by Tyler Cowen
on January 26, 2010 at 10:29 am
1. The economics of child soldiering.
2. The fake colors of Hubble photography.
3. Should you randomize your watch?
4. David Brooks on the populist addiction.
5. Map of the Great Recalculation.
6. Some recent work on money and happiness.
7. Carlos the Jackal, from a French prison, demands a legal say over his biopic.
8. How smart are slime molds?
The Michigan demonstration is the outstanding feature of the visualisation in 5. It’s unusual how the Michigan factors seem to have been so strongly localised within, and evenly dispersed across, the state.
My watch has been 12 minutes ahead of
“real” time for a few years. The
system works well for me, only because I
try not to place too much faith in the
margin I have given myself. I arrive early
for some things but that is easily
3. I thought the previous blog post there was more compelling.
Maybe we should make Paul Krugman Fed chair BECAUSE he won’t be able to speak his mind as much.
re: child soldiers, there is something not fully fleshed out. What makes a good “civilian” or “soldier” in broadstrokes, are only loosely related (esp. if it’s a guerilla soldeir). psycopathy, nihilism, inability to empathize and a bully mindset are terrible civvie traits but superlative extrajudicial fighters’ traits. The idea that people with better options flee more readily while those with fewer options flee less readily might instead be “those who don’t “fit in” are exactly who we’re looking for, lads, go out and get me some of them”.
Heh – just in case anyone has had their faith in astronomer’s trustworthiness shaken (we are, after all NOT *gasp* climate scientists!)
1. We get a lot more useful information from a stack of images each taken through a different colored filters than we do from a single “color” image.
2. True “color” images don’t really exist – ask anyone with enough knowledge of Photoshop, digital camera electronics, and/or the human eye.
3. You’d be amazed at how much useful science can be done by just looking at a pretty picture, and just how important such pictures are. (e.g. http://www.galaxyzoo.org/ )
David Brooks says that the populist have a “us versus them mentality”….isn’t that the mentality GWOT propagandist like David Brooks had?
Then Brooks tries to claim that the “non-populist” like Lincoln and Alexander Hamilton are who made the country great. This seems like another phony split….the populist vs non-populist. How about those who are net-parasites(be it small time over-extended housing speculators who want the governemnt to re-pump-up the housing bubble, instead of letting prices fall into the affordable range….or the wreckles Goldman Sachs, JP Morgans who bought CDS’s that had no credible backing and now want poor people to pay them their billions in bonuses)….versus those who are net-tax payers. From 70/k per year family men paying higher tax rates than Llyod Blankfein and Bill Gates(due to the regressive payroll taxes and favorable tax codes for those those with sophisticated tax shelters,lawyers, accountants, tax free foundations etc.
Greenspan had this same meme in his book about the evils of “populism”. This seems to be code for anti-fed and anti-war or anti-global-co2 tax…all which greenspan endorsed in his book….otherwise they would just say the danger is from socialism or Fabianism or violations of property rights.
I agree with your observation on Michigan. It is surprising to see unemployment in the Upper Peninsula counties differ so much from the neighboring counties in northern Wisconsin.
I also wonder why South Carolina has fared so poorly
I’ll take your assumption for granted that the higher wealth people have a lower ratio(public services utilized) / (taxes paid) … ignoring government contracts with microsoft etc.
You probably agree that I (upper middle income, kids private schools)have a lower ratio than a 20k/yr person who is on food stamps…so does it make sense that I would have to pay a higher rate than this person?
There seem to be some logical inconsistencies that lead to the middle or upper middle paying the highest percentages in combined taxes(not ignoring payroll, income, sales, property etc).
I also don’t view blowing up Iraqi and Afgahnistani kids as being a “public service”…neither is it a “public service” for me to have all my electronic communications intercepted or to go through security kabuki theatre at the airport frisking my little kids etc. It seems the Gates,Buffets and Blankfeins who argue for higher taxes actually do get some “services” out of the kleptocracy while avoiding the problems with government that us little people have to go through.
I first read #1 as “The economics of child soldering”, and had two reactions:
1) Isn’t that all done by machines in solder baths?
2) How do you get solder to stick to a child, anyway?
3 – I pulled this on a roommate. He had an early morning class and would hit his snooze alarm 5 times before getting up late for class. He set his clock a bit faster one day and it worked to get him out the door a little earlier. He then confessed it wasn’t working anymore because he had adjusted. So without telling him, I set his clock ahead 45 minutes and adjusted his alarm time a bit also. He woke up in a panic the next day and fled without a single snooze to get to class. He came back later bemused but happy: he had been early to class for the first time. I confessed my misdeed and he thanked me.
Then we cut it out.
To randomize your watch, all you need is an inexpensive mechanical one. Quartz watches are extremely accurate, gaining or loosing just a couble of seconds per day. Even the most expensive mechanical watches (e.g. Rolex) are much less accurate than quartz, gaining or losing around 4 or 5 seconds a day on average, but with higher variance. I have an automatic Certina (a relatively inexpensive Swiss brand) that usually runs fast about 7-15 seconds per day, but sometimes loses a couple of minutes depending on how I wear it. I imagine you would get similar performance from a cheap Seiko. A low-end self-winding Swiss watches like a Tissot can be had for less than $500 (my Certina cost me around $250 on sale) and prices for Seikos on Amazon range between $70 and $200. Even though they tend to run fast, the possibility that in could run down keeps me from adjusting my expectations.
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