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Scandal map 

This map of current corporate scandals is a work of genius.

Scandal map update: Current corporate scandals

The spectre of deflation 

Brad DeLong outlines the prospects of deflation in the US. A grim way to start the day. “It is disturbing that the consensus forecast seems to paint a picture of the US economy two years hence in which production remains substantially below potential output, and in which slight deflation has taken hold and robbed the Federal Reserve of its power to offset adverse shocks.” (Brad helpfully has posted it on his site, since the Financial Times, where it runs today, only lets subscribers access the article.)

Yesterday’s Guardian had what I consider a bizarre story on how well Japan has coped with deflation. “Free-market capitalism — which works effectively if painfully in a normal recession — is at best useless and at worst counter-productive in a depression. Supporters of this theory claim Japan has achieved a second economic miracle in keeping its economy afloat for so long with interventionist government spending.”


Like everyone, I am constantly irritated by spam email. I agree with Dan Gillmor that it’s only a few minutes work to delete offenders, but as my young children increasingly use my computer, I don’t want the filth that I’m sent to be anywhere on my screen at any time.

So I read with interest Paul Graham’s Plan for Spam. Given I’m a non-techie, it’s extraordinary how often Bayes’s Theorem is popping into my life. It permeates the excellent book Reckoning with Risk by Gerd Gigerenzer, which I’ve just finished and which I can recommend highly. (Incidentally, I first encountered Bayes in an article in my then-own magazine in 1999.) At the bottom of Graham’s article, there are a few early attempts at Bayesian spam filters, but none of them have the support that I need to make it work.

If you want to see the wrong way to approach spam, read what happened to computer scientist Ed Felten. Outrageous.

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