The best of all games?

by Harry on March 10, 2008

A Nobel prize-winning scientist once described Basketball to me (in his impeccable Yorkshire accent) as “a dreary game played by physical freaks in which nothing happens till the last minute”. I enjoy regaling my students with this story, and explain that cricket is the only real sport. But, apparently, I’m wrong (about cricket, not basketball). The Boston Review contains a 27-year-old letter from John Rawls explaining why baseball is, in fact, the best of all games. (Hattip Tom Hurka — sorry, Tom, I couldn’t resist)

Some commenters thought that I should have waited before attacking the BBC’s “White” season. After, all, they argued … legitimate topic of inquiry …. watch first, judge later, … blah blah. Martin O’Neill has been watching, and he doesn’t like what he’s seen. Specifically, he has an article in the New Statesman deploring Denys Blakeway’s film about Enoch Powell, which attempts both a partial rehabilitation of the man and manages to suggest (without saying directly) that Powell’s “rivers of blood” claim was vindicated on 7/7 (a product of multiculturalism). Anyway, I’m summarizing Martin, so surf over to his excellent piece.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information

by Henry Farrell on March 10, 2008

“Lane Kenworthy”: shows how it’s done.


Taxes and the little people

by Henry Farrell on March 10, 2008

Martin Wolf, whom I frequently disagree with, but always find worth reading, had an “excellent piece”: in last Thursday’s _Financial Times_. It was about the quasi-hysteria in the UK press over the prospect that ‘non-doms’ – wealthy foreigners resident in the UK – would be obliged either to become taxpayers or fork over 30,000UKP per year after they had lived there for 7 years.
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Mole as Painter/Knowledge Rules

by Henry Farrell on March 10, 2008

Two very different outside links. First is to the Mole series of Czech cartoons, which is probably well known to lots of CT readers, but which I hadn’t heard of before I ran across it on Youtube. It keeps my 2 year old son happy, while not containing any tricky content beyond a couple of scary moments involving foxes and cats chasing after the eponymous hero. I was given pause when I found out on Amazon that Michael Medved rates it highly, but it’s good enough even to survive that most dubious of recommendations. The embedded video is “The Mole as Painter,” which is quite beautifully animated. Nominations for other Youtube videos likely to please toddlers will be gratefully received in comments. Information on where/how to procure DVDs of the Mole series even more so.

Second, and more seriously, the SSRC have a new blog, “Knowledge Rules”:, which looks worth following. It deals with a topic that we’ve frequently discussed on CT – the intersection between intellectual property issues and how the academy disseminates knowledge. For your bookmarks.