One Thing Leads to Another…

How one thing leads to another in this webbed and polycentric medium…

In David Fraser’s excellent Privacy Law Blog I learn that Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner have a blog called Freakonomics, named after their book that takes an unconventional tack in the dismal science and is good reading (can’t believe that I, a product of the usual wretched micro- and macro-economics courses, said that about one of the most over-rated disciplines in the… but that’s another story). The blog looks like it’s going to be interesting.

And from that I learn that they write a column in the New York Times Magazine, the latest version of which is on identity theft, something to worry about and guard against in my IT wanderings.

And, too, I find them pointing at TED, which I’ve now come across a number of times and, so, should explore. (Takes me maybe three trips over a lead before I pursue it, perhaps. Depends who puts it in my path, of course.) Levitt, the economist of the pair (Dubner is the journalist), says this of the annual Technology Entertainment Design event: “TED is perhaps the single most interesting way that a smart and curious person could spend a week.” (How’s that for a teaser with an irresistable hook?) There’s too much about TED to give you here — the 2007 show has wrapped up; there’s a blog; the 2008 theme has been announced — except to say that all of this led me to dozens of talks that are available online at the site in your choice of video or just audio.

From this truly impressive list I plumped for a 2005 talk by Peter Donnelly, an Oxford statitician (another discipline that wowed me when I was young), who entertained me while showing me how my intuition about probability is often (mostly?) wrong and can do some serious harm, especially when applied to law. Which brought me back round again to the profession that occupies us most of the time on Slaw.

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