Three Things #1 (Song of Fire and Ice Inspired Series)

by robekulick

In a few hours, when I finally turn in my MATLAB code for this computational econometrics project I’ve been struggling with for the last few weeks, I will be done with school for the year!

But since its been awhile since I’ve posted I wanted to start a new series of posts that I can do when I’m too busy to really write anything. Thus I bring you the “Three Things” series.

For those of you who do not read George R.R. Martin’s  Song of Fire and Ice Series, I highly recommend you start reading! Anyway, to those of you who do read here is a little context: starting in Book 4, A Feast for Crows, Arya Stark makes her way to Braavos and ends up in the House of the Black and White where it appears she is being trained to become one of the Faceless Men. As part of her training, she is told that she must learn three things every time she leaves the House of the Black and White and then report on these things when she returns. So in that vein, here is the first entry in my Three Things series.

Here are three things I read recently that I thought were particularly interesting;

(1) This is an article about life in prison for that rarest of state prisoner’s, a Jewish person. The article is of interest to everyone though because he gives  description of gang life in prison that in a few pages tells you way more than any of those stupid sensationalized documentaries you see on TV. I highly recommend reading this for both Jew and non-Jew alike:


(2) The New York Times magazine recently had a profile contrasting the ideas of Larry Summers and Glenn Hubbard. Both are extremely intelligent people who have quite different views on the proper course of Macroeconomic policy at the moment:


(3) This is extremely nerdy and its something I want to blog about at some length when I have some time, but just so I remember where to find it, I’ll put it up here now. For anyone who has taken high-school calculus, the whole issue of infinitesimals (the dy/dx business) is pretty much totally glossed over. For those who go on in math but are also in an applied field that uses a lot of math one starts to notice a divergence in approach. In math classes like real analysis all calculus is based on limit processes and dy and dx are just treated as notation. However, in your physics, economics, etc. classes suddenly people start treating dy and dx as if they are quantities that one can do algebra with. Again I want to write about this at length at some point because squaring the two approaches has bugged me off and on for awhile, but here is a link to an elementary calculus book available for free online that develops calculus without any limits and shows how the two approaches co-exist: