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Things one middle-aged economist finds interesting



Updated: 2016-12-08T05:41:00-05:00

 



"Nobody Likes Shitting the Bed"

2016-12-08T05:41:00-05:00

Entertaining and refreshingly honest: two guys who forecast the election incorrectly discuss what happened. Like many people on Tuesday, we completely fucking blew our calls. Given our previous success, we were pretty surprised.     Related Stories"Replacing Justice Scalia: A Proven Originalist from Trump’s List""Kill the 'money buys elections' cliche""The blue state depression"  Entertaining and refreshingly honest: two guys who forecast the election incorrectly discuss what happened. Like many people on Tuesday, we completely fucking blew our calls. Given our previous success, we were pretty surprised.      Related Stories"Replacing Justice Scalia: A Proven Originalist from Trump’s List""Kill the 'money buys elections' cliche""The blue state depression"  [...]






"Tennis Great Andre Agassi Serves Up School Buildings to 69 Charters — and Counting"

2016-12-08T05:13:00-05:00

Andre is one former athlete who's making a big difference. Why go this route, business instead of philanthropy? I think it’s a function of scalability and it’s a function of sustainability. I think if you want to treat a problem...     Related Stories"Universities Are Churning Out the Next Generation of Higher Ed Bureaucrats""Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi explains what she thinks is wrong with MBA programs today""Choice—Not Cash—Is Key in Education"  Andre is one former athlete who's making a big difference. Why go this route, business instead of philanthropy? I think it’s a function of scalability and it’s a function of sustainability. I think if you want to treat a problem in society, the government or philanthropy does just fine, and I think it’s a very important part, and I still have a huge working foundation that does that. But if you want real scalable change, you’ve got to figure out how to bring a lot of people to the table to create a win that makes it scalable and sustainable. This is our 69th school. It took me 15 years to build one philanthropically, and it’s taken me four years to build 69, [with] 36,000 school seats. I like the economy of scale. Link courtesy of my older daughter.      Related Stories"Universities Are Churning Out the Next Generation of Higher Ed Bureaucrats""Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi explains what she thinks is wrong with MBA programs today""Choice—Not Cash—Is Key in Education"  [...]



"Does Science Suggest Humans Have a Cosmic Role?"

2016-12-08T05:01:00-05:00

Quite interesting. Almost in spite of themselves, scientists are driven to a teleological view of the cosmos. (I liked the author's comment about the multiverse because it strikes me the same way: ". . . as a physicist trained to...     Related Stories"Scientists to test theory about light that could completely change our view of the universe and prove Einstein wrong""Unified theory of evolution""It's official: NASA's peer-reviewed EM Drive paper has finally been published"  Quite interesting. Almost in spite of themselves, scientists are driven to a teleological view of the cosmos. (I liked the author's comment about the multiverse because it strikes me the same way: ". . . as a physicist trained to give preference to simple solutions, a multiverse strikes me as the opposite: exorbitant.")      Related Stories"Scientists to test theory about light that could completely change our view of the universe and prove Einstein wrong""Unified theory of evolution""It's official: NASA's peer-reviewed EM Drive paper has finally been published"  [...]



"Kill the 'money buys elections' cliche"

2016-12-07T05:47:00-05:00

I'd say it's a little too early to "kill" it. But 2016 does put an awful big dent in it. Consider that Hillary Clinton's campaign outspent Trump by more than two-to-one. Pro-Clinton ads outnumbered pro-Trump ads by three-to-one. Independent groups...     Related Stories"The blue state depression"He's tanned, rested, and ready! He has an awful lot of experience!!"You Opposed Donald Trump, So Why Aren't You Freaking Out?"  I'd say it's a little too early to "kill" it. But 2016 does put an awful big dent in it. Consider that Hillary Clinton's campaign outspent Trump by more than two-to-one. Pro-Clinton ads outnumbered pro-Trump ads by three-to-one. Independent groups (the "super PACs") supporting Clinton outspent independent groups supporting Trump by three-to-one.      Related Stories"The blue state depression"He's tanned, rested, and ready! He has an awful lot of experience!!"You Opposed Donald Trump, So Why Aren't You Freaking Out?"  [...]



"The blue state depression"

2016-12-07T05:32:00-05:00

Good news: recently red states have been outcompeting blue states for population. More electoral votes for us. But the bad news is that the blue-staters might take their crappy politics with them.     Related StoriesHe's tanned, rested, and ready! He has an awful lot of experience!!"You Opposed Donald Trump, So Why Aren't You Freaking Out?""Wag the Dog: The Cynical Movie Americans Deserve"  Good news: recently red states have been outcompeting blue states for population. More electoral votes for us. But the bad news is that the blue-staters might take their crappy politics with them.      Related StoriesHe's tanned, rested, and ready! He has an awful lot of experience!!"You Opposed Donald Trump, So Why Aren't You Freaking Out?""Wag the Dog: The Cynical Movie Americans Deserve"  [...]



He's tanned, rested, and ready! He has an awful lot of experience!!

2016-12-07T05:24:00-05:00

Prepare yourselves for Joe Biden, 2020!     Related Stories"You Opposed Donald Trump, So Why Aren't You Freaking Out?""Wag the Dog: The Cynical Movie Americans Deserve""When Lunatics Run the Asylum You Get Monty Python"  Prepare yourselves for Joe Biden, 2020!      Related Stories"You Opposed Donald Trump, So Why Aren't You Freaking Out?""Wag the Dog: The Cynical Movie Americans Deserve""When Lunatics Run the Asylum You Get Monty Python"  [...]



"Scientists to test theory about light that could completely change our view of the universe and prove Einstein wrong"

2016-12-07T05:05:00-05:00

Faithful readers know that my strong inclination is to give the points and bet on Big Al. But we'll see. Also on Al's theory: "Albert Einstein’s famous space-time theory could just be a stepping stone to something much greater".     Related Stories"Unified theory of evolution""It's official: NASA's peer-reviewed EM Drive paper has finally been published""Astronomers just discovered one of the most massive objects in the universe hiding behind the Milky Way"  Faithful readers know that my strong inclination is to give the points and bet on Big Al. But we'll see. Also on Al's theory: "Albert Einstein’s famous space-time theory could just be a stepping stone to something much greater".      Related Stories"Unified theory of evolution""It's official: NASA's peer-reviewed EM Drive paper has finally been published""Astronomers just discovered one of the most massive objects in the universe hiding behind the Milky Way"  [...]



"This is Amazon's grocery store of the future: no cashiers, no registers, and no lines"

2016-12-06T05:48:00-05:00

It's Amazon's world; we just live in it. (I'm a big fan. Customer since 1995.) Related: "Here's what will happen if Amazon tries to sell new cars online in the US".     Related Stories"Inside a Moneymaking Machine Like No Other""Amazon faces holiday shipping disaster as pilots go on strike""Long-simmering food truck fight heats up on Chicago streets, in court"  It's Amazon's world; we just live in it. (I'm a big fan. Customer since 1995.) Related: "Here's what will happen if Amazon tries to sell new cars online in the US".      Related Stories"Inside a Moneymaking Machine Like No Other""Amazon faces holiday shipping disaster as pilots go on strike""Long-simmering food truck fight heats up on Chicago streets, in court"  [...]



"You Opposed Donald Trump, So Why Aren't You Freaking Out?"

2016-12-06T05:36:00-05:00

Words to remember, admirably understated: If you're genuinely interesting in being an effective critic of the next president, acting like Adolf Hitler is pounding at your doorstep every time Trump tweets something might not be the most effective plan in...     Related Stories"Wag the Dog: The Cynical Movie Americans Deserve""When Lunatics Run the Asylum You Get Monty Python""What Trump Can Learn from Nixon"  Words to remember, admirably understated: If you're genuinely interesting in being an effective critic of the next president, acting like Adolf Hitler is pounding at your doorstep every time Trump tweets something might not be the most effective plan in the long run.      Related Stories"Wag the Dog: The Cynical Movie Americans Deserve""When Lunatics Run the Asylum You Get Monty Python""What Trump Can Learn from Nixon"  [...]






"Wag the Dog: The Cynical Movie Americans Deserve"

2016-12-06T05:17:00-05:00

I love Wag the Dog. It still amazes me that Hollywood made it. Maybe because a bunch of geniuses were involved: Levinson, Mamet, De Niro, Hoffman, Willie Nelson.     Related Stories"When Lunatics Run the Asylum You Get Monty Python""What Trump Can Learn from Nixon""The Great Infrastructure Myth"  I love Wag the Dog. It still amazes me that Hollywood made it. Maybe because a bunch of geniuses were involved: Levinson, Mamet, De Niro, Hoffman, Willie Nelson.      Related Stories"When Lunatics Run the Asylum You Get Monty Python""What Trump Can Learn from Nixon""The Great Infrastructure Myth"  [...]



"When Lunatics Run the Asylum You Get Monty Python"

2016-12-06T05:03:00-05:00

Steven Greenhut with still more on the lunacy of government pensions, particularly California's. Related: "CalPERS says town defaulted on pension debt. What’s next for tiny Loyalton?" The default means the CalPERS board can move to reduce retirees’ benefits in Loyalton...     Related Stories"What Trump Can Learn from Nixon""The Great Infrastructure Myth""Is Our Economic Future Behind Us?"  Steven Greenhut with still more on the lunacy of government pensions, particularly California's. Related: "CalPERS says town defaulted on pension debt. What’s next for tiny Loyalton?" The default means the CalPERS board can move to reduce retirees’ benefits in Loyalton by about 60 percent, according to a formula that takes into account the dollars the city has already paid into the pension system. That would mark the first time in state history that CalPERS has reduced retirees’ benefits because of a municipality’s failure to pay its pension bills.      Related Stories"What Trump Can Learn from Nixon""The Great Infrastructure Myth""Is Our Economic Future Behind Us?"  [...]



"What Trump Can Learn from Nixon"

2016-12-05T05:51:00-05:00

Andrew Ferguson presents two lovely examples of times the Nixon Administration tried to make simple, easy, utterly reasonable changes in the federal bureaucracy . . . and how long and difficult they were.     Related Stories"The Great Infrastructure Myth""Is Our Economic Future Behind Us?""How Trump can drain the federal swamp"  Andrew Ferguson presents two lovely examples of times the Nixon Administration tried to make simple, easy, utterly reasonable changes in the federal bureaucracy . . . and how long and difficult they were.      Related Stories"The Great Infrastructure Myth""Is Our Economic Future Behind Us?""How Trump can drain the federal swamp"  [...]



"The Great Infrastructure Myth"

2016-12-05T05:43:00-05:00

Marc Scribner, writing for the Foundation for Economic Education, presents a concise summary of why--despite the fondest hopes of politicians of both parties---"infrastructure investment" is not a terrific way to raise economic growth.     Related Stories"Is Our Economic Future Behind Us?""How Trump can drain the federal swamp""From Peak Oil to Peak Oil Demand in Just Nine Years"  Marc Scribner, writing for the Foundation for Economic Education, presents a concise summary of why--despite the fondest hopes of politicians of both parties---"infrastructure investment" is not a terrific way to raise economic growth.      Related Stories"Is Our Economic Future Behind Us?""How Trump can drain the federal swamp""From Peak Oil to Peak Oil Demand in Just Nine Years"  [...]



"Is Our Economic Future Behind Us?"

2016-12-05T05:33:00-05:00

Joel Mokyr, a distinguished economic historian--one of the very best--thinks probably not. The history of technology is full of examples of this feedback loop. The seventeenth-century scientific revolution was made possible partly by new, technologically advanced tools, such as telescopes,...     Related Stories"How Trump can drain the federal swamp""From Peak Oil to Peak Oil Demand in Just Nine Years""What Do Academic Studies Have to Say About Americans' Retirement Saving?"  Joel Mokyr, a distinguished economic historian--one of the very best--thinks probably not.  The history of technology is full of examples of this feedback loop. The seventeenth-century scientific revolution was made possible partly by new, technologically advanced tools, such as telescopes, barometers, and vacuum pumps. One cannot discuss the emergence of germ theory in the 1870s without mentioning prior improvements in the microscope. The techniques of x-ray crystallography used by Rosalind Franklin were critical to the discovery of the structure of DNA, as well as to discoveries that led to over 20 Nobel prizes. The instruments available to science today include modern versions of old tools that would have been unimaginable even a quarter-century ago.      Related Stories"How Trump can drain the federal swamp""From Peak Oil to Peak Oil Demand in Just Nine Years""What Do Academic Studies Have to Say About Americans' Retirement Saving?"  [...]



"How Trump can drain the federal swamp"

2016-12-05T05:25:00-05:00

Cut federal grants and the control and corruption that inevitably follows.     Related Stories"From Peak Oil to Peak Oil Demand in Just Nine Years""What Do Academic Studies Have to Say About Americans' Retirement Saving?""Even Math Teachers Are at a Loss to Understand Annuities"  Cut federal grants and the control and corruption that inevitably follows.      Related Stories"From Peak Oil to Peak Oil Demand in Just Nine Years""What Do Academic Studies Have to Say About Americans' Retirement Saving?""Even Math Teachers Are at a Loss to Understand Annuities"  [...]



"Man 'cured' of prostate cancer after doctors shock tumour to death with testosterone"

2016-12-05T05:14:00-05:00

Obviously, one man does not a cure make, but this still sounds quite promising. Other seriously ill men taking part in the same trial showed responses that astounded scientists, with tumours shrinking and the progress of their disease halted.     Related Stories"Chrissy Teigen Finally Admits to How Celebrities Really Shed Baby Weight So Quickly""Vitamin D deficiency associated with heightened depression, study finds""Why sense of SMELL is the biggest tell-tale factor for Alzheimer's - and could be spotted 10 YEARS before memory loss symptoms"  Obviously, one man does not a cure make, but this still sounds quite promising. Other seriously ill men taking part in the same trial showed responses that astounded scientists, with tumours shrinking and the progress of their disease halted.        Related Stories"Chrissy Teigen Finally Admits to How Celebrities Really Shed Baby Weight So Quickly""Vitamin D deficiency associated with heightened depression, study finds""Why sense of SMELL is the biggest tell-tale factor for Alzheimer's - and could be spotted 10 YEARS before memory loss symptoms"  [...]



"From Peak Oil to Peak Oil Demand in Just Nine Years"

2016-12-05T05:03:00-05:00

The article is more cautious than the headline, but still . . .     Related Stories"What Do Academic Studies Have to Say About Americans' Retirement Saving?""Even Math Teachers Are at a Loss to Understand Annuities""Democracy for an Age of Distrust"  The article is more cautious than the headline, but still . . .       Related Stories"What Do Academic Studies Have to Say About Americans' Retirement Saving?""Even Math Teachers Are at a Loss to Understand Annuities""Democracy for an Age of Distrust"  [...]



"UConn’s Geno Auriemma Looks Into a Mirror and Sees Gregg Popovich"

2016-12-04T10:41:00-05:00

For my money, Geno, Pop, Bill B., and Nicky Satan are the Mount Rushmore of today's pro coaches.     Related Stories"John Calipari’s Kentucky Teams Are Loaded — and It’s a Scouting Nightmare""WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The 7 quarterbacks drafted before Dak Prescott""Is College Football Playoff Committee Losing Its Legitimacy?"  For my money, Geno, Pop, Bill B., and Nicky Satan are the Mount Rushmore of today's pro coaches.      Related Stories"John Calipari’s Kentucky Teams Are Loaded — and It’s a Scouting Nightmare""WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The 7 quarterbacks drafted before Dak Prescott""Is College Football Playoff Committee Losing Its Legitimacy?"  [...]



"John Calipari’s Kentucky Teams Are Loaded — and It’s a Scouting Nightmare"

2016-12-04T05:03:00-05:00

Yet another Major Problem I had no idea about.     Related Stories"WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The 7 quarterbacks drafted before Dak Prescott""Is College Football Playoff Committee Losing Its Legitimacy?""All-Time Losing Streaks: Buccaneers, 76ers, Sharks And More"  Yet another Major Problem I had no idea about.      Related Stories"WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The 7 quarterbacks drafted before Dak Prescott""Is College Football Playoff Committee Losing Its Legitimacy?""All-Time Losing Streaks: Buccaneers, 76ers, Sharks And More"  [...]



"WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The 7 quarterbacks drafted before Dak Prescott"

2016-12-03T05:43:00-05:00

It's real early yet, but there a whole lot of teams that regret missing on Dak.     Related Stories"Is College Football Playoff Committee Losing Its Legitimacy?""All-Time Losing Streaks: Buccaneers, 76ers, Sharks And More""How One Man’s Bad Math Helped Ruin Decades Of English Soccer"  It's real early yet, but there a whole lot of teams that regret missing on Dak.      Related Stories"Is College Football Playoff Committee Losing Its Legitimacy?""All-Time Losing Streaks: Buccaneers, 76ers, Sharks And More""How One Man’s Bad Math Helped Ruin Decades Of English Soccer"  [...]



"Three Stooges 057: An Ache In Every Stake"

2016-12-03T05:03:00-05:00

Individuals lacking a Y chromosome tend, in my experience, to think the Stooges are not funny. But in moderate doses, Curly still makes me laugh out loud.     Related Stories"These Are the Best Movie Twists of All Time""This is peak dad.""Gifted"  Individuals lacking a Y chromosome tend, in my experience, to  think the Stooges are not funny. But in moderate doses, Curly still makes me laugh out loud.      Related Stories"These Are the Best Movie Twists of All Time""This is peak dad.""Gifted"  [...]



"Prince - Unplugged - Acoustic Guitar - Live 2004"

2016-12-02T05:52:00-05:00

Everybody seemed to having a really good time.     Related Stories"Dear Twitter: What is the song you most detest and despise?""Free Girl Now (Live)""Keith Richards on Mick Jagger, his mom and Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize"  Everybody seemed to having a really good time.      Related Stories"Dear Twitter: What is the song you most detest and despise?""Free Girl Now (Live)""Keith Richards on Mick Jagger, his mom and Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize"  [...]



"Dear Twitter: What is the song you most detest and despise?"

2016-12-02T05:32:00-05:00

A lot bad ones here. Just in the first couple of dozen are "Dancing Queen," "Love Shack," and "Do They Know It's Christmas".     Related Stories"Free Girl Now (Live)""Keith Richards on Mick Jagger, his mom and Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize""The 50 Year Anniversary of Paul McCartney's 'Death'"  A lot bad ones here. Just in the first couple of dozen are "Dancing Queen," "Love Shack," and "Do They Know It's Christmas".      Related Stories"Free Girl Now (Live)""Keith Richards on Mick Jagger, his mom and Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize""The 50 Year Anniversary of Paul McCartney's 'Death'"  [...]



"Take a look inside Cindy Crawford's closet with The Coveteur"

2016-12-02T05:02:00-05:00

Sure, why not?     Related Stories"Omni-directional conveyor belts are fun to watch""How not to be ignorant about the world""Why Does Your Elbow Hurt So Much When You Bump It the Wrong Way?"  Sure, why not?      Related Stories"Omni-directional conveyor belts are fun to watch""How not to be ignorant about the world""Why Does Your Elbow Hurt So Much When You Bump It the Wrong Way?"  [...]



"Why Are These Classic Shows Nowhere to Be Found on Streaming?"

2016-12-01T05:51:00-05:00

I had wondered about this. I guess it's no surprise that in some case, it involves music rights.     Related Stories"If You Come at Anthony Bourdain, You Best Not Miss""Why Portland is Getting Sick of 'Portlandia'"  I had wondered about this. I guess it's no surprise that in some case, it involves music rights.      Related Stories"If You Come at Anthony Bourdain, You Best Not Miss""Why Portland is Getting Sick of 'Portlandia'"  [...]