Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Random Things

  • New York Times columnist John Tierney has bet oil doomsayer Matthew Simmons $5,000 that the price of oil will not reach $200 by 2010. I have to agree with Tierney's analysis and I would add that, in addition to "new discoveries and technologies," it's very likely that demand for oil will fall significantly. Steven Levitt has written a good debunking of the recent oil worries.li
  • Not only are there monkey prostitutes, but they like to gamble! I wonder, though, how the experiment actually worked. Did monkeys try to gamble once and get a good result? It seems like whether they gambled again would be highly sensitive to the first outcome of gambling. After all, you can't tell them that it's a gamble, they have to be shown. But how?
  • There's an excellent editorial by Verlyn Klinkenborg in the Times that explains the vastness of biological time. In another section of the Times is this:
    Although they embrace religious faith, these scientists also embrace science as it has been defined for centuries. That is, they look to the natural world for explanations of what happens in the natural world and they recognize that scientific ideas must be provisional - capable of being overturned by evidence from experimentation and observation.
    Like Brad DeLong, my mind explodes when I consider that there might be people who don't look to the *natural world* for explanations of what happens in the *natural world*.

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