We’re still here

Hmm, been a bit of a hiatus since the last post.  But we’re still here.  Here are a couple of links to interesting things:

Andrew Gelman has redesigned his blog; same material, but a fresher look and you no longer have to go through the back door to link to individual posts.  A couple of days ago he put up a terrific post called “One of the easiest ways to differentiate an economist from almost anyone else in society.”  He wonders why it is that so many economists can simultaneously believe these two things:

1. People are rational and respond to incentives. Behavior that looks irrational is actually completely rational once you think like an economist.

2. People are irrational and they need economists, with their open minds, to show them how to be rational and efficient.

Anatoly Liberman, the Oxford Etymologist, put up a nice little piece in May about the odd career of the letter “H.”  I must register one small demurrer concerning this piece.  Liberman writes:

Everything would have been fine if th were not also used in Greek words for rendering the letter theta. We have it in such monstrosities as phthisis and chthonic.  Very few people are so pedantic as to pronounce the initial consonants in them, but th is part of both words.

Surely the charge of pedantry holds no terrors for anyone who speaks the words phthisis and chthonic aloud, and gives them no motive to suppress the initial consonant of either word.  Come to think of it, I’ve had occasion to pronounce the word chthonic a few times while teaching classes in which it came up, and I did say it very much as I would have if it were spelled χθωνικ-.*

A post on “Understanding Uncertainty” appears to be about mobile phones and brain cancer, but comes to this twist ending:

The moral of this story has nothing at all to do with mobile phones or cancer. It is that you can’t get a full story of what’s going on on a health issue by simply following what’s in the mainstream media. What you’ll find there is not necessarily what you want to read, but what other people want you to read.

Be careful out there!

*I know there’s supposed to be an acute over the omega, but WordPress doesn’t do diacriticals well enough to make it worthwhile.

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