Assorted links

by on April 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. I want to praise Robin Hanson, yet I also want him to become more trendy with the trendy people.  Sometimes I think he already is trendy, yet he is certainly not shallow.  What to do?  Here is Robin’s CBA for uploads.

2. Will Disney manage to do away with lines?

3. The geographic flow of music: which cities lead in terms of listening habits?  Oslo, for one, and Montreal, Atlanta for rap music.

4. Ask a Korean, on Korean food, from a self-proclaimed “Korean food Wahhabbist.”

5. Corruption in the Chinese military.

cerebus April 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Is praise from Tyler Cowen negatively correlated with being trendy with the trendy people? Robin Hanson could be trendy like a deeper Malcolm Gladwell. But if he is deeper this might limit his trendyness. And is Gladwell trendy among the trendy people or just among a certain sort of geek – can people in the overlap between the geeky and trendy venn diagrams transmit ideas to the broader trendy population without losing the substance? Can scientific rationality be trendy or does asking this question betray my own social status?

Questions, questions

Barkley Rosser April 19, 2012 at 3:46 pm

OK, Tyler, so which is the only good Korean restaurant in NoVa?

enrique April 19, 2012 at 3:51 pm

the same phenomenon seems to be at work in the movies too — trendy films are more often than not sucky films

there seems to be a high correlation between trendiness and “suckyness” or shallowness, but sometimes, a trendy idea can be true (or at least, deep) even in spite of its trendiness — for example, I had refused to read Richard Dawkins’s “The selfish gene” for many years because of its trendiness, but when I finally read, it totally transformed the way I saw the world

kebko April 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm

The work by Disney is excellent. Spending half the day standing in line is no good for anybody. These developments improve everyone’s experience at the park, and allow for more profit opportunities for Disney, since nobody is spending money while they’re in line. It’s a win-win.

Bill April 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Disney’s pricing — fixed and variable, or single admission– is a course unto itself as to how to maximize revenue using a two part tariff and is the subject of many econ papers.

I predict that Disney will use the new allocation to extract even more revenue while increasing your experience. You will be able to get x mickey coupons and will be able to in effect bid for y ride at z time with q tickets, and the pricing will be dynamic. And, if you stay at our hotel, you get 3 mickey coupons.

Paul Mineiro April 19, 2012 at 5:52 pm

The latest Disney area is called Walrasland.

More seriously, my first thought was the lines will move into the reservation system, but that is a better experience since it allows for planning and substitution. I have young kids, however, so I know there is a limit to how much I can plan up front (e.g., advance ordering food for a specific time is _not_ going to work).

– p

gab April 19, 2012 at 6:31 pm

They oughta skip the RFID chip idea and just implant the chip into your forehead at birth. Save a lot of time and effort.

Sum Yung Gai April 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm

Really? This the equivalent of shouting ‘Nazi’

Urso April 20, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Wasn’t there an article not too long ago where Disney walks into nurseries at hospitals and hands little newborn girls some Disney Princess-branded stuff? That’s about as close as you can get to implanting a chip in the forehead, given the limitations of the current technology and the law.

Bill April 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm

You’re right. And, if you want to upgrade, we can arrange that … for a small fee, which will look inconsequential next to the hotel costs, the lump sum admission fee, etc.

You only live once, and who wants to wait in line.

The question I have is: Will they cut back on the Goofy and Mickey Mouse entertainers who were hired to entertain you when you DID have to wait in line.

Sun Loong April 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I thought the story was going to be about Disney removing the lines from the edges of its characters in animated films.

“Rumours surrounding an upcoming Mickey Mouse movie are already causing a rift in the blogosphere. Some are claiming that the new Mickey will inhabit, for the first time, a world with no black lines to delineate objects. They provide as evidence Warren Buffett’s dumping of all his holdings of Disney (DIS) just as he should have with Coca-Cola (KO) when they strayed with ‘New Coke’. Others insist it’s an urban myth or just a marketing ploy. Another faction is embracing the daring new move. Disney is refusing to comment. DIS 42.08, -0.41 (-0.96%)”

Rahul April 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Lines did have great signaling value as to which were the good rides.

Andrew' April 20, 2012 at 11:03 am

So, there are Mickey Mouse business papers, and then their are Walt Disney business papers.

Andrew' April 19, 2012 at 4:16 pm

1. He could take up painting.

And if you are a waitress at a restaurant and TC shows up either hide or start screaming at someone.

Urso April 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Cowen should expect to get some dirty looks from women when he eats out now. His very presence at the restaurant is basically a direct insult at them.

Petar April 19, 2012 at 4:28 pm

It is good to see that Hanson occasionally considers the downsides of his EM-utopianism. Unfortunately, him generally being a (non-rule) utilitarian, I am quite confident that his actual stance on the issue, if realised, will mean the doom of humanity.

Pepe April 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Very good (and true) post by the Korean. I’m always surprised at how upscale Korean places here are packed with Koreans and yet still serve bad food missing important ingredients (like the leafy greens to wrap the meat).

JWatts April 19, 2012 at 5:23 pm

#2

My wife and I attended Six Flags Chicago a few years ago. We were able to purchase park tickets, + tickets that allowed us to use the express line and automatically reserve a slot, + ride twice

So for about 4 times the normal ticket price we were able to use the pager type device to reserve the next ride while we were entering the current ride, ride it twice, exit the ride and immediately go to the front of the line for the next ride, repeat…

However, this was done at the expense (and in a couple of cases, anger, particularly the ride twice in a row aspect) of everyone that was in the normal line. The whole process was pretty much a case of paying more money to take riding time from those who paid less money.

Unless Disney actually adds more rides (an expensive proposition), then all that this type of scheme tends to do is slice up a zero sum pie in a different manner according to price. Granted, in some cases riders can do other activities while their ride time approaches and spend less time waiting in line, but for the most part there is nothing else to do while you wait. For this to be successful, it will require the parks to find other lower cost activities to keep people occupied while they wait.

celestus April 19, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Yep. It’s very, very hard for Disney to put more people on their rides- the only way to do it is to add “single riders” to, say, a group of 5 to fill a 6-person car and if I remember they pretty much max that out. This is just a way to shift some of a fixed number of ride spots from waiters to payers, and hope that it doesn’t reduce the value of a ticket too much. Though presumably at least some of the extra revenue will help fund new parks (shouldn’t they have a Marvel themed park by now?) and therefore new rides.

I was always fascinated that Fastpasses were free, they cost money to implement while making regular lines longer. The golden age of being a Disney visitor I guess.

Tyler, I’m sure your publisher would bite on “an economist visits Disney World” though be careful not to aggro the Mouse.

Ed April 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm

The Fastpass system may have been a trial run of the NextGen concept, or whatever they call it.

I don’t agree with the zero sum objection. The way Six Flags handled this, still have the normal lines but charge a premium for no line access, and then have the premium customers enter the rides in full view of the plebs standing in line, seems to have been uniquely bad. There are better ways to slice the pie.

You could get rid of lines altogether. Everyone reserves the rides in advance. If rides are oversubscribed for a particular day, the situation is resolved through bidding and/or lottery. You can separate slots into slots for hotel guests, slots for day trippers showing up a the park for the day, and slots for non-hotel guests buying their tickets in advance (favoring the first group and the expense of the last group). Sports teams manage to accommodate season ticket holders, people buying tickets for individual games well in advance, and people walking up to the window on game day so this is not an insurmountable problem.

Or you could keep lines, but reserve a number of slots on the ride for people walking up to the ride and standing on line. If you want to decide on something at the last minute, you can always go to the ride and know that the ride won’t be completely devoted to the advance planners, there will always be some spots for walkups. This is really no different from what I described in the earlier paragraph.

Miley Cyrax April 19, 2012 at 10:41 pm

“However, this was done at the expense (and in a couple of cases, anger, particularly the ride twice in a row aspect) of everyone that was in the normal line. The whole process was pretty much a case of paying more money to take riding time from those who paid less money.”

They were getting mad at you for exercising the right you paid for with your own money? To hell with them. Let them eat line.

I hope their envy-fueled indignation didn’t mitigate the funness of your day there.

Engineer April 19, 2012 at 5:25 pm

New York had an amazing experimental jazz scene in the 90s, but high rents killed it and Oslo is now the place. Tokyo is still pretty good.

Doc Merlin April 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Because the rents where too damn high.

Helo April 19, 2012 at 5:57 pm

If that Korean’s views indicate good taste I’m glad to be a peasant.

Mo April 20, 2012 at 11:03 am

I do not understand the extremist clinging to “authentic” and “traditional”. At one point in time, authentic and traditional dishes were new and revolutionary. Take to its logical extreme, the most traditional eaters are found in the raw food movement.

MJ April 19, 2012 at 8:05 pm

#4.) I tend to find *Asian cuisine* served to middle-class Asian customers to be the most authentic and flavorful. This, in my opinion, can be doubly attributed to the timidity of middle-class palates and greater access of higher quality food products. After studying abroad in China, I spent the summer in Hong Kong and Singapore. The dishes served there were light years ahead of those I ate in China, even when still adhering to the traditional ingredients and cooking methods. The only difference in flavor that I could chalk it up to was the quality of ingredients unavailable to many in China.

Doc Merlin April 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm

Robin won’t be trendy, because he is in direct opposition to the very trendy lesswrong.com people.
Robin is a great guy and one of my favorite economists and futurists, but he won’t be trendy precisely because he tries to actually challenge the ideas of his readers. This is the opposite of the lesswrong.com crowd that try to give their readers intellectual ammunition to help defend their biases.

Miley Cyrax April 19, 2012 at 10:45 pm

If you ask me, the ubiquity of Korean BBQ is a feature, not a bug.

NL_ April 19, 2012 at 11:51 pm

For some reason I thought the bit about Disney’s plan to “cut lines” referred to their movies using fewer lines. Like Wall-E have no lines of dialogue for like half the film (or the first ten minutes of the very non-Disney movie There Will Be Blood having no lines). I was expecting a mathematical analysis of lines per minute of film, with some vague trend that the author would twist into a clear sign that the new silent era was nigh.

Vince April 20, 2012 at 12:54 am

Sorry it’s not related to this post, but in a recent NYTimes op-ed ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/20/opinion/brooks-testing-the-teachers.html?hp&gwh=5931F703F9DA6F341F8D094A49ED6EAE ), David Brooks writes “Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa found that, on average, students experienced a pathetic seven percentile point gain in skills during their first two years in college and a marginal gain in the two years after that.”

I’m very curious, how “pathetic” do you think a “seven percentile gain” is? Assuming that’s what you get, is it worth the money?

Andrew' April 20, 2012 at 10:37 am

I’m curious why we should assume that it could be improved with more “accountability.” You have to assume that the students aren’t trying, the colleges aren’t trying, and someone in DC would know what to tell them to do.

Christopher M April 20, 2012 at 2:30 am

I just quoted Robin Hanson (via Adam Ozimek) on my art/nerd tumblr. So I’m doing my part. http://www.mixingmemory.org/post/21012601359/in-my-experience-i-believe-x-suggests-that-the

TGGP April 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Are you the same person who was behind scienceblogs.com/mixingmemory?

TallDave April 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm

5. Yet another dysfunctional limiting factor. I repeat my assertion China’s growth will fade as their PPP GDP per capita approaches Mexico’s.

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