Naimisha Forest

The vanity of American power

Silvrback blog imagePolitico magazine has a long interview with Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. in 2013-16, and Ben Rhodes, a speechwriter and adviser to President Obama. The occasion is a forthcoming HBO documentary on ‘The Final Year’ of the Obama administration, seen through the doings of these two functionaries.

The interviewer, . . .

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January 17, 2018

Personal explorations in price discrimination - 'that's how they getcha!'

Silvrback blog imageThe other day I had a post on the growing ability of online businesses to charge customers different prices according to their ability to pay – perfect price discrimination in economists’ jargon.  Which led naturally to the question: am I being screwed, and, if so, how badly? 

Here are the results of a small . . .

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January 15, 2018

Writing well to get ahead in politics

Silvrback blog imageIn his biographical essay ‘Asquith,’ Winston Churchill describes how an ability to write well helped him win swift political advancement in the reforming British Liberal government headed by H.H. Asquith from 1908 to 1915. Churchill entered Asquith’s cabinet as President of the Board of Trade in 1908, at the age of 34; . . .

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January 11, 2018

“Plutocratic Insurgency Note No. 7 – Profit Optimization Beyond ‘the Invisible Hand’”

Silvrback blog imageThere is an enjoyably agitated article in the online ‘Small Wars Journal,’ with the title “Plutocratic Insurgency Note No. 7: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Pricing Software - Profit Optimization Beyond ‘the Invisible Hand.’”  The subject is the growing ability of corporations to squeeze more profit out . . .

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January 09, 2018

'Laughing in shy confusion'

This selection of ‘Poems from the Sanskrit’ was a favorite among a group of friends, well, a while ago. On hot summer afternoons, after lectures, we would sit in one of the Silvrback blog imagecool stone alcoves that ran on one side of the college courtyard, boys and girls, and read aloud these poems, with many a smile and warm glance exchanged, . . .

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January 05, 2018

Two angles on why we need the nation state

Silvrback blog imageThe two angles are from the English conservative writer and philosopher Roger Scruton, and from the economist Dani Rodrik, who, outside his technical economic writings, appears to be a conventional American liberal – horrified by Trump and so forth. Yet both, in sometimes overlapping, sometimes complementary ways, make a persuasive case . . .

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December 30, 2017

Fifth Avenue at Twilight

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Fifth Avenue at Twilight

Lowell Birge Harrison - circa 1910

Detroit Institute of the Arts (United States)

Painting - oil on canvas

Height: 76.2 cm (30 in.), Width: 58.42 cm (23 in.)


(More paintings of L.Birge Harrison here)

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December 28, 2017


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