No Clean Feed - Stop Internet Censorship in Australia

Category Archives: Books

The shipping news

The IT explosion has led to a dramatic increase in the casual use of TLA’s (three letter acronyms) and neologisms.  One of which is “shipping” — postulating a relationship between two fictional characters (typically from a TV series) which is not an explicit part of the story. A lot of fanfic (fiction written by fans) is […]

The reactionary effect of Marxism

Who make up the one group that humanities and social science academics typically feel entitled to analyse and pontificate about without actually studying them in any serious sense? Without talking to them, following them around, examining their letters, documents and memoirs, or reading the work of anyone who has. That would be business folk. (And […]

The distance of the recent past

Recently. I went on a bit of a Criminal Minds (2005- ) binge, watching the first 7 seasons. Still looking for some more profiling action, I then re-watched The Silence of the Lambs (1991). The film holds up well. But what struck me, re-watching it, was how primitive the technology seemed. In Criminal Minds, it is all […]

Legal systems very different from our own

Economist David Friedman talking on legal systems very different from our own, the title of a course he teaches and of a forthcoming book (the draft of which is up on his website for comment). He sets out how medieval Sharia worked, before the rise of the nation-state. Including observing that (in its dynamics): Sharia […]

The struggle for the means of reproduction

Recently read the sort of work of history I particularly enjoy–one that gets into how past societies and states actually worked. Edited by historians Walter Scheidel and Ian Morris, The Dynamics of Ancient Empires: State Power from Assyria to Byzantium has essays on the Neo-Assyrian, Achaemenid Persian, Athenian, Roman and Eastern Roman (“Byzantine”) empires (the last […]

SCOTUS misreading history

While I am talking about the recent Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case, United States v. Windsor, I am not going to presume to tell the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) how to do US constitutional law. History is another matter. In the majority decision, written by Kennedy J, the following (pdf) appears: It […]

Putdowns with style — economists’ version

I was very chuffed when my favourite econblogger made one of my comments the centrepiece of a post. That is a prominent economist being nice. Then there are economists engaged in public putdowns. In 2002 Kenneth Rogoff penned an open letter to Joseph Stiglitz. In Scott Sumner’s words: I used to think that Ken Rogoff’s 2002 […]

‘By Heart, not Rote’: some observations on geeks and geekiness

Chrissie Amphlett and the Divinyls provided a decent chunk of the soundtrack to my young life; reports of her early death (aged 53) hit me in the childhood memories, hard, much like the arrest of Rolf Harris, or pictures of Berliners crawling over the remains of the Wall. I have, by saying those things, disclosed […]

Of fact and fiction

Novelist Kerry Greenwood (the author of the Phryne Fisher books, now a successful TV series), has recently published a book on the Somerton Man mystery, Tamam Shud: the Somerton Man Mystery. The book interweaves Kerry’s memories of her late father–a wharfie who loved telling stories–and her memories of Adelaide with the famous mystery of the unidentified man […]

Storytellers and moralists

If you’re going to win an argument or persuade someone to your point of view, it helps if you can tell a story. And by this I don’t mean any old story, but the sort of story that kept you awake at night as a kid, or made you cry, or made you afraid to […]