Pseudo-profound bullshit commemorated: The Laffer Curve

Today the New York Times celebrates, deadpan, a fake relic of a historically influential example of pseudo-profound bullshit. Under the headline “This Is Not Arthur Laffer’s Famous Napkin,” The Times says: It is one of the iconic moments in modern economics: A young professor named Arthur Laffer sketched a curve on a bar napkin in […]

Martin Gardner and mathematicians

Martin Gardner — who died yesterday — had a hand in starting the career of a great, colorful mathematician (and, famously, in helping many other mathematicians and their work become better known and loved). Behold the story of Persi Diaconis, as told some years ago in a Stanford University press release: With bare-bones mathematical skills […]