Friday, November 29

Boycott the English language says top French intellectual

I thought you might like this story about how the French are trying to protect the French language from being polluted by English. 

Languages are a bit like religion kids. They have a root, but they evolve and change as life goes on. When their speakers die or they don't want to change, the language also dies with them. Like so many religions have died as their worshipers died. It's a bit sad that that entire culture disappears like so many languages have done so as well. But life goes on and needs to evolve. Darwin would be nodding. You don't change you become extinct. 

Nobody speaks Latin or Sanskrit any more in common parlance. That's because they refused to change and therefore local vernacular languages took over. Classical Arabic is going the same way. Very few young people read or understand it. And so that's on its way out. 

And life goes on. 



Boycott the English language says top French intellectual - Telegraph

A leading French intellectual has called for a boycott of all products whose advertising slogans use English and of films whose titles are not translated, in the latest salvo in a rearguard action against the “invasion” of Franceby the English language.

“There are more English words (in adverts) on the walls of Toulouse than there were German words during the Occupation,” said philosopher Michel Serres, a member of the Acadamie française, the state body which aims to protect the French language.

“I want to invite the French to go on strike. Each time that advertising is English, you don’t buy the product, each time a film’s title is not translated, you don’t go into the cinema,” he said in an interview with la Depeche du Midi newspaper.

Thursday, November 28

Science: A New Map of the Human Brain
You will find surveys and classifications like this all over the place. It's interesting to read but can you actually change what you are? No. Not easily anyway.
But the trick is to recognise others son. You need all kinds of people around you. Some doers. Some dreamers. Some checkers. While you're the visionary and planner. Of course as you start your career you have to do the basics like doing dreaming checking etc. Either you do these jobs or read about them.
You can get more things done through others than yourself son.

Wednesday, November 27


I first did public speaking when I was about 14 and to my surprise I won third prize at a debate competition. It was a book by dale Carnegie on how to win friends and influence people. 

And then I read his book on public speaking. Where he talks about Demosthenes. Brilliant orator son. He defended his city against Phillip of Macedon, father of Alexander. 

He wasn't a natural orator but he trained himself to be one. And that's the key son. You are destined for great deeds son I hope and your ability to speak convincingly to large multitudes and convince them is very important. You've already got something that I'm very happy about, self control son. The next is to convince others. 

Read about him. Read about rhetoric. Learn how to light a fire 



Demosthenes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Demosthenes (English pronunciation: /dɪˈmɒs.θənz/, Greek: Δημοσθένης,Dēmosthénēs [dɛːmostʰénɛːs]; 384–322 BC) was a prominent Greekstatesman and orator of ancient Athens. His orations constitute a significant expression of contemporary Athenian intellectual prowess and provide an insight into the politics and culture of ancient Greece during the 4th century BC. Demosthenes learned rhetoric by studying the speeches of previous great orators. He delivered his first judicial speeches at the age of 20, in which he argued effectively to gain from his guardians what was left of his inheritance. For a time, Demosthenes made his living as a professional speech-writer (logographer) and a lawyer, writing speeches for use in privatelegal suits.

Tuesday, November 26

Three essays on the economics of gender, health and happiness.


you don't have to read the full dissertation, but at least check out the first chapter. It is a fascinating study in the field of happiness and economics. As you know, one of the objectives of life is to be happy so there is a burgeoning body of research which is analysing this area.

the first one was about headscarfs, i don't understand this but then who does….there are strange reasons given to cover your head and wear ties, but as long as its done voluntarily, who cares? but in this case, the Ataturkian militantly secular state bans headscarfs in public institutions. Result? women are statistically significantly unable to work as well as they could, hence they stay at home and pump out more babies resulting in more babies being brought up by women in veils. If the idea was to reduce the number of religious people, it fell foul of the law of unintended circumstances. As a libertarian, you will appreciate this, eh?

the second one was interesting, as you know, in our family we have a tradition of donating our bodies to medicine and organs for transplants. Your great uncle did so, Dadu and Didu have written so in their wills, while your parents have organ donor cards. This is informed consent, son. But where this happens, the rate of organ donation is very low. But where there’s presumed consent, like in Belgium, where bodies are taken assuming consent has been given, the donation rates are double or triple. Excellent news, eh? the nudge theory, son. This is why you need to be very careful about what questions and public policy angles you take. Its like the question, “when did you stop beating up your dog” and you can only answer yes or no. stiffed. in some cases, it works like in pension provision. Everybody knows that you should save for your pension, but hardly anybody saves. Read the HSBC report I linked into. But there is a difference, if you have presumed consent and force everybody to store and save before your salary lands in your bank account, then automatic savings happen.

And finally the question of charity. As you know, I do loads of this stuff and yes, I feel good, so its not purely altruistic. The lady in question has found evidence for this. But yes, that makes me happy. Doing stuff for others, son, makes you feel good, really really good. So I felt so proud when you were teaching your friend. Seriously proud. I know you are getting a reputation of a good friend and somebody who is always willing to help others. Keep it up, son, it helps to be happy with helping others.

If you were a libertarian, then each of these cases will challenge your thinking and enforce your principles even better. It’s the gray areas where the principles are tested, son. Religion, personal aspects, etc. etc. Fascinating area to keep thinking and challenging one self.





    1. From headscarves to donation: Three essays on the economics of gender, health and happiness.




Ugur, Z.B. (Tilburg University)


Abstract: Zeynep’s research interests are mainly in the field of health and labor economics. In this thesis, she explores a broad range of topics within the domain of the economics of gender, health and happiness. The first chapter provides the motivations for the studies and summarizes the main findings. The second chapter documents differences in educational attainment, labor market outcomes and childbearing among women by their use of headscarves and investigates the impact of the headscarf ban in Turkey on women’s educational attainment, labor force participation and childbearing decisions. In Chapter 3, she explores the relationship between presumed consent legislation and various organ donation indicators such as willingness to donate one’s organs, organ donation card holding, actual organ donation rates and kidney transplantation rates. The last chapter looks at the relationship between pro-social behavior and subjective wellbeing and tries to quantify the happiness effect of donating in the Netherlands.

Monday, November 25

Words to ponder

“The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.” –F.A. Hayek in The Fatal Conceit.

quite an interesting quote no? I know its called as the dismal science but it just tells you how the best laid plans of mice and men can be buggered up.