Category: Heuristic

Brian Doherty’s Radicals for Capitalism is a comprehensive, highly entertaining history of libertarianism with too many points of interest — Murray Rothbard’s solution to the free rider problem (“so what?”), Milton Friedman’s sterling character, The Unbearable Lightness of Being a Deontologist — to deal with in a single post. Instead I want to talk about […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted March 13, 2007 @ 7:08 PM | Heuristic,Literature

If I could require every American schoolchild of normal intelligence to read one book, it would be George Pólya’s How To Solve It. (Second choice is Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson. I keep extra copies of both books on hand to give away as necessary.) Pólya was born in Hungary and taught mathematics at […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted November 22, 2006 @ 4:36 PM | Heuristic

I’m a betting man, and yesterday I was offered a betting proposition. The U.S. Bridge Championships are going on now, and the great Nickell team, which has won the event eight years running, has a bye to the semifinals. My friend Justin Lall, a bridge pro, offered me 6:1 odds on $50 on the field: […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted August 26, 2006 @ 5:07 PM | Heuristic

All rock critics like Elvis Costello because all rock critics look like Elvis Costello. –David Lee Roth Were you a grade-school liberal like me? Anyone who isn’t a socialist at 10 has no heart, anyone who still is at 20 has no brains. I grew up in New York’s legendarily Republican Dutchess County, of which […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted March 12, 2004 @ 12:25 PM | Culture,Heuristic,Poetry

Eddie Thomas, a better philosopher than he is a statistician, poses the following problem. He is interviewing five candidates for two jobs. Each candidate’s chance of receiving a job offer, a priori, is 40%. After interviewing four candidates Eddie wants to offer a job to the best of the four to protect against his taking […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted February 25, 2004 @ 11:11 PM | Heuristic

Five years ago, after the 1999 season, a fellow fantasy league baseball owner and I fell into an argument about Roger Clemens. Clemens was 37 years old. In 1998 he had a brilliant season with Toronto, winning the pitching triple crown — ERA, wins, and strikeouts — and his fifth Cy Young Award. In 1999, […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted February 21, 2004 @ 11:44 AM | Baseball,Heuristic

How full of ourselves we bloggers grow: Some might conclude from the above that, because I reject the solutions that [Steven] Den Beste and [Victor David] Hanson offer, that I’m implying that something more dire be done to “solve” this problem. I am not. Frankly, personally, I am increasingly resigned to the fact that these […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted November 9, 2003 @ 7:53 PM | Culture,Heuristic

(I had a pleasant holiday from you, dear readers, and, I trust, you from me as well. Now let’s get down to it boppers.) Toxicologists say that the dose is the poison, and Americans could save themselves millions of dollars if they only understood what that means. Everything on earth, from arsenic to mother’s milk, […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted October 4, 2003 @ 3:24 PM | Business,Heuristic

You might be a junk scientist if: You prophesy disaster in some remote future. It is safest to choose a date in the long run, when we’re all dead, but even the less judicious have little to worry about: by the time D-Day rolls around people will have forgotten what you said. If someone does […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted July 29, 2003 @ 12:00 PM | Business,Heuristic

One of my favorite examples of the Hayekian concept of “spontaneous order” is stairway traffic. In the subway at rush hour, when people are trying to get up and down the stairs in a hurry, two lines always form between the guardrails, and they are always on the right. Any idiot who tries to plow […]

Aaron Haspel | Posted March 19, 2003 @ 3:10 PM | Heuristic