It's not modesty but pride which prevents me from revealing how well read I am, based on a list currently doing the rounds. If Mrs Tilton's lacunae are glaring and Abiola's are unforgiveable then I don't have so much lacunae in my reading as huge gaping chasms. In my defense I must point out that the list itself (I'm not going to bother to reprint it here, you can see it at Abiola's or Mrs T's) is far from exhaustive.
Perhaps I simply demonstrate my own, as Mrs Tilton puts it, "prejudices and preferences" in querying the absence of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, Niccolo Machiavelli's The Prince, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom or anything at all by that deeply silly man but great poet W.B. Yeats. I'd wager Dinah Dienstag would also have something to say about the exclusion of such canonical works as Iskander Karamanoglu's 'The Exquisite Melancholia of Persimmon Leaves' and Derrida's 'Qu'est-ce que c'est "qu'est-ce que c'est"?'
A similar ennui or resignation to that which occasioned mine a while back has seen Chris take an online IQ test. Like me she doesn't reveal her score (although she does record an alarming 10 point decline over 18 years!) but confesses to have been stumped by one question:
Two cars start off at the same point on a straight highway facing opposite directions. Each car drives for 6 miles, takes a left turn, and drives for 8 miles. How far apart are the two cars?
The possible answers are 2, 11, 14, 20 or 26 miles. Chris eventually realises that as both cars trace equal and diagonally opposing triangles that the answer relies on calculating the hypotenuse of that triangle and doubling it. The problem is that she gets sidetracked into "full" Pythagoras - For a right angled triangle, the square of the hypotenuse equals the sum of the squares of both sides - and figures she has to use that formula to work it out.
There is a slightly quicker way, let's call it "Pythagoras Lite": the 3-4-5 rule. As it happens, 3 squared plus 4 squared equals 5 squared. It's a pretty effective way of setting out a right angle. Once you see that the triangle in this question is of the same proportion the answer 20 comes straight away.
It's been a while, but the construction of our new house is just about to start. This is what happens when an architect designs his own home:
1) It takes a few years, innumerable drafts, what-ifs and alternate versions before any kind of coherent design emerges. Let us call this design Plan A.
2) Planning permission is sought and obtained for that design. Note that the process of preparing that planning application occasioned many detours and refinements to the design. That this work is non-chargeable appears to have little effect in restraining employee-hours allocated to this process.
3) It is decided to change something about the appearance. This requires a new planning application.
4) Working drawings are prepared, a similar process to that to which point 2) refers.
5) Tenders are sought from building contractors. All tenders exceed ridiculously optimistic under-estimate budget. It is decided to examine where savings might obtain.
6) This process leads to a re-evaluation of Plan A and the emergence of a completely different design. Let us call it Plan B. Plan B's explicit purpose is to provide a slightly smaller house which should prove less expensive than Plan A.
7) Hey! if Plan B is cheaper, maybe we can have a basement.
8) See point 2)
9) See point 4)
10) Tenders for Plan B exceed those received for Plan A by a considerable degree, despite a reduction in floor area.
11) Hey! Maybe we will be able to see the sea from the roof terrace in Plan A.
12) Those who tendered for Plan A the first time around are either not in a position to stand over their tenders or not available. Tenders are sought (again) for Plan A.
13) A building contractor is appointed, foundations to be poured on Monday 10 May.
It is said that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. An architect who designs his own house has a dream client and a nightmare client wrapped up in one package and further, one who stiffs him on the fee!
One implication of this tallies with a gut feeling of mine, and one which would inform choice of secondary school for my kids. That is, boys may be at a slight advantage attending mixed schools while girls probably do a good bit better in single-sex schools.
William Sjostrom compares the solipsistic qualities of Gena Lee Nolin, the "Baywatch Babe" originally invited to speak to Trinity College Dublin's Philosophical society, and Naomi Klein, the "No-LogoNo-Mark" whom TCD's knuckle-dragging paleo-feminists successfully substituted for Nolin.
Where do the Independent or the folks at Trinity get the idea that Nolin is beauty and Klein is brains. Nolin is not remotely in Klein's league for frivolous self-regard
Large-rail U.S. cities, notably New York City, have more transit riders than the others. People using transit also tend to own fewer autos and have lower out-of-pocket commuting costs. This is a large part of the argument made in Todd Littman's Comprehensive Evaluation of Rail Transit Benefits.
Yet, most people around the world overwhelmingly prefer personal transportation. This is why autos are a big hit everywhere. This is also why transit's share of U.S. commuting in the U.S. fell from 12% in 1960 to less than 5% in 2000 -- in spite of hundreds of billions of dollars of public subsidies over these same years. (Wendell Cox has assembled the relevant evidence and made it easily accessible.)
People (unlike some researchers) understand the trade-offs. They gladly spend more cash in return for the time savings -- and all of the satisfactions of personal transport.
Even where there is no time saving - the experience of many Irish commuters - people often still prefer the freedom and privacy of personal transport. You don't need to endorse this choice to recognise it. This is also worth bearing in mind considering the ongoing fiasco of Dublin's LUAS project which is extremely unlikely to deliver any kind of return - in terms of reduced traffic - comparable with the massive cost of its construction, both in financial terms and negative externalities for ordinary businesses and road-users during construction.