The Novels

Economics 101, a Novel (Rough Draft) -- My first sustained attempt at a novel, two-thirds finished in rough draft, and heading a little too far south.
What would you do if you and your study partner, with whom you had been seriously discussing marriage, suddenly found yourselves all alone together on a desert island? Study economics?
Sociology 500, a Romance (Second Draft) -- The first book in the Economics 101 Trilogy.(On hold.)
Karel and Dan, former American football teammates and now graduate students, meet fellow graduate students Kristie and Bobbie, and the four form a steady study group.

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Sociology 500, a Romance, ch 1 pt 1 -- Introducing Bobbie

TOC Well, let's meet Roberta Whitmer. Bobbie entered the anthropology department office and looked around. Near the receptionis...

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Simplify (Early Draft of Economics 101 Framing Story)


This is a very early draft of the Economics 101 novel that is not going anywhere right now, that I dug out of my Math and English blog (of all places).

It was written before I created this blog, if you are wondering about the date. I forget to record the actual date before editing, and Blogspot/Google doesn't seem to have a way for freeloaders like me to retrieve the edit record, so I'm guessing that I last saved it around March 15th.

Maybe I'll re-use a lot of this when I finally get around to the re-write. I like it better than a lot of the hackish stuff I've been writing.


When trying to decipher the physical laws of the universe, we find it easier to start with simplifications. For example, when describing the flight of a cannonball, we start by ignoring air friction and the wind. That makes the math simple enough to handle without a computer in many cases.

we simplify the system of a cannon ball, a feather, and the earth by dropping the cannon ball and the feather together in a two or so meter tall near-vacuum chamber. By observing that the feather and the cannonball fall at the same rate in the vacuum, we gain confidence

watching what happens as we remove air the vacuum gives us confidence that, in a true vacuum, the feather, like the marble, accelerates at so close to the same rate as the cannon ball that we can't measure the difference. This allows us to ignore friction with confidence in many cases. in other words, to simplify. Simplifying allows us to use mathematics that we can

Or, we couldn't until very recently. We have some very fast measuring devices lately.

Nature helps us here. The earth is so much bigger than either the cannon ball or the feather that it predominates all the curves, all the equations. For all practical purposes, the earth can be seen as the entire source of the accelerating force.

Actually, to say this correctly, the miniscule difference in the fall times is due to the acceleration of the earth toward the feather and the cannonball, if I remember correctly, and that is why it is such a miniscule difference. So we generally discard

Karel and Bobbie had just arrived at the island airport. They had one more long hop to their final destination, scheduled on a local chartered flight.

Their doctorate advisor had introduced them to each other a year ago, and had suggested they work together on their projects for their doctorates in anthropology. They were both working on island cultures, and needed to do some in-depth, long-term, in-context research.

Their professor had suggested they cooperate, so they could back each other up in the foreign culture.

Getting their plans to mesh hadn't been too hard. And they found that there would be some down time, waiting for each other to finish things here and there, so they had added some service projects to their plans.

Now they were standing with their luggage, looking around the tiny, mostly outdoor airport for the charter company. Asking airline staff had produced puzzled looks, and then nods in various directions. As if no one understood what a charter company was.

The airport cleared out as the passengers on the regular flight went their various ways. The flight crew finished up post-flight checks, secured the plane, and left for their quarters or the local canteen.

Finally, there was no one left but a couple of unkempt looking rough-looking characters lounging in some shade in a corner.

"I guess we should try asking them?" Karel suggested.

Bobbie's eyes rounded. "I'll wait here and cover your back," she joked.

Karel nodded and said, "That actually might not be a bad idea."

Bobbie shook her head. "Nah, let's go with safety in numbers."

So they walked over to the roughs, pushing their bags on a hand truck, and Karel asked, "Do you speak English?"

"What's it to ya?"

"We're looking for a charter flight and we were wondering whether you'd know where the company is."

"That would be us. I'm Wycliff and this is Zedidiah. You must be Bobby, and your girlfriend must be Carol."

"I'll get your bags," Zedidiah offered.

"Where's your plane?" asked Karel.

"Oh, yeah," said Wycliff. "I knew we were forgetting something. You guys wait here with your bags and we'll go get the plane out of the hangar." And they headed out across the airstrip to a building that looked too small to contain an airplane.

"You're not going to correct them." Bobbie was not asking.

"No. Can you see a constable?"


Zedidiah called out across the strip as they went inside the putative hangar, "Hey, if you guys want to hang around and explore the town before heading out, we don't mind."

"No thanks, our professor is waiting for us."

"Well, it will take us a couple of hours to get the plane ready, so you might as well look around. The luggage will be okay where it is."

Zedidiah walked into the shade of the hangar and started working the doors open. "He says their professor is waiting for them."

"Waiting for them, huh?"

Karel found a police officer who spoke English and they were able to assure themselves that the two roughs were, indeed, their charter pilot and co-pilot. Bobbie found a hotel with a phone, and they called their professor at their destination.


And they took their pilots' advice and looked around and took some notes. When they got back in an hour, their luggage was not where they had left it, but the plane was sitting at the near end of the strip and their pilots' were idling the engine.

"We loaded your luggage already!" called out Zedidiah. "Hope you don't mind."

"Right back here." Wycliff indicated the back of the plane. "Ready to go?"


"Can I make sure we have it all?" Bobbie asked.

"It's tied down, but everything is visible."

Karel climbed in first and started counting bags. Bobbie climbed in behind and did the same.

"All there."

"And you even have the right bags at the bottom." Bobbie noted.

"It's a long flight, you'll want to use the facilities before we leave." suggested Zedidiah. We've already been, and Wycliff filed the flight plans just before you got back."

"Final check about the weather, you know. It looks clear, so night flight is okay. We can go once you've taken care of any minor business."

When they got back from the toilets, Karel mentioned casually that he had contacted their professor. Wycliff said, yeah, he had called in, too, and had talked with the professor and told him their ETA. The trip would take about ten hours, and they should arrive just after midnight.

For all that the pilots did not inspire confidence in their attitude or appearance, they seemed to know their plane and the route. The island they left behind was beautiful from the air, and then there was nothing but sea. That was also beautiful, but it got boring. Naps had been suggested, and the suggestion had been taken. Small talk was exchanged and then Wycliffe had regaled them with stories of some of his adventures, which Zedidiah had then proceeded to top.

It started getting dark about sevenish, and the sunset was beautiful. So were the stars when they came out.


About ten or so, Wycliffe turned around. "You two don't seem to be enjoying the view so much."

"What?" Karel had been thnking about some theoretical work he had planned.

Bobbie was also lost in reviewing her research plans. "Mmm, oh, it's very nice."

"But you're not enjoying it." Emphasis on enjoy.

"The stars are beautiful in the sky. So is the reflection in the sea. Are we supposed to be having a party?" Karel was genuinely puzzled.

"I dunno. We had kind of thought you might," Zedidiah commented over the noise of the engine. "No need to be shy in front of us."


"Oh, that little misunderstanding, maybe. We are not, you know, girlfriend and boyfriend. We just have doctoral projects that we're helping each other with."

"Oh. Waste of a view." Zedidiah sounded disappointed.

Wycliff thought for a moment. "More than a waste of a view. It's unnatural. We should've brought our girlfriends, too, you think, Zed?"

"Would've been crowded, and a bit close on the fuel, Wye."

Bobbie and Karel looked at each other. They could read each others' thoughts, that they were both thinking this could be amusing or a bit disconcerting.

About eleven, Wycliff woke Zedidiah up to trade off. About eleven thirty, he woke their passengers and told them to get ready to land.

About twelve, Wycliff asked Zedidiah, "Who is God?"

"Dahl is God. Dahl ahb eelahdah lahdah."

Then he turned and asked Karel. "Karel, who is God?"

Karel shook his head. "I'm not following the joke, here. God is God. I have no idea what or who Dahl ahbee lahlah is."

"Dahl ahb eelahdah lahdah." It's one of the names of God, according to the customs of the island you're going to."

"Oh. Well, I'll keep my ears open for the name."

"It's very important, and it could be a matter of your safety. Make sure you say it right. Dahl ahb eelahdah lahdah."

Karel thought it best to humor their pilots. "Dahl ahbee lahdah lahdah. Okay, I think I've got it."

"Good. There's no airport here. We'll be landing on the beach."


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