Assorted links

by on November 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Good interview with Jonathan Lethem, by the always-excellent Laura Miller.

2. Occupy World of Warcraft, rampant inequality, and more on those faster than light neutrinos, don’t write it off just yet.

3. Andreas Bergh on Sweden.

4. How good is Amazon’s computer cluster?

5. How easy is it to tax Italian wealth?

6. Yoga appropriates John Galt.

Wonks Anonymous November 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Link #3 is probably missing an “http://” to indicate that it’s located on a separate site.

CBBB November 18, 2011 at 12:51 pm

But unlike the real world, in online games hard “work” tends to actually pay off – the more time you put in the more virtual wealth you get out. And also unlike the real world I don’t think these games feature big bailouts, neither do the rules of the game totally change depending on how much gold your character has.

Dave November 18, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Indeed. MMOs are incredibly fair, that’s a big part of their appeal.

Laserlight November 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm

It appears they’re only talking about how much gold your character has, not “how much gold plus gold-purchasable stuff” (such as high level flight skill) or “how much have you earned over your character’s life”. You could have a character with 100,000g worth of stuff (flight skill, craft skill, equipment, mounts, pets, etc etc) but no gold.

libert November 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm

The statistics in #2 show that the World of Warcraft has significantly less inequality than the USA (e.g., the top 1% only owns 24% of the wealth, significantly lower than in the US). Not particularly surprising, given that everyone starts on an even playing field in the game.

Jeff J November 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Lululemon (LULU) is down 9% this week.

Douglas Knight November 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm

4. This is very misleading. EC2, as a whole, has always been much, much faster than all of these computers, but always slower than google’s computer. The first point is that the competition excludes “distributed” computers like EC2; I don’t know if this is by fiat, or is the design of the benchmark. They allow the HPC part of EC2, with better connections between the computers. What achieved 42nd place was just a slice of the HPC part of EC2 that Amazon chose to submit to the contest.

Andrew M November 18, 2011 at 2:13 pm

#5 – One way to tax property is on the principle of “you slice the cake, I’ll choose the slice”. The government thinks that your property is worth €100,000. If you disagree and thinks it’s only worth €50,000, then you have the right to sell it to the government for €100,000, and the government is obliged to buy it at that price. The great thing about property taxes is that they are impossible to evade – you can’t uproot your land and move it to a Swiss bank account.

(In practice, to avoid being lumbered with lots of unsaleable properties, the government would consistently undervalue by about 20%. Though this being Italy, there would develop a culture of bribing the valuer into making a ridiculously high valuation.)

Merijn Knibbe November 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm

On Sweden. The remarkable thing is not Sweden’s growth. The remarkable thing is Denmarks demise. Denmark has, according to the rules book of market fundamentalists, quite (sorry: very) efficient institutions. But it did baaaad.And it continues to do so. As it maintained it’s Europeg and an overvaluated exchange rate – the largest rigidity of them all. While Sweden didn’t. And prospered.

Will November 18, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Many people here need to listen to intelligent modern liberals in the Yglesias/Krugman/Klein/etc. camp. They’re not right about everything, but they certainly don’t hold the views people here think “liberals” do. Philosophically, they have much common ground with libertarians, except that they have significantly higher expectations of the possibility of effective government programs, especially redistribution programs.

no November 19, 2011 at 9:19 am

they have significantly higher expectations of the possibility of effective government programs

They sound like Republicans.

Borealis November 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Tyler is an Einstein denier!!!!!

“It is settled science” that nothing can go faster than the speed of light. “The overwhelming consensus of scientists” is that nothing can go faster than the speed of light.

anon November 19, 2011 at 9:19 am

hater

mulp November 19, 2011 at 5:08 am

6. The Yoga philosophy precludes John Galt and the Yoga community is looking for new Yoga clothing in protest of the John Galt being put on the shopping bags for the leading retailer, according to a report on NPR as best as I recall.

Hassan November 19, 2011 at 5:13 am

Could you fix the link for #2?

http://siliconangle.com/blog/2011/11/16/occupy-world-of-warcraft-the-allure-of-virtual-gold/ says Web Page cannot be found.

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