Thursday, March 18, 2010

Quotes of the day

I think it’s probably a good thing, to believe it when you win, to expect to win. It’s better, at least, than thinking you haven’t a chance.--Tony Woodlief

As a young player you have a lot of energy, a lot of strength, you are very motivated. But young players are often not good at defending a position; they cannot cope well when fate turns against them. The fact is simply that experience is a central issue. One of the most important things in chess is pattern recognition: the ability to recognize typical themes and images on the board, characteristics of a position and their consequences. To a certain degree you can learn that while training, but there is nothing like playing routine. I have always made sure to get that. I am only 19, but I have certainly already played a thousand games in the classic style. ... I’m not a disciplined thinker. Organization is not my thing; I am chaotic and tend to be lazy. My trainer recognized that and as a rule allowed me to practice whatever I felt like at the time. ... I’m not a genius. Sloppy? Perhaps. It’s like this: When I am feeling good, I train a lot. When I feel bad, I don’t bother. I don’t enjoy working to a timetable. Systematic learning would kill me.--Magnus Carlsen

To this day, I view the relationship among Treasury, the Fed, the New York Fed, and large financial institutions in Exclusive Country Club terms. These people vet one another, agree with one another, and support one another. They do not question whether their interests coincide with those of the rest of the country--they just assume that the country depends on their institutions and their class leadership.--Arnold Kling

I get very frustrated when I read Western commentators talk about China as if they are addressing a naughty schoolboy. It’s not that they aren’t naughty at times, the problem is that there seems to be no awareness that it not “our world” anymore. These Asian countries shouldn’t be treated as children. We used to treat Japan the same way. The Economist recently pointed out that in 18 of the last 20 centuries more than half the world’s GDP was in Asia. And in a few more decades they will regain a majority of world GDP. Each year the world economy will look a little more like the typical Asian economy. Maybe it’s time we stopped lecturing them about saving too much, and ask ourselves whether we are saving too little.--Scott Sumner

The irony of multiculturalism as a political process is that it undermines much of what is valuable about diversity as lived experience. When we talk about diversity, what we mean is that the world is a messy place, full of clashes and conflicts. That's all for the good, for such clashes and conflicts are the stuff of political and cultural engagement. But the very thing that's valuable about diversity – the clashes and conflicts that it brings about – is the very thing that worries many multiculturalists. They seek to minimize such conflicts by parceling people up into neat ethnic boxes, and policing the boundaries of those boxes in the name of tolerance and respect. Far from minimizing conflict what this does is generate a new set of more destructive, less resolvable conflicts.--Kenan Malik

In 1997, Pakistani suppliers and representatives of Unicef and the International Labor Organization signed the Atlanta Agreement in which the [soccer ball] industry agreed to stop the use of child labor. Thousands of children lost their jobs overnight.--Hasnain Kazim

... trials have proved the effectiveness of countless treatments, and the dangers of countless others. It is a shame, then, that there is so little appetite from politicians for the same standards of evidence outside medicine. In fact it is more than a shame – it’s a scandal. While randomized trials are not going to tell us when to raise interest rates or get out of Afghanistan, there are many policies that could and should be tested with properly controlled trials. Is Jamie Oliver right to emphasize healthy school meals? Run a trial. Should young offenders be sent to boot camp, or to meet victims of crime? Run a trial. What can we do to persuade households to use less electricity? Run a trial. Yet such trials are not common in the US, and downright rare in the UK. There is no financial, ethical or practical excuse for this. Trials are cheap. (Even if they were expensive, solid practical knowledge is well worth paying for.) This is not a question of carrying out dangerously speculative crank experiments, but simply adding the essential ingredient of randomization to a standard pilot project that would have happened anyway. Randomizing is often what distinguishes proper evidence from statistical mush, by removing biases in the setting of experiments – such as running pilots only in the most needy areas.--Tim Harford

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