All Work and No Play

It's been several days since my last 'blog entry and for good reason; I've buried myself very deeply in my various studies and work has been relatively tedious. Most of my readings this week have been in microeconomics, public economics, and information systems. The microeconomics studies, true to form, are typically "here's an idea under perfect competition which doesn't exist, and now for all the alternatives that make up for those assumptions". It would be interesting if economics could ever reconstruct itself to start with reality and then map a path on how to reach the ideal. As for the public economics material that is really a combination of micro and macroeconomic policy from a government perspective. On that topic, I have a fair bit to say about the franking credit issue which attracted some media attention this week, but that will have to wait a few days. Dawson and Lyons have provided a summary of history and effects stating "other taxpayers are funding cash payments from the ATO to shareholders living off investment income who do not pay any income tax", and therein is the problem. It is outrageously stupid policy and should have never been introduced in the first place.

As far as studies in information systems is concerned, that's resulted in a sizable essay on The Disciplinary Vagaries of Information Systems" where I explore why information systems cannot get out of being a multi-disciplinary subject and why there is no systemic generation of meaning. I have two more assignments to finish this course which will be done in the next week, namely a review of two white papers on ERP systems and a review of social media marketing which I have developed new levels of cynicism over, especially when the promoter spruiks the idea of "the buyer's journey" as similar to Joseph Campbell's monomyth in The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Yes, the mythology of facing mortal danger in supernatural realms has been reduced to a shopping expedition.

As far as work is concerned, I've volunteered myself to update our R packages on the HPC system, which is the tedious job of checking the CRAN repository, downloading the new file, changing the checksum, modifying the build script, and rebuilding the application. It needs to be done (as does the extensions for Python and Perl), but one also has to somehow retain the power of concentration through what is a spectacularly dull sequence of events. At least it will keep me busy during next week's conference in New Zealand where I will be visiting Multicore World for several days (having picked up accommodation at Boulcott Hall at the ridiculously cheap price of $30/night), before heading to Dunedin to check on my secret South Pacific base and visit the University of Otago. The latter part of my journey is meant to be an actual holiday.

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