Friday, February 6, 2009

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

It doesn't seem to exist anymore or at least they're hard to find. There used to be bakeries that the moment you passed through the door you knew you be buying too much because of all the wonderful smells. To top it all off there would be a lagniappe, or baker's dozen, for certain items thrown in for "good measure". Nowadays, if you want fresh baked goods, you go to the "bakery section" of the supermarket and get pre-packaged item that is wrapped in plastic to "assure natural freshness", even though the item contains all types of preservatives. It seems that nowadays they subscribe to the notion that "nothing is free" and "you get what you pay for".

TANSTAAFL is an acronym for the adage "There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch". Science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein popularized this saying in his novel "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress". In this book he demonstrates the concept of "nothing is free and one way or another somebody will pay for it". Even if something appears to be free, there is always a cost to the person or to society as a whole even though the cost may be hidden or distributed. I guess that's why one doesn't see much lagniappe around anymore, it costs too much.

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Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica

Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica