A Good Hart

Being all alone in the house is the freedom to eat poached eggs on toast at four in the morning. Even if it's really at three because the clocks went back at midnight.

It is also the freedom to sleep at 0600, wake up at 1400, and eat poached eggs on toast again for breakfast.
The parents and dogs are back, equally exhausted from runs on the beach and encounters with enormous labradors.

At the time, I was attempting to hand-edit spaghetti HTML code for Simon M's ebay business. The wholesaler provides ready-written code for ebay sellers, but some is not applicable, some gives prices (in dollars) we want to change, and some is just OTT rubbish.

His first sale is...to me! Seeing as no one's bid yet for his ebay stuff, I bought a bottle of Chrysin. With free delivery to my pocket.

As I understand it, the male body normally converts some of it's tesosterone to estrogen - a process called aromatisation - which stimulates the pituitary to reduce testosterone production, which means there's less testosterone aroud to be aromatised, so less stimulation to the pituitary to reduce testosterone production, which means testosterone levels rise etc. It's a feedback-based thermostat system. Chrysin reduces aromatisation, raising average testosterone levels.

That's the idea, but tests on rats find it to have no effect on estrogen levels. So perhaps the state of current knowledge is: It probably doesn't work, but no on knows why.
I'm told this is the hottest final week in October since records began. Certainly it's a surprise to see people on the street in shorts and teeshirts when it's almost November.

The local newspaper reassures us that unusually intense rainfall and unusually high temperatures are not unusual in Autumn. Which if nothing else tells you something about journalists.

It also says December will be much colder than normal.
Goodhart's Law. Named after it's proposer Charles Goodhart, an economist who worked for Margarat Thatcher's project of Moneterist economic planning.

The project was an attempt to eliminate the patterns of boom and bust, seesawing inflation and unemployment, and unpredictable growth in capitalism.

There were two obvious problems. First, that a planned capitalist economy is a contradiction in terms. Second, that Milton Friedman's equations of Moneterism don't add up.

Which may be why an attempt to stop inflation by reducing the money supply led to increased unemployment and inflation. And, amazingly, more money in the system.

Anyway, the law states that when an indicator gets used as a target, it ceases to be an indicator. The law's applicability goes far beyond economics.

Exam results are an indicator of educational quality in a school. So the school sets targets for exam results, and in doing so educates students to pass exams rather than understand the subject. Result: exam result no longer indicate education quality - the former rises and the latter falls.

Arrests and convictions are two indicators (incomplete and misleading in isolation) of success in law enforcement. So police get arrest quotas and the courts feel pressured to convict more. Result: pointless arrests, and overcrowded prisons full of innocent people.

It works under state capitalism too. Soviet furniture manufacturers measured their productivity by the amount of raw materials used. So, not having the option over overproduction, they used more and more raw materials to make bigger and bigger furniture, which then wouldn't fit into people's rooms.

Goodhart's Law makes sense of a lot of cultural history. If I'd known about it while getting degrees in Cultural Theory, it might have been less puzzling.

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