Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Party in my mind

This story goes back to the years when I studied at UMD. One day one of my housemates passed by the open door of my room and saw me laying in bed and staring at the ceiling. He asked me if I'm ok cause he felt I had a strange look fixing that wall. In fact I was doing my homework for advanced algorithms class, but he found it hard to believe that this was a proper way of doing a homework. Staring at the ceiling became a hallmark of the way I am, it feels for me just like a big screen where I can project my imagination :) So I felt vindicated when Sheldon introduced Flatland to Raj in my favorite sitcom The Big Bang Theory (you can watch the scene here). And now there's even a song about having a party in one's mind:

It's easy to join this party, just stare at the ceiling above you wherever you are (blue sky also accepted) :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Was Marx right in the end?

In a recent interview Nouriel Roubini (also known as the prophet of the crisis) said that capitalism could auto-destroy itself when too much capital accumulation takes place and the agregate demand becomes in turn very weak. The original declaration can be seen here:

First I'd like to note that in general any system involving human beings can self-destroy by simply commiting suicide. If somebody wants to give credit to Marx she should prove somehow that capitalism will always lead to a self-destruction stage. My second observation is the focus on consumption that appears in current macro-economics world. We need to keep increasing our consumption in order to match the ever increasing producing capacity and this is the only way we can advance the global GDP (here domestic is planet Earth :). I think the real trap in today's economics is this focus on consumption that creates the demand. We can live a happy life without this exacerbated consumption and in the end this is a matter of what we value, isn't it?

P.S. By comparing the subjective theory of value and labour theory of value one can understand the fallacy of Marxism, but more on this in another post.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Division by zero

I bought this book (the original title is "Stories of Your Life: And Others") a few weeks ago because I liked its name with mathematical connotations and I read on the back cover that two of the stories were awarded Nebula Award (it's like an Oscar for SciFi literature). The interesting fact is that this is the whole opera of this author so far (two awards out of eight stories is an impressive rate, isn't it?). His stories are rather some kind of parables set in a slightly different universe, but far from the standard SciFi galactic clashes between races and/or robots. There are even some notes at the end of the book explaining how the author got the idea of each particular story, sometimes that would be just a mathematical or physical principle he wanted to illustrate. Yet the reading is entertaining, especially "Stories of Your Life" which reminds me of the feeling from "Chronicle of a Death Foretold".