Reichstag, May 1945

The story of his life is fascinating…

As you might know, by the end of WWII among allies there was a race towards Berlin. According to this article in Christian Science Monitor, President Eisenhower gave these three reasons not to cross the river Elba:
– His armies were already well beyond the line of the western occupation zones that had been agreed to with the Soviets.
– Why take casualties for land that would have to be handed over? He had always worried about his troops meeting Soviets on the run around a corner. He thought it safer to meet them with…

A myth is a traditional story consisting of events that are ostensibly historical, though often supernatural, explaining the origins of a cultural practice or natural phenomenon.

This week I have finished reading Wealth Without Nations by Gwydion Williams.

To tell you the truth, I was not able to read everything in it very closely because, for one, there are so many details (Gwydion knows a lot!) very far removed from my area of knowledge, so I concentrated on the paragraphs where the author made the point and browsed the rest.

The second reason, I just did not have time for closer study. So, I trusted that Gwydion knew what he was talking about and did not try to validate this assumption. Besides, on a few occasions…

Division of labor in pin making.

As I have written in the previous article on this topic, the last surprise from my first reading of the Wealth of Nations, was Smith’s acknowledgment of the bad side-effects of the division of labor, although the division of labor was the main point of his discourse.

A great chunk (if not the most) of the book was dedicated to demonstrating how economic growth is based on the division of labor when a complex job is broken down into smaller steps, parts, and operations. If you read the book from the beginning, you get an impression that that was the…

As I have described in the previous article on this topic, I started reading Smith’s works and was very surprised.

Here is the only mention of an “invisible hand” in his book Wealth Of Nations (the full title is An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations):

By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he [every manufacturer] intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain; and he is in this, as…

Adam Smith (1723–1790), portrait painted posthumously by an unknown artist and initially owned by the Muir family.

Recently, I have bumped into very interesting ideas of a very interesting person and would like to share my discoveries with you.

His name is Gwydion Madawc Williams. He lives in Great Britain. I agree with many of his answers in He maintains two websites, where one can spend days and days reading: one is specialized in politics, another — on other topics. But for now, I would like to tell you about his book “Adam Smith: Wealth Without Nations” (I bought it at “Athol Books”), in which the author criticizes Adam Smith, well known for his book “Wealth…

In the article “Artificial intelligence takes over fiction writing too“, I have written already how in May 1997, Kasparov played against Deep Blue and lost the first time. There are still controversy and several conspiracy theories that “explain” such an outcome. But it seems to me Kasparov has lost because of the software bug that allowed Deep Blue to make an unexpected move. You can read about it here. It is fascinating!

Garry Kasparov, left, gives up in defeat against IBM’s chess playing computer, Deep Blue, Sunday May 11, 1997, in New York. (AP Photo/HO)

Recently, in an interview Kasparov said that his biggest challenge was psychological: “the pressure on the human player facing the machine is simply unbearable.

The computer is not…

What is fair?

Competition in sports is a noisy affair. Everybody shouts, roots for somebody, congratulates the winner, dreaming of becoming like him or her — the best!

Same in business and in many other areas of life. Everyone wants to be better than others — wealthier, luckier — and nobody doubts that that is the right thing to wish and it is good for society, so everybody would work harder and produce more by trying to catch up with the best.

If the competition is fair, of course, without performance enhancement drugs, bribery, and corruption. …

The droplets-particle move in a circle. Image is taken from here.

After many years of trying this and that, I picked a point a view that allowed me somehow to “resolve” the contradictions and make peace with quantum strangeness. I decided that the fact the quantum theory works proves that we “understand” it.

But a few months ago I suddenly bumped into the experiment that demos similar effects in our macro world. Here is the article and here is the video. Quote:

In the above video, a bath of silicone oil is vibrated at high frequency using a speaker. …

This question first came to my mind when I learned about the giant size of the Giza pyramids and later when it turned out that the builders were not slaves, that (according to the recently discovered writings) there were teams who raced between the title of the fastest in bringing the next block up. The motivation cannot be explained by the ambitions of the pharaohs only, I think.

Then the same question popped up when I learned about Stonehenge and, recently, about Göbekli Tepe. Why spend so much time and energy? What was the motivation?

A hundred years ago, newspapers and leaflets used to form public opinion and condition the worldview of the population at large on the topics that are outside of the immediate experience of the majority of people. Public speeches and speaking tours around the country were also among the primary ways to spread the message and promote the desired worldview.

Then radio came along. FDR took advantage of it and became almost a member of each household. Soviet propaganda utilized the radio too.

In the USSR — even as late as 30 years ago — each house was required to have…

Nick Samoylov

Born in Moscow, lived in Crimea, now lives in the US. Used to be physicist and rock climber, now programmer and writer.

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