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SL

Two points:

1. The Physics of Santa Claus is a fun read for scientifically-mind on Christmas day! It might not be physically impossible for Santa to deliver all the presents after all!

2. The economic discussions between the Filter^'s editors often come down to this: decentralisation & voluntary exchanges verse planning & governance. I personally don't have any problem with platonic dictators in principal, but am always painfully aware that information and removal costs are extremely high once we have engaged in any form of dictatorship...

AJE

I wouldn't agree with Steve's comment, and think he does himself a diservice to pretend we consistantly disagree. He highlights a massive fork in terms of societal reasoning: state vs market. The critical difference is the right to opt out. One can abstain from the market, but is coerced by a state. I'd have thought we were both firmly on the side of freedom.

TIS

Hi, I'm very interested in this comment. "So why were those kids on the train? At some point, they performed the most important gift we humans posses: to question what we've been told." What one can know by discovering it for oneself, but cannot be told, is explored in the - exceptionally polar - novel Mara and Dann, by Doris Lessing. It is set during a near future Ice Age, when human life has again retreated to the centre. "Strange that no one, even the cleverest, could know anything except by direct experience."

Or, as Lessing puts it in the Preface:

"One day last autumn my son Peter Lessing came in to say that he had just been listening, on the radio, to a tale about an orphaned brother and sister who had all kinds of adventures, suffered a hundred vicissitudes, and ended up living happily ever after. This was the oldest story in Europe. 'Why don't you write something like that?' he suggested. 'Oddly enough,' I replied, 'that is exactly what I am writing and I have nearly finished it.'
This kind of thing happens in families, but perhaps not so often in laboratories."

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