Assorted links

by on February 17, 2010 at 12:14 pm in Web/Tech | Permalink

1. How to discount lives.

2. Why do European banks hold so much Greek debt?

3. Is LA the best place to eat in the world right now?

4. Self-deception requires vagueness.

5. Positive review of the new Thomas Sowell book; maybe someday UPS will resume shipments to my home.

6. Markets in everything, Angela Merkel edition.

7. Ocean acidification update.

8. What Greg Mankiw wants.

Doc Merlin February 17, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Well… Basel II counts state debt as 0 risk… and Greece was issuing a lot of debt.

Marty February 17, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Mankiw is an ideological hack. It certainly is hypocrisy when Republicans spew nonsense that Government spending can’t create jobs, and then petition for funds, claiming that their pet projects will create jobs in their district/state. I don’t recall any Democrats who voted against the Bush tax cuts taking credit for them, claiming that they were good policy.

E. Barandiaran February 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm

The review of TS’s book concludes with these sentences:
“Had Sowell not finished writing the book prior to the recent release of the Climategate emails, one can imagine the firepower he would’ve brought to bear on that topic. His defense of commonsense and empirical facts over intellectual arrogance and rhetorical sleight-of-hand should serve as a handbook for anyone interested in engaging in honest debate.”

In the past few years we have learnt how difficult is to have a honest debate on global warming. Today Tom Friedman’s NYT column provides a good example of how dishonest intellectuals often are. Friedman´s column has triggered this pointed response from Don Boudreaux: http://cafehayek.com/2010/02/for-a-sixth-grader.html

Doc Merlin February 17, 2010 at 2:45 pm

If the united states adopts a VAT without abolishing income tax first it will end up like european countries in terms of tax rates. Also, all power that hasn’t already will move to the federal government.

Brian 2 February 17, 2010 at 3:27 pm

It certainly is hypocrisy when Republicans spew nonsense that Government spending can’t create jobs, and then petition for funds, claiming that their pet projects will create jobs in their district/state.

It’s quite possible, and I’d expect likely, that a pork project can create X jobs in a Congressman’s district while destroying X+Y jobs elsewhere.

T. Shaw February 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm

#2. Because they (European banks holding Greek debt instruments) are not as smart as you and I.

Anon February 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm

What Greg Mankiw wants: pussy.

Andrew February 17, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Incentives matter.

And the diminishing marginal utility curve to ‘tang is pretty steep.

R. Richard Schweitzer February 17, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Is anyone surprised that we have not yet heard of that additional tax deployed by some of those nations that have such better healthcare, etc.

A TAX ON CAPITAL ASSETS

For everybody

Of course, that’s what Gift, Estate, Inheritance and Detah Duty taxes are.

Right Wing-nut February 17, 2010 at 8:56 pm

On ocean acidification:
1) Let me get this straight: You are looking at 55 million year-old sediment, and can tell me what the normal range of fluxation was on the 1-, 10-, 100-, and 1000-year level? ****, you’re good.

2)
Act I:
Carbon is bad!
Why?
Because it will cause global warming!
Says who?
All scientists!
All?
Yes, well almost–all that matter.
Could I see they’re data?
Sure. When it’s available.
When would that be?
In about ten years.
Ten years?
If you fight really hard for it.
???
Wait. You’re some kind of corporate shill, earth-hater, right? You want New York to drown!
Umm. I got some of the data. It doesn’t support the theory.
Theory? This is no theory, it is established scientific fact!
???
You’re a Nazi! You want South Pacific Islanders to drown!
Umm. I found some emails from one of the leading proponents of global warming. It’s his books that are warming.
Where did you get that? You’re violating the law! You should go to jail!

Act II:
Carbon is bad!
Why?
Because it causes ocean acidification!

Do we really need to watch this?

Anonymous February 17, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Now that global warming of so called environmental “science” has been discredited via mass plagiarism and fabrication of data (not to mention the worst snowstorms in recent memories), all of a sudden all the hoopla is about “ocean acidification.” Color me unimpressed. So over 3 centuries the acidity of water has increased by a massive… 0.1%. Wow. Grape juice left out for 30 minutes gets more acidic.

Zephyrus February 18, 2010 at 12:02 am

It’s hard to imagine a display as embarrassing as what’s in these comments. I’m curious–are any conservatives or libertarians willing to disavow the anti-science denialism, the conspiracism, and the plain pig-ignorance that’s going on here?

Barkley Rosser February 18, 2010 at 1:38 am

The claim that LA has the world’s best food is hilariously provincial. It is not even clear that it has
the best in the state of California. After all, California cuisine started in Northern California, and last
time I checked the best restaurants for it were still up there, not in LA. This goofball gets all excited about
grilled food at Spago’s. Talk about an overrated place. Heck, there is nothing in LA that beats the Inn at
Little Washington near the Big Washington. And I am not aware of a Japanese restaurant in LA that definitely
beats Makato on MacArthur Blvd. in D.C. Sure, LA is better for Mexican and might be for Korean or Chinese and
Central American and Iranian. But anything else? Heck, Washington probably is as good or better on other
stuff, not to mention quite a few other world metropoli.

floccina February 18, 2010 at 9:20 am

How to discount lives.

I think that we can often value lives against lives and avoid putting a dollar value on lives. Wealth and longevity are related so we can do this very often. The simplest example are the cases where an increase is cost causes for example more people to drive rather than to fly. Flying is far safer than driving. It is very simple if we are talking about an improvement to airline safety in this case if the cost causes a small number of people to drive rather than fly it will probably cost more in lives than it save. Same with anything that causes people to keep older vehicles instead of trading up to newer vehicles. But even in an indirect case like forcing people to buy healthcare is could easily cost more lives than it saves if it causes these people to keep older cars and drive rather than fly and to work more and forgo exercise etc.

Fran Smith February 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm

#7 It might be useful to read in tandem with the Yale study on ocean acidification this Woods Hole study
http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=7545&tid=282&cid=63809&ct=162 From their press release:
“In a striking finding that raises new questions about carbon dioxide’s (CO2) impact on marine life, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists report that some shell-building creatures—such as crabs, shrimp and lobsters—unexpectedly build more shell when exposed to ocean acidification caused by elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2).”

Towing in Santa Clara September 30, 2010 at 1:11 pm

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