Assorted links

by on October 6, 2009 at 1:44 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. Markets in everything: fish in a squirrel suit (disgusting), via Kathleen Fasanella).

2. How good is microinsurance?

3. Preserving network neutrality without regulation.

4. More on pay-what-you-wish pricing.

5. Ryan Avent responds; in his closing: "I have learned something from this exchange – Tyler discounts arguments
couched in emotional, or emotional-seeming, terms. That’s a shame.
Sometimes people see and write most clearly when they allow themelves
to be angry. It’s then that they feel no obligation to water down their
argument with unnecessary caveats or efforts to protect interpersonal
relationships. Maybe Tyler never has these inclinations, but I believe
that most people do."

6. Top 20 albums of the 2000s?

1 luke g. October 6, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Top 20 list was fairly good (given, of course, that we’re actually talking about a rather narrow range of hipster-appealing pop music, not actually the entire breadth of all music of the decade), although I’d place Funeral at #1.

2 JH October 6, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Not sure how all churches work, but the ones I’m familiar with operate solely off voluntary contributions. And, if you pay in cash, nobody will ever know how much you pay. The benefits a person receives from the church are independent of what they give.

3 Robert October 6, 2009 at 3:02 pm

[Expression of concern or surprise], Band X is [not where it should be]!

4 Robert October 6, 2009 at 3:06 pm

BTW Tyler, I much prefer your dispassionate style of arguing. While I generally agree with Krugman and Delong, their rhetoric makes me blanch and squirm.

5 david October 6, 2009 at 3:14 pm


I’m sure at least one reader will think that “Timothy B. Lee” is Tim Berners-Lee. It’s a wonderful coincidence, actually.

Anyway, the paper (correctly) realises that the actual bandwidth-heavy content will be hard to filter, even in the absence of network-neutrality regulation. But ISPs like Comcast already know this (would a Cato scholar think that a corporation is being idiotic? Surely not). So why would they lobby against network neutrality? Because such ISPs are often linked to other companies that provide media with close substitutes on the Internet, that’s why. The real target is not the endlessly inventive network of pirates, but other companies selling online TV or whatever competitors to your ISP’s cable or media services. The finger-pointing at piracy is just a cover (don’t think so? explain why ISPs keep trying even if their efforts keep failing).

It’s a massive elaborate grab at vertical integration.

6 Andrew October 6, 2009 at 3:23 pm

5. …if those people are honest.

“My question is this: why does the economy need the million or so workers kept out of unemployment by stimulus to be unemployed in order to recalculate? Why wouldn’t we want them to transition into different jobs at a later time, and why would that later time be pushed back by stimulus? Why is stimulus remotely problematic here?”

When I say, for example, “you don’t get it,” I ain’t mad at’cha. Actually, I think he does get it, sort of. This is kind of how I view the whole stimulus, New Deal thing. Keep the hoi polloi employed while the entrepreneurs get their wits about them, because the entrepreneurs can take it.

7 Jason L. October 6, 2009 at 4:18 pm

BTW Tyler, I much prefer your dispassionate style of arguing. While I generally agree with Krugman and Delong, their rhetoric makes me blanch and squirm.

Both styles have their place. More polemical styles can be better motivators for people to change their behavior or go talk to friends about important issues or even get politically involved. These blogs are also to a large extent pure entertainment, and DeLongian “the Republican Party needs to be burned, razed to the ground, and the furrows sown with salt” does not fail to entertain.

8 BKarn October 6, 2009 at 4:49 pm

“[Expression of concern or surprise], Band X is [not where it should be]!”


My comment was predicated on Pitchfork’s own frequent commentary on the album when it was released, as well as other commentary from a seemingly endless list of critics. (I admit I enjoy the album, but had not given it a thought until I read the wide-ranging accolades.) On that basis, relative to many selections in the first 20, the lower placement seemed odd.

9 Mark October 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm

Tyler gets angry. I remember an interview alongside Felix Salmon (think it was NPR) where Tyler was getting pasted.

10 Brock October 6, 2009 at 5:42 pm

Re. # 3,

The Cato paper said: “Physical ownership of internet infrastructure does not translate into a practical ability to control its use. Regulations are unnecessary because even in the absence of robust broadband competition, network owners are likely to find deviations from the end-to-end principle unprofitable.”

Are they really that naive? Haven’t they heard of the price/cost ratio of SMS texting services? And why can’t I only pay for the TV channels I want to watch? Oh, right – because “they” control the network that has a geographical monopoly in the area wherein I reside.

Why isn’t there an iPhone on the Verizon network? Why can’t I install Google Voice on an iPhone or use Skype over the 3G network? Why doesn’t BitTorrent work at the advertised speeds? Why does calling a Verizon customer in San Francisco cost me nothing but calling my own home line (also Verizon) cost minutes?

ISPs mess with traffic ALL THE TIME, and in many different ways. They limit the devices that connect to them, how their bandwidth may be used, and who you can connect to. Network neutrality regulation is absolutely necessary.

11 dbr October 6, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Glad to see “Kid A” picked for album of the decade.

12 Mike S October 6, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Re: Brock and “Are they really that naive

Not naive – just willing to not see the real world facts and ignore contrary evidence.

Just like lots of stuff on this blog – for example, Ryan Avent’s points about human suffering and private demand.

Clearly note: they would rather have people suffer than have part of their theory ignored.

13 Andrew October 6, 2009 at 8:29 pm

I think that was perhaps the NPR interview and to the contrary, I sensed Salmon getting irritated at Tyler in part for his unflappability.

This is by the way an actual strategy, though I doubt Tyler does it purposely. I remember debating a guy who was saying housing mortgage subsidies were the cat’s pajamas. He probably picked it as in “surely, you must believe at minimum housing is a good thing, right?” I told him that I didn’t think any intervention into the market is going to be good on the whole. He was trying to get me ticked off, and it worked. However, 10 years later, I win.

14 doctorpat October 7, 2009 at 1:22 am

“pay-what-u-wish-want, the honorbox thing…even the collection box in a church…all that went away the day teachers were told they could no longer administer corporal punishment….”

But they still have collection boxes in churches…

15 anonymous October 7, 2009 at 3:01 am

Emotional arguments are effective mainly when you’re preaching to the choir, to stir up and motivate like-minded people. But unless you’re playing to an audience, it’s a tactical error to resort to emotionalism when addressing someone who’s inclined to disagree with you. It practically invites your interlocutor to conclude that you have no carefully reasoned logical argument to make — because if you did, you surely would have done so instead.

And all too often in the public arena, righteous anger is just a calculated pose, maybe even a thuggish attempt to preemptively shut down all debate. It’s discredited through overuse by grandstanding politicians and smarmy “won’t someone think of the children” handwringers.

16 mk October 7, 2009 at 8:30 am

I found a lot of interesting music through pitchfork throughout college. I think they picked some good albums in that list but it is ridiculously narrow-minded. E.g. Autechre’s Confield should be on there. More importantly the list contains ZERO non-English-speaking albums. A U.K./Canada/Aussie/U.S.-only list is fine but they should not pretend it is actually a comprehensive survey of music, when in fact it is a comprehensive survey of what the indie kids are playing at their parties.

17 Careless October 8, 2009 at 2:56 am

@6: This list could have been written by my middle sister. Awful, but it is pretty funny that after a third of the list I was able to guess the rest of it based on the asshole sister hypothesis.

18 buy r4ds January 27, 2010 at 12:20 am

I am not surprised that a European does not understand conservativism (the correct spelling) as you have lived under generations of government control. We understand Marxism, Communism, and Socialism very well since we have been paying attention to our history book and our neighbors. Our founding documents separated us from from the same tyrany that you embrace. We are still, and will remain, the shining light. While it is a shame some of our citizens had to learn the hard way, we will recover from this current administration and group of non-representing representatives to regain our individual rights and self-independence.

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