Month: November 2015

Howlrounds in Open Society (updated election edition)

Image:  Boxer at Rest, Museo Nazionale Romano – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme Updated Election edition: excerpted and updated from Thinking, Hard and Soft Some actions lead to amplified reactions, which are then in turn amplified. A good example of the phenomenon is audio feedback, or howlback, which is when a microphone and a speaker pick up on each other’s ins and outs in a so-called howlround. The result doesn’t have to be ear-piercing. “I feel fine”, released by the Beatles in 1964, starts with a controlled buzz of feedback from a plucked A-string on John Lennon’s acoustic-electric guitar: not bad. But it pales next to “Foxy Lady,” introduced by Jimi Hendrix with a vibrato feeding in on itself: a balanced wildness and a tribute to Johnny Watson’s “Space Guitar”, regarded as the first popular recording featuring guitar feedback. For Lennon, feedback was an attractive add-on to a musical track, a bit of fun. Watson and Hendrix integrated feedback into their music more completely. But few musicians have ever integrated feedback into their art as comprehensively as hedge-fund manager George Soros. Trump …

On Government

Image: Amphora (neck-amphora): Berlin, Staatliche Museen F 1867; Beazley ABV 371, Leagros Group no. 148; Stähler no. 2. Excerpted from Thinking, Hard and Soft Huangdi and Chiyou clashed on the plains of Zhuolu. Huangdi (the ‘Yellow Emperor’), ruled the Huaxia tribes while Chiyou, his nemesis, commanded an alliance of barbarian tribes. Under the cover of heavy fog, Chiyou’s army attacked the Huaxia army and inflicted heavy losses as the Yellow Emperor’s troops got lost. The fog lingered and Chiyou had the advantage. The emperor and his master craftsman retreated for three days and built a chariot. It was equipped with a wooden figure that had one arm extended, pointing southwards. The wooden figure was connected to the wheels of the chariot in a special way so that it always pointed south. When the chariot turned, a self-adjusting mechanism (a modern solution would use differential gears) translated the turn into an equal and opposite movement of the pointer. The reliable arm of the chariot’s wooden statue steered the army of the Chinese nation through the fog. Chiyou was defeated and captured. …