Monthly Archives: June 2007

Tuareg

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I just finished one of the most engaging novels that I have read all year, called Tuareg by Alberto Vázquez-Figueroa. Nevertheless, I fell into an error that I have recently been committing quite often. Continue reading

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Filed under Digressions, Literature

The Incredible Shrinking Nation

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I just saw this news video on how Americans are now becoming the shortest people in the industrialized world, while historically we were the tallest. This is not due to, as many would think, a change in demographics and immigration, but rather to environmental factors such as poor eating habits and a lack of exercise.

We just can’t get anything right anymore!

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Filed under Digressions

Hysterical Fonero

This hysterical Fonero, Matador Joselisto, has come up with a few video sketches on FON.

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El Adios de Dos Grandes

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Roberto Carlos leaves Madrid after 11 consecutive years (including 3 European Champions League titles), the longest ever period for any foreign player with Real Madrid.

Becks leaves for LA after 4 years with Real Madrid, without ever complaining or uttering a bad word about anyone. Not the greatest player in the world, but definitely a gentleman and a true professional.

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Filed under Football/Soccer, Living la vida española

The Yacoubian Building

I look out my window and I see people huddled inside a bar, with others looking through its window. There are maybe 15 minutes left in the match, and Real Madrid is losing at home 0-1 to Mallorca. If they don’t score two goals, they lose the lead and hand the title over to Barcelona.

But instead of getting involved (I am weak hearted), I have decided to finish The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany. I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but I must admit that if you are truly interested in modern Egypt, then you really must read the larger Cairo Triology by the great, late Naguib Mahfouz (or even Midaq Alley). Al Aswany’s story is really nothing more than putting Mahfouz’s triology into the present. Continue reading

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Filed under Digressions, Literature, Living la vida española

East Side, Third Floor

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Respek!

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Voters are Dumb

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In this article from The Economist, Lexington explains how most voters are incredibly ignorant when it comes to most issues. Even if voters are generally ignorant about the great majority of issues, this shouldn’t be a problem. That is precisely why we have a representative democracy — so that someone else can do the thinking, studying and evaluating for us. Nevertheless, voters are also irrational because the political issues upon which they base their votes, if implemented, actually go against their interests.

[There are] four biases that prompt voters systematically to demand policies that make them worse off. First, people do not understand how the pursuit of private profits often yields public benefits: they have an anti-market bias. Second, they underestimate the benefits of interactions with foreigners: they have an anti-foreign bias. Third, they equate prosperity with employment rather than production: Mr Caplan calls this the “make-work bias”. Finally, they tend to think economic conditions are worse than they are, a bias towards pessimism.

In other words, voter ignorance is not a problem in itself. The problem lies in the fact that voters’ irrationality causes them to elect politicians who will ultimately promote policies that will negatively affect the voters. And worst of all, the voters will never understand that it is their own idiocy that eventually causes them harm.

In any event, here is The Economist article in full: Continue reading

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Filed under Essays