Moral Hazards


News and Site Updates Archive 2009/02/28

The moderation of people in prosperity is the effect of a smooth and composed temper, owing to the calm of their good fortune.

- Francois de La Rochefoucauld

28 Feb '09 - "Weta" is a New Zealand name that derives from the Maori name Wetapunga that was given to the giant weta.  Wetapunga translates roughly to "God of Ugly Things".  The giant weta grows up to 90mm (more than 3.5 inches) in length and weighs up to 70 grams (about 2½ ounces).  Click image to enlarge.  A Different Family of Weta: Nadya Vessey's mermaid tail was created by Wellington-based film industry wizards Weta Workshop after the Auckland woman wrote to them 2 years ago asking if they could make her a prosthetic tail.  She was astounded when they agreed.  She lost both legs below the knee from a medical condition when she was a child.  Ms Vessey had told a small boy: "I'm a little mermaid" when he asked what happened to her legs and the idea stuck...  [A few of] the Rules of Gunfighting: If your shooting stance is good, you're probably not moving fast enough or using cover correctly.  Practice reloading one-handed and off-hand shooting.  That's how you live if hit in your "good" side.  Practice shooting in the dark, with someone shouting at you, when out of breath, et cetera.  The only thing you EVER say afterwards is, "He said he was going to kill me.  I believed him.  I'm sorry, Officer, but I'm very upset now.  I can't say anything more.  Please speak with my attorney"...  The Population Reference Bureau estimates there have been about 106 billion births since the dawn of the human race.  Only about 5.8% of all people ever born are alive today.

The government of the biggest economy in the US - California - is facing a massive budget deficit whose pain could be alleviated by decriminalising marijuana.  California's current deficit stands at a whopping $15 billion and is expected to reach $42 billion next year.  Marijuana is California's largest cash crop, valued at $14 billion annually, or nearly twice that of the state's grape and vegetable crops combined.  Opponents are quick to point out that decriminalisation could lead to job losses in law enforcement and prisons.  According to a recent Zogby poll, 58% of respondents residing on the west coast agree cannabis should be "taxed and legally regulated like alcohol and cigarettes."  Only 36% oppose regulating sale to adults...  The cheapest and surest way to stimulate the American economy: immigration.  "All you need is to grant visas to two million Indians, Chinese and Koreans," says the editor of The Indian Express newspaper.  "We will buy up all the subprime homes; we will work 18 hours a day to pay for them.  We will immediately improve your savings rate — no Indian bank today has more than 2% nonperforming loans because not paying your mortgage is considered shameful here.  And we will start new companies to create our own jobs and jobs for more Americans."  The US Senate unfortunately voted on 6 February to restrict banks and other financial institutions that receive taxpayer bailout money from hiring high-skilled immigrants on temporary work permits known as H-1B visas.  Bad signal.  In an age when attracting first-round intellectual draft choices from around the world is the most important competitive advantage a knowledge economy can have, why add barriers?

The push for a new NZ flag seems to have stalled - at least the site pushing the flag on the left hasn't been updated in several years - too bad, because I quite like it.  The lower flag at right is my second favourite.  (It was designed by Friedrich Hundertwasser)...  According to a survey by the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 26% of the population have had cosmetic dentistry, with veneers the 2nd most popular treatment after teeth whitening.  Along with costing £350 to £1,000 per tooth, new research indicates that veneers typically last 8 - 10 years (not 12 - 15 years as previously claimed).  And now, as the first big wave of cosmetic veneers (which first appeared 20 years ago, but have become extremely popular in the past 10) near the end of their lives, professional dental bodies are concerned about the number of patients facing huge restorative dental bills they weren't expecting.  The dental world is dividing into 2 camps: those who offer veneers as part of their armoury and those who are concerned about the creeping spread of what they call - with grim humour - "veneerial disease".

Muzzammil Hassan came to America from Pakistan 25 years ago and became a banker in Buffalo, New York.  He and his wife, Aasiya, were happy to be in the US, but they were upset by the negative perceptions of Muslims, particularly how this perception might affect their children.  That is how they came up with the idea of Bridges TV.  Hassan’s wife challenged him to start it; he worked almost non-stop.  His English language television network offers news and entertainment for Muslims - he hoped Bridges TV would unite American Muslims and help other Americans release negative images they might have of Muslims and Islam.  That was in 2004; now, 5 years later, Hussan may still be concerned about “negative perceptions” of Muslims but his wife has no worries in that department.  In fact, she has no worries at all - she filed for divorce, so Hassan beheaded her.  Khalid J Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York, says, "There is no place for domestic violence in our religion — none.  Islam would 100% condemn it."  Nevertheless, sadly whatever good Bridges TV may have been doing has likely come undone...  I-Know-This-Is-Just-a-Coincidence-but: Men are attracted to women who wear red.  Students at the University of Rochester, New York rated a woman's attractiveness in attire of varying hues.  Most women opted for red.  Researchers say this suggests they associate red with sex.  Surprise!  Red light district, scarlet woman, lipstick, painted nails; no clues there, then.  Do note the colour of Muzzammil's tie and Aasiya's jacket.  Another study found that the part of the brain that keeps a man's sexual hostility towards women in check is deactivated when he's shown images of women in bikinis.  This supports the idea that pornographic images turn women into commodified objects in the minds of men.  The study focuses on a region of the brain called the medial pre-frontal cortex, just above the eyes, which, when activated, seems to damp a man's tendency to express hostile sexist thoughts about women.  Men who express the strongest sexist tendencies tend to have a less-active medial cortex.  [Do we now suspect something about Aasiya's husband, Muzzammil?]

Obama is shocked...  If the 70-year-old money manager was running a con, then his marketers, wittingly or not, were part of the scam.  The purported mission of such feeder funds is to vet hedge funds for wealthy clients.  Instead, the line between victim and perpetrator was blurred.  Middlemen funneled billions of dollars to Madoff, even, in some cases, when they suspected he was engaged in questionable trading practices.  In return, they reaped hundreds of millions in client fees.  Some of those eager to profit from what they thought might be illicit trading must have been surprised to learn that the scheme Madoff said he was engaged in wasn’t front­running - it was theft.  (I think it was the belief that the profits weren't exactly legal that kept dupes at whatever level from asking too many questions.  (Maybe "desire to prevent questions" is what Obama and Madoff have most in common right now?)...  Reporting in Science, Japanese researchers told subjects to imagine themselves as protagonists in social dramas with characters of greater or lesser status or achievement.  When confronting characters that the participants admitted to envying, brain regions involved in registering physical pain were aroused: the higher the subjects rated their envy, the more vigorously flared the pain nodes in the brain’s dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and related areas.  Conversely, when subjects were given a chance to imagine the golden one’s downfall, the brain’s reward circuits were activated, again in proportion to the strength of envy’s sting: the subjects who felt the greatest envy the first time around reacted to news of their rival’s misfortune with a comparatively livelier response in the dopamine-rich pleasure centres of the ventral striatum.  "We have a saying in Japanese, 'The misfortunes of others are the taste of honey,'" said Hidehiko Takahashi, the report's first author.  "The ventral striatum is processing that 'honey'."  As evolutionary scientists see it, envy’s salient features — its persistence and universality, fixation with social status and the fact that it cohabits with shame — suggest that it serves a deep social role.  They propose that our invidious impulses  help explain why humans are less hierarchical than many primate species, more prone to a rough egalitarianism and to rebelling against kings and tycoons who hog more than their fair share.

The 2008 World Press Photo of the Year contest has produced some spectacular images.  Shown is the winner 3rd Place - Sports, a shot of Cuban Alexis Copello competing in the Men's Triple Jump Qualification Round at the Beijing 2008 Olympics (the splash is composed of sand, not water).  Click to enlarge...  Normally at the mercy of a kestrel or a deadly sparrowhawk like the one they appear to be mimicking, this swift-moving flock of starlings, known as a murmuration, finds safety in numbers...  "At the University of Pennsylvania, there are 29 more students registered today than there were in 1980.  There are also 1,820 more administrators and staff.  What's wrong with this picture?  An explosion in administration is one of several reasons tuition has skyrocketed, not just at Penn but at colleges and universities across the nation." - "Why College Costs So Much" Philadelphia Inquirer 31 March 1996 via Infectious Greed comments...  Individuals with diastolic blood pressure under 70 mm Hg coupled with an elevated systolic blood pressure may have a greater risk of heart attack and stroke than indicated by the systolic blood pressure values alone.  A diastolic number under 70 mm Hg when combined with a systolic blood pressure less than 120 mm Hg indicates normal values with no increased cardiovascular risk; the low diastolic blood pressure must be coupled with an elevated systolic reading - for example, 140/65 - to indicate increased risk.

In what could be the greatest fraud in US history, American authorities are investigating the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125 billion (£88 billion) in a US-directed effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.  A report by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) suggests the sum stolen may exceed $50 billion, making it an even bigger theft than Bernard Madoff's notorious Ponzi scheme.  The real looting was by US officials and contractors, not Iraqis.  In one case, $57.8 million was sent in "pallet upon pallet of $100 bills" to the US comptroller for south-central Iraq (he had himself photographed standing with the mound of money).  He's one of the few US officials to be convicted of fraud and money-laundering.  Despite vast sums spent by the US to rebuild, there have been no cranes visible on the Baghdad skyline except those building the new US embassy and others rusting beside a half-built mosque Saddam was constructing when overthrown.  One of the few visible signs of government work on Baghdad's infrastructure is a tireless attention to planting palm trees and flowers in the centre strip between main roads.  Those are then dug up and replanted a few months later.  In the early days of occupation well-connected Republicans were awarded jobs regardless of experience.  A 24-year-old from a Republican family was put in charge of the Baghdad stock exchange which had to close down because he forgot to renew the building lease.  The evidence of a small-time US businessman murdered after leaving the US base north of Baghdad in 2004 is being re-examined.  Before being killed, this arms dealer and contractor was granted immunity from prosecution after providing information that a network of bribery existed in the US-run Green Zone.  He said bribes of tens of thousands of dollars were regularly delivered in pizza boxes sent to US contracting officers.

A hype cycle graphically represents maturity, adoption and business application of specific technologies.  Its 5 phases:
1. Technology Trigger - Breakthrough product launch (or similar event) generates significant press and interest.
2. Peak of Inflated Expectations - A high is reached after frenzied publicity generates over-enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations; some may apply the technology successfully, though typically most will fail.
3. Trough of Disillusionment - Applications fail to meet expectations and this technology becomes unfashionable; press usually abandons topic.
4. Slope of Enlightenment - A few businesses continue to experiment, achieving an understanding of potential benefits and practical applications.
5. Plateau of Productivity - When the benefits of a new technology are widely demonstrated and accepted, it stablises and evolves into 2nd and 3rd generations.  The plateau's final height varies according to whether benefits are broadly applicable or serve niche markets.
How to Prepare a Kiwi
(but preparing him to do what?)

Entitled Tree Cozy, this crocheted tree sweater took 500 hours to complete and stood for 3 years outside Cleveland Heights City Hall.  I find it gimmicky and not to my taste and wonder how tatty it looks when it begins to fray and how difficult it is then to remove all traces and who bears this follow-on expense.  I presume someone in authority was able to strongly conclude that most who saw it would find it pleasant.  At least the knitters seem to have had fun...  How far will advertising firms go?  Is there a point past which they won't trod?  A few ads to disgust or disturb...  Researchers exploring how dreams influence people's waking behaviour surveyed 182 commuters at a Boston train station, asking them to imagine 1 of 4 possible scenarios happening the night before a scheduled airline trip: national threat level rises to orange (high risk of terrorist attack); their plane crashes; they dream about a plane crash; a real plane crash occurs on the route they plan to take.  A dream of a plane crash is more likely to affect travel plans than thinking about crashing or a government warning; a dream of a plane crash produces an anxiety similar to that produced by the thought of an actual crash on the same route.  Are all dreams equally meaningful or are dream interpretations influenced by waking beliefs and desires?  (That answer seems obvious.)  270 Americans were asked to remember a dream they'd had about a person they knew.  They ascribed more importance to a pleasant dream about a person they liked compared to a person they didn't, while they were more likely to consider an unpleasant dream meaningful if it was about a person they disliked.  This was also shown in another experiment which demonstrated that people who believe in God are likely to consider any dream in which God speaks to them to be meaningful; agnostics, however, consider God speaking to them in dreams to be more meaningful when he commands them to take a vacation than when he commands them to engage in self-sacrifice."  Oh, really?

Whatever you think of when you hear the phrase, "wooden scooter", it probably isn't this.  Nevertheless, it's beautiful and I want one. With 430 LEDs the Luxeed can individually light each key in your choice of colour.  It can animate a rainbow across all keys or make each key light when pressed.  4 "preset" buttons let you choose customizable lit skins - your favourite game can use different colours to indicate key action.  And you can create illuminated patterns.  Luxeed doesn't have a tiny screen on each key like the legendary Optimus Maximus but it's a lot cheaper (US$200). These signs tend to puzzle tourists and townies but farmers find the information useful.  They also give an indication of mushrooming prospects. Assistance animals unlike machines can establish a natural symbiosis with patients who rely on them.  Can we transform them into medical devices?  Bred commercially for consumption or entertainment, could they also be used as companions and providers of external organ replacement?  Use of transgenic farm animals or retired working dogs as life support "devices" for renal and respiratory patients offers an alternative to inhumane medical therapies.  Could a transgenic animal function as a whole mechanism, not simply to supply parts?  Humans could become parasites living off another organism’s bodily functions...

By 2025, America will face a market surplus of 22 million large-lot homes ( 1/6 of an acre or more), attracting millions of low-income residents deeper into suburbia where decay and social and geographic isolation will pose challenges few see coming.  "As a society, we have fundamentally failed to address our housing policy," said a planning expert.  "Suburbia is overbuilt and yet we will keep on building there.  Most policymakers don't see the consequences, and those who do are denying reality."  Suburbia's least desirable neighbourhoods - ageing, middle-class tract-home developments far from city centres and mass transit lines — are America's emerging slums, characterised by poverty, crime and other social ills.  Treating those ills is complicated by the same qualities that once defined suburbia's appeal — seclusion, homogeneity and low population density.  "We built too much of the suburban dream, and now it's coming back to haunt us."  Meanwhile, the young, affluent, professional classes and empty-nesters are reclaiming the urban living experience — dense, walkable, diverse, mixed-use neighbourhoods in and around city centres...  An incredible time-lapse video of a 9-month-old baby playing with his toys.  Keeping him occupied looks like a full-time job (via Presurfer)...  Looking for a bit of immortality?  There is a melancholy in knowing that one day your books may be in a used book store jumbled amongst other people's.  So write notes in the margins of your books.  Hide pictures between pages - and if you're feeling magnanimous, tuck a $5 bill near a good part of the story.  Circle words, leaving a secret message.  Whisper to the people of the future; let them know that that these books too once had other lives.

Frozen tree




Double Rainbow
(I prefer to call it a "Rainingbow")


Frozen and Misty #5


This is from a Russian site;
I don't speak Russian
(so I don't know where
this scene is located)
Isolated Thundershowers



Japanese factory

I now see that 5 of the 6 photos that I like best have something to do with weather.  Maybe I should've been a meteorologist?

Winslet, then winless in 4 trips to the Oscar nomination altar, explains to series star Ricky Gervais, why she's decided to act in a Holocaust film.
Gervais: You doing this, it's so commendable, using your profile to keep the message alive about the Holocaust.
Winslet: God, I'm not doing it for that.  We definitely don't need another film about the Holocaust, do we?  It's like, how many have there been?  You know, we get it.  It was grim.  Move on.  I'm doing it because I notice that if you do a film about the Holocaust, you're guaranteed an Oscar.  I've been nominated 4 times.  Never won.  The whole world is going, 'Why hasn't Winslet won one?'  That's why I'm doing it.  Schindler's bloody ListThe Pianist - Oscars coming outta their ass.
Gervais: It's a good plan.
In Waltz with Bashir the soldiers of the world's most moral army sing out something like: "Lebanon, good morning.  May you know no more grief.  Let your dreams come true, your nightmares evaporate, your whole life be a blessing."  Nice, right?  What other army has a song like this, and in the middle of a war, yet?  And then the tank, from inside of which this lofty and enlightened singing emanates, crushes a car for starters, turning it into a smashed tin can, then pounds a residential building, threatening to topple it.  That's how we are.  Singing and wrecking.  Where else will you find sensitive soldiers like these?  It would really be preferable for them to shout with hoarse voices: "Death to the Arabs!"  I saw Waltz twice.  The first time in a movie theatre I was bowled over by the artistry.  What style, what talent!  The illustrations are perfect, the voices authentic, the music adds much.  All the heroes are heroes, superbly stylish, articulate, trendy, up-to-date, left-wingers - so sensitive and intelligent.  Then I watched it again, at home, a few weeks later.  This time I listened to the dialogue and grasped the message that emerges from behind the talent.  I became more outraged from one minute to the next.  This is an extraordinarily infuriating film precisely because it is done with so much talent.  Art has been recruited here for an operation of deceit.  The war has been painted with soft, caressing colours - as in comic books.  Even the blood is amazingly aesthetic, and suffering is not really suffering when it is drawn in lines.  The soundtrack plays in the background, behind the drinks and the joints and the bars.

This is not a robot, but a more graceful (if not entirely practical) robot sculpture.  If you visit that site, click on the "Gallery" tab to see the Migraine Machine (right), a steel gyroscope inlaid with teak and glass.  Precision bearings allow the base and sphere to spin in one direction while the pilot spins in the opposite direction.

And-Speaking-of-Migraines: a patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a valve-like hole between the heart's upper chambers that is needed in the womb to allow blood and oxygen to circulate before the lungs start working.  But 25% of the time this hole doesn't seal up after birth.  This type of heart defect allows blood to cross from the veins into the arterial blood circulation, bypassing the lungs which normally filter out debris such as tiny blood clots.  Migraine suffers are more likely than the general population to have PFO.  A recent Italian study looked at 53 patients severely affected by migraine who had the holes in their hearts closed, compared with 29 who did not.  Patients were followed for 6 months; migraine headaches were hugely reduced in those who had surgery...  How the Crash Will Reshape America: While homeownership has some social benefits — a higher level of civic engagement is one — it is costly to the economy.  Places with higher homeownership rates suffer from higher unemployment.  Too often, it ties people to declining or blighted locations, and forces them into work — if they can find it — that is a poor match for their interests and abilities.  As homeownership rates have risen, our society has become less nimble: in the 1950s and 60s, Americans were nearly twice as likely to move in a given year as they are today.  Last year fewer Americans moved as a percentage of the population than in any year since the Census Bureau started tracking address changes in the late 1940s.  This sort of creeping rigidity in the labour market is a bad sign for the economy, particularly in a time when businesses, industries, and regions are rising and falling quickly.  Instead of resisting foreclosures, the government should seek to facilitate them in ways that minimise pain and disruption.  Banks that take back homes, for instance, could be required to offer to rent each home to the previous homeowner, at market rates — typically lower than mortgage payments — for some number of years.  (At the end of that period, the former homeowner could be given the option to repurchase at the prevailing market price.)  A bigger, healthier rental market, with more choices, would make renting a more attractive option for many and make the economy as a whole more flexible and responsive.

The Indo-Malayan octopus is able to copy the physical likeness and movement of more than 15 different species, including sea snakes, lionfish, flatfish, brittle stars, giant crabs, sea shells, stingrays, jellyfish, sea anemones, and mantis shrimp.  It is intelligent enough to discern which dangerous sea creature to impersonate that will present the greatest threat to its current possible predator.  For example, scientists observe that when the octopus is attacked by territorial damselfishes, it mimics the banded sea snake, a known predator.  (Video)...  British and French nuclear submarines, the Royal Navy’s HMS Vanguard and the French Navy’s Le Triomphant, each laden with missiles powerful enough for 1,248 Hiroshima bombings, collided deep under the Atlantic - but it was almost 2 weeks before the general public was informed.  Both countries insist that neither the missile-launching capacity nor the nuclear safety of the submarines, carrying 265 crew and 32 intercontinental ballistic missiles, were affected (this time, anyway).  But what does it say for the effectiveness of constant patrols for the past gazillion years (for the British, every minute of every day, since 15 June 1968) when neither sub (one weighing 16 thousand tonnes and one weighing 14.3 thousand tonnes) was able to tell its 150-metre-long companion was even there?  It makes both countries look amateurish.  How many other countries have fully-loaded nuclear subs cruising around down there in the dark?

Milo shuddered violently.  "I can’t watch it," he cried, turning away in anguish.  "I just can’t sit here and watch while those mess halls let my syndicate die."  He gnashed his teeth and shook his head with bitter woe and resentment.  "If they had any loyalty, they would buy my cotton till it hurts so that they can keep on buying my cotton till it hurts them some more.  They would build big fires and burn up their underwear and summer uniforms just to create bigger demand.  But they won’t do a thing.  Yossarian, try eating the rest of this chocolate-covered cotton for me.  Maybe it will taste delicious now."
Yossarian pushed his hand away.  "Give up, Milo.  People can’t eat cotton."
Milo’s face narrowed cunningly.  "It isn’t really cotton," he coaxed.  "I was joking.  It’s really cotton candy, delicious cotton candy.  Try it and see."

- Joseph Heller, Catch-22, 1961 via


The rating agencies started downgrading CDOs and CLOs and other structured vehicles (a process that is still going on) forcing the banks to put up more capital – in some cases a lot more, at a time when what capital they have is being sucked away by losses on other assets.  So here we are: The banks are sitting on paper originally valued at 100 cents on the dollar (or even more) which is now worth 20 or 10 or even 0 cents.  If they sell the stuff at those prices, most of the capital they’ve put behind those assets will be erased, leaving them insolvent, technically and perhaps literally – as in, unable to cover their current liabilities.  On the other hand, if they don’t sell their pieces of Big Sh*tpile, all their capital (including what Uncle Sam has already thrown into the till) will remain frozen in place, blocking them from doing any new lending.  Without new lending, they can’t earn the profits they need to make good the losses they are sitting on.  Zombies.  Night of the Living Dead Banks.  (from that same DailyKos page)

Within an air-conditioned, noiseless body, the driver sits behind an instrument panel of 2 dozen dials and switches.  Above the panel is a green-tinted, non-glare windshield; below is a special crash board padded with cork and sponge rubber.  Doors without handles swing open at the touch of a button.  Easily removed panels seal the underside of the car against dust and mud; 11 types of rubber placed at vibration points prevent rattles.  The driver operates the car through an electric gearshift; 4 people can sit abreast on the wide front seat (formed of molded rubber to eliminate vibration and road shock).  The car reaches 115 mph.  Sadly, only one Phantom Corsair ever got made - and that was in 1938 (via Presurfer)...  "We know how small babies need constant reassurance that they exist," Baroness Greenfield, an Oxford University neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution says.  "My fear is that computer games and fast-paced TV shows are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment."  She feels that exposure to computer games, instant messaging, chat rooms and social networking sites could leave a generation with poor attention spans.  "I often wonder whether real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitised and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf," she added.  "It is hard to see how living this way on a daily basis will not result in brains, or rather minds, different from those of previous generations."

Who is this mystery man?
He's one of the world's most famous quants.
Still don't know?  His name is David X Li and he came up with this formula:

Still unsure why you might be expected to have heard of him?  If you're an investor, you have a choice: You can either lend directly to borrowers or sell investors credit default swaps - insurance against those same borrowers defaulting.  Either way, you get a regular income stream — interest payments or insurance payments — and either way, if the borrower defaults, you lose a lot of money.  The returns on both strategies are nearly identical, but because an unlimited number of credit default swaps can be sold against each borrower, the supply of swaps isn't constrained the way the supply of bonds is, so the CDS market managed to grow extremely rapidly.  Though credit default swaps were relatively new when Li's paper came out, they soon became a bigger and more liquid market than the bonds on which they were based.  Unfortunately, Li has moved back to China.  Instead of his brilliant insights being recognised and acclaimed, the reverberations of the limitations of his formula have robbed him.  This will surely change in the future.  It's the system of responsibility and the incorrectly-weighted compensation schemes that have malfunctioned.

A man takes his rottweiler to the vet and says, "My dog is cross-eyed.  Is there anything you can do for him?"
The vet says he'll have a look at him.  He picks the dog up and begins closely examining his eyes.  Finally, he says quietly, "You know, I'm going to have to put your dog down."
"What?!" cried the dog owner.  "Just because he is cross-eyed?"
"No," answered the vet.  "Just because he's really, really heavy."

The Great Depression, like most other periods of severe unemployment, was produced by government mismanagement rather than by any inherent instability of the private economy.

- Milton Friedman

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