Saturday, February 14, 2009

Use, delay, and obsolescence

Per this op-ed post, from Paul Krugman - this is not your dad's quickie-recession:
So let’s look at the NBER business cycle data. What we see is that some of those prewar slumps were really, really long: the Panic of 1873 was followed by a recession that lasted 5 1/2 years.

And Keynes explained why: in the absence of an effective monetary or fiscal policy, a recession would have to go on until

the shortage of capital through use, decay and obsolescence causes a sufficiently obvious scarcity to increase the marginal efficiency

So this could go on for a long, long, long, long time.

Oh. Shit.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Momus used this reference the other day that I love - The Uncanny Valley, which is the not-so-sweet spot of technology where robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. Of course, Momus uses this to discuss it in relation to cultural phenom's like Freak Folk and the culturati that raid thrift stores for source styles and inspiration. I on the other hand find this concept interesting for two reasons:
1) I've been in a "Blade Runner" meme of late, mostly because of the fact that we've exceeded our own humanity, but also because the future is always late (it'll be 2010 and we're not exactly battling our replicant doubles).
2) Likewise, it's Abraham Lincoln's birthday, and what better way to celebrate a great figure than to watch their robot double hit the "limits of technology".