Assorted links

by on October 12, 2012 at 12:25 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Mises on the sustainability of monetary expansion, and Brink Lindsey on the parent gap.

2. How Dirk Nowitzki was trained by his mentor, and can a shooter be too open?  Please note that links are not endorsements.

3. Problems of water policy in Haiti.

4. Barry Eichengreen on Korea.

5. Finally a new critique of Ayn Rand, and interview with Jennifer Roback Morse.

Urso October 12, 2012 at 12:35 pm

“You have time to think and rationalize, and that’s counterintuitive to how we normally play. We normally play instinctively — time to think and time to react only. But when you have time to think in basketball, calculation often leads to miscalculation.”

Odds Shane Battier has read Kahneman? Higher, I’d say, than the odds that *anyone else in the entire rest of the NBA put together* has read Kahneman. Those Dookies.

Greg G October 12, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Maybe that article about Objectivists making bad lovers explains the absence of children from Rand’s novels.

Learning moral philosophy or economics from an Ayn Rand novel is like learning law enforcement from a Batman comic.

Miley Cyrax October 12, 2012 at 1:15 pm

The notion that one can shoot more accurately with a defender closing down is preposterous.

It’s merely just that missing a shot in a game when you’re wide open is more embarassing than if you’re defended.

NBA players are trying to get too cute with counter-intuitive observations, though we shouldn’t be too suprised that analysis isn’t their forte.

Urso October 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm

It’s not that the open shots are harder, it’s that they’re not as much easier as they seem like they should be. So the observation is correct if you add one more derivative. It’s the difference between slowing your rate of acceleration and actually slowing your speed.

Miley Cyrax October 12, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Lewis calls it the hardest shot in basketball in the article. He’s referring to y and x, not dy and dx.

This sentiment I’ve heard oft-parroted by NBA players.

CG October 13, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I had a coach who summed it up as “If you think, you stink.” It rhymed, so it was obviously true.

mkt October 12, 2012 at 11:20 pm

By coincidence, a new sports data analytics firm shared some data with a blogger which look precisely at the question of how field goal percentage varies with degree of being open. Obviously there are other crucial variables such as distance from the basket and height or reach of the defender — presumably they have those data but didn’t share it — but the probability of making the shot does rise with the degree of being open. Can’t really tell from the graphs if the rate of increase slows or not.
http://www.d3coder.com/thecity/2012/10/11/hand-down-man-down-new-source-of-nba-data-reveals-critical-detail-for-more-effective-shot-defense/

DocMerlin October 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm

“So von Mises actually conceded that monetary expansion by the banks could reduce the real rate of interest via the imposition of forced savings caused by a steady rate of inflation.”

Yes. And Hayek built his entire theory of the business cycle around this fact. Lowering the real rate of interest below what it should be is the driving force behind the boom-bust in Hayek’s theory.

Trajan October 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm

The critique of Rand doesn’t even cite the actual sex scenes in Rand’s novels, which could best be described as “50 Shades of Grey”. Rand wanted nothing more than to submit to a powerful, great man — and for that man to ravish her completely. So it’s fair to say Rand was way ahead of her time.

Sam October 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm

The Fountainhead, aka Fifty Shades of Legitimate Rape

Trajan October 12, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Hey, nobody is forcing tens of millions of women to buy 50 Shades of Grey.

maguro October 12, 2012 at 6:51 pm

The Patriarchy works in mysterious ways, dude.

ladderff October 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Thank you, good point. That piece was pure bigotry.

Claudia October 12, 2012 at 2:48 pm

5b) “The public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another. It’s an issue of justice that everybody in society recognizes, that these two people are the parents of the child and nobody else is. Not grandma or the babysitter or a previous boyfriend, or all the people who might possibly show up wanting to be the parent. No.”

She and her husband adopted their two kids. She ‘showed up wanting to be the parent’…isn’t that a good thing? I would have thought her decision to adopt would have driven home the point that families come in many forms. 5b and 1b are both head scratchers.

Mollie October 12, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Have you seen the Omar Al Bashir Gangnam?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56YUtVncvjc&feature=youtu.be

Floccina October 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm

#2 There is no way that Irk (no D) Nowitzki is one of best players the game has ever seen. He is almost useless on the defensive end of the court. He is shooting specialist rather than a complete player. The year he was on a championship team they had many great players including a great defensive center Tyson Chandler who covered up for Irk on defense. I think that it is a little bit of race bias that causes people to consider him a great player.

#1 Brink will be disappointed if he compares the children of college educated but divorced parents with college educated married parents. He will be even more disappointed if he compares the children of college educated helicopter parents with the children of college educated non helicopter parents.

GiT October 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm

“So it became really clear that mothers and fathers are doing an enormous service to the whole world and that everybody’s taking that for granted. That kind of woke me out of my slumber. There was an entire sector of human existence that was not being taken with the seriousness that it deserved.”

Ah, yes, “mothers and fathers.” Definitely not just “parents” or “caregivers”. Only mothers and fathers are taken for granted. Certainly not “mothers and mothers” or “fathers and fathers,” or, perhaps, something other than a duo, or anyone who spends time raising a child but is neither their mother nor their father.

“It breaks my heart that in our culture we have told women that they should be questioning themselves, or somehow ashamed of themselves, if they want to take care of their babies. That is just wrong.”

Much better to imply that they should be ashamed if they would rather go to work than be with their baby.

“People want reliable, permanent love. Let’s make people hopeful, because if you’re hopeful that you’re building toward something positive, then it’s easier to say no to things that are in the way.”

Better work towards that positive by barring people from consecrating their “reliable, permanent love.”

“The public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.”

Really? I thought that was the purpose of “parentage” and “legal guardianship.”

“which defines parenthood and defines the relationships between the generations”

Again, that’s parentage and adoption. Marriage establishes horizontal relationships across generations, by uniting spouses. Hence why marriage creates “in-laws” and “spouses” (or “conjoints”, in french), not children and parents. Those functions are covered pretty well by procreation and adoption.

“If you look at same-sex couples, both at what they say and their behavior, neither permanence nor sexual exclusivity plays the same significant role.”

In other words, let me now engage in bigoted stereotyping.

“My nightmare scenario is all the different ways that are going to transform what is means to be a parent. It will allow the terms “mother and father” to be replaced by “generic parents,” losing all gender language. These are the things that keep me awake at night. ”

Well then, lady, you’re freaking insane.

Urso October 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Quite a fisking. Obviously there’s this huge political dispute between the two of you that I’m just completely uninterested in, but I just want to comment on this:

[Her] “The public purpose of marriage is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.”

[You] Really? I thought that was the purpose of “parentage” and “legal guardianship.”

Maybe that’s the modern (or post-modern) view, but she’s certainly right about how marriage has been viewed historically: “Fathers and mothers, by the very act of marrying, contract together the obligation of supporting, maintaining, and educating their children.” La. Civ. Code art. 227. This was a pretty widespread understanding of the legal effects of marriage as to children. For a very long time, the man married to your mother was *by definition* your father, whether or not he was “actually” your father. Because it was the marriage, not the chromosomes, that created the relationship between the parent and the child.

The concept of “guardianship” as a separate thing from marriage is a recent development (relatively speaking); previously, guardians/tutors were for orphans only. The idea that a parent was a “guardian” was just nonsense; you only needed a guardian if you didn’t have a parent. Now, I suppose, in the easy divorce era, we’ve redefined guardian to the point where “parent” is just one specific subset of “guardian.” But that’s certainly not an obvious conclusion to draw; in fact, it’s pretty amazing how quickly (again, relatively) these concepts were redefined in the latter half of the 20th century.

It’s really fascinating, from an academic perspective, the way that the legal regime has changed from the formerly relatively simple concept of marriage/paternity to the incredibly complex thicket of marriage, divorce, and parentage laws we have now, and in just a few decades. And, more generally, the rise of the concept of “marriage as contract,” with all the rules of a contract — it can be breached when efficient to do so, its terms are subject completely to the negotiations between the two parties, and it only has effect as between the two parties — which is something that would have just sounded completely alien at the turn of the century.

Brian Donohue October 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I always thought mothers being attached to their children was a mammalian policy that actually predates marriage.

Urso October 12, 2012 at 5:58 pm

Cute, but the concern is about dads . No one worries about an epidemic of mothers abandoning their children; not that it doesn’t happen, but it happens so infrequently compared to fathers that it’s not even worse discussing. It’s self-evident that one of the main societal reasons for having marriage in the first plane is to obligate (socially and legally) the father to stick around. And the reason you have to have that is that fathers don’t have the physical connection to the child like mothers do; paternity is biological, but fatherhood is largely a social construct.

Miley Cyrax October 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm

“And the reason you have to have that is that fathers don’t have the physical connection to the child like mothers do; paternity is biological, but fatherhood is largely a social construct.”

You left yourself some wiggle room with “largely”, but paternal investment is definitely not merely a social construct. This becomes quite obvious if you take a cursory glance at the animal kingdom. And of course, paternal investment is positively correlated with paternal certainty and negatively correlated with polygyny across species.

Human males are but mildly polygynous and have relatively high paternal certainty, so we would expect a relatively high degree of paternal investment. Note that the historical polygyny rate, as gleaned from the historical female-to-male breeding ratio, is not the same across the populations within humans, as far as West Africans, Europeans, and East Asians go: http://www.cell.com/AJHG/abstract/S0002-9297(10)00033-9. It’s only three data points, but the rank-order goes as you would expect for polygyny and paternal investment.

Brian Donohue October 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Yes, naturally, the concern is about the dads. And humans show much stronger pair-bonding tendencies than most mammals (our nearest relatives run from free-for-allish chimps to the gorilla’s harem deal), which is good, especially if you want a helper like a prairie vole rather than a parasitical sponge like a lion.

But these are just tendencies, and there’s always a decent chance that the guy ain’t so committed, that he’s liable to wander off. Mothers, human women, are the keepers of the flame and the true forces for conservatism and civilization- guys, sometimes, gotta be induced to play ball. Which maybe accounts in part for everything from the sweetheart patriarchies enjoyed by human males in the preponderance of civilizations across history to the canny wisdom of Wilma Flintstone, at pains to keep the family running smoothly and allowing the big oaf to think he was calling the shots.

But I’m open to the idea that I’m completely nuts.

GiT October 12, 2012 at 6:26 pm

If marriages were functionally limited to cases involving children, this would be relevant, but they aren’t, so it isn’t.

If a married couple has children, then their status as spouses has important implications for their relationship to the children.

If a woman has a child, nothing at all follows with respect to marriage. Whether a pregnant woman is married or gets married as a result of her pregnancy is completely contingent.

Miley Cyrax October 12, 2012 at 7:52 pm

@ Floccina

“#2 There is no way that Irk (no D) Nowitzki is one of best players the game has ever seen. He is almost useless on the defensive end of the court. He is shooting specialist rather than a complete player. The year he was on a championship team they had many great players including a great defensive center Tyson Chandler who covered up for Irk on defense. I think that it is a little bit of race bias that causes people to consider him a great player.”

I agree Nowitzki is definitely not among the historical best, but I don’t think it’s racial bias that make people think he’s great. He may be overrated for the same reason players like Iverson or Melo are/were overrated: they score a lot of points. Dirk, however, is a much more efficient shooter than both they were/are. Dirk is great, but not an all-time great.

BZ October 12, 2012 at 4:48 pm

So, I’m not a Rand fan myself, but why revel in ad hominem attacks against an influential free market sympathist? As a strategic matter, why advertise someone bashing one of the few remaining groups sympathetic to liberalism in any way? As a psychological matter, why get so Excited about such things, as opposed to, say, articles making fun of the rulers of Malawi? As an intellectual matter, why point out an ad hominem argument at all, even one you agree with — are we school children here? I personally believe objectivism is a rather sad and confused mish-mash of random (and often questionable) philosophical points, but proudly posting a link to an article like that just seems below M.R.

Jon October 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm

It is not even debatable that the ABCT is grounded in a gold regime. This is of course why there is so much talk about which goods are getting produced: mises is explaining how interest rate pegging can drive inflation, which can persist until the monetary authority loses its nerve about the price level–usually due to the pressure on gold reserves, but this same citique applies to any form of level targetting. If you overshoot the level, you eventually need to come back down, which is the boom-bust cycle.

freethinker October 14, 2012 at 12:50 am

5b): I simply cannot understand how the inability to conceive can inspire faith. It should be the opposite: God instills in me the desire to have kids, then denies me the ability, which goes to shoe that either God is a figment of imagination or a sadist. In my country grandmas too are involved in parenting and I see little harm with that. Talented women in families where grandparents live in the home can pursue their jobs while they can be confident that kids are taken care of well. This is a million times better than having babysitters to care for the kids.

Sean October 17, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I just wanted to call attention to Geschwindner’s reference to Thomas Nagel in the Nowitzki interview:

“You can know everything there is to know about bats, and yet you still have no idea what it’s like to be a bat.”

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