regression / "look ma, no plans" / cards & verse

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From: Dave Long (
Date: Fri Jul 28 2000 - 12:24:11 PDT

> Well, it's been in the WSJ, usually that indicates a business fad is
> officially about to die or be exposed. Much like being in Wired means a
> tech fad is about to die.

... or being on the cover of Sports Illustrated (for athletes at
least, does the rule also hold for models?). We prefer to see
plot arcs, so even if the underlying mechanism is mostly random,
we'll see growth and decline, or breaks in lucky runs. I wonder if
a large part of consciousness is the urge to provide narrative.

> Another sign the fad is about to explode into dust. If I hide my plans
> behind my back and say "look ma, no plans" can I have some money too?
> Maybe if I promise to waste it as fast as possible?

Such an approach worked in the 1720's, so it probably still does:

Charles Mackay, from _Extraordinary Popular Delusions
And The Madness of Crowds_:
> But the most absurd ... was one ... entitled "company for
> carrying on an undertaking of great advantage, but nobody to know
> what it is." ... [He] stated in his prospectus that the required
> capital was half a million, in five thousand shares of 100 pounds
> each, deposit 2 pounds per share. Each subscriber, paying his deposit,
> would be entitled to 100 pounds per annum per share. How this immense
> profit was to be obtained, he did not condescend to inform them at
> that time, but promised, that in a month full particulars should be
> duly announced, and a call made for the remaining 98 pounds of the
> subscription. Next morning, at nine o'clock, this great man opened an
> office in Cornhill. Crowds of people beset his door, and when he shut
> up at three o'clock, he found that no less than one thousand shares
> had been subscribed for, and the deposits paid. He was thus, in five
> hours, the winner of 2,000 pounds. He was philosopher enough to be
> contented with his venture, and set off the same evening for the
> Continent. He was never heard of again.

There's a further section on 18th century finecompany playing cards:

> An ingenious card-maker published a pack of South Sea playing-cards,
> ... each card containing, besides the usual figures, of a very small
> size, in one corner, a caricature of a bubble company, with appropriate
> verses underneath. One of the most famous bubbles was "Puckle's Machine
> Company," for discharging round and square cannon-balls and bullets,
> and making a total revolution in the art of war. ...
> A rare invention to destroy the crowd
> Of fools at home, instead of fools abroad.
> Fear not, my friends, this terrible machine,
> They're only wounded who have shares therein.

one more for the FoRK stupid idea series:

Haiku on .coms
Perhaps by GG et al.
Schadenfreude wealth


> Worst-case scenario: The country will end up in a sort
> of cultural Dark Ages.

So we'd notice a difference, because _______________?

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