So, I read too much. And I used to have this crazy/good (?) habit of making a list of things that caught my eye/words I didn’t know and then going on a googlebinge. Trying to get back into said habit. You don’t have to stick around…
quidnunc – An inquisitive and gossipy person (from the Latin ‘what’s new?’
“Wild Jack” Howard, Earl of Suffolk Mentioned in an FT article as smuggling nuclear scientists out of France. Daily Telegraph article here. Shades of Nevil Shute’s Pied Piper only a) far more hair-raising and b) true. I must track down my Grandfather’s story – he got out of France at about the same time…
Leslie Orgel’s second law “Evolution is cleverer than you are.”
Orgel’s Second Rule is intended as a rejoinder to the argument by lack of imagination. In general, this rule expresses the sometimes experienced fact that “trial and error” strategies are better than centralized intelligent human planning.
Marcel Bigeard – French soldier. In the obituary in the FT (July 3, 2010) there’s this gem – ‘A brief stab at being an instructor at the army staff college after Indo-China ended when he told a general “I never followed your courses – otherwise me and my men would have been massacred in battle!”’
The Easterlin paradox The Easterlin Paradox is a key concept in happiness economics. It is named for economist Richard Easterlin who discussed the factors contributing to happiness in the 1974 paper “Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some Empirical Evidence.” Easterlin found that within a given country people with higher incomes are more likely to report being happy. However, in international comparisons the average reported level of happiness does not vary much with national income per person, at least for countries with income sufficient to meet basic needs. Similarly, although income per person rose steadily in the United States between 1946 and 1970, average reported happiness showed no long-term trend and declined between 1960 and 1970.
schnorrer Schnorrer (שנאָרער; also spelled shnorrer) is a Yiddish term meaning “beggar” or “sponger”. The word Schnorrer also occurs in German to describe a person, who frequently asks for little things like cigarettes or little sums of money, without offering a return, and has thus come to mean freeloader. The English usage of the word denotes a sly chiseller who will get money out of another any way he can, often through an air of entitlement. A schnorrer is distinguished from an ordinary beggar by dint of his boundless chutzpah.
Spinoza on joy as the source of power One of the central ideas of the Ethics is that each thing strives to preserve its own existence. This striving is expressed in the Latin word conatus. Spinoza’s theory of emotion is based on the idea that emotions are changes in our power of persevering. The three basic emotions, then, are desire (the awareness of our striving), joy (the increase of our power) and sadness (the decrease of our power).
Harry Eyres recommendation of Gary Small, director of the Memory and Aging Research Centre at UCLA. The book in question is probably “iBrain”. Here’s the Amazon.com page, and here’s a slideshare review.
Brain bits – anterior cingulate!
Bill Waterton, chief test pilot for the Gloster aircraft company.
WW Jacobs short story “The Monkey’s Paw”