The National Museum of American History is engaged in a long-term project to create the first publicly accessible, annotated online edition of William Steinway’s remarkable diary. This first installment of the Web site includes Edwin M. Good’s complete transcription of all 2,500 pages of the Diary alongside high-resolution scans of each handwritten page.
Google Patents covers the entire collection of issued patents and millions of patent application made available by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, from patents issued in the 1790s through the present.
“Nor should the argument seem strange that taxation may be so high as to defeat its object, and that, given sufficient time to gather the fruits, a reduction of taxation will run a better chance than an increase of balancing the budget. For to take the opposite view today is to resemble a manufacturer who, running at a loss, decides to raise his price, and when his declining sales increase the loss, wrapping himself in the rectitude of plain arithmetic, decides that prudence requires him to raise the price still more—and who, when at last his account is balanced with nought on both sides, is still found righteously declaring that it would have been the act of a gambler to reduce the price when you were already making a loss.”—John Maynard Keynes, quoted by Arthur Laffer
“Francesco Cossiga andava pazzo per Beautiful. Durante la presidenza approfittava dei viaggi di rappresentanza in America per informarsi in anticipo sugli sviluppi della serie. Tornato in Italia, li raccontava facendo dispetto agli appassionati.”—Altri mondi
“Ogni scelta ha un rovescio cioè una rinuncia, e così non c’è differenza fra l’atto di scegliere e quello di rinunciare.”—Italo Calvino - “Storia dell’indeciso” in La taverna dei destini incrociati [via giulia86]
“Because Betsey and I earn similar incomes, we would pay a marriage penalty. The U.S. has a household-based taxation system which subsidizes married families when one person stays home and taxes most people extra if they choose to marry and both work full-time. The average tax cost of marriage for a dual-income couple is $1,500 annually. When our accountant ran the numbers for us a few years back we discovered marriage would cost us substantially more. I love Betsey and all, but is the marriage certificate worth thousands of dollars annually? I can love her plenty without the certificate.”—Economists in Love: Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers - Spousonomics
“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”—Henry Ford [via stefanobernardi]
“No man can be a compleat Lawyer by universalitie of knowledge without experience in particular cases, nor by bare experience without universalitie of knowledge; he must be both speculative & active, for the science of the laws, I assure you, must joyne hands with experience.”—Edward Coke, Preface to A Book of Entries (1614) [via The Volokh Conspiracy]
“Come nuovo direttore dell’Avanti! mi insedio lunedì. Ho rilevato il giornale dal dott. Lavitola ieri via fax. Ho speso 5 euro più metà cartellino di Julio Cesar. Il giocatore dell’Inter e il suo procuratore non sanno niente. Quando si accorgono siamo già in edicola. Il giornale che voglio fare è molto semplice: tutto basato sulle intercettazioni, sia telefoniche che postali che ambientali. Per questo metteremo delle cimici in ogni luogo, anche di culto, e sedi diplomatiche. Il nuovo Avanti! sarà di 58 pagine tutti i giorni fisse. Ci sarà: politica, cultura, sport, spettacolo, economia. Però tutti gli articoli saranno semplicemente trascrizioni telefoniche integrali. Iniziamo con la telefonata che Renzo piano ha fatto al capo dei masai quando nel 1993 doveva costruire l’aeroporto di Osaka. Di penale non c’è niente, però è bello sapere che grado di confidenza hanno i due. Poi avremo cinque pagine della telefonata che Folco Quilici ha fatto a Licia Colò per abbattere la barriera corallina e far dare la colpa agli ultras del Lecce. Anche qui non si capisce se i due scherzano o meno. Siccome però il barrierone corallino è ancora in piedi, il presunto reato non è stato consumato. Avremo anche la telefonata di Al Gore che chiama il designatore arbitrale della Nba per dirgli se si sente di commentare le partite di basket del Burundi su Current Tv.”—Maurizio Milani - Avanti! fisso
The Catholic Church has been making saints for centuries, typically in a two-stage process featuring beatification and canonization. We analyze determinants of rates of beatification and canonization (for non-martyrs) over time and across six world regions. The research uses a recently assembled data set on numbers and characteristics of beatifieds and saints chosen since 1590. We classify these blessed persons regionally in accordance with residence at death. These data are combined with time-series estimates of regional populations of Catholics, broadly-defined Protestants, Orthodox, and Evangelicals (mostly a sub-set of Protestants). Regression estimates indicate that the canonization rate depends strongly on the number of candidates, gauged by a region’s stock of beatifieds who have not yet been canonized. The beatification rate depends positively on the region’s stock of persons previously canonized. The last two popes, John Paul II and Benedict XVI (the only non-Italians in our sample), are outliers, choosing blessed persons at a much higher rate than that of their predecessors. Since around 1900, the naming of blessed persons seems to reflect a response by the Catholic Church to competition from Protestantism or Evangelicalism. We find no evidence, at least since 1590, of competition between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
“With only 960 residents and a handful of roads, this tiny hilltop village in the arid, sulfurous hills of southern Sicily does not appear to have major traffic problems. But that does not prevent it from having one full-time traffic officer — and eight auxiliaries. The auxiliaries, who earn a respectable 800 euros a month, or $1,100, to work 20 hours a week, are among about 64 Comitini residents employed by the town, the product of an entrenched jobs-for-votes system pervasive in Italian politics at all levels. “Jobs like these have kept this city alive,” said Caterina Valenti, 41, an auxiliary in a neat blue uniform as she sat recently with two colleagues, all on duty, drinking coffee in the town’s bar on a hot afternoon. “You see, here we are at the bar, we support the economy this way.””—Austerity in Italy May Not End Its Jobs-for-Votes System - NYTimes.com