Some interesting things from the web

1. Al Wood, proprietor of the magnificent Ukulele Hunt, disclaims any interest in politics, but he has a post up about copyright law that everyone should read.  He calls for a scrapping of the 95-year term of protection that is now standard in the developed world, and a return to the once-standard renewable 14 year term.

2. Some CT scans subject a patient to the radiation equivalent of 900 chest X-rays.  Several years ago, I heard the physicist Joseph Rotblat explain why he’d become an activist against the testing of nuclear weapons:

People began getting worried about all these tests.  In order to pacify the people, the Atomic Energy Commission issued a statement- this was the beginning of 1955- saying you didn’t need to worry at all about the fallout because the dose which people in the United States received from the tests was not more than from a chest X-ray.

Most people didn’t know how much radiation you get from a chest X-ray.  I knew… [A]fter this statement, I thought this was terribly dangerous.

3. A new article about T S Eliot in Commentary asks “But might it be allowed that one can write or say anti-Semitic things without being an anti-Semite? Eliot is guilty of the former, but does not, I think, stand guilty of the latter.”  The major theme of the piece is the great difficulty his Calvinist heritage left the Tse-Tse in his attempts to enjoy life.  Certainly a man who made several well-publicized anti-Semitic remarks, then earnestly declared anti-Semitism to be a sin, would seem to be an example of someone not having fun.

4. Seats in the US Senate are not apportioned by population, with the result that a candidate can lose by a landslide in one state, while candidates in other states can receive fewer votes and win elections.

 

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2 Comments

  1. Thanks very much for the mention. I put a lot into that post and it means a lot that you recognised it.

    I’m not so much uninterested in politics as disengaged. But I’m very much engaged in economics. I don’t think I’ve ever admitted it on the site but I’m an economist by training.

    As much as I’m shocked or baffled by many political decisions, I do believe that there’s an inevitable trend towards rationality.

  2. acilius

     /  November 4, 2010

    Aha, the truth comes out!

    Shocked and baffled by political decisions- what shocks and baffles me is the way people accept political decisions. I’m not at all surprised that the Walt Disney Corporation and other media giants have lobbied for a 95 year term of protection for intellectual property, or that politicians have responded to the incentives those interests have been able to offer. But as you’ve demonstrated so ably, a great many other people stand to lose from that policy, quite a few of them directly and substantially. You’d think there would be at least some resistance to these ever-lengthening terms.

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