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4.15.2009

Letters of marque 

After Navy SEALs rescued a ship captain from Somali pirates, Ron Paul has suggested that the US government put the free market to work by issuing letters of marque, which are essentially contracts for seafaring mercenaries whereby the recipients get to keep whatever loot they capture from enemies.

I doubt that hiring privateers will make that much of a difference; I bring it up mostly because it reminds me of Sid Meier's PIRATES!, a classic computer game from the 1980s (which has since been remade for more modern platforms).

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4.06.2009

So Aristotle thinks of two integers, and he tells Plato their product and Socrates their sum 

In yesterday's New York Times is an article about Larry Summers's part-time gig with D. E. Shaw, a firm that hires world-class mathematicians and scientists to create brainteasers and test them on college kids and grad students. Rumor has it that they trade stocks and bonds in order to finance their operations.

I'm sure that a fellow who was once Secretary of the Treasury, President of Harvard University and who still is one of the premier economists in the world (and also appears to be a male, to boot) was quite flattered that Shaw wanted to field-test their new brainteasers on him.

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