Assorted links

by on June 22, 2012 at 4:45 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Is Indian offshoring in trouble?

2. The Mexican economic boom is underway.

3. The man who has eaten at over 6,000 Chinese restaurants, and with a fork, and here he lists his favorites.

4. Eurozone claims of negative identity.

5. Daniel Lippman is now writing for the WSJ; here is his piece on global workers left behind.

6. When did “the long s” fall out of style?

Steve Fritzinger June 22, 2012 at 8:00 am

By a bizarre coincidence, the next item in my RSS feed was this XKCD comic which features the long s in the hidden hover-over punch line.


Steven Kopits June 22, 2012 at 8:30 am

All the major oil company presentations see India developing as a service economy–or a failed state. In Exxon’s recent presentation, for example, Indian CO2 emissions in 2040 are projected at half those currently for China. It either puts India more than 40 years behind China in development or suggests that India will somehow follow a different path. Thus, there is some notion that India will develop into a service economy, and I suppose, import its vehicles and other manufactured goods.

I think this is implausible. There are only so many call centers needed globally. And at some point India will have a material labor cost advantage over China–will it still then import cars and manufactured goods from China rather than build its own? If India had a population of 50 million, I might find this plausible. With a population around 1.2 bn, it seems hard to believe.

In any event, in the oil business right now, India is implicitly seen as either some special development case or a failed state over the next three decades. I can’t say I ascribe to either view.

Rahul June 22, 2012 at 8:59 am

will it still then import cars and manufactured goods from China rather than build its own?

Most cars on India roads seem locally assembled. Is India really importing cars significantly from China even right now? I don’t think so. I could be wrong.

IVV June 22, 2012 at 9:29 am

4. “Dude, leave me out of this!” –Uganda

RichDice June 22, 2012 at 9:51 am

Re: #3 – I salute this man. In a similar vein, please consider this craziness: The Toronto Serial Diners. Started in the late 80′s, will keep going until approx. 2035 — one restaurant per week, alphabetically.

JasonL June 22, 2012 at 10:36 am

I feel somewhat vindicated in my long held suspicion that there can’t be too many better Chinese restaurants in the US than Yank Sing in the SF financial district. I don’t get to SF very often but I refuse to leave until eat there and while it is expensive (for dim sum) it is freaking delicious.

Steve June 22, 2012 at 10:55 am

I was under the impression that Sichuan, not Hong Kong was thought to have the best Chinese food. Is this one of those things where elites have one taste and regular people have another?

YSK June 22, 2012 at 10:57 am

One of the reasons provided – rising salaries in India will make other countries competitive – does not make sense. For most of the people working in the outsourcing industry, there isn’t a job in another industry waiting for them. Wages will adjust such that Indian outsourcing companies will be cost competitive for a long, long time.

Nicholas Weininger June 22, 2012 at 10:58 am

JasonL, in fact there are better dim sum places in SF. Go to the Richmond District. Ton Kiang is a favorite of mine. In fact the guy’s choice of Yank Sing makes me wonder a bit about his judgment, though I do want to try Jai Yun now.

IVV June 22, 2012 at 11:25 am

…I still enjoy House of Nanking. Although it’s been a long time since I’ve been there.

Mark Thorson June 22, 2012 at 11:39 am

Can anybody tell me the name of the character that looks like an S with a little diamond in the middle? It’s used to refer to sections, usually sections of laws or regulations.

Tomas Talpa June 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm ? I fail to see the diamond, though.

Mark Thorson June 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm

That’s it. Thanks! I thought it would have a more distinguishing name, like the octothorpe and lemniscate. Or, for that matter, the pilcrow, which I had not heard of before reading that article. And then, following the link in typically Wikipedian fashion to scilicet and
Tironian notes, other stuff with which I was unfamiliar.

Maybe I should coin a name for the section sign. Hmmm, how would I go about popularizing it? I seem to recall there was somebody who introduced a word to the Danish language by writing it as grafitti all over Copenhagen. Who was that?

Willitts June 22, 2012 at 8:21 pm

In law school we called it the “what the #$%@ is the AASCI code again?”

In speaking we just say “section.” Two symbols in a row means “subsection.”

A lot of legal citations simply omit it when it is implied. In other cases, like Section 1983 the article is omitted and its commonly known by the section.

It’s also called a double-S for signum sectionus.

I wonder if the German ß will be replaced by ss. Hopefully its not replaced by SS. :)

Willitts June 22, 2012 at 11:49 am

3. More evidence of the technological superiority of the fork over chopsticks.

Even Asians are beginning to get it.

Nessuno June 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Well, the article says he is unable to hold chopsticks properly. But I suppose that is sort of the problem with the tool.

The bigger problem with chop sticks is that to be used effectively and authentically, most of the time you need to be holding a bowl up to your face and shoveling food into your mouth, as the chopsticks themselves are otherwise inadequate for a wide variety of food shapes and textures.

Objectively, the fork and knife are superior tools for the vast majority of foods, but chopsticks give people the warm fuzzy feeling of ethnic immersion.

Finch June 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm


Chopsticks are all about signalling.

Matt June 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm

Chopsticks are better for sushi, though a pair of tongs would be superior still.

Willitts June 22, 2012 at 9:25 pm

That’s the only example so far that’s even in the ball park. Of course, one could easily eat sushi with a fork – just a little clumsy getting fish and rice in one bite. That might be a rare case where the food was designed with the utensils in mind. Then again, I’ve had sushi fall apart with chopsticks too.

Easier still would be eating sushi by hand, but yes tongs seem better if you don’t wish to touch it. But why not? Sushi is made by hand, isn’t it?

I compared chopsticks to oversized and poorly designed tweezers. They could also be considered poorly designed tongs.

I had pasta last night with a thick tomato sauce. I had no problem getting most of the sauce with a fork.

Last weekend I ate pho, and despite my general preference for Chinese spoons over Western spoons, the best use of my chopsticks was fishing the spoon out of the soup when it fell in. Some Chinese spoons have notches to hang on the side of the bowl when not in use. Quite a clever adaptation.

Bakabon June 23, 2012 at 11:22 am

What? Comparing forks to chopsticks is like comparing automatic to manual transmission. Once you are experienced with chopsticks you pretty much don’t want to go back to the fork. They give you so much more control over your food. A fork may be more useful for assisting with cutting steak, but that’s about it. Besides, the fork was long ago invented and then abandoned in China, replaced by better technology.

As for the link – The lack of Sichuanese restaurants on his list and the claim that all food innovation comes out of Hong Kong brings raises some severe credibility issues…

willitts June 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm

3. Amazing. He’s got my two favorite restaurants outside of Chicago on the list: Koi Palace and Yank Sing.

I found Koi Palace by accident – it was near my hotel. It’s as upscale as any Chinese restaurant I’ve seen. The food is amazing.

Yank Sing is in the Financial District of San Francisco and we had a business lunch there. The dim sum at Yank Sing is excellent, but their carry out leaves much to be desired. The take out isn’t bad, per se, but the heavy volume of customers and staff that don’t speak English well causes problems. The dim sum is pricey though, and if you’re willing to sacrifice 10% quality for 50% of the price, there are better bargains in the city.

Chinatown in Chicago is pretty good, but not usually worth my drive compared to local places. My favorite restaurant worth a drive is actually in Schaumburg. After more than fifteen years of going there, I still don’t know the actual name of the place. :) When I ask my kids if they want Chinese, they chant “Schaumburg!”

So I agree that the best Chinese food is seldom found in C-towns. In fact, some of them are so bad, they probably survive only from pass-through customers who never return.

Rahul June 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm

There’s some amazing food in Chicago suburbia; often tucked in nondescript strip malls. I forget the name of the Northern suburb that has the most amazing Korean bbq I ever had.

Frank Youell June 22, 2012 at 8:46 pm

“The Mexican economic boom is underway.”

Mores fantasies about the Super Mexican. The IMF WEO database (2012/04) projects Mexican growth at 3.6% of GDP. Compared to the U.S., that might be a boom. Mexico’s economy crashed in 2009 and rebounded strongly in 2010. From 2000 to 2012 economic growth averaged 1.96%. From 1990 to 2012 growth averaged 2.68%.

By the way, the real Sooper Mexican is a funny guy. See

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