Tuesday, April 27, 2010

steve keen: asking why

Steve Keen has successfully completed his Australian house pricing awareness walk from Parliament House, Canberra, to the peak of Mt. Kosciuszko. There are now posts and photos from those who walked with him going up on the walk site. David Lawson who trained in neo classical economics, then worked in Real Estate and has now abandoned those things. Nina Shedrin a former Russian rocket scientist who is worried about her daughter's generation becoming trapped in a house mortage. More to come.

Steve Keen is doing an amazing job of alerting people to problems in the economic system and encouraging them to dig deeper. His personality is described by David Lawson:
After spending time with Steve Keen on his journey from Canberra to the top of Mt Kosciousko, I have come to know him as a man who always asks the question ‘why?’ He thrives on the challenges that life has to offer, both physically and mentally. Clearly an extremely intelligent man, he also has heart of gold, strong morals and a great sense of humour. There is no wonder why he pursues the work he does

Friday, April 23, 2010

IPCC consensus unravels from within

Judy Curry's Q&A about the CRU Oxburgh investigation findings and her repeated assertion of IPCC corruption is well worth a read: an inconvenient provocateur

Combine that with Pielke snrs blog posts about fundamental issues and we see that the IPCC consensus is unraveled not just in the eyes of ranting sceptics but from within, from peer reviewed published climate scientists

Where does that leave us? Back to where science is treated as a contested method or methods of investigation and not as a source of authoritative pronouncement.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dan Meyer: maths teacher

How to convert text book word problems which spoon feed too much into problems that students will have a conversation about and go onto solve with slower but deeper thinking. Even better, Dan is an entertaining presenter who combines humour with socially important knowledge and modern technology.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Steve Keen walk begins today

Steve Keen's regular blog: Debt deflation
Debunking Economics website
Keen Walk to Kosciuszko

Steve Keen begins his protest walk against Australian house prices, today, starting from Parliament House, Canberra. This arose because he lost a bet in predicting that Australian house prices would fall and they haven't, so far. Read the links above for more detail.

I admire the way in which Steve Keen has turned a bad bet into a good thing, a protest to raise awareness about the state of the Australian economy. He has generated a lot of interest and support with many people joining him on his walk.

I'm interested in Steve's ideas about Minsky, Fisher, Sraffa, Marx etc and have been reading his extensive online publications in trying to deepen my understanding of political economy arising out of the current and ongoing economic crisis.

Steve Keen is the sort of public intellectual we need. He puts his ideas up for public scrutiny and engages in public debate about them through his blog. I have read enough to understand that econometrics which dominates my local university curriculum (and apparently many others) is a narrow subset of what economic study ought to be. Clearly there needs to be a revolution in university economic departments to bring in the theories of thinkers such as Minsky or Marx who predicted that capitalism would always be an unstable system.

Monday, April 12, 2010

monkeys challenge God

Put the Pope in the Dock by Geoffrey Robertson

This article puts the legal case for holding Pope accountable for covering up child sex abuse and that it is doubtful that he can claim immunity as a head of state. The initiator of this move was Christopher Hitchens. Richard Dawkins elaborates in a letter to the Sunday Times which gave him the credit with a headline that made him seem personally grandiloquent.

The Pope should not be above the law. Human mental evolution has continued since 1860 (Huxley versus Wilberforce)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Arundhati Roy: not looking away

On the news in between the latest road accident and the football results you might hear how the Indian Army has marched into a forest region to wage war against the "maoist extremists".

If you are curious and would like to hear the inside story then read Arundhati Roy's beautifully written Walking with Comrades. Arundhati Roy is a Booker Prize winning author (The God of Small Things)
I’m going to get a history lesson. Or, more accurately a lecture on the history of the last thirty years in the Dandakaranya forest, which has culminated in the war that’s swirling through it today. For sure, it’s a partisan’s version. But then, what history isn’t? In any case, the secret history must be made public if it is to be contested, argued with, instead of merely being lied about, which is what is happening now.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Feynman: utter honesty required

The following Richard Feynman quote was quoted in a climate change discussion at Roger Pielke Jnr's blog. Roger's blog provides a whole range of excellent and seems to me reliable information about "problems" (including corruption) with the IPCC official science. Roger and his other guest contributors think that global warming is an important issue but argue that it is being managed poorly by most politicians and many scientists. Highly recommended for anyone interested in the overlap of the AGW issue with the economics, science and politics of it.

The Feynman quote and the whole article applies to any serious search for truth.

CARGO CULT SCIENCE by Richard Feynman
It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It's a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty--a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you're doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid--not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you've eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked--to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.

Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can--if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong--to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.