Fanax: the Mycenaean term for "king"; pronounced "wanax". The funny initial letter, "F", is called digamma and shows up in Archaic Greek epigraphy (papyrus and tablet writings). The sound, if not the letter form, and its linguistic equivalent initially show up in the heiroglyphic writings (Linear B) of Bronze Age Greece both at Pylos, in the far west of Greece (Peloponnese), and at Knossos in north central Crete, the funny "F". Specifically, digamma shows up in the Greek of Homer's Iliad with the word "F"anax, but there it's a "rough breathing" in the form "(h)anax", where the term is linked to an important individual at Pylos. In Classical and Hellenistic Greek, the F continues in this aspirant, or "h" sound, form at the beginning of many Greek words.

Entries for month: April 2009

Teaparty sadness

April 24, 2009 ·

 From Doug Powers, writing on Malkin's blog a few weeks ago, in reference to why the current situation makes him sad (emphasis mine).

"it saddens me to know that people who might have otherwise cured a horrible disease, designed grand buildings, created art and music, invented a car that runs on kumquats that people actually want to buy, expanded their businesses, explored the farthest reaches of the universe or had more time to devote to charity are now spending most of their energy trying to figure out a way to write off their lawnmowers as dependents."

I would laugh, if it weren't so pathetically sad ...

Tags: politics

A new look at bubbles

April 06, 2009 ·

nicely detailed examination in today's WSJ of why this bubble caused so much damage, even though the losses have only been $3 trillion, while the tech bubble of 2001, which saw $10 trillion disappear, was absorbed without harm to the financial sector.  Interesting to note that the CPI and how it ignores the real costs of real estate (changes to the price-to-rental index have been incorrectly stated by a substantial margin) was central to the Fed's inability to define the proper liquidity level required to cushion the blow to the banks.
"Why does one crash cause minimal damage to the financial system, so that the economy can pick itself up quickly, while another crash leaves a devastated financial sector in the wreckage? The hypothesis we propose is that a financial crisis that originates in consumer debt, especially consumer debt concentrated at the low end of the wealth and income distribution, can be transmitted quickly and forcefully into the financial system. It appears that we're witnessing the second great consumer debt crash, the end of a massive consumption binge."

Tags: politics


April 03, 2009 ·

So, I hadn't run across this before, and I must admit that I have yet to read through the entire printed piece, but this is a fascinating take on the whole issue of legalization vs our insane Drug War.  I have been hesitant about actually embracing legalization, after seeing the effects on life after life wasted or at least shattered by drugs, not only heroin, but also cannabis.  I've got to take the time this weekend to really read through this Portugal experiment and find out what's working with it and why.

The upshot is that drugs, from heroin and cocaine to marijuana, are still illegal, but the use, possession, and sale of any of them are no longer criminal issues.  Fines can be levied and treatment can be enforced, but there are no criminal charges or jail time associated with amounts that qualify as "personal use" levels.  As a side benefit, since it's no longer a criminal matter, those who actually want to get help no longer have to fear to ask, and the treatment rates are apparently quite high.  Bottom line (again from reading only a few highlights so far): government money is still being spent, but now it's primarily focused on helping people rather than hunting them down and locking them up.


Tags: politics

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