, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, young professional

‘Virtually every major policy initiative proposed by President Reagan percolated to the White House by means of an ideological filtration system.’ As in the UK, the relationship was two-way. Reagan gave the free market ideologues position and status, in return they gave his ideas credibility. According to Feulner of the Heritage Foundation, ‘Our presence made Reaganism more acceptable.’37 Reagan, who had been a travelling salesman of free market ideology for General Electric in the 1950s, found free market think tanks to be aligned with his own ideological position and that they provided a justification for his pro-business policies.38 In the Reagan years the view that taxes and regulation were a drag on economic growth became a political dogma, treated by conservatives as revealed truth, needing only to be asserted, not demonstrated.39 Reagan’s views that ‘government is not the solution, it is the problem’ and that ‘American people today are overtaxed, over-regulated and over-governed’ were clearly influenced by the thinking of Friedman, Hayek and other economic fundamentalists.


pages: 332 words: 109,213

The Scientist as Rebel by Freeman Dyson

Albert Einstein, Asilomar, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, dark matter, double helix, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, kremlinology, Mikhail Gorbachev, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdős, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, undersea cable

He soon returned to computer science, a field in which he could joyfully share technical tricks and ideas with his father. It would be easy to fill a review with quotations from the letters. At the beginning there are letters from Feynman to his parents, including a highly nontrivial arithmetical puzzle involving long division that he sent to his father when he was twenty-one years old. His father was a traveling salesman with a passion for science but without any scientific training. That puzzle must have been part of a continuing exchange of puzzles and ideas between father and son. Many years later he wrote about his father: He told me fascinating things about the stars, numbers, electricity.… Before I could talk he was already interesting me in mathematical designs made with blocks. So I have always been a scientist.


pages: 308 words: 103,890

Hell's Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga by Hunter S. Thompson

air freight, anti-communist, Golden Gate Park, Mason jar, the market place, traffic fines, traveling salesman, urban sprawl

Even a minor arrest in a country town at the start of the holiday weekend can mean three days in jail, missing the party, and a maximum fine when they finally come to court. They know, too, that in addition to the original charge—usually a traffic violation or disorderly conduct—they will probably be accused of resisting arrest, which can mean thirty days, a jail haircut and another fine of $150 or so. Now, after many a painful lesson, they approach small towns the same way a traveling salesman from Chicago approaches a known speed trap in Alabama. The idea, after all, is to reach the destination—not to lock horns with hayseed cops along the way. The destination this time was a big tavern called Nick’s, a noisy place on a main drag called Del Monte, near Cannery Row in downtown Monterey. “We went right through the middle of town,” recalls Terry, “through the traffic and everything.


pages: 410 words: 106,931

Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra

anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, colonial rule, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, Donald Trump, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Fellow of the Royal Society, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, informal economy, invisible hand, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precariat, Republic of Letters, Scientific racism, Silicon Valley, smart cities, Snapchat, stem cell, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, traveling salesman, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

Society had now to be organized and regenerated in ways other than through the principles of ‘individualism’ – a word to which the Saint-Simonians gave wide currency through their criticism of the crisis of authority in France. The poet Alphonse de Lamartine, writing a hagiography of Joan of Arc during the bleak days of the Bourbon Restoration, hoped for a new spiritual community. Charles Fourier, a travelling salesman, claimed to be the new Messiah, who had unlocked the secret to universal harmony. Saint-Simon’s secretary, Auguste Comte, floated a religion of Positivism. Defining human progress as the transition from theological and metaphysical ways of thinking to the scientific or ‘positive’ one, and outlining a grandiose role for experts, Comte achieved widespread fame, and such unlikely disciples as Turkey’s modernizing autocrat, Atatürk


pages: 361 words: 105,938

The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester

British Empire, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, mortgage debt, spinning jenny, the market place, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, trade route, traveling salesman

Although he had been forced to abandon his writing, his new circumstances served to provoke him into a new frenzy of travel. All of a sudden he was accepting commissions throughout the length and breadth of the country—Norfolk one week, Dorset the next, Yorkshire today, Shropshire tomorrow, and, with the duke of Bedford’s ready help, Ireland too. He began a period of intense restlessness, burning up the stagecoach miles like a traveling salesman, seeking out the work, and at the same time seeking out the rocks and fossils that unrolled and unraveled themselves before him. The notion of publishing something still nagged persistently at him like an aching tooth. Maybe it should be a book, or maybe it should be something far grander, far more ambitious—maybe some document that demanded less intellectual energy, less cerebration, but that could perhaps emerge as a direct consequence of all his wandering, his collecting, his fieldwork, his observing.


pages: 431 words: 106,435

How the Post Office Created America: A History by Winifred Gallagher

British Empire, California gold rush, centre right, Charles Lindbergh, City Beautiful movement, clean water, collective bargaining, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, Monroe Doctrine, New Urbanism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Republic of Letters, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, white flight, wikimedia commons, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration

(Like the post riders before them, many RFD carriers earned extra income by unofficially toting packages to the homes on their routes.) Americans’ voluble demand for modern merchandise delivered for fair prices was amplified by an explosive business phenomenon. The mail-order catalog per se wasn’t entirely new—Benjamin Franklin printed one to sell academic books back in 1744—but Aaron Montgomery Ward took the concept to hitherto unimaginable heights. The midwestern blue-collar boy and former traveling salesman understood firsthand how the monopolies enjoyed by the private carriers and the general stores affected rural people. In 1872, he offered them the convenience of both ordering and receiving goods at home and the lower prices made possible by eliminating the middlemen between him and his customers. By the 1890s, his revolutionary “Monkey Ward” catalogs ran to more than five hundred pages and offered some twenty thousand items, from mirrors to dolls, sewing machines to kit houses.


pages: 349 words: 104,796

Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of the House of Lehman by Ken Auletta

business climate, corporate governance, financial independence, fixed income, floating exchange rates, interest rate swap, New Journalism, profit motive, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, traveling salesman, zero-coupon bond

For just nine months before, in July 1983, Peterson had been ousted as chairman by his longtime colleague, Lewis L. Glucksman. His tale told, Peterson wandered from our table to another, where he repeated his tale. Broyles and I were left buzzing about what a hell of a story this might make. For Lew Glucksman, who had won the power struggle with Peterson, sounded like a fascinating cross between a paranoid Captain Queeg and a pathetic soul like Dreiser’s Charles Drouet, the traveling salesman with pretensions of grandeur in Sister Carrie. Because I intruded on his conversation with Peterson, Bill Broyles had first crack at the story. But after thinking about it overnight, Broyles decided that a book on Vietnam had first claim on his time. Without a green light from Broyles, I would not have chased this story. I thank him. The first thing I did was make a couple of calls to people I knew at Lehman.


pages: 541 words: 109,698

Mining the Social Web: Finding Needles in the Social Haystack by Matthew A. Russell

Climategate, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, Firefox, full text search, Georg Cantor, Google Earth, information retrieval, Mark Zuckerberg, natural language processing, NP-complete, Saturday Night Live, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social graph, social web, statistical model, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, text mining, traveling salesman, Turing test, web application

Alternatively, if you’re in the consulting business and have a hectic travel schedule, you might want to plot out some good locations for renting a little home away from home. Or maybe you want to map out professionals in your network according to their job duties, or the socioeconomic bracket they’re likely to fit in based on their job titles and experience. Beyond the numerous options opened up by visualizing your professional network’s location data, geographic clustering lends itself to many other possibilities, such as supply chain management and Travelling Salesman types of problems. Mapping Your Professional Network with Dorling Cartograms Protovis, a cutting-edge HTML5-based visualization toolkit introduced in Chapter 7, includes a visualization called a Dorling Cartogram, which is essentially a geographically clustered bubble chart. Whereas a more traditional cartogram might convey information by distorting the geographic boundaries of a state on a map, a Dorling Cartogram places a uniform shape such as a circle on the map approximately where the actual state would be located, and encodes information using the circumference (and often the color) of the circle, as demonstrated in Figure 6-7.


pages: 549 words: 116,200

With a Little Help by Cory Efram Doctorow, Jonathan Coulton, Russell Galen

autonomous vehicles, big-box store, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, death of newspapers, don't be evil, game design, Google Earth, high net worth, lifelogging, margin call, Mark Shuttleworth, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Ponzi scheme, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, sensible shoes, skunkworks, Skype, traffic fines, traveling salesman, Turing test, urban planning, Y2K

She must have seen the expression on his face because she made all those dimples and wrinkles and crowsfeet appear again and took his hand warmly. "You did very well," she said. "We'll talk again soon." She let go of his hand and knelt down to rub her hands over the floor. "In the meantime, you've got a pretty sweet gig, don't you?" # 2142 The Stupor Salesman turned out to feature Daffy Duck as a traveling salesman bent on selling something to a bank robber who is holed up in a suburban bungalow. Daffy produces a stream of ever-more-improbable wares, and is violently rebuffed with each attempt. Finally, one of his attempts manages to blow up the robber's hideout, just as Daffy is once again jiggling the doorknob. As the robber and Daffy fly through the air, Daffy brandishes the doorknob at him and shouts, "Hey, bub, I know just what you need!


pages: 377 words: 115,122

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, Asperger Syndrome, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, call centre, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, delayed gratification, deliberate practice, game design, hive mind, index card, indoor plumbing, Isaac Newton, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, new economy, popular electronics, Ralph Waldo Emerson, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, traveling salesman, twin studies, Walter Mischel, web application, white flight

“Your grades and social status depend on it. It’s just the norm here. Everyone around you is speaking up and being social and going out.” “Isn’t there anyone on the quieter side?” I ask. They look at me curiously. “I couldn’t tell you,” says the first student dismissively. Harvard Business School is not, by any measure, an ordinary place. Founded in 1908, just when Dale Carnegie hit the road as a traveling salesman and only three years before he taught his first class in public speaking, the school sees itself as “educating leaders who make a difference in the world.” President George W. Bush is a graduate, as are an impressive collection of World Bank presidents, U.S. Treasury secretaries, New York City mayors, CEOs of companies like General Electric, Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, and, more notoriously, Jeffrey Skilling, the villain of the Enron scandal.


pages: 404 words: 118,759

The Bohemians: Mark Twain and the San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature by Ben Tarnoff

California gold rush, interchangeable parts, Kickstarter, mass immigration, Maui Hawaii, new economy, New Journalism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, South of Market, San Francisco, South Sea Bubble, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman

By 1874, he was no longer the Next Big Thing, the literary heartthrob who fascinated the nation with tales of gunslingers and gold seekers. He was a pale echo of his past self, doing anything he could to survive. His cratering finances had forced him onto the lecture circuit. He hated public speaking, but he had no choice. He needed money to survive. So while Twain put down roots in Hartford and embarked on the most creative period of his life, Harte wandered the continent like a traveling salesman, surviving blizzards and broken-down trains, sleeping in hotels and Pullman cars, playing to crowds from Toronto to Topeka. People came out to see a real live westerner. He could sense their disappointment the moment he took the stage. He wore fancy suits, not the coarse garb of his characters. “[I]f I had been more herculean in proportions, with a red shirt and top boots, many of the audience would have felt a deeper thrill,” he recalled.


pages: 464 words: 117,495

The New Trading for a Living: Psychology, Discipline, Trading Tools and Systems, Risk Control, Trade Management by Alexander Elder

additive manufacturing, Atul Gawande, backtesting, Benoit Mandelbrot, buy and hold, buy low sell high, Checklist Manifesto, computerized trading, deliberate practice, diversification, Elliott wave, endowment effect, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, offshore financial centre, paper trading, Ponzi scheme, price stability, psychological pricing, quantitative easing, random walk, risk tolerance, short selling, South Sea Bubble, systematic trading, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, transfer pricing, traveling salesman, tulip mania, zero-sum game

These 12 steps, described in the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, refer to 12 stages of personal growth. Recovering alcoholics attend meetings where they share their experiences with other recovering alcoholics, supporting each other in their sobriety. Any member can get a sponsor—another AA member whom he can call for support when he feels the urge to drink. AA was founded in the 1930s by two alcoholics—a doctor and a traveling salesman who began meeting to help each other stay sober. They developed a system that worked so well, others began to join them. AA has only one goal—to help its members stay sober. It doesn't ask for money, takes no political positions, and runs no promotional campaigns. AA keeps growing thanks only to word of mouth and owes its success only to its effectiveness. The 12-step program of AA is so effective that people with other problems now use it.


Chasing the Moon: The People, the Politics, and the Promise That Launched America Into the Space Age by Robert Stone, Alan Andres

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Charles Lindbergh, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, feminist movement, invention of the telephone, low earth orbit, more computing power than Apollo, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, operation paperclip, out of africa, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Works Progress Administration

By the early 1950s, von Braun’s charm, as well as his considerable political savvy and innate talent to inspire, had worked magic on his former enemies. This wasn’t the first meeting on American soil of the two former colleagues. It was on a December evening in 1946 that Ley and von Braun had looked each other in the face for the first time in more than a decade and a half. Their post-war experiences in their adopted country had differed dramatically. Ley was the son of a traveling salesman; von Braun had been born into privilege, an aristocrat whose father was a politician, jurist, and bank official. Von Braun grew up with a sense of entitlement, which, when combined with his innate charisma, effortlessly opened doors. Physically, he could have been mistaken for a matinee idol; Ley once described von Braun’s appearance as “a perfect example of the type labeled ‘Aryan Nordic’ by the Nazis.”


pages: 330 words: 117,313

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

jitney, Northern Rock, refrigerator car, traveling salesman

The moment we were in the new Chrysler and off to New York the poor man realized he had contracted a ride with two maniacs, but he made the best of it and in fact got used to us just as we passed Briggs Stadium and talked about next year’s Detroit Tigers. In the misty night we crossed Toledo and went onward across old Ohio. I realized I was beginning to cross and recross towns in America as though I were a traveling salesman—raggedy travel ings, bad stock, rotten beans in the bottom of my bag of tricks, nobody buying. The man got tired near Pennsylvania and Dean took the wheel and drove clear the rest of the way to New York, and we began to hear the Symphony Sid show on the radio with all the latest bop, and now we were entering the great and final city of America. We got there in early morning. Times Square was being torn up, for New York never rests.


pages: 384 words: 112,971

What’s Your Type? by Merve Emre

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, card file, correlation does not imply causation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, God and Mammon, Golden Gate Park, hiring and firing, index card, Isaac Newton, job satisfaction, late capitalism, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, p-value, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Socratic dialogue, Stanford prison experiment, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, women in the workforce

“I envisage a day when PRC would have several high-level double-headed monsters whose job it would be to roam the country picking up good ideas and hypotheses,” he joked at a board meeting. “These would then be turned over to a complex machinery capable of validating all hypotheses.” Chauncey would spend the years leading up to the conference doing precisely what Murphy had suggested, acting as a kind of traveling salesman, only in reverse. He would search far and wide for homegrown instruments of personality assessment and invite their creators to ETS, where his team of statisticians, psychometricians, and psychologists would vet their amateur designs and methods with the necessary scientific rigor. At any given moment in the 1960s, ETS had dozens of tests queued up for validation: Harrison Gough’s California Psychological Inventory (CPI), which Gough had designed at IPAR and was now trying to publish through ETS; Silvan Tomkins’s Picture Assessment Test (PAT), which measured the test taker’s affect by instructing him to describe figures with faces drawn as happy, sad, or angry, and which Tomkins later disavowed as pure nonsense; the Guilford-Zimmerman Temperament Survey (GZTS), which measured ten dimensions of personality: general activity, restraint, ascendance, sociability, emotional stability, objectivity, friendliness, thoughtfulness, personal relations, and masculinity vs. femininity.


pages: 383 words: 118,458

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Anton Chekhov, British Empire, Khyber Pass, means of production, Occam's razor, South China Sea, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, working poor

Witness, then, the aspirant to a travel book, with a pillow over his head at a hotel in Osaka, with no memory of his trip there except the sight of a notebook page, blank except for its date, and a horrid recollection of a city like a steel trap someone has forgotten to bait. I started drinking, assuming it was sundown, when it is no crime to drink or flirt with another man's wife; but the dim light had thrown me. It was mid-afternoon. I drank anyway, finished my half-bottle of gin, and started on the row of beer bottles the hotel proprietors had thoughtfully put in the room's refrigerator. I felt like a travelling salesman holed up in Baltimore with a full case of samples: what was the point in getting out of bed? Like the paranoid salesman, I began to invent reasons for not leaving the hotel, excuses I would deliver home instead of orders. Twenty-nine train trips turn the most intrepid writer into Willy Loman. But: all journeys were return journeys. The farther one travelled, the nakeder one got, until, towards the end, ceasing to be animated by any scene, one was most oneself, a man in a bed surrounded by empty bottles.


Time of the Magicians: Wittgenstein, Benjamin, Cassirer, Heidegger, and the Decade That Reinvented Philosophy by Wolfram Eilenberger

Albert Einstein, Charles Lindbergh, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Johannes Kepler, liberation theology, precariat, scientific worldview, side project, traveling salesman, wikimedia commons

To an esoteric outsider, as Benjamin was—and was determined to remain—that development effectively ruled out the possibility of bringing out the journal. In 1922, when asked to list his book publications, he could give only one honest answer. Apart from his dissertation, which had enjoyed no attention whatsoever: none. The gap between his self-image and reality was therefore as wide as it could possibly be. Much the same applied to his academic ambitions. The year 1922 saw him become a restless traveling salesman of postdoctoral dissertations. There was hardly a major German university at whose door he had not knocked in one way or another. He thought he had a chance in Heidelberg, though he couldn’t say precisely which subject and with whom. Philosophy, German studies, sociology . . . Jaspers, Emil Lederer, Alfred Weber? Benjamin sought closer contact with all of them. In the late autumn his predicament grew more acute.


pages: 423 words: 129,831

The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways by Earl Swift

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, big-box store, blue-collar work, Donner party, edge city, Kickstarter, new economy, New Urbanism, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ralph Nader, side project, smart transportation, traveling salesman, Unsafe at Any Speed, urban planning, urban renewal, Victor Gruen

Their highways improving by the day, their cars increasingly sturdy and comfortable, their prosperity leaping in the burgeoning economy of the mid-twenties, Americans took to the road. Long-distance touring was no longer reserved for well-heeled adventurers, no longer required goggles and a pistol; it became popular recreation for couples and families, who struck out from the cities in search of elbow room, fresh air, a closer acquaintance with nature. Popular culture rode shotgun. New characters became standards of jokes, books, movies—the traveling salesman, car broken down just up the road from the farm where he asks to spend the night; and the young woman stopped on the shoulder, staring incomprehending at the confusion of metal and rubber under her roadster's raised hood. And with this nomadic yen appeared new industries catering to the explorer's needs. Filling stations and repair shops multiplied. Eateries sprang up. And most notably, the pavement was soon straddled by places offering beds for the night.


pages: 519 words: 118,095

Your Money: The Missing Manual by J.D. Roth

Airbnb, asset allocation, bank run, buy and hold, buy low sell high, car-free, Community Supported Agriculture, delayed gratification, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, Firefox, fixed income, full employment, hedonic treadmill, Home mortgage interest deduction, index card, index fund, late fees, mortgage tax deduction, Own Your Own Home, passive investing, Paul Graham, random walk, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, speech recognition, stocks for the long run, traveling salesman, Vanguard fund, web application, Zipcar

When things go wrong, it can be tempting to ease the pain by spending more money. But compulsive spending (Curbing Compulsive Spending) just makes it harder to reach your goals, which will make you feel worse, not better. So fight the urge to practice "retail therapy." Don't let one problem snowball into two or three. Learn from your mistakes. Figure out where you went wrong. How did that traveling salesman sell you those overpriced steak knives? What can you do in the future to avoid doing the same thing again? This is a fine line to walk: You don't want to beat yourself up, but you don't want to keep making the same mistakes, either. Don't dig a deeper hole. Money spent is money spent. Just because you've already sunk $200 into a gym membership you never use doesn't mean you need to keep spending money on it.


pages: 561 words: 120,899

The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant From Two Centuries of Controversy by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne

Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, British Empire, Claude Shannon: information theory, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, double helix, Edmond Halley, Fellow of the Royal Society, full text search, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, linear programming, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Nate Silver, p-value, Pierre-Simon Laplace, placebo effect, prediction markets, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, statistical model, stochastic process, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, uranium enrichment, Yom Kippur War

As a frequency-based theorist, he studiously avoided discussing its relationship with Bayes. Stein’s Paradox, however, works for comparisons between related statistics: the egg production of different chicken breeds, the batting averages of various baseball players, or the workers’ compensation exposure of roofing companies. Traditionally, for example, farmers comparing the egg production of five chicken breeds would average the egg yields of each breed separately. But what if a traveling salesman advertised a breed of hens, and each one supposedly laid a million eggs? Because of their prior knowledge of poultry, farmers would laugh him out of town. Bayesians decided that Stein, like the farmers, had weighted his average with a sort of super-or hyperdistribution about chicken-ness, information about egg laying inherent in each breed but never before considered. And intrinsic to poultry farming is the fact that one hen never lays a million eggs.


pages: 456 words: 123,534

The Dawn of Innovation: The First American Industrial Revolution by Charles R. Morris

air freight, American ideology, British Empire, business process, California gold rush, clean water, colonial exploitation, computer age, Dava Sobel, en.wikipedia.org, glass ceiling, hiring and firing, if you build it, they will come, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, lone genius, manufacturing employment, new economy, New Urbanism, old age dependency ratio, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, purchasing power parity, QWERTY keyboard, refrigerator car, Robert Gordon, spinning jenny, Stephen Hawking, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, undersea cable

Agricultural employment accounted for fewer than a third of jobs in the Northeast by 1860 but still more than 60 percent in the Midwest, and a nearly unchanging three-quarters in the South, which remained dependent on King Cotton.1 The Northeast still commanded about half of the country’s total income, but average incomes in the Northeast and the Midwest had begun to converge and would be approaching parity by the end of the century.2 The Northeast’s large income advantage reflected both its lower reliance on agriculture and greater concentration of good-paying, white-collar, service employment—banking, insurance, accounting, wholesale and retail trade. The white-collar pay advantage was particularly strong in the nineteenth century. Edward Tailer was twenty in 1850, when he started work as an assistant clerk for a New York dry goods importer while complaining of his $50 annual salary. But within two years, and after two job changes, he was making $1,000—a solid middle-class income. He then went on the road as a traveling salesman at $1,200 and had his own business when he was twenty-five.3 TABLE 6.1 Population by Region, 1790–1860a Americans were the best-fed people in the world—already by the mid-eighteenth century their nutritional intake was about the same as that of 1960s Americans. They were taller by several inches than the average European and commensurately heavier. The average work output of Americans was plausibly larger than that of Europeans, an effect that was partly offset by the Europeans’ adaptive smaller stature.ba4 Oddly, although American incomes and dietary provision continued to rise, height and mortality data suggest a major decline in Americans’ health over about a thirty-year period starting in the 1840s.


pages: 427 words: 127,496

Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service by Michael Bar-Zohar, Nissim Mishal

airport security, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, illegal immigration, Stuxnet, traveling salesman, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

Nobody could discern the difference between Elie’s broadcasts and the myriad messages emanating from the army communications center. Six months after arriving in Syria, Kamal Amin Tabet had become a well-known figure in the Damascus high society. He then decided to go abroad “for business.” He first flew to Argentina, where he met several of his Arab friends, then traveled to Europe, changed planes and identities, and, on a hot summer night, landed in Lod airport. Laden with presents, the “traveling salesman” arrived in his modest apartment in Bat Yam, where Nadia and Sophie were waiting for him. At the end of fall, Elie Cohen flew to Europe. A few days later, Kamal Amin Tabet arrived in Damascus. During his stay in Israel, his superiors in Aman had equipped him with a miniature camera, so that he could photograph sites and documents. He had to conceal the microfilms in expensive boxes containing backgammon pieces.


pages: 706 words: 120,784

The Joy of Clojure by Michael Fogus, Chris Houser

cloud computing, domain-specific language, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, finite state, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, Larry Wall, Paul Graham, rolodex, traveling salesman

We suggest you try asking the authors some challenging questions lest their interest stray! The Author Online forum and the archives of previous discussions will be accessible from the publisher’s website as long as the book is in print. About the cover illustration The figure on the cover of The Joy of Clojure is captioned “The Confidence Man,” which, in 19th century France, could mean anything from a healer or medicine man to a card shark or money lender or traveling salesman. The illustration is taken from a 19th-century edition of Sylvain Maréchal’s four-volume compendium of regional dress customs published in France. Each illustration is finely drawn and colored by hand. The rich variety of Maréchal’s collection reminds us vividly of how culturally apart the world’s towns and regions were just 200 years ago. Isolated from each other, people spoke different dialects and languages.


pages: 472 words: 117,093

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, longitudinal study, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Davenport, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day

The best way to ensure this is to have a lot of potential participants on the other side of the transaction, and this is what popular O2O platforms offer. Calling All Disciplines In addition to those from economic theory, insights from several other disciplines are routinely incorporated into these platforms. The best routes for Uber drivers to take as they pick up and drop off overlapping fares, for example, is a variant of the classic “traveling salesman” problem in operations research, where the salesman has to figure out the shortest route that will take him through all the cities he’s responsible for once and only once. The huge amount of data that O2O businesses generate makes them fertile territory for machine learning, the information-heavy approaches to artificial intelligence that are now dominant, as we discussed in Chapter 3. User interface and user experience design, too, are experiencing a heyday, in large part because of the popularity of platforms.


pages: 419 words: 119,476

Posh Boys: How English Public Schools Ruin Britain by Robert Verkaik

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Alistair Cooke, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, Brixton riot, Dominic Cummings, Donald Trump, Etonian, G4S, gender pay gap, God and Mammon, income inequality, Khartoum Gordon, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, Livingstone, I presume, loadsamoney, mega-rich, Neil Kinnock, offshore financial centre, old-boy network, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Robert Gordon, Robert Mercer, school vouchers, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, trade route, traveling salesman, unpaid internship

Stanhope, the central character, is a high-flying public schoolboy whose kind, generous nature is twisted by the horrors of the trenches. He becomes embittered and turns to drink. Stanhope is based on Sherriff’s own commander, Captain Godfrey Warre-Dymond (Marlborough), whom the playwright grew very close to during their war service in France. At the close of hostilities in 1919, Warre-Dymond left the army and fell on hard times. He was divorced by two wives and became indebted to loan sharks, forcing him to set out as a travelling salesman. He later asked Sherriff for money and a reference. Despite mounting casualties, the jingoism of the first year of the war was enthusiastically carried forward by the public schools. In fact, public schools remained stoically uncritical of the war. In October 1914 a motion proposed at a Shrewsbury School debate that ‘modern weapons have destroyed the romance of war’ was defeated by five votes.11 Those who died were heroes; those who questioned the motives or the tactics were branded cowards.


Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake

biofilm, buy low sell high, carbon footprint, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of penicillin, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, Isaac Newton, Kickstarter, late capitalism, low earth orbit, Mason jar, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microbiome, moral panic, NP-complete, phenotype, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, the built environment, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Malthus, traveling salesman

Gut microbiome remodeling induces depressive-like behaviors through a pathway mediated by the host’s metabolism. Molecular Psychiatry 21: 786–96. Zhu K, McCormack LM, Lankau RA, Egan FJ, Wurzburger N. 2018. Association of ectomycorrhizal trees with high carbon-to-nitrogen ratio soils across temperate forests is driven by smaller nitrogen not larger carbon stocks. Journal of Ecology 106: 524–35. Zhu L, Aono M, Kim S-J, Hara M. 2013. Amoeba-based computing for traveling salesman problem: Long-term correlations between spatially separated individual cells of Physarum polycephalum. Biosystems 112: 1–10. Zobel M. 2018. Eltonian niche width determines range expansion success in ectomycorrhizal conifers. New Phytologist 220: 947–49. ABOUT THE AUTHOR MERLIN SHELDRAKE is a biologist and a writer. He received a Ph.D. in tropical ecology from the University of Cambridge for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.


pages: 926 words: 312,419

Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do by Studs Terkel

activist lawyer, business cycle, call centre, card file, cuban missile crisis, Ford paid five dollars a day, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, job satisfaction, Ralph Nader, strikebreaker, traveling salesman, urban renewal, War on Poverty, working poor, Yogi Berra, zero day

We have on board two or three young fellas that are studying to be doctors. They made the trip to get some extra money. Seamen are mostly young now. It’s better than when I first went to sea. Where once a fella was glad to eat his three meals a day and get paid and get drunk, the young man feels they’re not paying him enough. Sometimes he has a chip on his shoulder. The big topic at sea is still exploits with women. Because there’s always loneliness. A traveling salesman, he has a means of picking up a phone. But a seaman is one month, two, three months before he’ll get a letter from his wife. I used to phone my wife three, four times every trip. In Calcutta I waited five hours to get a phone call through. If I didn’t get it through one night, I’d call again and wait three, four hours the next morning. The feeling you get, just hearing her voice . . . I’d stand on the phone and just actually choke up.

He makes some contribution to the Republican party, he always votes, and he reads the newspaper every day on the train, but the job is really it. After all those years, that’s his life. To ask whether he loves the company or not—it’s irrelevant. I had a series of jobs in the early fifties, after flunking out of college. I worked for a bank, sold insurance . . . I ended up with a good job as a traveling salesman for a business machine company. I was twenty-three years old and making ten thousand dollars a year. I probably could have made it seventeen thousand the next year. I could see it was going right up. I began to run into conflicts with my own feelings. I couldn’t accept the way my boss did busines or the way in which everybody in the field did business. If I had remained, I’d be sitting on top of a business of over a million dollars.


pages: 437 words: 132,041

Alex's Adventures in Numberland by Alex Bellos

Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, beat the dealer, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Edward Thorp, family office, forensic accounting, game design, Georg Cantor, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, lateral thinking, Myron Scholes, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, random walk, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, SETI@home, Steve Jobs, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, traveling salesman

The roclaimed largest Sudoku did not have a unique solution, and therefore was not a Sudoku at all. The branch of mathematics that involves the counting of combinations, such as all the 1905 solutions to Sky TV’s faux Sudoku, is called combinatorics. It is the study of permutations and combinations of things, such as grids of numbers, but also, famously, the schedules of travelling salesmen. Let’s say, for instance, that I’m a travelling salesman and I have 20 shops to visit. In what order should I visit them so that my total distance is the shortest? The solution requires me to consider all the permutations of paths between all the shops, and is a classic (and extremely difficult) combinatorial problem. Similar problems arise throughout business and industry, for example in scheduling flight departure times at airports or having an efficient postal sorting system.


Jennifer Morgue by Stross, Charles

call centre, correlation does not imply causation, disintermediation, dumpster diving, Etonian, haute couture, interchangeable parts, Maui Hawaii, MITM: man-in-the-middle, mutually assured destruction, planetary scale, RFID, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, stem cell, telepresence, traveling salesman, Turing machine

My wards blipped slightly as her script kicked in, but that doesn't have to mean she's a robot, does it? We make it with one hundred percent natural ingredients, like the bottom tenth percentile of our sales force, the ones who don't get invited to this end of the marketing conference by the Queen Bee. Maybe Kitty's just a natural void, only too happy to be filled by the passing enthusiasm of the traveling salesman invocation, but somehow I doubt it: that kind of perfect vacuum doesn't come cheap. I scuff my left heel on the ground. If I switched it on, the Tiilinghast resonator that Brains installed in my shoe would let me see the sales-daemon riding her spine like a grotesquely bloated digger wasp, but I'd just as soon keep my lunch — and anyway the first law of demonoiogy is that if you can see it, // can see you.


Ada BlackJack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic by Jennifer Niven

British Empire, Golden Gate Park, plutocrats, Plutocrats, traveling salesman

Afterward, he joined the tour and traveled from April until August on the circuit, making sure to send his mother flowers for Mother’s Day from Pomona, California, an event that was reported excitedly in the New Braunfels paper. The tour took Galle through all the western states, and he tapped out vivid and observant notes on his prized Corona typewriter. Now, after a brief, unsatisfying stint as a traveling salesman for the Brown Rawhide Whip Company—which, at the very least, had kept him from having to attend college—nineteen-year-old Galle was resuming his career with Chautauqua. At the start of the 1921 spring Chautauqua tour, he had been on the road only a week, operating the projector as he had before, when he received orders to return to New Braunfels and take the position of Stefansson’s secretary.


pages: 513 words: 141,963

Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs by Johann Hari

Airbnb, centre right, failed state, glass ceiling, global pandemic, illegal immigration, mass incarceration, McJob, moral panic, Naomi Klein, placebo effect, profit motive, RAND corporation, Rat Park, Ronald Reagan, science of happiness, Steven Pinker, traveling salesman, War on Poverty

He could manipulate numbers and odds in a way that startled people. From the age of twelve, he knew that his father wouldn’t dream of carrying cash from the setting of the sun on Friday night to the end of the Sabbath the next day, so Arnold stole the money from his wallet, played craps, and won so often and so big he could always replace the cash12 without anyone’s noticing. By the time he ran away13 from home at seventeen to be a traveling salesman, Arnold knew he could crack card games better than anyone else. He was starting to regard himself as a superman, far above the dumb herd, explaining later: “There are two million fools14 to one brainy man.” He was the brainy man, and he was going to get his due from the fools. And the Brain—as he now insisted on being called—soon discovered the greatest truth of gambling: the only way to win every time is to own the casino.


pages: 457 words: 128,640

Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain From the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge

Ada Lovelace, British Empire, decarbonisation, garden city movement, high net worth, invisible hand, Louis Pasteur, new economy, period drama, Ralph Waldo Emerson, social web, Thorstein Veblen, traveling salesman, women in the workforce

Crosland was almost hysterical at the thought of it, scoffing in 1905 at the suburban pleasures of ‘penny buses, gramophones, bamboo furniture, pleasant Sunday afternoons, Glory Songs, modern language teas, gold, tennis, high school education, dubious fiction, shillings worth of comic writing, picture postcards, miraculous hair restorers’.7 But the lower-middle class was growing in confidence and their hobbies, interests and customs would come to dominate popular culture. This was the age of the clerks, the boom time of the small shopkeepers, people like the family of the novelist V. S. Pritchett whose father, son of a Victorian nonconformist preacher in Yorkshire, was a travelling salesman, then a dealer in novelties and fancy handbags; ‘for suddenly money was about, commerce was expanding, there was a chance for the lower middle class. They would have a slice of the money the middles had sat so obdurately on for so long.’ Money, or at least the conspicuous making of it, no longer carried the taint of sin: ‘The difference between “goods” and “the good” was fading.’8 Inching up Cornhill’s ladder of the middle classes was ‘a younger son with a narrow berth in the Civil Service’ on a start-up income of £800 a year.


pages: 611 words: 130,419

Narrative Economics: How Stories Go Viral and Drive Major Economic Events by Robert J. Shiller

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Andrei Shleifer, autonomous vehicles, bank run, banking crisis, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, business cycle, butterfly effect, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, central bank independence, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, debt deflation, disintermediation, Donald Trump, Edmond Halley, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, German hyperinflation, Gunnar Myrdal, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, implied volatility, income inequality, inflation targeting, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, Jean Tirole, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, litecoin, market bubble, money market fund, moral hazard, Northern Rock, nudge unit, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, publish or perish, random walk, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Satoshi Nakamoto, secular stagnation, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, stocks for the long run, superstar cities, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, tulip mania, universal basic income, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We are the 99%, yellow journalism, yield curve, Yom Kippur War

.… There were addressers, autographers, billers, calculators, cancelers, binders, coin changers, form printers, duplicators, envelope sealers and openers, folders, labelers, mail meters, pay roll machines, tabulators, transcribers, and other mechanical marvels.… A typewriting machine pounded out letters in forty different languages. A portable computing machine which could be carried by a traveling salesman was on exhibit.24 The 1930s: A New Form of Luddism Prevails Soon after the 1929 stock market crash, by 1930, the crash itself was often attributed to the surplus of goods made possible by new technology: When the climax was reached in the last months of 1929 a period of adversity was inevitable because the people did not have enough money to buy the surplus goods which they had produced.25 As noted above, fear of robots was not strong in most of the 1920s, when the word robot was coined.


pages: 696 words: 143,736

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Buckminster Fuller, call centre, cellular automata, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, Danny Hillis, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Everything should be made as simple as possible, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, fudge factor, George Gilder, Gödel, Escher, Bach, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, information retrieval, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jacquard loom, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Lao Tzu, Law of Accelerating Returns, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, ought to be enough for anybody, pattern recognition, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, speech recognition, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, technological singularity, Ted Kaczynski, telepresence, the medium is the message, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Whole Earth Review, Y2K

Consider (at least in theory) a Universe-sized (nonquantum) computer in which every neutron, electron, and proton in the Universe is turned into a computer, and each one (that is, every particle in the Universe) is able to compute trillions of calculations per second. Now imagine certain problems that this Universe-sized supercomputer would be unable to solve even if we ran that computer until either the next big bang or until all the stars in the Universe died—about ten to thirty billion years. There are many examples of such massively intractable problems; for example, cracking encryption codes that use a thousand bits, or solving the traveling-salesman problem with a thousand cities. While very massive digital computing (including our theoretical Universe-sized computer) is unable to solve this class of problems, a quantum computer of microscopic size could solve such problems in less than a billionth of a second. Are quantum computers feasible? Recent advances, both theoretical and practical, suggest that the answer is yes. Although a practical quantum computer has not been built, the means for harnessing the requisite decoherence has been demonstrated.


pages: 473 words: 154,182

Moby-Duck: The True Story of 28,800 Bath Toys Lost at Sea and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools, Including the Author, Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn

carbon footprint, clean water, collective bargaining, dark matter, Deng Xiaoping, Exxon Valdez, Filipino sailors, Google Earth, illegal immigration, indoor plumbing, intermodal, Isaac Newton, means of production, microbiome, Panamax, Pearl River Delta, post-Panamax, profit motive, Skype, standardized shipping container, statistical model, Thorstein Veblen, traveling salesman

Still a recent coinage, the word beachcomber in 1849 meant approximately what we mean by “beach bum”: it evoked a character like the narrator of Melville’s Omoo, a transient ne’er-do-well who had fled from civilization hoping to sample tropical women and tropical fruits and loaf around beneath the blowsy palms. “Idle, drunken, vagabond,” one Australian author wrote in 1845, “he wanders about without any fixed object, cannot get employed by a whaler or anyone else, as it is out of his power to do a day’s work; and he is universally known as ‘the beach-comber.’ ” The local Cape Codders whom Thoreau met on his seaside rambles usually took him for a traveling salesman. What other explanation could there be for a vagabond with a walking stick and a knapsack full of books? By the 1980s, when Amos Wood published his how-to manuals, American beaches had become seaside playgrounds frequented not by dogs or crows but by the sun-worshipping masses. As for our vagrant beachcomber, he had become, in Wood’s definition, “any person who derives pleasure, recreation, or livelihood by searching ocean, lake, and river shores for useful or artful objects.”


pages: 550 words: 154,725

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation by Jon Gertner

Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Black Swan, business climate, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, complexity theory, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, Edward Thorp, horn antenna, Hush-A-Phone, information retrieval, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Karl Jansky, knowledge economy, Leonard Kleinrock, Metcalfe’s law, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Picturephone, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Telecommunications Act of 1996, traveling salesman, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Shannon Collection, Library of Congress. 4 Erico Marui Guizzo, “The Essential Message: Claude Shannon and the Making of Information Theory” (master’s thesis, MIT, 2003). 5 Len Kleinrock, a former student of Shannon’s, author interview. 6 Liversidge, “Profile of Claude Shannon.” 7 Claude Shannon, letter to Dr. V. Bush, December 13, 1939. Shannon Collection, Library of Congress. 8 Liversidge, “Profile of Claude Shannon.” Biographical facts relating to Shannon’s father are in a personal letter Shannon wrote, October 20, 1981, to Ms. Shari Bukowski: “[My father] was born in Oxford, New Jersey in 1862, came to Ovid, Michigan when very young and was raised and graduated there. He was a traveling salesman for a period and came to Gaylord shortly after 1900. There he bought a furniture and undertaking business, and, having confidence in Gaylord’s future, built the Shannon Block and Post Office building on Main Street.” Shannon Collection, Library of Congress. 9 Robert McEliece, Claude Shannon, Father of the Information Age, directed and written by Doug Ramsey, produced by Ramsey and Mike Weber; http://www.youtube.com/watch?


pages: 509 words: 153,061

The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 by Thomas E. Ricks

amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, Berlin Wall, facts on the ground, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, friendly fire, interchangeable parts, open borders, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, traveling salesman

He became Petraeus’s executive officer in Baghdad, a key figure in implementing the general’s decisions. Unusually in the U.S. Army, Mansoor was of Palestinian background. His father, born in Ramallah, emigrated to New Ulm, Minnesota, in 1938. “It was ten thousand people of German descent and one Arab family,” Mansoor recalled. They moved to Sacramento, where he proudly remembers that his mother, a schoolteacher, won awards for designing an “open classroom” approach. His father was a traveling salesman. In high school, Mansoor was valedictorian, student body president, and head of the math club. He also would graduate first in his class at West Point in 1982. In late March, Ryan Crocker flew to Baghdad to become the U.S. ambassador, succeeding Zalmay Khalilzad. His arrival completed the most sweeping personnel turnover of the entire war, surpassing even the changes that came after the invasion when Franks and the chief of the Army, Gen.


pages: 473 words: 156,146

They Gave Me a Seafire by Commander R 'Mike' Crosley Dsc Rn

friendly fire, IFF: identification friend or foe, Isaac Newton, traveling salesman

The one from vertically above was, however, much easier, just a rolling pullout from a vertical dive. Back at Henstridge I became the Station PGI. I fixed up a ‘private’ Miles Master II with all manner of cameras and gunsights, and took petrified pupils in the back to show them how upward and downward ‘Jesi’ should be done. Not only that, I was sent all over the place in England and Scotland as a travelling salesman, seeing very little of my immobile Wren as a result. Many of the pupils joining the FAA at this time in the war found it difficult to make quarter attacks. It over-loaded the human computer to have to judge distances, angles, approach speeds, convergences, line of target flight and deflection when shooting — and flying at the same time. The first problem to solve was how to position the fighter in the right part of the sky before starting an attack.


pages: 523 words: 159,884

The Great Railroad Revolution by Christian Wolmar

1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, accounting loophole / creative accounting, banking crisis, Bay Area Rapid Transit, big-box store, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, cross-subsidies, intermodal, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Ponzi scheme, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, Silicon Valley, strikebreaker, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, urban sprawl

Interestingly, this was a rare period in American railroad history when passenger growth far outpaced the rise in the carriage of freight. In a way, this was not surprising. When it came to passenger travel, the railroads had it all, cornering every market since, for most journeys, there remained no viable alternative. Apart from a few trips that could be made by boat, either along the coast or on lakes, the railroads catered to everyone, “from the travelling salesman who was making his way through his territory in ten and twenty mile hops to the well-to-do family setting out in Pullman drawing room comfort for a tour of the great American West.”5 Although freight carriage did grow in this period, the marketing efforts of the railroad, together with the increase in population and greater prosperity generally, resulted in a far faster rate of growth for passenger traffic.


pages: 517 words: 155,209

Kingdom of Olives and Ash: Writers Confront the Occupation by Michael Chabon

airport security, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Boycotts of Israel, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, facts on the ground, Fellow of the Royal Society, glass ceiling, land tenure, mental accounting, Nelson Mandela, off grid, Right to Buy, Skype, traveling salesman, WikiLeaks

He flipped open the billfold and took out a passport with a familiar dark blue cover. “As an American citizen, I entered as a tourist, on a three-month visa.” Sam Bahour was born in Youngstown, in 1964. His mother is a second-generation Ohioan of Lebanese Christian descent; his father emigrated to the United States from the town of al-Bireh, then under Jordanian control, in 1957. After spending a few unhappy years working for relatives as a traveling salesman in the rural South (“Basically a peddler,” in Sam’s words, “selling cheap goods to poor people at like a two hundred percent markup; it really bothered him”), Sam’s father settled in Youngstown, with its sizable Arab population. He bought the first of a series of independent grocery stores he would own and operate over the course of his career, got married, became a citizen, had a couple of kids, worked hard, made good.


pages: 506 words: 146,607

Confessions of a Wall Street Analyst: A True Story of Inside Information and Corruption in the Stock Market by Daniel Reingold, Jennifer Reingold

barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, corporate governance, estate planning, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fixed income, George Gilder, high net worth, informal economy, margin call, mass immigration, new economy, pets.com, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Saturday Night Live, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, stem cell, Telecommunications Act of 1996, thinkpad, traveling salesman, undersea cable

He certainly didn’t know much about Jack’s “special” approach to the analyst’s role, though I supposed he knew Jack could move stocks far more powerfully than the rest of us. It was a bit of a problem for CSFB, since its bankers had had the closest relationship with Chuck Noski’s predecessor, Dan Somers, whom AT&T’s CEO, Mike Armstrong, had just sent out to Denver to run its cable business. We met with Chuck and his team two days before Christmas to display our wares, much as a traveling salesman would sell pots and pans. Only what we were essentially selling was the ability to sell. Most of the pitch meetings I’ve ever been in have been the same, and this one was no different. The bankers proffered their services, and CSFB wireless analyst Cindy Motz and I talked about our research. AT&T executives asked us questions, such as how could they best reach retail investors if they went with CSFB, which didn’t have retail brokers or customers, what was the right price for the shares, and what aspects of the company should be emphasized during the road show.


pages: 579 words: 160,351

Breaking News: The Remaking of Journalism and Why It Matters Now by Alan Rusbridger

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Airbnb, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, Boris Johnson, centre right, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, David Brooks, death of newspapers, Donald Trump, Doomsday Book, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Etonian, Filter Bubble, forensic accounting, Frank Gehry, future of journalism, G4S, high net worth, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, natural language processing, New Journalism, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, open borders, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pre–internet, ransomware, recommendation engine, Ruby on Rails, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, social web, Socratic dialogue, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, WikiLeaks

When Bloombergs set out to profile the new owners of the Telegraph, Aidan Barclay wrote back: ‘We do not consider our financial, business or charitable affairs to be of public interest as we are not answerable to shareholders, or indeed members of the public. We would prefer if you did not write about us at all.’3 David and Frederick Barclay – born 1934 – had grown up in West London, the sons of a travelling salesman. By the time they made their move on the Telegraph at the age of 70, they owned more than 50 companies around the world, including the Ritz hotel in London. In 2004 their empire was generating more than $7.5 billion in annual revenue and the businesses employed 40,000 people. The money initially came from buying and selling property, later expanding into shipping, mail order, hotels, car dealerships, retail and energy companies.


pages: 548 words: 174,644

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot Who Changed the Art of War by Robert Coram

desegregation, inventory management, Iridium satellite, Joseph Schumpeter, lateral thinking, Mason jar, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Toyota Production System, traveling salesman

For the living room, where her growing family would spend long winter evenings, she bought a cast iron gas heater, and to brighten those winter evenings she covered the walls with pink paper. The living room’s other feature was a black Steinway, a gift from Hubert. Elsie liked to play it, having taught piano before she was married. For Erie in the late 1920s it was a comfortable middle-class home. Hubert Boyd was a traveling salesman for HammerMill Paper Company, and a job at the “HammerMill” was both prestigious and well-paying. Elsie Boyd was the daughter of Julia and Rudolph Beyer. Her father farmed a small piece of land just south of Erie. Elsie was a German Presbyterian, an ample woman with enormous pride and the self-confidence to freely express her beliefs, many of which were synthesized in pithy expressions such as “The world is not the way you want it to be.


pages: 559 words: 174,054

The World of Caffeine: The Science and Culture of the World's Most Popular Drug by Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K. Bealer

British Empire, clean water, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Haight Ashbury, Honoré de Balzac, Isaac Newton, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Lao Tzu, placebo effect, spice trade, trade route, traveling salesman

There is nothing new about the awareness of caffeine intoxication, for it has been well described as a psychiatric disorder for more than a hundred years. Yet despite long-standing recognition, which perhaps began with the coining of the Arabic word “marqaha” or “caffeine high,” in the sixteenth century, there is, even today, little information available about its prevalence or incidence. In 1896 J.T.Rugh17 reported the case of a traveling salesman who had resorted to excessive coffee consumption to maintain an intense pace of work and was troubled by nervousness, involuntary contractions in the arms and legs, a sense of impending danger, and sleep disturbance. Similar reports of caffeine intoxication first appear in medical literature from the middle of the 1800s, and the profile of common symptoms remains unchanged today. The most common are anxiety or nervousness, insomnia, gastrointestinal disturbances, irregular heartbeat, tremors, and psychomotor agitation.


Lonely Planet Nicaragua (Travel Guide) by Lonely Planet, Alex Egerton, Greg Benchwick

agricultural Revolution, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, clean water, land reform, liberation theology, off grid, place-making, race to the bottom, Ralph Nader, Ronald Reagan, sustainable-tourism, traveling salesman

NICARAGUA’S TRAVELING TRADERS Who said travelling by bus is boring? In Nicaragua not only do you have awe-inspiring volcanic landscapes to gaze at through the windows, inside the bus is a whole world of entertainment. And we’re not talking about the soft-rock soundtrack or classic Steven Seagal marathon on the tiny TV. The real entertainment on Nicaragua’s battle-scarred school buses comes from the traveling salesman, particularly those hawking cut-priced medicines and ointments. Need to get smarter before arriving in Rivas? No problem. Hair loss issues? There’s an elixir for that too. And you probably didn’t even know that in addition to your backpack, you were carrying around all those parasites on the unnecessarily graphic images on the full-color poster. While they are not doctors, not even pharmacists, these ‘medicine men’ must be on to something as they always do a brisk trade, although they seem to not yet have cracked the traveler market.


pages: 585 words: 165,304

Trust: The Social Virtue and the Creation of Prosperity by Francis Fukuyama

barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, business climate, business cycle, capital controls, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, double entry bookkeeping, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Gilder, glass ceiling, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, hiring and firing, industrial robot, Jane Jacobs, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, land reform, liberal capitalism, liberation theology, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, mittelstand, price mechanism, profit maximization, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, transfer pricing, traveling salesman, union organizing

This cohesion served them well in the business world, since business transactions depend to a great degree on trust. In traveling through the United States, Weber observed that many businessmen would introduce themselves as some kind of Christian believer, in order to establish credentials for honesty and trustworthiness. In one case, On a long railroad journey through what was then Indian territory, the author, sitting next to a traveling salesman of “undertaker’s hardware” (iron letters for tombstones), casually mentioned the still impressively strong church-mindedness. Thereupon the salesman remarked, “Sir, for my part everybody may believe or not believe as he pleases; but if I saw a farmer or a businessman not belonging to any church at all, I wouldn’t trust him with fifty cents. Why pay me, if he doesn’t believe in anything?”14 Weber noted as well that the small sectarian communities created natural networks through which businessmen could hire employees, find customers, open lines of credit, and the like.


pages: 598 words: 169,194

Bernie Madoff, the Wizard of Lies: Inside the Infamous $65 Billion Swindle by Diana B. Henriques

accounting loophole / creative accounting, airport security, Albert Einstein, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, break the buck, British Empire, buy and hold, centralized clearinghouse, collapse of Lehman Brothers, computerized trading, corporate raider, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, Edward Thorp, financial deregulation, financial thriller, fixed income, forensic accounting, Gordon Gekko, index fund, locking in a profit, mail merge, merger arbitrage, money market fund, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, Potemkin village, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, riskless arbitrage, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Small Order Execution System, source of truth, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, transaction costs, traveling salesman

But, even there, success would have meant climbing a long, unsteady ladder for a long, uncertain period of time. Although he had absorbed his father’s prickly preference for being his own boss, Bernie had no desire to become a lawyer. As a child, he expected to join his father’s sporting goods business and eventually run it, but after the bankruptcy filing in 1951, he decided he’d like to sell sports equipment as a “manufacturer’s rep”, a sort of travelling salesman who wouldn’t be tied down to the grey-flannel life of a law firm or corporate office. Most of the schoolmates who have offered their memories of Madoff’s teenage and university years in the 1950s remembered the scrappy lawn-sprinkler installation business he got rolling in secondary school, after his father’s businesses failed. They remembered thinking that he seemed like a young man on the make, who had felt the sting of doing without and dreamed of doing better.


pages: 680 words: 157,865

Beautiful Architecture: Leading Thinkers Reveal the Hidden Beauty in Software Design by Diomidis Spinellis, Georgios Gousios

Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business intelligence, business process, call centre, continuous integration, corporate governance, database schema, Debian, domain-specific language, don't repeat yourself, Donald Knuth, en.wikipedia.org, fault tolerance, Firefox, general-purpose programming language, iterative process, linked data, locality of reference, loose coupling, meta analysis, meta-analysis, MVC pattern, peer-to-peer, premature optimization, recommendation engine, Richard Stallman, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, smart cities, social graph, social web, SPARQL, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, traveling salesman, Turing complete, type inference, web application, zero-coupon bond

It was as if a drunk spider had stumbled into a few pots of poster paint and then spun a chromatic web across a piece of paper. It looked something like Figure 2-1 (it’s a simplified version, with details changed to protect the guilty). Then it became clear. We had all but drawn a map of the London Underground. It even had the circle line. Figure 2-1. The Messy Metropolis “architecture” This was the kind of system that would vex a traveling salesman. In fact, the architectural similarity to the London Underground was remarkable: there were many routes to get from one end of the system to the other, and it was rarely obvious how best to do so. Often a destination was geographically nearby but not accessible, and you wished you could bore a new tunnel between two points. Sometimes it would have actually have been better to get out and take a bus.


pages: 549 words: 170,495

Culture and Imperialism by Edward W. Said

Ayatollah Khomeini, Bartolomé de las Casas, Bretton Woods, British Empire, colonial rule, European colonialism, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Howard Zinn, Joseph Schumpeter, Khartoum Gordon, lateral thinking, lone genius, Mikhail Gorbachev, Monroe Doctrine, Nelson Mandela, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, sceptred isle, Scramble for Africa, traveling salesman

Camus’s writing is informed by an extraordinarily belated, in some ways incapacitated colonial sensibility, which enacts an imperial gesture within and by means of a form, the realistic novel, well past its greatest achievements in Europe. As locus classicus I shall use an episode near the end of “La Femme adultere” when Janine, the protagonist, leaves her husband’s bedside during a sleepless night in a small hotel in the Algerian countryside. A formerly promising law student, he has become a travelling salesman; after a long and tiring bus journey the couple arrives at their destination, where he makes the rounds of his various Arab clients. During the trip Janine has been impressed with the silent passivity and incomprehensibility of the native Algerians; their presence seems like a barely evident natural fact, scarcely noticed by her in her emotional trouble. When she leaves the hotel and her sleeping husband, Janine encounters the night watchman, who speaks to her in Arabic, a language she appears not to understand.


pages: 667 words: 186,968

The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry

Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, centralized clearinghouse, conceptual framework, coronavirus, discovery of penicillin, double helix, Fellow of the Royal Society, germ theory of disease, index card, Louis Pasteur, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, means of production, statistical model, the medium is the message, the scientific method, traveling salesman, women in the workforce

Blue neither reprimanded Parsons for fomenting fear nor suggested that he take another tack. Another story read, “The Germs Are Coming. An epidemic of influenza is spreading or being spread, (we wonder which).”… Those and similar charges created enough public sentiment to force Public Health Service laboratories to waste valuable time and energy investigating such possible agents of germ warfare as Bayer aspirin. Parsons’s territory bordered on Alabama and there a traveling salesman from Philadelphia named H. M. Thomas was arrested on suspicion of being a German agent and spreading influenza—death. Thomas was released, but on October 17, the day after influenza had killed 759 people in Philadelphia, his body was found in a hotel room with his wrists cut—and his throat slit. Police ruled it suicide. Everywhere, as in Philadelphia, two problems developed: caring for the sick, and maintaining some kind of order.


pages: 666 words: 181,495

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, one-China policy, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, selection bias, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, trade route, traveling salesman, turn-by-turn navigation, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

Though Charlie’s in Building 40 was the most spacious café, with the broadest menu, food-snob Googlers regarded it as a tourist attraction; it was the place Googlers took their guests to, and it was often populated by people attending conferences on campus. The other eateries were more like restaurants beloved by a neighborhood clientele. Walking around Google offices, you would occasionally see charts to help a product group keep track of their lunch venues: a foodie version of the celebrated Traveling Salesman Problem. At all the cafés, the menu choices reflected a proscriptive view of nutrition. Google chef Josef Desimone once told a magazine, “We’re here to educate employees on why agave-based soda is better for you than Coca-Cola.” Café 150 limited its menus to items grown or produced within 150 miles of campus. A café called 5IVE in another building prepared its dishes with five ingredients or less.


pages: 603 words: 182,781

Aerotropolis by John D. Kasarda, Greg Lindsay

3D printing, air freight, airline deregulation, airport security, Akira Okazaki, Asian financial crisis, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, blood diamonds, borderless world, Boris Johnson, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, carbon footprint, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cleantech, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, conceptual framework, credit crunch, David Brooks, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, edge city, Edward Glaeser, failed state, food miles, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, fudge factor, full employment, future of work, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, George Gilder, global supply chain, global village, gravity well, Haber-Bosch Process, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, illegal immigration, inflight wifi, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, invention of the telephone, inventory management, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, Kangaroo Route, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, kremlinology, low cost airline, Marchetti’s constant, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, Menlo Park, microcredit, Network effects, New Economic Geography, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Pearl River Delta, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pink-collar, pre–internet, RFID, Richard Florida, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, savings glut, Seaside, Florida, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, starchitect, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, sustainable-tourism, telepresence, the built environment, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, thinkpad, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, Tony Hsieh, trade route, transcontinental railway, transit-oriented development, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, walkable city, white flight, white picket fence, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

., “and the density feels very natural to me,” she said. Her neighbors—or at least the ones she’d met— were fellow transplants from Maryland and Boston. She had moved here for the lifestyle but traveled often for work as an executive coach. It mattered to her that DIA was an eighteen-minute commute on the highway. Stapleton’s brownstones seemed to collect the self-motivated. Living on her block were a traveling salesman raised on Long Island, a stay-at-home software engineer, and a graphic designer who proudly informed me she had been a flight attendant on America West for twenty-five years. If Holmes had one complaint about Stapleton, it wasn’t that it sometimes felt like Disneyland, as her neighbors put it. (“A good Disneyland,” one of them specified, “not a cheesy one.”) “I’ve been to Celebration,” she said, “and that feels fake to me.


Algorithms in C++ Part 5: Graph Algorithms by Robert Sedgewick

Erdős number, linear programming, linked data, NP-complete, reversible computing, sorting algorithm, traveling salesman

Graham and P. Hell, “On the history of the minimum spanning tree problem,” Annals of the History of Computing, 7 (1985). D. B. Johnson, “Efficient shortest path algorithms,” Journal of the ACM, 24 (1977). D. E. Knuth, The Art of Computer Programming. Volume 1:Fundamental Algorithms, third edition, Addison-Wesley, 1997. J. R. Kruskal Jr., “On the shortest spanning subtree of a graph and the traveling salesman problem,” Proceedings AMS, 7, 1 (1956). K. Mehlhorn, Data Structures and Algorithms 2:NP-Completeness and Graph Algorithms, Springer-Verlag, 1984. C. H. Papadimitriou and K. Steiglitz, Combinatorial Optimization: Algorithms and Complexity, Prentice-Hall, 1982. R. C. Prim, “Shortest connection networks and some generalizations,” Bell System Technical Journal, 36 (1957). R. E. Tarjan, “Depth-first search and linear graph algorithms,” SIAM Journal on Computing, 1, 2 (1972).


The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson

Albert Einstein, British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, plutocrats, Plutocrats, traveling salesman, union organizing, Works Progress Administration

That Saturday night, under a brilliant moon, a combined force of eighty Hurricanes and Defiants, aided by outlying anti-aircraft batteries, shot down at least seven bombers and seriously damaged a KGr 100 pathfinder, the best result thus far. From January through May, the rate at which RAF single-engine fighters intercepted German aircraft increased fourfold. On the ground, too, there was a different attitude, this in tune with the overall feeling that England had shown beyond a doubt that it could endure Hitler’s onslaught; now it was time to return the favor. A Mass-Observation diarist who worked as a traveling salesman wrote in his diary, “The spirit of the people seems to be moving from passive to active and rather than cower in shelters they prefer to be up and doing. Incendiaries seem to be tackled as though they were fireworks and tackling fires in top rooms with stirrup pumps is just part of the evening’s work. One leader was telling me his chief trouble is to prevent people taking risks. Everyone wants to ‘bag a bomb.’ ” * * * — AND THEN THERE WAS HESS.


pages: 612 words: 179,328

Buffett by Roger Lowenstein

asset allocation, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, cashless society, collective bargaining, computerized trading, corporate raider, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, index card, index fund, interest rate derivative, invisible hand, Jeffrey Epstein, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, moral hazard, Paul Samuelson, random walk, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, The Predators' Ball, traveling salesman, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, young professional, zero-coupon bond

Jack asked, “How do you do it?” Buffett said he read “a couple of thousand” financial statements a year. Shortly before the May board meeting, Buffett was secretly named a director.25 On the morning of his big takeover, Buffett flew into New Bedford, crew-cut, his suit tightly buttoned and noticeably creased, with an attaché and an oversized valise and something of the appearance of a down-at-the-heels but earnest traveling salesman. Buffett made for the office on Cove Street, and Seabury emerged from the ivory tower for a final time. Calling the meeting to order, Seabury read through the agenda, showing nothing. And then Seabury Stanton resigned. It merely remained to pass the poison cup to Jack. Without a word, the two stormed out of the elegant wood-paneled boardroom. Ken Chace was voted president, Buffett chairman of the executive committee.


pages: 650 words: 204,878

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator by Edwin Lefèvre, William J. O'Neil

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, bank run, British Empire, business process, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, clean water, Credit Default Swap, Donald Trump, fiat currency, Hernando de Soto, margin call, Monroe Doctrine, new economy, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, price stability, refrigerator car, reserve currency, short selling, technology bubble, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, yellow journalism

“What are you driving at?” “Do you work for money alone?” he asked me. “Yes,” I said. “No.” And he shook his head. “No, you don’t. You wouldn’t get enough fun out of it. You certainly do not work merely to add a few more dollars to your bank account and you are not in Wall Street because you like easy money. You get your fun some other way. Well, same here.” 12.5 Although it may seem strange that a traveling salesman would show up in a brokerage office to hawk a set of Sir Walter Scott books, this was not an unfamiliar phenomenon at the time. Itinerant peddlers were common in the United States as early as the pre-Revolutionary War era, but the concept of salesmen working on commission for a large company really only developed in the post-Civil War era. Called “canvassers” or “drummers,” traveling salesmen depended on their wits and shrewd insights into human nature at first.


pages: 683 words: 203,624

The Victorian City: Everyday Life in Dickens' London by Judith Flanders

anti-work, centre right, Corn Laws, John Snow's cholera map, Ralph Waldo Emerson, traveling salesman, urban sprawl, working poor

In his youth, Dickens described ‘lounging one evening, down Oxford-street’; later, as a magazine editor, he recommended to his journalists that they actively choose their subjects in the city that he still found a daily novelty: ‘Suggest to him Saturday night in London, or London Markets…the most extraordinary men…the most extraordinary things…the strangest Shows – and the wildest’. In the decade before his death, he assumed the guise of ‘The Uncommercial Traveller’ (a ‘traveller’ being a travelling salesman), ‘always on the road…I travel for the great house of Human Interest Brothers…I am always wandering here and there…seeing many little things, and some great things, which, because they interest me, I think may interest others.’ Previous essays about London, by authors such as Charles Lamb and Leigh Hunt, had been filled with history, with learned asides, with a great panoply of education.


pages: 686 words: 201,972

Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately

barriers to entry, British Empire, California gold rush, corporate raider, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Jones Act, Louis Pasteur, megacity, music of the spheres, Norman Mailer, Peace of Westphalia, post-work, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, working poor

In early scenes, the only overt drunks are American visitors who show no shame in their condition, indeed advocate it as an acceptable state. Toward the end of the film Marcello has acquired the same habit, and becomes aggressive and irrational when under the influence. La Dolce Vita also illustrates the penetration of foreign drinks in Roman society. Its fashionable characters drink vodka, gin fizzes, and named brands of scotch whisky. In contrast, the unfashionable, such as Marcello’s father, a traveling salesman, stick to traditional stimulants such as champagne when they want to celebrate. There are, finally, hints of the revival in Italian wines that occurred in the decade following the release of the film. In response to EEC legislation, a quality regime was introduced—the Denominazione d’Origine Controllata (Denomination of Controlled Origin or DOC), loosely based on the French AOC model, which defined regions, grapes, and production methods for wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco from Piedmont, and Brunello di Montalcino from Tuscany.


pages: 636 words: 202,284

Piracy : The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates by Adrian Johns

active measures, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, commoditize, Corn Laws, demand response, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Marshall McLuhan, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pirate software, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, software patent, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Whole Earth Catalog

As pirate king, he often used the alias John Fisher, coined apparently because he had at one point been a fishmonger of some kind; and he also had a number of other monikers, among them “the colonel.” His mother had been a printer, and he had served an apprenticeship, probably in her house. He was experienced in the business, having worked in newspapers for fifteen years. But since then he had tried out various other trades, including that of traveling salesman. He had once been imprisoned for embezzlement, which he defended as appropriating what were rightfully his wages when his erstwhile employer went bankrupt. Since the 1902 law, however, he had seen an opportunity to earn a windfall from his original trade, and had become the nation’s leading music pirate. His business card (for J. Fisher and Co.) listed his address as the Rose and Crown in Goswell Road, which made Tum Tum his agent.


pages: 762 words: 206,865

Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Frederick Kempe

Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, index card, Kitchen Debate, Mikhail Gorbachev, open borders, Ronald Reagan, trade liberalization, traveling salesman, zero-sum game

Two days later, on May 19, the Kennedy administration officially announced what the press had been reporting from leaks for several days: The president would meet with Khrushchev in Vienna on June 3 and 4 after seeing de Gaulle in Paris. Western European and U.S. commentators worried that a weakened president was heading to Vienna at a disadvantage. The intellectual weekly Die Zeit compared Kennedy to a traveling salesman whose business had fallen on bad times and who was hoping to improve his prospects by negotiating directly with the competition. In its review of European opinion, the Wall Street Journal said Kennedy was projecting the “strong impression…of a faltering America desperately trying to regain leadership of the West in the Cold War.” The influential Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung despaired that the summit was being badly prepared by the Americans, and that Kennedy had abandoned his prerequisite that the Kremlin demonstrate a changed attitude before any such meeting take place.


pages: 612 words: 206,792

The Mask of Sanity: An Attempt to Clarify Some Issues About the So Called Psychopathic Personality by Hervey Cleckley

Charles Lindbergh, financial independence, Mason jar, traveling salesman

But a week later his parents would pace the floor, telephone dozens of his acquaintances, and spend a miserable night of anxiety, only to see him appear the next day with some casual explanation. Once after he had remained away for two full nights, the police were called. He was picked up at a dive where slot machines and other gambling devices furnished amusement to mill workers and rustics from the surrounding countryside. He had previously driven over to a nearby city with a casual acquaintance who had gone there in the course of his duties as a traveling salesman. The fact that he had not taken the trouble to inform his mother of his intentions seemed to him a trifle in comparison with what he indignantly regarded as the meddling of his family in asking the police to look for him. He showed little regard for the convenience or the property of others, sometimes misappropriating things which he apparently did not mean to keep or sell but which he put to his own use without ordinary regard for the trouble inflicted on relatives, friends, or strangers.


pages: 716 words: 192,143

The Enlightened Capitalists by James O'Toole

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, carbon footprint, City Beautiful movement, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, desegregation, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, end world poverty, equal pay for equal work, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, garden city movement, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, God and Mammon, greed is good, hiring and firing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, inventory management, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, job satisfaction, joint-stock company, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lao Tzu, longitudinal study, Louis Pasteur, Lyft, means of production, Menlo Park, North Sea oil, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, Socratic dialogue, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, stocks for the long run, stocks for the long term, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, traveling salesman, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, union organizing, Vanguard fund, white flight, women in the workforce, young professional

By all accounts, William was an indifferent student but an avid reader who, from an early age, displayed a prodigious curiosity about natural science. His formal education ended when he turned sixteen and began work as an apprentice to his father, who at the time was in the process of closing his grocery store to concentrate on the more profitable wholesale side of the food business. Within two years William—a charmer with the skills of a natural politician—was James’s most successful traveling salesman. William also seems to have been born with an inordinate capacity for uxorious love: when he was twenty-one, he and his childhood schoolmate, Elizabeth Hulme, were betrothed, and theirs would become the happiest of marriages. For the next forty-one years, until Elizabeth’s death in 1913, the Levers were a doting and devoted couple, a model of Victorian connubial bliss. Gradually William took control of his father’s business, making the two of them—and William’s younger brother, James—wealthy by introducing efficient management practices.


pages: 801 words: 209,348

Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism by Bhu Srinivasan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American ideology, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, oil rush, peer-to-peer, pets.com, popular electronics, profit motive, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

Now an America being built for cars, with billions of dollars committed to roads, needed the speed of the assembly line applied to roadside dining. Like Colonel Sanders, Ray Kroc stumbled into his opportunity—one that would become arguably the most widely known symbol of postwar Americana—through the winds of economic tumult and years of hard experience. He had started in the 1920s as a traveling salesman selling housewares to housewives door to door. He graduated to selling a new innovation, the disposable paper cup, for the Lily-Tulip Cup Company. Soda fountains and ice cream parlors served milkshakes and sodas in glasses that needed to be washed after every use. This was initially a difficult sale as vendors were reluctant to pay 1.5 cents for a disposable cup. Fountain owners soon came around when they noticed the urban customer with the “to go” cup didn’t need to wait in the restaurant to finish his drink and return the glass.


Reaganland: America's Right Turn 1976-1980 by Rick Perlstein

"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, affirmative action, airline deregulation, Alistair Cooke, American Legislative Exchange Council, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, Brewster Kahle, business climate, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, COVID-19, Covid-19, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, currency peg, death of newspapers, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Donald Trump, energy security, equal pay for equal work, facts on the ground, feminist movement, financial deregulation, full employment, global village, Golden Gate Park, illegal immigration, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, indoor plumbing, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, kremlinology, land reform, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, oil shock, open borders, Potemkin village, price stability, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, traveling salesman, unemployed young men, union organizing, unpaid internship, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, wages for housework, walking around money, War on Poverty, white flight, WikiLeaks, Winter of Discontent, yellow journalism, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

McAteer was the nascent Christian right’s most indefatigable organizer. A traveling salesman in Colgate-Palmolive’s toilet articles division who had worked his way up to sales manager for the entire Southeast, in the early 1970s he had pulled his children out of the public schools because, he said, “they were bringing in the ‘sensitivity training program.’ That was where teachers and students sit around and feel all over and excite the basic instincts of people.” His next step up the corporate ladder brought him to California, where he volunteered with Wycliffe Bible Translators, making contacts with evangelicals all over the world. In 1976, John Conlan and Bill Bright offered him a new job as their traveling salesman for their efforts turning preachers into precinct organizers. After it folded, McAteer became field director for Howard Phillips’s Conservative Caucus.


pages: 740 words: 236,681

The Portable Atheist: Essential Readings for the Nonbeliever by Christopher Hitchens

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, anthropic principle, Ayatollah Khomeini, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, cosmic microwave background, cuban missile crisis, David Attenborough, Edmond Halley, Georg Cantor, germ theory of disease, index card, Isaac Newton, liberation theology, Mahatma Gandhi, phenotype, risk tolerance, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Thales of Miletus, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics

Rafts of poems by British and U.S. authors have retold the legend. The American John Saxe, best known for his verse about the blind men and the elephant, wrote a seventeen-stanza poem about the Wanderer. British poet Caroline Elizabeth Sarah Norton’s forgettable “Undying One” runs to more than a hundred pages. Oliver Herford, an American writer of light verse, in “Overheard in a Garden” turns the Wanderer into a traveling salesman peddling a book about himself. “The Wandering Jew” (1920) by Edwin Arlington Robinson, is surely the best of such poems by an American writer. Charles Timothy Brooks (1813–1883) was a New England Unitarian minister as well as a prolific versifier and translator of Goethe and other German poets. His “Wandering Jew,” based on a German poem whose author I d not know, was reprinted in dozens of pre–1900 American anthologies.


pages: 740 words: 227,963

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

anti-communist, Berlin Wall, California gold rush, card file, desegregation, Gunnar Myrdal, index card, indoor plumbing, invisible hand, labor-force participation, Mason jar, mass immigration, medical residency, Rosa Parks, strikebreaker, trade route, traveling salesman, union organizing, white flight, Works Progress Administration

The experience had begun to shape his vision of this new world. “To think that I had come all the way from the Deep South,” he would say many years later, “out here to this Land of Milk and Honey and Opportunity and Intelligence, to find that one of my own color was disrespecting me.” He endured such slights for years, and drove all over South Central Los Angeles doing perfunctory examinations and collecting urine as if he were a traveling salesman and not a surgeon with military awards, and he did it because he had to. “That’s the cut that you took to get your foot in the door,” he would say years later. The ready-made clientele of old Louisianans he had imagined in his more cocksure moments in Monroe did not materialize. The people were there, alright. He saw them spilling onto Jefferson after Mass on Sunday mornings and packing into the clubs and cafés on Central Avenue and shopping on Crenshaw.


pages: 976 words: 235,576

The Meritocracy Trap: How America's Foundational Myth Feeds Inequality, Dismantles the Middle Class, and Devours the Elite by Daniel Markovits

"Robert Solow", 8-hour work day, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, affirmative action, Anton Chekhov, asset-backed security, assortative mating, basic income, Bernie Sanders, big-box store, business cycle, capital asset pricing model, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, crony capitalism, David Brooks, deskilling, Detroit bankruptcy, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Edward Glaeser, Emanuel Derman, equity premium, European colonialism, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fear of failure, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, glass ceiling, helicopter parent, high net worth, hiring and firing, income inequality, industrial robot, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job satisfaction, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, mass incarceration, medical residency, minimum wage unemployment, Myron Scholes, Nate Silver, New Economic Geography, new economy, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances, precariat, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, Richard Florida, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, school choice, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, six sigma, Skype, stakhanovite, stem cell, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, Thomas Davenport, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, traveling salesman, universal basic income, unpaid internship, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Winter of Discontent, women in the workforce, working poor, young professional, zero-sum game

Part Three A New Aristocracy SEVEN A COMPREHENSIVE DIVIDE William Jefferson Clinton and George Walker Bush were born within fifty days of each other in the summer of 1946 and would eventually become the forty-second and forty-third presidents of the United States. Although both men reached the presidency, they came from different segments of midcentury society. Bill Clinton’s family was middle class. His father was a traveling salesman who died in an auto accident just before Clinton was born. His mother returned home to study nursing (before remarrying, to a car dealer), and the young Clinton was raised by his grandparents, who ran a small grocery store. George Bush’s family, by contrast, was unquestionably rich, even patrician. He was born while his father (of course himself a future president) was a student at Yale University.


pages: 790 words: 253,035

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency by James Andrew Miller

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, collective bargaining, corporate governance, Donald Trump, family office, interchangeable parts, Joan Didion, Kickstarter, obamacare, out of africa, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, traveling salesman, union organizing

I hung out with a bunch of guys who did the same thing, and we got into fights. In West L.A., there was a police department—it’s still there—on Perdue Avenue, and they were aware of us. Both my parents escaped Nazi Germany in 1939, and though I was born in America, they weren’t savvy about American youth culture. My father knew only a little of what was going on with me then, because he was a traveling salesman and was on the road four out of every five weeks. But my mother knew all of it. I got arrested a lot. A number of my friends went to jail. Once I beat up a guy in front of his son. Of all the things in my life, I think about that all the time. I wish I could find these people and beg for their forgiveness; it really shamed me. MICHAEL OVITZ, CAA Founder: I was a kid who grew up in the San Fernando Valley, just four blocks from the old RKO Studios, and after my paper route, a bunch of us would go sneak into the studios under a fence.


Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World by Margaret Macmillan; Richard Holbrooke; Casey Hampton

Albert Einstein, Bolshevik threat, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, facts on the ground, financial independence, land reform, Monroe Doctrine, Scramble for Africa, trade route, traveling salesman, union organizing

Moldavia and Wallachia had gained a limited independence from the Ottomans by the mid-nineteenth century and complete independence by 1880. Together they formed a reverse L, with the richer, more developed province of Wallachia running east–west along the south side of the Transylvanian Alps, and Moldavia to the east of the Carpathians. In 1866 they had gained their own German prince, later King Carol, who had dodged the Austrian attempts to stop him by taking a Danube steamer disguised as a traveling salesman. His wife was a famous mystic who wrote poetry and romances under the pen name Carmen Sylva. The Rumanians themselves were the Neapolitans of central Europe. Both sexes loved strong scents. Among the upper classes, women made up heavily, and men rather more discreetly, but even so the military authorities had to restrict the use of cosmetics to officers above a certain rank. Even after Rumania entered the war, foreign observers were scandalized to see officers strolling about “with painted faces, soliciting prostitutes or one another.”


Presidents of War by Michael Beschloss

anti-communist, British Empire, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, continuation of politics by other means, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, Donald Trump, full employment, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, long peace, Monroe Doctrine, New Journalism, Ronald Reagan, traveling salesman, War on Poverty, Works Progress Administration

Hearing his relatives speak of the Civil War quickened young Harry’s interest in history. Nearsighted, he was kept by his hardscabble parents out of contact sports because if he broke his eyeglasses, they could not easily afford a replacement. Truman would later say that as a result he read every book in the Independence public library. His favorite, however, was a set of gilt-edged volumes, published in 1895, that Martha had bought from a traveling salesman, called Great Men and Famous Women—on the presumption that females could never be great, only famous—which offered brief profiles, by sundry authors, of over two hundred eminent figures from Nebuchadnezzar to Sarah Bernhardt. Truman particularly admired the generals—Hannibal, Andrew Jackson, and Martha’s hero Robert E. Lee. For him, reading history was not “romantic adventure” but “solid instruction and wise teaching which I somehow felt I wanted and needed.”


The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe

affirmative action, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, interchangeable parts, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, Socratic dialogue, traveling salesman, yellow journalism, zero-coupon bond

The doorman’s white glove gestured toward the rear of the lobby. Sherman despaired. He despaired of this evening and of this life. Why hadn’t he gone to Knoxville six months ago? A little Georgian house, a leaf-blowing machine, a badminton net in the backyard for Campbell…But no! He had to tag along behind this walnut-eyed German, heading for the home of some overbearingly vulgar people named Bavardage, a glorified traveling salesman and his wife. Sherman said to the doorman, “The Bavardages’, please.” He hit the accented syllable hard, so that no one would think he had paid the slightest attention to the fact that the noble one, Baron Hochswald, had said the same thing. The baron, the blonde, Judy, and Sherman headed for the elevator. The elevator was paneled in old mahogany. It glowed. The grain was showy but rich and mellow.


pages: 1,073 words: 302,361

Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World by William D. Cohan

asset-backed security, Bernie Madoff, business cycle, buttonwood tree, buy and hold, collateralized debt obligation, corporate governance, corporate raider, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, diversified portfolio, fear of failure, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, hiring and firing, hive mind, Hyman Minsky, interest rate swap, John Meriwether, Kenneth Arrow, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, margin call, market bubble, mega-rich, merger arbitrage, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, paper trading, passive investing, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price stability, profit maximization, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, South Sea Bubble, time value of money, too big to fail, traveling salesman, value at risk, yield curve, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Still in its infancy at the start of the twentieth century, the task of raising capital—dubbed “underwriting”—became one of the most crucial roles Wall Street would perform for corporate clients eager to expand their workforces and their factories, and led to the creation of American capitalism, one of the country’s most important exports. Henry Goldman, who ironically had dropped out of Harvard without a degree because he had trouble seeing, had a vision of Goldman Sachs as a leading securities underwriter. He had been a traveling salesman after leaving Harvard but had joined the family business at age twenty-eight and would help lead a transformation of the firm into the underwriting business, which meant taking calculated risks for short periods of time by buying the debt or equity securities of its corporate clients before turning around and quickly selling these securities to investors who had been previously identified and were eager to buy them, assuming they had been priced correctly.


pages: 932 words: 307,785

State of Emergency: The Way We Were by Dominic Sandbrook

anti-communist, back-to-the-land, banking crisis, Bretton Woods, British Empire, centre right, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, David Attenborough, Doomsday Book, edge city, estate planning, Etonian, falling living standards, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, feminist movement, financial thriller, first-past-the-post, fixed income, full employment, German hyperinflation, global pandemic, mass immigration, moral panic, Neil Kinnock, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, oil shock, Own Your Own Home, sexual politics, traveling salesman, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, Winter of Discontent, young professional

For a new generation of ambitious white-collar workers, often boys from working-class homes who owed their success to a grammar-school education, the old values of deference, hierarchy and organizational loyalty held little appeal. Writing in the Radio Times in 1968, one social analyst described a typical example: a working-class boy who had passed his eleven-plus, left school to join an office equipment firm, became a travelling salesman and bought a suburban home with all the trimmings, including a pink plastic pelican on the manicured front lawn. Married at 27, he had joined the local Conservative Party and sent his children to private nursery schools, and he had no intention of resting on his laurels. Thrusting, ambitious, he was precisely the kind of man Edward Heath admired and that Reggie Perrin hated, and he was a common archetype in the popular culture of the 1970s.


pages: 1,104 words: 302,176

The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War (The Princeton Economic History of the Western World) by Robert J. Gordon

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, airline deregulation, airport security, Apple II, barriers to entry, big-box store, blue-collar work, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, deindustrialization, Detroit bankruptcy, discovery of penicillin, Donner party, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, feminist movement, financial innovation, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, glass ceiling, high net worth, housing crisis, immigration reform, impulse control, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflight wifi, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of the sewing machine, invention of the telegraph, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, jitney, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, labor-force participation, Loma Prieta earthquake, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market fragmentation, Mason jar, mass immigration, mass incarceration, McMansion, Menlo Park, minimum wage unemployment, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, occupational segregation, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, payday loans, Peter Thiel, pink-collar, Productivity paradox, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, rent control, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, school choice, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Skype, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Thomas Malthus, total factor productivity, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, undersea cable, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban sprawl, washing machines reduced drudgery, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, working poor, working-age population, Works Progress Administration, yellow journalism, yield management

In the beginning of the nineteenth century, “payment of debts was a virtue and inability to pay them a mortal sin.”1 Credit was developed earlier and more freely in the United States than in many European countries, in part because the typical American farmer (outside the south) owned his own land, whereas in Europe, tenant farming was more common, with large estates owned by upper-class families through inheritance over generations. Whereas in Europe the avaricious lender faced a social stigma for ideological reasons, usually religious, in the United States the borrower experienced the stigma, being considered a “penniless failure.”2 The traveling salesman supplemented the role of the country store in providing credit to isolated farms and small towns alike. Finance for these salesmen was provided by wholesalers who were eager to sell their goods in the remote parts of rural America, and the back-up finance ultimately traced its way back to Chicago or New York. Such was the heavily leveraged world of frontier exchange. Everyone owed money to everyone else, and for much of the year the only way to sell anything at all was to do so “on time.”


Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom, Molyn Leszcz

cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, delayed gratification, deskilling, epigenetics, experimental subject, impulse control, meta analysis, meta-analysis, randomized controlled trial, the scientific method, traveling salesman, unbiased observer

Eugene O’Neill illustrated this in dramatic form in the play The Iceman Cometh.55 A group of derelicts live, as they have for twenty years, in the back room of a bar. The group is exceedingly stable, with many well-entrenched group norms. Each man maintains himself by a set of illusions (“pipe dreams,” O’Neill calls them). One of the most deeply entrenched group norms is that no members challenge another’s pipe dreams. Then enters Hickey, the iceman, a traveling salesman, a totally enlightened therapist, a false prophet who believes he brings fulfillment and lasting peace to each man by forcing him to shed his self-deceptions and stare with unblinking honesty at the sun of his life. Hickey’s surgery is deft. He forces Jimmy Tomorrow (whose pipe dream is to get his suit out of hock, sober up, and get a job “tomorrow”) to act now. He gives him clothes and sends him, and then the other men, out of the bar to face today.


pages: 1,261 words: 294,715

Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky

autonomous vehicles, Bernie Madoff, biofilm, blood diamonds, British Empire, Broken windows theory, Brownian motion, car-free, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate personhood, corporate social responsibility, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, delayed gratification, desegregation, different worldview, double helix, Drosophila, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, framing effect, fudge factor, George Santayana, global pandemic, hiring and firing, illegal immigration, impulse control, income inequality, John von Neumann, Loma Prieta earthquake, long peace, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mohammed Bouazizi, Monkeys Reject Unequal Pay, mouse model, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, out of africa, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, publication bias, RAND corporation, risk tolerance, Rosa Parks, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, Silicon Valley, social intelligence, Stanford marshmallow experiment, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steven Pinker, strikebreaker, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, traveling salesman, trickle-down economics, twin studies, ultimatum game, Walter Mischel, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

A tangerine? * As an aside, there has been incredibly interesting work concerning emergent properties of the brain that helps explain how the different regions wire up in the developing brain in an optimal way that minimizes the amount (and thus “cost”) of axonal projections needed. For aficionados, the things the developing brain does bear some resemblance to some approaches used for the Traveling Salesman Problem. * An implication of these definitions is that the same molecule can serve as either a neurotransmitter or a hormone in different parts of the body. Also (minutia warning), sometimes hormones have “paracrine” effects, influencing cells in the gland in which they were secreted. * Just to make sure we have this sorted out, here’s a second example, namely the hypothalamic/pituitary/ovarian axis: the hypothalamus releases GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone), which triggers the pituitary to release LH (luteinizing hormone), which triggers the ovaries to release estrogen


pages: 1,106 words: 335,322

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow

business cycle, California gold rush, collective bargaining, death of newspapers, delayed gratification, double entry bookkeeping, endowment effect, family office, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, George Santayana, God and Mammon, income inequality, invisible hand, Joseph Schumpeter, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, New Journalism, oil rush, oil shale / tar sands, passive investing, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price discrimination, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, refrigerator car, The Chicago School, Thorstein Veblen, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, white picket fence, yellow journalism

With additional oil strikes in California, Indian Territory (later Oklahoma), Kansas, and Illinois in the early 1900s, the industry became too vast and far-flung for even Standard Oil to control. It might not be too much of an exaggeration to say that the antitrust cases brought against the trust in the early 1900s were not just belated but were fast becoming superfluous. After a young anarchist assassinated William McKinley in Buffalo in September 1901, the country was swept by widespread trepidation that the shooting had formed part of a broader conspiracy. In Chicago, a traveling salesman captivated reporters with tales of a conversation that he had overheard at a local train depot where J. P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller were mentioned as potential assassination targets. A heavily armed contingent of guards ringed Rockefeller’s residence and he remained incommunicado. As it turned out, the gravest threat to the titan’s welfare emanated not from shadowy, gun-toting subversives but from the new White House occupant, forty-three-year-old Theodore Roosevelt.


pages: 1,157 words: 379,558

Ashes to Ashes: America's Hundred-Year Cigarette War, the Public Health, and the Unabashed Triumph of Philip Morris by Richard Kluger

air freight, Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, corporate raider, desegregation, double entry bookkeeping, family office, feminist movement, full employment, ghettoisation, Indoor air pollution, medical malpractice, Mikhail Gorbachev, plutocrats, Plutocrats, publication bias, Ralph Nader, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, trade route, transaction costs, traveling salesman, union organizing, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, War on Poverty

Fresh out of college in the middle of the Depression, he went to work as a fifteen-dollar-a-week clerk at the Schulte tobacco counter in the lobby of an office building behind the New York Stock Exchange. It was a sixty-hour work week during which he was obliged to try to foist “push items” on his customers in accord with their manufacturers’ payment for same. Then came a stint at the Upmann cigar factory in Cuba, learning the leaf and manufacturing end of the trade, followed by a more intensive spell as a traveling salesman for the Webster-Eisenlohr company, peddling their line of cigars on the East Coast. Although the Cullmans sold the Webster people the tobacco they used as wrapper for their cigars and his father later became involved in its management while the company was in bankruptcy, Joe Third was spared little of the pain of the drummer’s life. Essentially a quite private person, he applied a native optimism and self-confidence that are essential to effective salesmanship.


pages: 1,351 words: 404,177

Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America by Rick Perlstein

affirmative action, Alistair Cooke, American ideology, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, delayed gratification, desegregation, East Village, European colonialism, full employment, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, immigration reform, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, index card, indoor plumbing, Joan Didion, Kitchen Debate, liberal capitalism, Mahatma Gandhi, Marshall McLuhan, Monroe Doctrine, moral panic, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, Own Your Own Home, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price mechanism, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, the medium is the message, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, walking around money, War on Poverty, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog

He quoted a judge’s descriptions in a case considering short movies designed to be displayed with coin-operated projectors in bars, so furtive they didn’t even have proper names; in the one labeled O-7, for instance, “the model wears a garter belt and sheer transparent panties through which the pubic hair and external parts of genitalia are clearly visible…. At one time the model pulls her panties down so that the pubic hair is exposed to view…the focus of the camera is emphasized on the pubic and rectal region, and the model continuously uses her tongue and mouth to simulate a desire for, or enjoyment of, acts of a sexual nature.” And Justice Fortas didn’t find this obscene? Like a traveling salesman, Clancy brought with him a sample case: a thirty-five-minute documentary reel; a complete and uncut print of the masterpiece O-7. Clancy concluded his statement by requesting “the opportunity to show both the documentary and the film to the full committee and to the press, recognizing that the film is not the type of subject matter which should be shown to the general public. We would ask the committee for permission to do this, possibly in a different room.


pages: 1,744 words: 458,385

The Defence of the Realm by Christopher Andrew

active measures, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Clive Stafford Smith, collective bargaining, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, G4S, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, large denomination, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, post-work, Red Clydeside, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, strikebreaker, Torches of Freedom, traveling salesman, union organizing, uranium enrichment, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, Winter of Discontent

The letter was from one Robert Rosenthal in Copenhagen to ‘Franz Kulbe’ at an address in Berlin which MO5(g) knew to be used by German naval intelligence. It also knew that ‘Franz Kulbe’ was an alias employed by Captain von Prieger of the German Admiralty. Though the letter purported to be a business communication, the Censorship flat-iron revealed writing in secret ink which disclosed that he was about to leave for England disguised as a travelling salesman of cigar lighters. When Rosenthal was arrested in Newcastle, travelling on a US passport, no incriminating evidence was found on him. But when confronted with his intercepted letter to Berlin, he admitted he was German and had been sent by Prieger to spy on the Royal Navy. Though he denied he had sent Prieger information of any value, he also admitted that he had been on two previous wartime espionage missions.


pages: 2,323 words: 550,739

1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die, Updated Ed. by Patricia Schultz

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, Bretton Woods, Burning Man, California gold rush, car-free, Charles Lindbergh, Columbine, Donald Trump, East Village, El Camino Real, estate planning, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Golden Gate Park, Guggenheim Bilbao, Haight Ashbury, haute cuisine, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, Mars Rover, Mason jar, Maui Hawaii, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, Norman Mailer, out of africa, Pepto Bismol, place-making, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, sexual politics, South of Market, San Francisco, The Chicago School, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, upwardly mobile, urban decay, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, wage slave, white picket fence, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra, éminence grise

The Inspiration and Refuge of a Literary Icon EUDORA WELTY HOUSE Jackson, Mississippi Amassive oak tree shades the front yard of the 1920s Tudor-style home where Pulitzer Prize–winning author Eudora Welty spent an idyllic childhood and most of her adult life, and which now serves as a museum dedicated to her. Graceful and grand, the tree might be seen as a metaphor for Welty, known for her genteel nature, hospitality, and humility, despite her stature as one of the great American writers of the 20th century. In 1936, the 27-year-old Welty published her first short story, “Death of a Traveling Salesman.” Among her early novels are The Robber Bridegroom (1942), Delta Wedding (1946), and The Ponder Heart (1954). The winner of many awards, she received her Pulitzer for fiction in 1973 for The Optimist’s Daughter. All her success—and her abiding affection for her Mississippi home—made her the pride of Jackson until the day she died in 2001 at the age of 92. Welty’s longtime house is now open for visits.