unbiased observer

24 results back to index

pages: 93 words: 24,584

Walk Away by Douglas E. French

business cycle, Elliott wave, forensic accounting, full employment, Home mortgage interest deduction, loss aversion, McMansion, mental accounting, mortgage debt, mortgage tax deduction, negative equity, New Journalism, Own Your Own Home, Richard Thaler, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, the market place, transaction costs, unbiased observer, wealth creators

It should be no different this time, even though the Great R. is a tempered version of the Great D. Americans now know that housing prices don’t always go up, and that they can in fact go down by 30–50% in a few short years. Because of this experience, private mortgage lenders will demand extraordinary down payments, impeccable credit histories, and significantly higher yields than what markets grew used to over the past several decades. Could an unbiased observer truly believe that housing starts of two million or even one million per year could be generated under the wing of the private market? In front of Treasury Secretary Geithner and the assembled audience, I said that was impractical. Let me amend that to “ludicrous.” Policymakers not only have to consider the future “flows” of new mortgage originations, but the existing “stock” of mortgages already created.

pages: 189 words: 49,386

Letters From an Astrophysicist by Neil Degrasse Tyson

dark matter, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Pluto: dwarf planet, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unbiased observer

The apologists then cite the Bible passage containing the words “circle of the Earth,” and assert that Circle means Sphere. But, in fact, people of the day knew full well the difference between the two. So therein lies a non-convergent point of our conversation: You already know where you want to land. And God is there to design it. I have no idea where I am going to land. And if there is a God of unwavering intelligence, this fact is simply not evident in the book of nature to the unbiased observer. Natural selection never claims perfect design, or even good design, only a design that is more effective than that of a competing species, allowing survival long enough to reproduce. Nothing else matters to the process. Further, I never said the universe was not designed. I simply said that if it was designed, then there is ample (and widely ignored) evidence to demonstrate the designer’s blunders right alongside all those things that are marvelous.

pages: 223 words: 77,566

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J. D. Vance

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, blue-collar work, cognitive dissonance, late fees, medical malpractice, obamacare, payday loans, Peter Thiel, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, school vouchers, Silicon Valley, unbiased observer, upwardly mobile, working poor

Where possible, I corroborated the details with documentation—report cards, handwritten letters, notes on photographs—but I am sure this story is as fallible as any human memory. Indeed, when I asked my sister to read an earlier draft, that draft ignited a thirty-minute conversation about whether I had misplaced an event chronologically. I left my version in, not because I suspect my sister’s memory is faulty (in fact, I imagine hers is better than mine), but because I think there is something to learn in how I’ve organized the events in my own mind. Nor am I an unbiased observer. Nearly every person you will read about is deeply flawed. Some have tried to murder other people, and a few were successful. Some have abused their children, physically or emotionally. Many abused (and still abuse) drugs. But I love these people, even those to whom I avoid speaking for my own sanity. And if I leave you with the impression that there are bad people in my life, then I am sorry, both to you and to the people so portrayed.

pages: 302 words: 80,287

When the Wolves Bite: Two Billionaires, One Company, and an Epic Wall Street Battle by Scott Wapner

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, Mark Zuckerberg, Ponzi scheme, price discrimination, Ronald Reagan, short selling, Silicon Valley, Tim Cook: Apple, unbiased observer

Loeb was now demanding four board seats, including one for himself, and slammed back against accusations he was a drive-by investor. “At the risk of beating a dead horse,” Loeb wrote, “we suppose that, by the Board’s analysis, it would have been this dreaded ‘short-term’ thinking to have allowed Microsoft’s $31 per share offer four years ago to be presented to shareholders. To the contrary, an unbiased observer might find Third Point’s thinking quite ‘additive.’ Third Point has been a driving force standing up for shareholders since we disclosed our position in Company shares in September.”15 Blood was in the water, and it was about to become a feeding frenzy. On Thursday, May 3, in yet another letter to the board, Loeb dropped a bomb—alleging that Thompson had padded his resume with a degree in computer science he never earned.

pages: 304 words: 88,773

The Ghost Map: A Street, an Epidemic and the Hidden Power of Urban Networks. by Steven Johnson

call centre, clean water, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Dean Kamen, digital map, double helix, edge city, germ theory of disease, global pandemic, Google Earth, Jane Jacobs, John Nash: game theory, John Snow's cholera map, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, New Urbanism, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, peak oil, side project, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, trade route, unbiased observer, working poor

Farr’s original report had looked only at the level of entire districts, but Snow now divided the original data into subdistricts organized by water supplier. Twelve of them relied on water from S&V, while three drank Lambeth water exclusively. And indeed, the disparity between the two groups in terms of cholera deaths was pronounced: roughly 1 in 100 died in the S&V subdistricts, while not a single person had died of cholera among the 14,632 Lambeth drinkers. An unbiased observer might have been persuaded by those numbers, but Snow realized his audience required more, primarily because the subdistricts served by Lambeth alone were relatively well-to-do suburbs, in contrast to the smog-bound industrial zones that S&V serviced. Once the miasmatists had a look at the different neighborhoods, Snow knew his case would dissolve in a heartbeat. And so the experiment would rise and fall on the sixteen remaining subdistricts that received both S&V and Lambeth water.

Personal Development for Smart People: The Conscious Pursuit of Personal Growth by Steve Pavlina

Buckminster Fuller, fear of failure, financial independence, placebo effect, side project, unbiased observer

If you w a n t even more information, ask for a friend or family member's perceptions of your physical body as well, or consider getting a full medical checkup. N o w turn your attention to your predictions. You never know if these will be accurate, but y o u can certainly make reasonable guesses based on your current patterns. In order to be totally honest with yourself, use a third-person perspective. Imagine that an objective, unbiased observer carefully examines all the details of your physical 201 PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR SMART PEOPLE life. W h a t will that person predict for your physical future? Is the expected outcome positive or negative? Is your health improving or declining? W h e r e are your current habits taking y o u ? Is this w h a t y o u w a n t ? If you're feeling brave, ask a friend or family member to make these predictions for y o u as well; then compare this person's forecast to your o w n .

pages: 377 words: 110,427

The Boy Who Could Change the World: The Writings of Aaron Swartz by Aaron Swartz, Lawrence Lessig

affirmative action, Alfred Russel Wallace, American Legislative Exchange Council, Benjamin Mako Hill, bitcoin, Bonfire of the Vanities, Brewster Kahle, Cass Sunstein, deliberate practice, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, failed state, fear of failure, Firefox, full employment, Howard Zinn, index card, invisible hand, Joan Didion, John Gruber, Lean Startup, More Guns, Less Crime, peer-to-peer, post scarcity, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, semantic web, single-payer health, SpamAssassin, SPARQL, telemarketer, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, the scientific method, Toyota Production System, unbiased observer, wage slave, Washington Consensus, web application, WikiLeaks, working poor, zero-sum game

,” he proclaims “It’s not prudent, perhaps even not moral (if that doesn’t sound too melodramatic), to work on RDF, OWL, SPARQL, RIF, the broken ideas of distributed trust, CWM, Tabulator, Dublin Core, FOAF, SIOC, and any of these kinds of things” and says not only will he “stop working on the Semantic Web” but “I will, moreover, actively dissuade anyone from working on the Semantic Web where it distracts them from working on” more practical projects. It would be only fair here to point out that I am not exactly an unbiased observer. For one thing, Sean, like just about everyone else I cite in the book, is a friend. We met through working on these things together but since have kept in touch and share emails about what we’re working on and are just generally nice to each other. And the same goes for almost all the other people I cite and criticize. Moreover, the reason we were working together is that I too did my time in the Semantic Web salt mines.

The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy From Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography by Simon Singh

Donald Davies, friendly fire, Mikhail Gorbachev, old-boy network, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Simon Singh, Turing machine, unbiased observer, undersea cable, Zimmermann PGP

Among the most ardent treasure hunters attracted to the Beale ciphers were the Hart brothers, George and Clayton. For years they pored over the two remaining ciphers, mounting various forms of cryptanalytic attack, occasionally fooling themselves into believing that they had a solution. A false line of attack will sometimes generate a few tantalizing words within a sea of gibberish, which then encourages the cryptanalyst to devise a series of caveats to excuse the gibberish. To an unbiased observer the decipherment is clearly nothing more than wishful thinking, but to the blinkered treasure hunter it makes complete sense. One of the Harts’ tentative decipherments encouraged them to use dynamite to excavate a particular site; unfortunately, the resulting crater yielded no gold. Although Clayton Hart gave up in 1912, George continued working on the Beale ciphers until 1952. An even more persistent Beale fanatic has been Hiram Herbert, Jr., who first became interested in 1923 and whose obsession continued right through to the 1970s.

pages: 377 words: 121,996

Live and Let Spy: BRIXMIS - the Last Cold War Mission by Steve Gibson

Berlin Wall, British Empire, corporate social responsibility, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, John Nash: game theory, libertarian paternalism, long peace, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, RAND corporation, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, unbiased observer, WikiLeaks

During its last year the Mission was to observe a curious dichotomy in the DDR that complicated matters further. In 1990 the Soviets had announced the phased withdrawal of WGF forces from East Germany to take place over the next few years as a result of the Wall coming down. These were on top of the already planned withdrawals from the Warsaw Pact countries as outlined in the 1979 Stockholm agreement on Cooperation and Disarmament in Europe. A new Brixmis role became the independent and unbiased observation of Soviet troop withdrawals as well as the reorganisation of both NVA and Soviet orbats. While withdrawals commenced in January 1990, watched around the clock for several months on a tri-mission basis, the Missions also observed an almost feverish introduction of new equipment. As fast as troops and equipment left the country, there was still an extraordinary volume of new equipment systems coming back the other way.

pages: 478 words: 142,608

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Brownian motion, cosmological principle, David Attenborough, Desert Island Discs, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, gravity well, invisible hand, John von Neumann, luminiferous ether, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Murray Gell-Mann, Necker cube, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, placebo effect, planetary scale, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, scientific worldview, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, trickle-down economics, unbiased observer

A fourth possibility, almost too obvious to need mentioning, is that Jesus was honestly mistaken. Plenty of people are. In any case, as I said, there is no good historical evidence that he ever thought he was divine. The fact that something is written down is persuasive to people not used to asking questions like: ‘Who wrote it, and when?’ ‘How did they know what to write?’ ‘Did they, in their time, really mean what we, in our time, understand them to be saying?’ ‘Were they unbiased observers, or did they have an agenda that coloured their writing?’ Ever since the nineteenth century, scholarly theologians have made an overwhelming case that the gospels are not reliable accounts of what happened in the history of the real world. All were written long after the death of Jesus, and also after the epistles of Paul, which mention almost none of the alleged facts of Jesus’ life. All were then copied and recopied, through many different ‘Chinese Whispers generations’ (see Chapter 5) by fallible scribes who, in any case, had their own religious agendas.

pages: 537 words: 144,318

The Invisible Hands: Top Hedge Fund Traders on Bubbles, Crashes, and Real Money by Steven Drobny

Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, Commodity Super-Cycle, commodity trading advisor, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency peg, debt deflation, diversification, diversified portfolio, equity premium, family office, fiat currency, fixed income, follow your passion, full employment, George Santayana, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, inventory management, invisible hand, Kickstarter, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, North Sea oil, open economy, peak oil, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price discovery process, price stability, private sector deleveraging, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, random walk, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, savings glut, selection bias, Sharpe ratio, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, statistical arbitrage, stochastic volatility, stocks for the long run, stocks for the long term, survivorship bias, The Great Moderation, Thomas Bayes, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, unbiased observer, value at risk, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-sum game

Should you be using long-term forecasts for equity risk premia when the next equity risk premium could be negative? We use tactical asset allocation models to manage a portion of our capital and help our research process. These models help in two ways. First, they provide us with an independent yardstick, which we try to outperform. Second, we think of our tactical asset allocation model as an unbiased observer of the markets, which we use to give us some sense of the market’s momentum. They are price-based, momentum-driven models that have been running since about 2005, and have produced consistently positive results. Even our longer term model broke even in 2008, and it is only allowed to be long assets because in the long term you want to earn risk premium. After being down about 8 percent by the fall of 2008, it switched heavily into U.S. fixed income and recouped its losses by year-end.

Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Writing Science) by Thierry Bardini

Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Grace Hopper, hiring and firing, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, invention of hypertext, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, unbiased observer, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

His project for the augmentation of human intellect was never discussed inside the IPTO contractors' community as a potential alternative to a research program in artificial intelligence. 33 CHAPTER ONE Language and the Body If we "thInk" verbally, we act as biased observers and project onto the silent levels the structure of language we use, and so remaIn in our rut of old orientatIons, mak- ing keen, unbiased observations and creative work well-nIgh ImpossIble. In contrast, when we "think" without words, or in pictures (which involve structure and there- fore relations), we may discover new aspects and relations on silent levels, and so may produce Important theoretIcal results in the general search of similarity of structure between the two levels, sIlent and verbal. Practically all important advances are made that way

pages: 369 words: 153,018

Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane

Benoit Mandelbrot, clockwork universe, double helix, Drosophila, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, Louis Pasteur, mandelbrot fractal, out of africa, phenotype, random walk, Richard Feynman, stem cell, unbiased observer

Hagelberg and colleagues were forced to publish a retraction, and she herself now refers to the unfortunate affair as her ‘infamous mistake.’ By 2001, the evidence for recombination looked muddy, to say the least. The two major studies had both been discredited, and although the authors of both papers maintained that the rest of their data still raised doubts, that was only to be expected; they had to defend their tattered reputations. For an unbiased observer, it seemed that recombination had been disproved. Then in 2002, a fresh challenge emerged. Marianne Schwartz and John Vissing, at Copenhagen University Hospital, reported that one of their patients, a 28-year-old man suffering from a mitochondrial disorder, had actually in- 250 Human Pre-History and the Nature of Gender herited some mitochondrial DNA from his father, and so had a mixture of both maternal and paternal DNA—the dreaded heteroplasmy.

pages: 492 words: 149,259

Big Bang by Simon Singh

Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Andrew Wiles, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Astronomia nova, Brownian motion, carbon-based life, Cepheid variable, Chance favours the prepared mind, Commentariolus, Copley Medal, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Freundlich, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, Hans Lippershey, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, horn antenna, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Karl Jansky, Kickstarter, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, Olbers’ paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Paul Erdős, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, scientific mainstream, Simon Singh, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbiased observer, Wilhelm Olbers, William of Occam

Nevertheless, Hoyle continued to defend his model:‘I think that it is fair to say that the theory has demonstrated strong survival qualities, which is what one should properly look for in a theory. There is a close parallel between theory and observation on the one hand, and mutations and natural selection on the other. Theory supplies the mutations, observation provides the natural selection. Theories are never proved right. The best they can do is to survive.’ But the Steady State model and its Quasi-Steady State reincarnation were barely surviving. Any unbiased observer could see that they were on the brink of extinction, whereas the Big Bang model was not only surviving, but thriving. The universe simply made more sense in the context of the Big Bang model. For example, in 1823, when scientists assumed that the universe was infinite and eternal, the German astronomer Wilhelm Olbers wondered why the night sky was not ablaze with starlight. He reasoned that an infinite universe would contain an infinite number of stars, and if the universe was infinitely old then this would have allowed an infinite amount of time for the starlight to have reached us.

pages: 577 words: 149,554

The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey by Michael Huemer

Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, cognitive dissonance, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, experimental subject, framing effect, Gini coefficient, illegal immigration, impulse control, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, laissez-faire capitalism, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, Milgram experiment, moral hazard, Phillip Zimbardo, profit maximization, profit motive, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Stanford prison experiment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, unbiased observer, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks

The court reasoned that because Filburn grew wheat to feed his livestock, he would therefore buy less wheat from other farmers. If many farmers were to do this, it would significantly lower the price of wheat. This, in turn, would have an effect on commerce in wheat, some of which crosses state borders. Therefore, by fining Filburn for growing too much wheat, the federal government was simply exercising its constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. It is hard to believe that any unbiased observer competent in the English language would read the phrase ‘regulate commerce [ ... ] among the several states’ in this way. Here is the unofficial but more truthful account of events: At the beginning of his presidency in the early 1930s, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal programs were repeatedly and decisively struck down for exceeding the powers granted by the Constitution.42 President Roosevelt sought to circumvent these decisions by proposing the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill of 1937, which would have given him the power to appoint six new justices to the Supreme Court, bringing the total to fifteen.

pages: 552 words: 163,292

Boom: Mad Money, Mega Dealers, and the Rise of Contemporary Art by Michael Shnayerson

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, banking crisis, Bonfire of the Vanities, corporate raider, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, East Village, estate planning, Etonian, high net worth, index card, Jane Jacobs, mass immigration, NetJets, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, rent control, rolodex, Silicon Valley, tulip mania, unbiased observer, upwardly mobile, Works Progress Administration

And Grotjahn, according to the New York Times, would also be selling directly from his studio.16 Gagosian just didn’t get that. “Collectors want provenance, they want to know there’s some control,” he noted later. “You can’t sell stuff out of the studio.” That wasn’t quite true: painters from Courbet to Manet to Picasso had all sold from their studios, and those sales had not clouded the paintings’ provenance. But they did muddy the business, sometimes to the dealer’s detriment. Gagosian was hardly an unbiased observer, but his pitch against multiple dealers seemed heartfelt. “I think it’s a mistake in most cases,” he maintained. “They get kind of a sugar high, they get a little extra distribution. But… it can look like the artist is desperate. Why does he need so many shows? Do they have to sell something every minute? I mean, Cy Twombly, no one else worked with him in the whole time that I did. He said, ‘I just want to talk to one dealer.’”

Evidence-Based Technical Analysis: Applying the Scientific Method and Statistical Inference to Trading Signals by David Aronson

Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, asset allocation, availability heuristic, backtesting, Black Swan, butter production in bangladesh, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, cognitive dissonance, compound rate of return, computerized trading, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, distributed generation, Elliott wave, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, hindsight bias, index fund, invention of the telescope, invisible hand, Long Term Capital Management, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, p-value, pattern recognition, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, price stability, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nelson Elliott, random walk, retrograde motion, revision control, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, riskless arbitrage, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Sharpe ratio, short selling, source of truth, statistical model, stocks for the long run, systematic trading, the scientific method, transfer pricing, unbiased observer, yield curve, Yogi Berra

Systematic error, if present, could be due to an imperfection in the scale, always causing the observed weight to be lower than the true weight. Unbiased and Biased Statistics Interpreting a large sample of observations is difficult. As was discussed in Chapter 4, a sensible first step is data reduction. This reduces the large True & Most Likely Observed Value Probability Distribution Of Observed Values FIGURE 6.6 Unbiased observations. Most Likely Observed Value True Value FIGURE 6.7 Observations with systematic error. Probability Distribution Of Observed Values 274 METHODOLOGICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL, STATISTICAL FOUNDATIONS set of measurements to a smaller set of summary statistics: sample mean, sample variance, and other computed measures that describe the entire set of observations. Chapter 4 also pointed out that a sample statistic, such as the mean, is subject to a particular type of random error called sampling error.

pages: 612 words: 200,406

The Last Spike: The Great Railway, 1881-1885 by Pierre Berton

banking crisis, business climate, California gold rush, centre right, Columbine, financial independence, God and Mammon, Khartoum Gordon, mass immigration, transcontinental railway, unbiased observer, young professional

Schreiber setting aside a contract and the scientific calculations of quantities executed and to be executed by engineers and adopting those guessed at by the company’s men in riding over the line – occasionally appealing to Trutch who sat behind looking wise and blinking like a Centennary owl – confirming by a nod everything that Schreiber did. This was the end of the first act of the drama of corruption openly played.” Although Marcus Smith’s witness cannot be taken as gospel – he was far too suspicious of too many people to be considered a fair or unbiased observer – it is quite clear that, for one reason or another, the government engineers did not hold Andrew Onderdonk to the letter or even the spirit of his contract and that they allowed a good deal of shoddy work to go unremarked. (It is possible that Onderdonk’s vigorous lobbying in Ottawa persuaded the government to wink at some of the shortcuts he subsequently took.) Van Horne, when he travelled the line in August, made no public remark other than that he was “agreeably surprised to find the character of the country so favorable generally for railway construction, and is satisfied that the line will be completed inside of 16 months.”

pages: 659 words: 203,574

The Collected Stories of Vernor Vinge by Vernor Vinge

anthropic principle, Asilomar, back-to-the-land, dematerialisation, gravity well, invisible hand, low earth orbit, Machinery of Freedom by David Friedman, MITM: man-in-the-middle, source of truth, technological singularity, unbiased observer, Vernor Vinge

We boxed the last of them up at Kapa and Durb,” (he used the Zulunder terms for Capetown and Durban) “and drove them into the sea.” Literally, added Ribera to himself. The last remnants of White Africa were physically pushed from the wharves and sunny beaches into the ocean. The Zulunders had succeeded in exterminating the Whites, and thought they succeeded in obliterating the Afrikaner culture from the continent. Of course they had been wrong. The Afrikaners had left a lasting mark, obvious to any unbiased observer; the very name Zulunder, which the present Africans cherished fanatically, was in part a corruption of English. “By the sixtieth day, we could say that not a single White lived on the continent. As far as we know, only one small group evaded vengeance. Some of the highest-ranking Afrikaner officials, maybe even the Prime Minister, commandeered two luxury vessels, the SR Hendrik Verwoerd and the Nation.

The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East by Andrew Scott Cooper

addicted to oil, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Boycotts of Israel, energy security, falling living standards, friendly fire, full employment, interchangeable parts, Kickstarter, land reform, MITM: man-in-the-middle, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, peak oil, Ponzi scheme, RAND corporation, rising living standards, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, strikebreaker, unbiased observer, uranium enrichment, urban planning, Yom Kippur War

It was a plan that had the potential to ignite a religious-based war pitting Shi’a Iran against its Sunni Arab neighbors and potentially draw in the Soviet Union. The Shah was advocating regime change in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia under cover of declaring an unspecified regional “emergency” or “crisis,” most likely one involving Iraq and its patron the Soviet Union. The problem was that the Shah was hardly an unbiased observer. Arab governments distrusted his ambitions and wondered how they fitted into his newly reconstituted Empire of Iran. Iran’s unilateral seizure of the three islands in 1971 still rankled. The new secretary of defense, James Schlesinger, later aptly summed up the 1973 state visit as “a renewal of vows, as it were—a renewal of marital vows” between Nixon and Kissinger on one side and the Shah: “The Shah, as you may know, since he was an absolute monarch, tended to spin out these theories in Tehran, and as he did so he was surrounded by a group of men who’d say, ‘How wise you are, Your Majesty, how insightful!’

pages: 778 words: 227,196

The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, animal electricity, British Empire, Copley Medal, Dava Sobel, double helix, Edmond Halley, Etonian, experimental subject, Fellow of the Royal Society, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Harrison: Longitude, music of the spheres, placebo effect, polynesian navigation, Richard Feynman, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, trade route, unbiased observer, University of East Anglia, éminence grise

At a meeting of the Newcastle Literary and Philosophical Society on 5 December 1815, at which both Clanny’s bellows lamp and Stephenson’s conical lamp were examined (’it resembles a wine decanter’, remarked the Newcastle Chronicle jovially), the questions of priority and pirating were first raised. The Newcastle Society showed its admirable objectivity by presenting examples of the true gauze lamp, as used by Buddle at Walls End, at its meeting of 6 February 1816. It was immediately clear to unbiased observers that the Stephenson and the Davy were very different instruments. But nothing could prevent the major public row now brewing, with letters to the newspapers, polemical pamphlets, and wide controversial comment in the journals. Not all of this was favourable to Davy, and there was a clear evidence of a North-South split as sides were taken. Furious pamphlets were written against him by a Sunderland lawyer and journalist, J.H.

pages: 936 words: 252,313

Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease by Gary Taubes

Albert Einstein, California gold rush, cognitive dissonance, collaborative editing, Drosophila, Everything should be made as simple as possible, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, invention of agriculture, John Snow's cholera map, longitudinal study, meta analysis, meta-analysis, phenotype, placebo effect, Ralph Nader, randomized controlled trial, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, selection bias, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, twin studies, unbiased observer, Upton Sinclair

THOMAS HAWKES TANNER, A Manual of Clinical Medicine and Physical Diagnosis, 1869 Chapter Fourteen THE MYTHOLOGY OF OBESITY A colleague once defined an academic discipline as a group of scholars who had agreed not to ask certain embarrassing questions about key assumptions. MARK NATHAN COHEN, Health and the Rise of Civilization, 1989 CRITICAL TO THE SUCCESS OF any scientific enterprise is the ability to make accurate and unbiased observations. “To have our first idea of things, we must see those things,” is how Claude Bernard explained this in 1865; “to have an idea about a natural phenomenon, we must, first of all, observe it…. All human knowledge is limited to working back from observed effects to their cause.” But if the initial observations are incorrect or incomplete, then we will distort what it is we’re trying to explain.

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

The inventory of therapeutic factors I propose issues from my clinical experience, from the experience of other therapists, from the views of the successfully treated group patient, and from relevant systematic research. None of these sources is beyond doubt, however; neither group members nor group leaders are entirely objective, and our research methodology is often crude and inapplicable. From the group therapists we obtain a variegated and internally inconsistent inventory of therapeutic factors (see chapter 4). Therapists, by no means disinterested or unbiased observers, have invested considerable time and energy in mastering a certain therapeutic approach. Their answers will be determined largely by their particular school of conviction. Even among therapists who share the same ideology and speak the same language, there may be no consensus about the reasons clients improve. In research on encounter groups, my colleagues and I learned that many successful group leaders attributed their success to factors that were irrelevant to the therapy process: for example, the hot-seat technique, or nonverbal exercises, or the direct impact of a therapist’s own person (see chapter 16).3 But that does not surprise us.

England by David Else

active transport: walking or cycling, Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Boris Johnson, British Empire, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, colonial rule, Columbine, congestion charging, David Attenborough, David Brooks, Etonian, food miles, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, out of africa, period drama, place-making, sceptred isle, Skype, Sloane Ranger, South of Market, San Francisco, Stephen Hawking, the market place, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, unbiased observer, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Winter of Discontent

This national process of soul-searching chimes in with a growing sense of unease about where English society is headed. A recent spate of stabbings and shootings coupled with the growing gang culture in many English cities, plus the continuing divisiveness of the wars in the Middle East and the fallout from the 7/7 tube bombings (committed by British-born extremists) all hint at the disaffection and disillusionment felt by many English communities. Even the most unbiased observer would have to admit that there’s something slightly awry in a country that has more CCTV and speed cameras than anywhere else in Europe and where the nation’s kids have been dubbed ‘the unhappiest in the Western World’ according to a recent Unicef poll. It’s perhaps unsurprising that record numbers of people are giving Blighty the boot in favour of pastures new. But others are opting to stay in England and go back to the land, quitting the cities for slower, greener, more sustainable lives in the countryside.