Conspiracy Theory

In case you were not aware of it, conspiracy theories are the subject of scholarly work not only among social scientists, but also within the medical community. While backing up the whole of my hard-drive with triple redundancy, I had a chat with a chap over on the West Coast of the good ol’ US of A. Our conversation did not end there, we then went and shared notes on Shakespeare, in particular this one little tidbit:

My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief: your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is’t but to be nothing else but mad?

The whole thing started because we read this paper: Sharp. Advances in conspiracy theory. Lancet (2008) vol. 372 (9647) pp. 1371-2

this kind of dialogue does make my day… and below the fold, the conspiracy unfolds:

O’Pumpkin: as one of the 3%, i welcome our dinosaur overlords

me: me too 😉

we are not mid gaussian, are we?

O’Pumpkin: Brontosaurus Obama will carry us over well into the paleolithic era

He has the kind of vision necessary to embrace new technologies. We’re moving on to newer, slightly less dull rocks now

me: it seems you had read one single good medical research article for a while

O’Pumpkin: have or haven’t?

me: hadn’t

O’Pumpkin: i was actually reading mostly healthcare reform stuff

I need to really wrap my head around what’s where

I’m not that big a fan of politics, but you do watcha gotta do

me: ah… what is your view on that one, since you actually have something to compare to and you know how it works over there

O’Pumpkin: the big crux is the fanatic belief in the capitalist system

me: that is not new

O’Pumpkin: the idea that incentivization somehow makes us efficient and better

which unfortunately is not true

me: if it were that easy… there would be no problems at all, life would be dull

O’Pumpkin: it’s made us speciality-heavy and with a huge overhead dedicated to cherrypicking incentivized scenarios for insurers

me: considering you have had intro econ, you do well in looking at this stuff…

O’Pumpkin: haha econ

I might as well have had intro to tarot

me: ah, then there is a book i can recommend…

O’Pumpkin: “some people buy stuff, others sell it, okay now lets make it up as we go along”

me: “machine dreams” by Philip Mirowski

O’Pumpkin: what’s it about?

me: i just started it, it starts with the cyborg scenario and it starts on the approach of demystifying humans but it is aimed at taking a fresh look at economics, so i am really curious, but i have so much other reading to do that i do not know when i’ll be able to get it read. it was recommended to me by a colleague – economist – now with the asian development bank.

… (and it goes on)