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Things one middle-aged economist finds interesting



Updated: 2017-01-21T05:45:00-05:00

 



"Why Do Dogs Love Snow?"

2017-01-21T05:45:00-05:00

Some learned responses here, but, basically, if you don't have to shovel it or drive in it, who doesn't like (some) snow?     Related Stories"What it's really like to live in one of the cities with the best quality of life in the world""This little place is the retiree capital of America""The Trick to Walking on Ice Without Falling"  Some learned responses here, but, basically, if you don't have to shovel it or drive in it, who doesn't like (some) snow?      Related Stories"What it's really like to live in one of the cities with the best quality of life in the world""This little place is the retiree capital of America""The Trick to Walking on Ice Without Falling"  [...]



"This 3,500-Year-Old Greek Tomb Upended What We Thought We Knew About the Roots of Western Civilization"

2017-01-21T05:07:00-05:00

Piece at Smithsonian.com describing recent archaeological finds concerning the Mycenaean civilization.     Related Stories"Did the Federal Government Give Americans Clean Air?""The lost city of Trellech: History fan spends his £32,000 life savings buying a field on a hunch - then is proved spectacularly right when he digs it up to discover the remains of a medieval town""Why Europe Rose And Others Did Not"  Piece at Smithsonian.com describing recent archaeological finds concerning the Mycenaean civilization.      Related Stories"Did the Federal Government Give Americans Clean Air?""The lost city of Trellech: History fan spends his £32,000 life savings buying a field on a hunch - then is proved spectacularly right when he digs it up to discover the remains of a medieval town""Why Europe Rose And Others Did Not"  [...]



"5 Best End Credits of All Time"

2017-01-20T05:50:00-05:00

Excellent movies Michael Clayton and Buckaroo Bonzai get too short shrift here, but #3, Ferris Bueller, is quite appropriate.

Excellent movies Michael Clayton and Buckaroo Bonzai get too short shrift here, but #3, Ferris Bueller, is quite appropriate.

(image)



"The Doors’ Debut Is Still One of the Most Dangerous Albums Ever"

2017-01-20T05:29:00-05:00

"Dangerous"? I didn't know. In honor of the album’s 50th anniversary, we present you with a song-by-song synopsis of one of rock’s most enduring debut albums.

"Dangerous"? I didn't know.

In honor of the album’s 50th anniversary, we present you with a song-by-song synopsis of one of rock’s most enduring debut albums.

(image)



"How the Texans exposed flaws in the Patriots’ offense"

2017-01-20T05:02:00-05:00

Interesting review of last weekend's game.     Related Stories"Grayson Allen's legs again a national topic, which is entirely his fault""Never forget how lucky we are to live in the Lionel Messi era""Kick Six"  Interesting review of last weekend's game.      Related Stories"Grayson Allen's legs again a national topic, which is entirely his fault""Never forget how lucky we are to live in the Lionel Messi era""Kick Six"  [...]



"Government Bureaucracy Sketch"

2017-01-19T05:40:00-05:00

Made me smile. Who knows just how the clash between the Trump Administration and career bureaucrats will play out, but for the time being we have the great Dan Mitchell to thank for bringing our attention to this splendid video...     Related Stories"Did the Federal Government Give Americans Clean Air?""Trump’s Presidency Is Already Making Republicans Love Big Government More""2016 Internet Slang: A Year in Review"  Made me smile. Who knows just how the clash between the Trump Administration and career bureaucrats will play out, but for the time being we have the great Dan Mitchell to thank for bringing our attention to this splendid video from someone in Latin America, where bureaucracy is a fine art (just 3:30 long):      Related Stories"Did the Federal Government Give Americans Clean Air?""Trump’s Presidency Is Already Making Republicans Love Big Government More""2016 Internet Slang: A Year in Review"  [...]



"Did the Federal Government Give Americans Clean Air?"

2017-01-19T06:48:47-05:00

Short piece that argues "Air Quality Steadily Improved During 20th Century [before the EPA]".     Related Stories"Trump’s Presidency Is Already Making Republicans Love Big Government More""Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's""Of class and classes"  Short piece that argues "Air Quality Steadily Improved During 20th Century [before the EPA]".      Related Stories"Trump’s Presidency Is Already Making Republicans Love Big Government More""Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's""Of class and classes"  [...]



"Appendix may have important function, new research suggests"

2017-01-19T05:07:00-05:00

As an appendix-less American, I found this short piece interesting.     Related Stories"The Everything Guide to Bottled Water""Trying Not to Get Sick? Science Says You're Probably Doing It Wrong""How to Find Clinical Trials for Experimental Cancer Treatments"  As an appendix-less American, I found this short piece interesting.      Related Stories"The Everything Guide to Bottled Water""Trying Not to Get Sick? Science Says You're Probably Doing It Wrong""How to Find Clinical Trials for Experimental Cancer Treatments"  [...]



"Trump’s Presidency Is Already Making Republicans Love Big Government More"

2017-01-18T17:52:00-05:00

This could be really unfortunate. With Republicans in control of the legislative and executive branches for the first time in more than a decade, skepticism about the federal government among conservative leaders is melting away. Those who have for years...     Related Stories"Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's""Of class and classes""2016 Internet Slang: A Year in Review"  This could be really unfortunate. With Republicans in control of the legislative and executive branches for the first time in more than a decade, skepticism about the federal government among conservative leaders is melting away. Those who have for years defined themselves politically as the only ones resisting the growth of a powerful and coercive administrative state are now, it seems, okay with it. To quote Boromir, this ring is a gift. Why not use it?      Related Stories"Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's""Of class and classes""2016 Internet Slang: A Year in Review"  [...]



"2016 Internet Slang: A Year in Review"

2017-01-18T05:24:00-05:00

First World problem: it's tough to keep up. The web’s impossibly fast lingual churn has driven institutions like the Oxford Dictionaries mad, pushing it to select illustrated symbols and dystopian concepts as its words of the year. And as the...     Related Stories"Grayson Allen's legs again a national topic, which is entirely his fault""Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's""Want to make a subject more appealing to students? Add a ‘trigger warning’"  First World problem: it's tough to keep up. The web’s impossibly fast lingual churn has driven institutions like the Oxford Dictionaries mad, pushing it to select illustrated symbols and dystopian concepts as its words of the year. And as the world’s social networks grow more vast, our lingual graveyard gets a little more cramped with antiquities like n00b, YOLO, on fleek.      Related Stories"Grayson Allen's legs again a national topic, which is entirely his fault""Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's""Want to make a subject more appealing to students? Add a ‘trigger warning’"  [...]



"'What Came Before the Big Bang?'--Intriguing New Theories on the Origin of Time"

2017-01-18T05:02:00-05:00

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I'd like to believe that time exists as a physical phenomenon, independent of any observers.     Related Stories"Even Physicists Find the Multiverse Faintly Disturbing""The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics""Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here"  I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I'd like to believe that time exists as a physical phenomenon, independent of any observers.      Related Stories"Even Physicists Find the Multiverse Faintly Disturbing""The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics""Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here"  [...]



"The Everything Guide to Bottled Water"

2017-01-18T05:00:00-05:00

If you drink bottled water like I do you might find this interesting. I can quibble with this: "The logic’s controversial: Pure water measures a 7, after all, and the body might well maintain a proper pH balance regardless of...     Related StoriesAs noted here before much of what we've been told about nutrition seems to be wrong"Trying Not to Get Sick? Science Says You're Probably Doing It Wrong""Grocery stores are becoming the fast-food industry's biggest threat"  If you drink bottled water like I do you might find this interesting. I can quibble with this: "The logic’s controversial: Pure water measures a 7, after all, and the body might well maintain a proper pH balance regardless of what you consume." The pH of the blood is very tightly regulated, but--at least if my kidney stone doctor is correct--what you consume can and usually will affect the pH of your urine, which can be important in dealing with stones.      Related StoriesAs noted here before much of what we've been told about nutrition seems to be wrong"Trying Not to Get Sick? Science Says You're Probably Doing It Wrong""Grocery stores are becoming the fast-food industry's biggest threat"  [...]



"Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's"

2017-01-17T05:48:00-05:00

You just know that that's got to be pretty bad. Related: "It’s Happening". Illinois is gradually bleeding out through ever deeper wounds inflicted by its own government. The most common question I get here is when it all blows up,...     Related Stories"Of class and classes""Grayson Allen's legs again a national topic, which is entirely his fault""Want to make a subject more appealing to students? Add a ‘trigger warning’"  You just know that that's got to be pretty bad. Related: "It’s Happening". Illinois is gradually bleeding out through ever deeper wounds inflicted by its own government. The most common question I get here is when it all blows up, but I doubt there will be any explosive event. It’s not just happening, it’s worsening. The most recent news marks a death spiral in full swing. Population is shrinking, the tax base is eroding and the state’s revenue is declining, all while the underlying causes remain unaddressed and debt soars for the state and most of its municipalities. And more: "Blue States Have Bigger Pension Debts Than Red States". There's maybe some good news for California's pension problems: "Calif. Court’s Second Rejection of Pension Vested Rights May Help State Avoid Financial Disaster". But there's also not-so-good news for some San Jose retirees: "California city overpays pensions for years, asks retirees for money back". Also on California: "California's budget deficit is back, Gov. Jerry Brown says". Less than four years after declaring California’s budget balanced for the foreseeable future, Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday said the state is projected to run a $1.6-billion deficit by next summer . . . Everybody sing along with Sonny and Cher: "The Beat Goes On".      Related Stories"Of class and classes""Grayson Allen's legs again a national topic, which is entirely his fault""Want to make a subject more appealing to students? Add a ‘trigger warning’"  [...]



"Grayson Allen's legs again a national topic, which is entirely his fault"

2017-01-17T05:36:00-05:00

Unless you live in a family of Duke fans like I do, you might not care about the Grayson Allen contretemps or even know about it. But here's a CBS report on the most recent event. The reporter writes: I'll...     Related Stories"Want to make a subject more appealing to students? Add a ‘trigger warning’""Of class and classes""Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here"  Unless you live in a family of Duke fans like I do, you might not care about the Grayson Allen contretemps or even know about it. But here's a CBS report on the most recent event. The reporter writes: I'll be honest: I had Duke-Boston College on television Saturday when the incident occurred, and I didn't even blink. Perhaps that's because I was also on social media and not totally focused. Maybe it's because my eyes are bad. Either way, the point's the same. I didn't notice it in real time. And neither did any of the three officials.  So why did it become a huuuge deal? Because somebody put the video on Twitter.  I'm not anti-technology. I'm not even opposed to Twitter. (For somebody who is, see "It's Time to Kill Twitter, Before It Kills Us".) I just think that journalists and writers of all kinds should devote less time and attention to a tiny, tiny number of folks who sound off on Twitter. Why does our national conversation have to be driven by them?      Related Stories"Want to make a subject more appealing to students? Add a ‘trigger warning’""Of class and classes""Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here"  [...]



"Want to make a subject more appealing to students? Add a ‘trigger warning’"

2017-01-17T09:54:36-05:00

I'd really like to know whether some people do not understand or just pretend to not understand that the minute you tell Americans--especially young Americans--"You can't think that. You can't say that." at least some of them will immediately want...     Related Stories"Of class and classes""Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here""Grocery stores are becoming the fast-food industry's biggest threat"  I'd really like to know whether some people do not understand or just pretend to not understand that the minute you tell Americans--especially young Americans--"You can't think that. You can't say that." at least some of them will immediately want to think that and say that. You could even say that that's a vital part of a free society. And it's been going on a long time. See Marlon Brando's famous scene in  The Wild One (1953): "Hey, Johnnie, what are you rebelling against?" "Whatdya got?" Related: "Why are people so terrified of Milo Yiannopoulos’s book?"      Related Stories"Of class and classes""Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here""Grocery stores are becoming the fast-food industry's biggest threat"  [...]



"Of class and classes"

2017-01-17T05:10:00-05:00

Glenn Reynolds: "If you want to help poor kids get ahead, then you need to support school choice." Related: "Want to Fight Race-Based Economic Inequality? Reform Education."     Related StoriesPro tip: Don't mess with the Law of Unintended Consequences"North Carolina’s charter surge: Attendance has doubled in the last 5 years""An Introduction to Empirical Microeconomics"  Glenn Reynolds: "If you want to help poor kids get ahead, then you need to support school choice." Related: "Want to Fight Race-Based Economic Inequality? Reform Education."      Related StoriesPro tip: Don't mess with the Law of Unintended Consequences"North Carolina’s charter surge: Attendance has doubled in the last 5 years""An Introduction to Empirical Microeconomics"  [...]



"Millennials looking to fix overpiercing, remove tattoos"

2017-01-17T05:02:00-05:00

Unsurprising but still sad for them.     Related Stories"Golden Retriever Service Dog is a 'CHAMP' for this Nine-Year-Old Girl""The lost city of Trellech: History fan spends his £32,000 life savings buying a field on a hunch - then is proved spectacularly right when he digs it up to discover the remains of a medieval town""Bill Gates says three skills are essential for success in future job market"  Unsurprising but still sad for them.      Related Stories"Golden Retriever Service Dog is a 'CHAMP' for this Nine-Year-Old Girl""The lost city of Trellech: History fan spends his £32,000 life savings buying a field on a hunch - then is proved spectacularly right when he digs it up to discover the remains of a medieval town""Bill Gates says three skills are essential for success in future job market"  [...]



"An Introduction to Empirical Microeconomics"

2017-01-16T05:52:00-05:00

Free--short--Principles text by Mathew Kahn, who has left UCLA for the University of Spoiled Children, that has an unusual approach: . . . I still see an open niche here for a challenging e-book. Unlike other Principles books, this book...     Related StoriesPro tip: Don't mess with the Law of Unintended Consequences"Growth, Not Forced Equality, Saves the Poor""Poison Ivy: Not so much palaces of learning as bastions of privilege and hypocrisy"  Free--short--Principles text by Mathew Kahn, who has left UCLA for the University of Spoiled Children, that has an unusual approach: . . . I still see an open niche here for a challenging e-book. Unlike other Principles books, this book will be “data driven”. I will present you with an empirical economics puzzle such as “why do men earn 22% more per hour than women”? I will then walk the reader through possible economic explanations for the fact but then we will go a step further. Often there will be several possible explanations for a given set of facts. I will challenge you to work with me to devise a new experiment for figuring out which explanation is right. In this sense, we will start with a set of facts.We will use economic logic to sketch out the set of possible explanations. We will then, because we are scientists, devise a new experiment for settling which of the explanations is right. The new experiment will generate new facts and the “correct theory” should both be able to explain the first fact and the new fact while the incorrect theories can explain the first fact but not the later facts.      Related StoriesPro tip: Don't mess with the Law of Unintended Consequences"Growth, Not Forced Equality, Saves the Poor""Poison Ivy: Not so much palaces of learning as bastions of privilege and hypocrisy"  [...]



"Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here"

2017-01-16T05:45:00-05:00

What with the recent big oil discoveries and now this, things could be really looking up for Israel.     Related Stories"Grocery stores are becoming the fast-food industry's biggest threat""Globe gobbledygook memo ominous sign"Pro tip: Don't mess with the Law of Unintended Consequences  What with the recent big oil discoveries and now this, things could be really looking up for Israel.      Related Stories"Grocery stores are becoming the fast-food industry's biggest threat""Globe gobbledygook memo ominous sign"Pro tip: Don't mess with the Law of Unintended Consequences  [...]



"Bill Gates says three skills are essential for success in future job market"

2017-01-16T11:53:20-05:00

Guess what one of them is. Go ahead, guess. It's was your humble blogger's profession.     Related Stories"Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's""Of class and classes""An Introduction to Empirical Microeconomics"  Guess what one of them is. Go ahead, guess.  It's was your humble blogger's profession.      Related Stories"Report: Chicago's Pension Woes Worse Than Detroit's""Of class and classes""An Introduction to Empirical Microeconomics"  [...]



"Is SAP Germany's revenge for losing WWII?"

2017-01-16T05:37:00-05:00

Quora folks have some fun. Sample: This question shows a complete misunderstanding of what really happened. WWII was just a decoy. A cover-up while preparations for SAP were underway. How do we know? German inventor Konrad Zuse developed the first...     Related Stories"Peoples Republic Of California T-Shirts & Tees""Life’s Work: An Interview with Jerry Seinfeld""Some Lawyer Is Posting Hilarious 'Tips' On Facebook"  Quora folks have some fun. Sample: This question shows a complete misunderstanding of what really happened. WWII was just a decoy. A cover-up while preparations for SAP were underway. How do we know? German inventor Konrad Zuse developed the first programmable computer “Z1” in 1936–1938. See Wikipedia: Z1 (computer). Only one year later, WWII started in 1939. Wikipedia: World War II Could that exact timing be just a coincidence? Final proof: SAP was founded in 1972. Source: SAP (SAP Company History) 1938 to 1972 gives 34 years, just about the time needed to roll out an SAP system.      Related Stories"Peoples Republic Of California T-Shirts & Tees""Life’s Work: An Interview with Jerry Seinfeld""Some Lawyer Is Posting Hilarious 'Tips' On Facebook"  [...]



"Trying Not to Get Sick? Science Says You're Probably Doing It Wrong"

2017-01-16T05:35:00-05:00

Surgical masks supposedly won't help, neither will extra vitamin C, and four other things you may not have heard.     Related Stories"How to Find Clinical Trials for Experimental Cancer Treatments""A Startup Poised To Disrupt In-Home Senior Care""Deadly ‘End-of-Life’ Myths"  Surgical masks supposedly won't help, neither will extra vitamin C, and four other things you may not have heard.      Related Stories"How to Find Clinical Trials for Experimental Cancer Treatments""A Startup Poised To Disrupt In-Home Senior Care""Deadly ‘End-of-Life’ Myths"  [...]



"Peoples Republic Of California T-Shirts & Tees"

2017-01-16T05:01:00-05:00

Buy one for a Cali resident you love.     Related Stories"Life’s Work: An Interview with Jerry Seinfeld""Some Lawyer Is Posting Hilarious 'Tips' On Facebook""Globe gobbledygook memo ominous sign"  Buy one for a Cali resident you love.      Related Stories"Life’s Work: An Interview with Jerry Seinfeld""Some Lawyer Is Posting Hilarious 'Tips' On Facebook""Globe gobbledygook memo ominous sign"  [...]



"What it's really like to live in one of the cities with the best quality of life in the world"

2017-01-15T05:50:00-05:00

That would be Bern, Switzerland.     Related Stories"This little place is the retiree capital of America""The Trick to Walking on Ice Without Falling""F-35 pilot: Here's what people don't understand about dogfighting, and how the F-35 excels at it"  That would be Bern, Switzerland.      Related Stories"This little place is the retiree capital of America""The Trick to Walking on Ice Without Falling""F-35 pilot: Here's what people don't understand about dogfighting, and how the F-35 excels at it"  [...]



"Never forget how lucky we are to live in the Lionel Messi era"

2017-01-15T05:02:00-05:00

You don't have to convince me, but your mileage may vary.     Related Stories"Kick Six""Bill Belichick Is the Master of the Sick Burn""WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The 6 quarterbacks drafted before Tom Brady in the infamous 2000 NFL Draft"  You don't have to convince me, but your mileage may vary.      Related Stories"Kick Six""Bill Belichick Is the Master of the Sick Burn""WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The 6 quarterbacks drafted before Tom Brady in the infamous 2000 NFL Draft"  [...]



"This little place is the retiree capital of America"

2017-01-14T05:51:00-05:00

"There is only one county in America where more than half of the residents are over the age of 65."     Related Stories"Why Do Dogs Love Snow?""What it's really like to live in one of the cities with the best quality of life in the world""The Trick to Walking on Ice Without Falling"  "There is only one county in America where more than half of the residents are over the age of 65."      Related Stories"Why Do Dogs Love Snow?""What it's really like to live in one of the cities with the best quality of life in the world""The Trick to Walking on Ice Without Falling"  [...]