Halmos o sveučilištu:

Sveučilište postoji da bi stvaralo i prenosilo znanje. Ne da bi osmišljavalo i provodilo prijemne ispite, ne da bi određivalo mjesto i vrijeme nastave, ne da bi vodilo evidenciju o studentima, čak ne ni da bi prikupljalo i raspoređivalo novce. Sve je to u nekoj mjeri nužno, i svatko od nas mora nešto od toga raditi. To su aktivnosti u službi zajednice. Ako ih netko ne provodi, veći teret pada na nas ostale, i takvo je ponašanje nedruštveno --- ali ne radi se o pozitivnom doprinosu koje treba posebno nagrađivati. Za lošeg učitelja ima mjesta na sveučilištu (ako je pravi kreativac); i za drugorazrednog istraživača ima mjesta (ako je pravi učitelj). Ali drugorazredni istraživač koji je drugorazredni učitelj nema u akademskoj zajednici većeg opravdanja nego što ga ima portir, tajnik, financijski analitičar, dekan za pitanja latinoameričke zajednice, ili prorektor za upravu. Rad takvih ljudi je nužan --- barem djelomično --- ali se ne smije zato smatrati napredovanjem, pozicijom koja zaslužuje divljenje, zavist i visoku plaću.

A university exists to create and to transmit knowledge --- not to design and administer placement exams, not to arrange times and places of classes, not to keep student records, and not even to raise and distribute money. All such things are to some extent necessary, and we must all do some of them. They are actions of social service. Failure to perform them puts more on the rest of us, and is therefore antisocial --- but they are not positive contributions to be rewarded. A poor teacher may have a place in a university (if he is a great creator), and a second-rate research man has his place (if he is a great teacher). But a second-rate research man who is a second-rate teacher has no more right to be on the faculty than a janitor, a secretary, a budget systems analyst, a dean of Latino affairs, or a vice president for administration. The work of such people is necessary --- well, some of it is anyway --- but it should not for that reason be regarded as a promotion, looked up to, revered, and overpaid.

(Halmos, P. R. (1985), I want to be a mathematician : an automathography , Mathematical Association of America, , Washington, D.C., s. 221.)


Povijest svijeta u sto predmeta

Mogu zasad samo reći: ovo izgleda genijalno!

A History of the World in 100 Objects

Radio u svom najboljem izdanju.

Wikipedija o seriji.



David Hawkes wrote in the TLS on David J. Baker's On Demand. Writing for the market in early modern England. Hawkes sketches the same approach the Romans such as Diocletian had when they thought about inflation (I believe):

To equate "demand" with "appetite" introduces an unwelcome ethical aspect into the discussion, since appetite was always to be mistrusted and usually resisted. It also raises a question that Baker's book asks but does not answer: where does "demand" come from? In Renaissance England, the answer was not in doubt. It came from Satan. To serve appetite in the name of avarice was to do the work of the Devil. The demand-based economy was inspired by the Prince of Darkness.
This habit of conceptualizing reprehensible social tendencies in personified form seems to be an insurmountable barrier dividing our thought from that of early modern English people. It discredits their moral objections to market society. How can we give adult consideration to the claims of people who believed in Satan? And yet, unless we want to dismiss all economic commentary written before the English Civil War, that is what we must do. (...) a literary critic should know that early modern usage of terms like "Satan" was rarely literal. We would do well to consider the possibility that, since they were witnesses at its birth, the people of Renaissance England had a clearer view than we do of consumerism's true nature, and that this explains both their vehement opposition to it and the form in which that opposition was expressed.
what is the difference between attributing a set of practical effects to "demand" and attributing them to "Satan"? Is it any more than a choice between metaphors? To consider such questions is to ask whether demand swells up spontaneously from within the population, or is introduced into the psyche by an external and malignant force.

The review is also useful for thinking about all those Dubrovnik merchants who repent on their deathbeds and list all their deceits in the testaments.