Atendendo a algumas respostas apreciativas e inúmeras ignorativas, aqui está......

27 julho 2009

Accolade lenses are not good

I have not found any unbiased reviews of eyeglass lenses on the web. (A google search will lead to all sorts of advertisements.) So let me share my experience with Accolade lenses manufactured by Essilor with anyone who needs progressive (bifocal) lenses. They are NOT GOOD! The progressive corridor is very small, meaning that vision in intermediate distances is poor. Moreover the transitions distorts the shape of the objects, making it difficult to get used to new lenses. The lenses are made of a polycarbonate material which is shatter-resistant but somewhat opaque, thus perhaps suitable for use during sports but not for reading, driving, or everyday use.

Additionally, Cambridge Eye Doctors mounted my lenses too low, with the axis slightly turned, and 1 mm off center. Taken together these small mistakes compound with mediocre optics to give a bad eyeglass experience.

My advice when buying eyeglasses, specially if you need high-diopter glasses or bifocals:

1 - Avoid chain eyewear stores. Linea Sella at Rua Melo Alves in São Paulo, Brazil, has never let me down. I also made good glasses at Clairmont-Nichols opticians (if I recall correctly) on 1st Ave in the Upper East Side in Manhattan. Otherwise my experiences in the US were with chains, none good. If you have suggestions, please comment.

2 - Spend more on high quality optics. I hear that Zeiss is the standard. Varilux also worked for me, though it is also manufactured by Essilor, the makers of Accolade. If there are any honest professional reviews out there, please let me know.

19 julho 2009

Mowing the lawn

Mowed the grass in my brother-in-law's. Had not used a mechanical mower since the time of grandfather Leo's. It is much quieter and easier with WD40.

The 4 seasons in the American suburb: Weed, Mow, Rake, and Shovel.

Prawn sandwich brigade

O Manchester United cancelou um jogo na Indonésia por medo dos terroristas. O que aconteceu com o stiff upper lip inglês? Está certo que é o Manchester United, do prawn sandwich brigade, no Brasil se diria torcida de mauricinhos. Timinho nojento, como o Real Madrid e o Milan.

All economics useless?

Resumo da ópera.

Paul Krugman: "A lot of recent economics is not useful. Some economists are completely dense."
The Economist: "Yes, all economics is useless and all economists are equally dense."
Paul Krugman: "No, economics can be useful and some economists are doing good work."

Go Paolo!

16 julho 2009


I needed a new printer because the HP inkjet stopped working. I used to have great experiences with HP lasers but the last few printers were expensive to maintain, poorly made, buggy, and unreliable. The Xerox color lasers were attractive but I print very little, cannot justify a more expensive printer. So I bought a cheap Brother black and white laser for two-sided printing. So far so good - inexpensive and trouble-free for printing documents and papers, although a little slow with postscript. More memory could help, but would undo the inexpensive part.

Then I needed a color printer to print photos, and a scanner. To avoid HP I tried Kodak. The reason for this post is to tell whoever is reading that the Kodak All-in-One Printer Software does not install in Mac OS X! Buyer beware! I returned the Kodak and bought..... yes, an HP Photosmart. Print quality is mediocre, ink is expensive and cartridges don't last long. And wireless printing does not work properly. But - a relief after many lousy experiences - it printed. Not enough to say that the old HP is back, but at least the worst bugs were ironed out after they fired Carly.

08 julho 2009

Currículos fraudulentos

Como a meia dúzia de 3 ou 4 leitores desse blog já sabe quanto eu admiro o embaixador Amorim, não vou deixar passar em claro a revelação de que ele nunca recebeu o título de doutor o qual se orgulha de ostentar. Já o mestrado e o doutorado que a ministra Dilma nunca completou com os economistas da Unicamp têm uma explicação bastante abonadora: com certeza quando percebeu a inutilidade dos "ensinamentos" que o professor João Manuel e seus asseclas transmitem aos incautos estudantes, ela desistiu. Fez muito bem. Melhor um disparate pela metade do que uma bobagem completa.

06 julho 2009

Lissajous figure

You will enjoy looking at the beautiful Lissajous figure in the Sunday NYTimes, and particularly at the interactive graph. Scientists have been using such graphs for a long time - Lissajous figures are beloved of electrical engineers, specially sophomores learning to use the oscilloscope. Using them to display economic data to the public is a significant contribution. Congratulations to Amanda Cox of the Times for bringing the science of economics forward to the 19th - arguably even the 20th - century!

01 julho 2009

Mangabeira to leave Sealopra, return to Barakistan

What are we to make of Roberto Mangabeira Unger's return to Massachusetts? It seems plausible that the professor is an honest man who did not profit from his stay in government, and that he needs to keep his salary. His chances of obtaining an elected position are slim, unless he manages to learn enough Portuguese to communicate with voters in a few short months, and opportunities to make a living as a public intellectual or through speaking fees are limited in Brazil. It would not have been prudent to give up a sinecure.

He has served the Lula administration well in his capacity of head of Sealopra, essentially an academic asylum to which lunatics be committed voluntarily before they become criminally insane. The incompetent economists at Sealopra, led by Torquemada de Campinas, have not done nearly as much harm to Brazil's economy as, for instance, the troika comprising Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, Celso Amorim, and Marco Aurélio Garcia have to Brazil's international relations. Part of the explanation is the absence of an academic asylum such as Sealopra or Unicamp for foreign policy experts, who as a consequence tend to congregate at the Instituto Rio Branco, where they attain the capacity to bring about real damage. Fortunately for Lula his popularity depends on the country's economic performance and not on its international credibility. We may surmise that Lula appreciates Prof Mangabeira's contribution, but at the same time is satisfied to let him go.

What about Harvard? Let us remember that American universities, in particular the wealthy private ones, suffer from much fewer bureaucratic encumbrances than Brazilian academia, yet they are bound by some rules, tenure among them. Had Harvard a desire to keep Prof Mangabeira in the faculty, it would have been straightforward to offer an extension of his leave; but it is difficult to force out a professor who once made important contributions and later falls out of touch with reality or becomes afflicted with agnosia gravis. Harvard's one opportunity to let Prof Mangabeira go would be for him to decide to stay in his other job. He decided otherwise.