Amanda = Wicked Wicked Good

Jorrit Wiersma writes about his daughter and horses.

I mean, she’s only two years old, and I don’t think we encouraged this in any way. So where does this love for horses come from? Sure, we taught her what a horse is called, and she has some toy horses, but it’s just one type of animal among all the others. She can’t really be influenced by other girls yet, and we don’t show her a lot of cartoons with horses in them or anything. It’s as if it’s some genetic thing, I can’t really explain it in any other way. I’m hoping it will blow over because, next thing you know, we’ll have a subscription to a horse magazine, we’ll be trudging through the mud at the local stables, I’ll be cleaning up horse dung while she’s out riding, or, she’ll even start nagging that she wants to own a horse. Please no.

I can’t wait until she’s old enough to read this. :)

Chip Gibbons can be very pretty about things when he wants to.

It is those dark, cold, wet days of winter that bring us days like today; the daffodils and the tulips just now sprouting above the ground, the trees budding and the snow-capped peaks as background for it all. The spring and summer would not be what they are without the winter being what it is.

You could call it an I-wish-I-had-my-camera day because that is what I kept thinking over and over as I took in the world around me. I wish I had my camera on the ferry, I wish I had it at the restaurant. The mountains, the fog shrouded skyline, the ducks paddling in the water, the cops, reporters, demonstrators each with his or her own story. Over and over, I wished that I’d brought my camera. But a camera can only capture so much: it produces pictures, a record of light, which is an experience in itself, not the same as the actual experience of being at the time and place where the picture was taken.

Friedrich at 2 Blowhards writes about famous mathematicians.

To start with, it turns out that some mathematicians, at least, are pretty good at earning money. I was intrigued to note that Thales of Miletus (c. 624-c. 548 B.C.)—according to tradition, the first person to offer a demonstration or ‘proof’ of a geometric theorem—not only wandered around doing mathematical things like measuring the height of the pyramids in Egypt by the lengths of their shadows, but was also shrewd enough to corner the supply of olive presses one year when a particularly massive olive crop made the need for such presses quite urgent. (That must have paid for a number of years of abstract speculation, huh?) And Hippias of Elis, a sophist of the latter fifth century B.C., who was responsible for introducing the first curve other than a circle into mathematics, considered his proudest accomplishment to be having earned more money as a teacher than all of his intellectual rivals in Athens combined. (He thereby, of course, earned the mortal enmity of Plato, who burlesqued him in a dialogue, but that’s another story.) More recently, Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), a strong candidate for the ‘most-accomplished-mathematician-of-all-time’ award, somehow found it possible, despite having to raise a large family on a fairly modest salary, to amass a fortune by what Boyer and Merzbach describe as “shrewd investments.”

John Porcaro talks about Paco Underhill’s visit to Microsoft. I’ve mentioned Underhill before, he’s pretty awesome.

One of the interesting concepts he talked about was “companion parking lots.” Research shows that more shoppers often take companions along (spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, kids), and that they often are part of the purchasing decision making. Giving them a place to wait where they’re comfortable is imperative to them participating at all. There’s long-term parking where someone can wait for 30 minutes or more while someone else shops—I often will hang out at Radio Shack while my wife shops at The Bon. There’s medium-term parking, where someone comes in the store, but waits while someone else shops (the kids looking at children’s books while the parent browses). And there’s short-term parking where someone who needs to be part of the decision can wait for a few minutes (a friend sitting outside a dressing room to give feedback on how something looks on them). Stores that do this right make the whole shopping environment more comfortable.

Read for details on this idea and others.

Moxie is amazing.

Moxie: How much of your income would you be willing to pay in taxes?

Bleeding heart liberal: I don’t know.

Moxie: How about 50%

Bleeding heart liberal: {silence}

Moxie: I’d like to give 75% of my salary. I’d want all of it to go to welfare. And to old people who never saved a dime when they were young. Bigger government! Fiscal irresponsibility!

Bleeding heart liberal: I don’t know about that.

Moxie: Come on, you are starting to sound like a conservative, Mr. Strawman.

Bleeding heart liberal: Never!

Moxie: Say something liberal or I’m leaving.

AKMA on the Jewish responsibility for Jesus’ crucifixion.

Joe, in the comments to Saturday’s post, observes, “Much of what I’ve read here and elsewhere complain that Gisbon squarely places most of the blame on the Jews but nobody ever says how much, if any, responsiblity should be attributed to them. If I recall correctly, it’s pretty much a biblical fact that the local Jewish populace played a signficiant role in dooming Jesus to his fate.”

Scholars disagree about the extent of Judean complicity with the crucifixion. Some pertinent facts include the following:

The post is called “PC or AD?” What does that mean? “Politically correct or XXX?”