Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Archive for October 2010

Best Links of the Week

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A very disturbing article from CNBC on the massive outflow of Insider selling on the stock market.  This quote scares me.

The largest companies in three of the most important leading sectors of the market have seen their executives classified as insiders sell more than 120 million shares of stock over the last six months. Top executives at these very same companies bought just 38,000 shares over that same time period, making for an eye-popping sell to buy ratio of 3,177 to one.

Survive the Outbreak – this is a really well done video version of the old choose-your-own-adventure books.  This installment is a Halloween special focusing in on surviving a Zombie attack.  (HT:  JBG)

Award winning landscape photography.

If you are in finance, law, real estate, or are a home owner here are three really important pieces explaining really really important backstory to why the big banks have haulted foreclosures.  The collateral damage extends far beyond homes in foreclosure into any home that was securitized and processed by MERS:  Gonzalo Lira, Are All Mortgage Backed Securities a Scam, and NY Times OpEd Piece.

China is ticked about “imported inflation” from the our countries “quantitative easing” (aka money printing).

Students in Australia foil biometric fingerprint readers at school with gummi bears.

Apparently, researchers have found a “liberal gene

 

Best Links of the Week

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I think some PAC published this video… worth watching

How to use Zotero to organize your personal library.  Zotero has personally saved me literally dozens of hours on a single project I worked on recently.  Any person in graduate school writing papers should use this tool.  The simple firefox/Office plugin will format your footnotes and create your Bibliography and/or Works Cited for you.  Hours saved.  I can’t believe more people don’t use this already.

The French are funny.  They are rioting because their version of Social Security got moved from age 60 to age 62.  I remember them getting all fussy when Sarkozy changed the work week from 35 hours to 40 hours.

Capitalism Saved the Miners

WSJ on the status of the mortgage mess in the U.S.

Spot on TIME Magazine piece on why young Italian professionals are leaving Italy in droves.  For once, an American journalistic enterprise hits a home run on understanding the many layers of Italian culture and economics.  Here is a bonus piece on the trash crisis in Naples, Italy.  I remember the citizens of Avellino getting so upset at their trash crisis that they started dumping trash on the city courthouse steps and lighting it on fire.  Awesome.

Inflation

Know Your Heretics

An interesting opinion piece on UGA’s new engineering school and the state of education in the state of Georgia.

 

 

Why I Haven’t Purchased a Kindle… or Another E-reader

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There has been exponential growth in the market towards E-readers.  I am a firm believer that this market will continue to grow and is a huge part of the future of publishing.  However, someone asked me a few months ago about seminary and e-readers and I thought I might spur some discussion as to why I haven’t purchased a Kindle or any other e-reader yet…

The pros to the e-readers are twofold and substantial.  First, size/portability, I can fit an entire library of books in the palm of my hand.  Second, I can take advantage of search.  Even the most steel trap and voluminous mind cannot instantaneously search through books they have read and annotated.  I am sure there are more benefits (cost/book…) but being that I don’t own one I cannot legitimately weigh in on more than the first two (you can list additional pros in the comments section).

The pros to actual physical book texts are fourfold:  tactile, speed, annotation, and ownership.

Tactile: First, I am a tactile person who enjoys the feel of paper and appreciates a well-bound book (and is annoyed by poorly bound books… *cough* crossway *cough*).

Speed: Second, a recent study (which in my view did not have a statistically significant sample size at only 32 persons) showed that a physical paper text read was 6.2% faster than an iPad and 10.7% quicker than a Kindle.

Annotation: Third, annotation is one of the main reasons I read.  With a fine pen I can use my elaborate annotation system to mark important ideas, paragraphs, sections, and quotations – as well as, interact with the text with my own follow-up responses to the text.  Annotation is critical for my reading process and is what helps me not have to re-read books several times in order to go back to important ideas, passages, and arguments.

Ownership:  Lastly, is the idea of ownership.  For me personally, the idea of ownership of a physical book is the biggest trump card over the e-readers.  Here is what I mean by ownership – when I go and buy a physical book (used, new… whatever), I own that book and can keep it, re-sell it, or donate it.  With an E-reader, if a book ends up in my re-sell or donate pile, I cannot do anything with that book besides delete it of my device or keep it there.  Perhaps one of you who understands some of these devices can speak to this related issue – what happens when my E-reader dies and I have to buy the same E-reader or a different platform of E-reader, do I still own the books on the device that died?  My understanding is that the answer is no on all or most accounts (with perhaps the exception of an iPad were you synced and backed up e-books).  With that said, I believe that with the e-reader’s you are essentially renting a text.  I would prefer to own a text and not run the risk of losing my entire library because I didn’t sync my device or because my device was broke or stolen or some superior platform came out and I have to re-purchase my whole library.

At the end of the day it is a subjective question.  Books are resources. I need a book for a lifetime and want to bequeath it to my progeny. E-books fail in the resource column in my opinion. They are convenient in some areas but I need certain texts for life.

My two cents.  Your thoughts… and/or flaws in my argument(s)…

Written by Michael Graham

October 17, 2010 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Culture, Recommended Books

Tagged with , , ,

Best Links of the Week

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The Economist has a brief piece on the New Calvinism.  Not the best piece of journalism I’ve seen from The Economist but intriguing that they would even think it was newsworthy.

Owner of Segway dies driving Segway off cliff in accident.

Taxpayers Receipt

Apparently, an SEC report says that the “flash crash” of 5/6/10 was the result of trading software gone awry.

Some pretty incredible wallpaper from Alpinist.

Taliban beware, U.S. to have self-aiming sniper rifles next year.  I have got to say this is some pretty cool technology, I just hope it stays in the right hands.

Fascinating story of a guy who has lived for three years exclusively on paid medical studies.

Best Links of the Week

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Advice for Theological Students” and “More Advice for Theological Students and Pastors” are both absolutely fantastic gems gleaned from Kevin DeYoung.

Developers Trying To Treat Houses Like Copyright; Want A Cut Of Every Future Resale” and even worse than this, the financial firm pushing this garbage is in the process of securitizing these hidden ‘resale contract covenants.’  No offense, but it is greedy morons like these guys who got us into the whole sub-prime mess.  I am all for free-market economics, but I really hope the free-market (particularly the hedge funds) decides to vote ‘no’ with their feet.

A List of Important Sermons and Articles Worth Reading” (HT:  JT) – this is an excellent excellent list.  There are a good number of these that I have not read.  I am particularly excited about those that I have not read that have multiple commendations.

Nancy Pearcey dissects the affect of secularism on America and its’ disability to provide a cogent response to radical Islam.

Here is also a really good interview with Nancy Pearcey on her new book “Saving Leonardo.”  Coincidentally she also weighs in on James Daveson Hunter’s new book (see next link)

James K. A. Smith’s review of James Daveson Hunter’s “To Change the World

Excellent article in The Atlantic from Jeffrey Goldberg analyzing the likelihood and aftermath of an Israeli preemptive strike against the Iranian nuclear program.

Typewriter robot art… very Philip K. Dick-esque

Self-assembling biological photovolatics

Canadian PhD student creates human powered aircraft with large flapping wings.  One of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.

Pacman with 111 human pixels:

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