Friday, 23 December 2005

Book learnin'

As should be pretty obvious by now, I’ve conceded the Fifty Book Challenge. I did get ten pages of Tim Harford’s The Undercover Economist read while waiting for my car’s oil to be changed today in Collierville, but the ruthless efficiency of Mathis Tire and Auto (in and out in less than 20 minutes, including a tire rotation, for $17.50 or so) precluded any further reading. Except for the stuff I’m being paid to read, it may be a while before I get back in the reading groove.

Quote of the Day, Canadian edition

Colby Cosh, on the uneasy relationship between social conservatives and the exercise of judicial review:

Can’t social conservatives tell the difference between judicial activism that expands the power of the state—like adding newly-invented “protected grounds” to discrimination law—and judicial activism that inhibits it?

Nah. What they care about is that the power of the state be used for their own preferred ends.

Like all good social science, it generalizes to both sides of the 49th parallel.


One job application: several hours and several dollars I’ll never see again.

One phone interview: thirty minutes of my life I’ll never get back.

Seeing that position readvertised: priceless.

Big brother and your number plates

The UK has decided to keep records of virtually all vehicle movements in the country and retain the data for at least two years.

Steven Taylor, who pointed out the story, notes a transatlantic difference in attitudes:

Certainly, this underscores a key difference between European and American sensibilities: we are currently having a major debate over whether the NSA should ever listen in on the domestic end of an international phone call with a suspected al Qaeda operative, and the British are to keep records of where everyone is driving.

Of course, the NSA surveillance (which, admittedly, I have serious qualms about—indeed, even the FISA warrant process seems suspect, even though there is serious selection bias that plagues simplistic analysis of its statistics) is almost certainly considered by Europeans, including Britons, as yet more evidence of Bushitlerism.