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Friday, October 9, 2009

... and Fall Dog Bombs the Moon

This morning when I came into work, at 7am, there was a bunch of news about us bombing the moon.

I spent a while figuring out what that was all about and stumbled into some conspiracy-rants about how the Apollo astronauts saw alien ships and bases on the dark side of the moon, but were ordered to keep silent about it. I had a moment of groggily-thrilled belief, then started to notice the pattern of half baked conspiracy theorists (circular citing and untraceable references, glaring grammar errors...), and reluctantly decided to put on my skeptical disbelief-face.

It was in this mindset that I read the headline about Obama's peace prize. It took till the afternoon when a couple other people mentioned it for me to realize that it wasn't a hoax.

Crazy world.

The President wins the peace prize...

So President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize.

huh.

At first I thought I missed something; some major accomplishment that slid under my study-occluded radar. But no, no, it seems the prize has been awarded preemptively: the prize committee said they gave it to him to help him build momentum and credibility in arms reduction. I suppose its their prerogative to award it however they see fit (though I think Alfred had some preferences on that front) but it seems like such an action will do more to damage their own credibility than boost the president's.

In reading the Black Swan, one of its more cognitive-dissonance inducing eccentricities was Taleb's total contempt for everything and everyone (excluding Hayek) surrounding the Nobel prize. I had only ever heard it mentioned with reverence; the highest honor someone could hope to achieve. Taleb was of a very contrary opinion, and I'm beginning to see why.

It would seem that the Nobel committee has become so convinced of their own good judgment that they believe they can bring new good things to be merely by exercising their judgment. There must be a name for that fallacy.