This Blog

Minor Site Redesign

I am doing a bit of site redesign as my CSS skills improve.  All of this is a prelude to my pending attempt to move this entire beast over to Wordpress, a goal mainly thwarted right now by trying to preserve all the permalinks at the same addresses.

Anyway, I have a new page with all my published books and Powerpoint presentations here.  I have a page collecting all my videos here.   Since YouTube crunches all the videos to a resolution too small to really read my charts well, I have also set up a streaming video site with full resolution videos here.  All of these sites are easily reachable by the new menu bar across the top of the site.

New Typepad Editor Bugged

I am working on several new posts, but the new Typepad editor is really buggy.  For some reason, Typepad put this particular blog (but not my others) on the new editor, probably as an involuntary beta.  The new editor is much, much slower, and has fatal bugs that make use of images in posts virtually impossible.

This is actually a problem with online applications I had not considered before.  When I heard iTunes 8 was initially bugged or learned to hate Vista, I would just avoid making the "upgrade."  But with online services, I have no choice but to accept the new version, even if I consider it worse (as is so often the case nowadays in software).

Light Posting

Sorry for the light posting.  I have not lost interest, I have just been extremely busy.  Relevant to climate, I am working on a 30-minute presentation for a climate debate I am participating in soon at Lake Tahoe.  Once that is done, the material I have developed for it should drive a number of new posts.

Comment Policy

Since it has come up a couple of times in the last few days, here is a reminder of the comment policy on this blog:

1)  I do not edit, moderate or delete comments, except for outright spam.  The reasons for this are many.  First, I don't have time.  Second, I don't have the inclination.  Third, I take zero responsibility from an editorial standpoint on what is in the comments.  The comments are an open public forum I offer as a public service.  Even light moderation or isolated bans would break this bright-line rule and might lead some to some confusion as to whether I implicitly support some particular comment because I didn't delete it.  So I don't touch anything.

2)  I encourage everyone who agrees with me to remain civil, rational, open-minded, and professional in the comments.  Everyone else is encouraged to discredit his or her own opinions by making as much of an ass of him or herself as they choose. Some of my commenters seem particularly adept at the latter.

3) Commenter names are entirely arbitrary.  It is amazing that I have to remind folks of this nowadays, but if you see a commenter named "Al Gore,"  you should be entirely suspicious as to the person's true identity (though of course Al would be welcome to hang out here).  Its not like I check everyone's ID. 

On This Site's Comments

To answer a question in the comments, I do not moderate comments on this site except to occasionally delete obvious advertising spam (and even that I can be pretty slow to get to).  This is in contrast to sites like RealClimate, which have been known to moderate out dissenting opinion.  Also, I seldom participate in the comment threads, so y'all should not necessarily assume that by not replying I have somehow been silenced by your wit.  I am just too busy to keep up with online flame wars in the same way that I used to get sucked into them.  I read the comment threads, and then try to refine my arguments in my posts in the future.

I will observe the the discourse has become a bit, uh, course at times of late.  I get it that this is an emotional topic. 

At most sites, this would result in a plea at this point for civility.  I am not going to do that, exactly.  I am just going to observe that looking back over the comment threads, those of you who are resorting to name calling and other kindergarten-level debating tactics are not helping your position very well.

There is nothing I hate more than to be in a debate / discussion, trying to carefully and logically defend my position, only to have someone jump in, supposedly on "my side" and say something like "YOU LIBERALS ALL SUCK!"  So, this is an official plea for civility from those who agree with me.  Let's hold the intellectual high ground.   Everyone else can curse and flame to their heart's content ;=)

Postscript:  And since we are dealing with issues in the comments, yes, my spelling and proofreading is are often terrible.  mea culpa

Working This Week On A Book Project

I am working on a submission (outline and several chapters) for a book prize that is due December 31, so I may not be posting much over the next week.  The contest is for a novel that promotes the principals of freedom, capitalism, and individual responsibility in the context of a novel (hopefully without 120-page John Galt radio speeches). 

My project is one I have been tinkering with for a while, an update of the Marshall Jevons economist mysteries from the 1980's.  If you are not familiar with this series, Marshall Jevons was a pseudonym for a couple of economists who wrote several murder mysteries that included a number of expositions on how economics apply to everyday life.  Kind of Agatha Christie meets Freakonomics.  I found the first book, Murder at the Margin, to be disappointing, but the second book called the Fatal Equilibrium was pretty good.  I think the latter was a better book because the setting was university life, and the murder revolved around a tenure committee decision, topics the authors could write about closer to their experience.  The books take a pro-free-market point of view (which already makes them unique) and it is certainly unusual to have the solution to a murder turn on how search costs affect pricing variability.

Anyway, for some time, I have been toying with a concept for a young adult book in roughly the same tradition.  I think the Jevons novels are a good indicator of how a novel can teach some simple economics concepts, but certainly the protagonist as fusty stamp-collecting Harvard professor would need to be modified to engage young adults. 

My new novel (or series of novels, if things go well) revolves around a character named Adam Smith.  Adam is the son of a self-made immigrant and heir to a nearly billion dollar fortune.  At the age of twenty, he rejects his family and inheritance in a wave of sixties rebellion, joins a commune, and changes his name to the unfortunate "Moonbeam."  After several years, he sours on commune life, put himself through graduate school in economics, and eventually reclaims his family fortune.  Today, he leads two lives:  Adam Smith, eccentric billionaire, owner of penthouses and fast cars, and leader of a foundation [modeled after the IJ]; and Professor Moonbeam, aging hippie high school economics teacher who drives a VW beetle and appears to live in a trailer park.  There is a murder, of course, and the fun begins when three of his high school students start to suspect that their economics teacher may have a second life.  As you might expect, the kids help him solve the murder while he teaches them lessons about life and economics.  The trick is to keep the book light and fun rather than pedantic, but since one business model in my last novel revolved around harvesting coins in fountains, I think I can do it.

Anyway, wish me luck and I will be back in force come the new year. 

Altered for Readability

For a while now, I have known that the design I created for this site was not really working.  My intention was to draw from the color palette of the Earth in space, but what I got was a blog that was very hard to read.  I have dragged my feet for a while, casting about for a better design, when I received a class action lawsuit from Jon Edwards suing me for destroying the eyesight of my readers.  So I have modified the blog to be much more readable, at least as an interim step to a new design.

Visits (Coyote Blog + Climate Skeptic)

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