October Wrap-up

On this high holiday I have some minor links and musings to present.

First, from Reason magazine, Ronald Bailey in “Our Intangible Riches” interviews World Bank economist Kirk Hamilton about his team’s investigation into wealth and capital. The team’s results are published in Where is the Wealth of Nations?, available from the World Bank site. In short, the wealth of nations lies primarily in intangible capital; the education of the populace and the quality of social institutions.


Observations suggest inflation pressures on the working classes continue to grow. Consumer staples giants Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark, and Colgate-Palmolive have all announced the need to pass along price increases in oil and raw materials. Consumers should expect to see prices increase from 3-12%. Health, education, and childcare costs also continue to rise. Low official inflation numbers also permitted the Fed to slip another knife into an already wounded dollar.


I finished reading Iain Bank’s The Algebraist the other week. It’s not a Culture novel, though still quite fun. I also picked up a copy of Sandworms of Dune, the conclusion to Frank Herbert’s famous cycle. As expected, only in the treatment of Duncan Idaho is Frank Herbert’s touch clearly visible. The writing style was pedestrian and the story had all the subtlety and depth of a Michael Bay film.


Finally, we had a small earthquake yesterday. Nice rolling waves, almost like being on a boat.


A colleague, starting her masters program, takes unexpected leave. It’s the latest leave-taking; it seems so many have left this season. I’ve found a program I like, I can almost imagine how that announcement will be taken.

Seeing people off,
being seen off–
autumn in Kiso.

Is it no surprise I find myself reading Basho?

Wear Sunscreen

I was very careful to cover all the usual spots with sunscreen before going out in the sun last weekend. Tips of ears, sides of neck, etc. Of course, I then completely forgot that wearing sunscreen might just be a good idea on Monday, when my work had its 30th anniversary celebration. Today, I’m slowing fading from a bright red to a still-painful pink.

The party was a blast, of course. It’s hard to go wrong when you supply thousands of people with unlimited food and drink. It started off with some testimonials by our patients, and short speeches from Art, Herb, and James Watson (of “& Crick” fame). Musical entertainment was provided by the Foo Fighters, Bob Dylan, The Black Eyed Peas, and the Eagles.

Back To School

I was walking home from Saturday’s Cal game when I had the strangest idea. I’ve always assumed that I would go back to school, but even when I was in school I had a general idea of what direction I would go. My strange idea came from the realization that I hadn’t taken much in the way of science classes. Sure, there was one or two, but for the most part my work involved writing papers or programs.

This is why I’ve been browsing the biology offerings in the UC Berkeley Extension catalog. While typing this, I’ve signed up for an introductory biology course. I’ll try it out, and if all goes well, follow up with the offerings in chemistry, o-chem, and human physiology. In case you’re wondering, no, I have absolutely no idea what I’ll do with the classes. This is for fun!