by Tyler Cowen
on January 2, 2013 at 2:17 pm
1. Arnold Kling recalculates the fake health care chart.
2. Scott Sumner has thoughts on some fiscal matters.
3. 10 objects from 3-D printing, should I be impressed?, you tell me.
4. The neuroscience of pickpockets.
5. Is “The Big Sort” false?
3. When you can print up marketing, then be impressed. Until then, be amused.
So, Sumner is still sore over the missed opportunity of a bygone deal. But, although anyone who asked me would have known there was a near-zero chance of Romney winning it was not zero. And would it have been better had Republicans given Obama all that he seeks, wedge wins? Scott? Care to do a decision tree?
Someone should introduce Scott to this concept called the median-voter theory. He might begin to understand why one-quarter of one house of a bi-cameral legislature can’t dictate policy.
For better or for worse, this is what the American people voted for.
++1 – For worse.
Ross Douthat (“Liberalism’s $400,000 Problem”) quoted at Instapundit,
“If a newly re-elected Democratic president can’t muster the political will and capital required to do something as straightforward and relatively popular as raising taxes on the tiny [what 2%?] fraction Americans making over $250,000 when those same taxes are scheduled to go up already, then how can Democrats ever expect to push taxes upward to levels that would make our existing public programs sustainable for the long run?
“There is a significant constituency among Congressional Democrats that was already uncomfortable with the $250,000 threshold and wanted to push it higher — all the way to a million dollars, if a certain influential New York Senator had his way — and the possibility that these Democrats might go wobbly in a post-cliff scenario gave the White House a reason (or an excuse) to concede ground that Obama had once promised to defend unstintingly. […]”
3. we will never see the most ‘impressive’ uses of 3d printing, because prototypes by definition don’t hit the market. It will merely increase the rate of innovation.
Where did Tyler repudiate the chart?
It looks like Tyler had a MR post in which he repudiated the chart on the 31st, which he mentions in the comments on Kling’s blog. Apparently Tyler deleted hispost–I’m just curious what he said.
It’s too bad Kling did not link to the Yglesias’ blog post instead: http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2012/12/31/health_care_spending_by_age_america_spends_money_on_oldsters.html
He makes clear that the initial analysis was flawed and had a separate short post on it. MR added a sentence under the chart during the day saying it might be incorrect. It was in bold and would have been clear to anyone new to the post. I like the way Yglesias handled it, but I find the “gnarly, dude” message annoying.
Anyways, what’s up with the new embrace of death panels. I mean, I predicted it, but what’s up with it?
Kling actually provided correct data, rather than Yglesias’ just figuring it was wrong. Worth a post.
My point was linking to MR was a waste here. I liked Kling’s post.
Ah, got it.
3D printing is widely used in internet jewelry businesses like Gemvara or Blue Nile to make the wax blanks for casting rings and such. You have a CAD file of the ring you want to make and just have your 3D printer make a blank in the exact size you need with the mount in the exact dimensions needed for the stone you want to mount. My wife and I got out wedding bands and engagement ring online and it worked great, you don’t need to buy a ring and get it resized, you can get exactly the stone you want on the exact mount you want and they’ll have it to you in two weeks.
“Have you ever noticed that many ultra-conservative southern states have steeply progressive state income taxes, whereas Massachusetts has a 5.3% flat tax, and liberal Washington State has no income tax at all.”
No I didn’t notice that. And evidence would indicate it’s not true.
I live in Tennessee. We have no state income tax (there is a state tax on interest and dividends). Florida and Texas also have no state income taxes.
The five highest state income taxes are:
Hawaii 1.4-11% (9.6% delta)
Oregon 5.0-9.9% (4.9%)
California 1.0-9.3% (8.3%)
Iowa 0.36-8.98% (8.52%)
New Jersey 1.4%- 8.97% (7.57%)
The highest southern state income tax rate is North Carolina:
North Carolina 6-7.75% (1.755% delta)
The biggest southern state delta I see:
South Carolina 0-7% (7% delta)
Your well-referenced facts have no place in a discussion like this!
David Henderson at EconLog put up the best response concerning Massachusetts: the flat rate is mandated by the state constitution.
That’s addressed in the comments, where Sumner agrees he may be wrong about the state taxes
I’m impressed by the Super Mario Brothers Mobius strip. Not so much because it’s a product of 3D-printing, nor because it’s executed impeccably, but because of the improbability of its existence. What kind of person not only thinks of depicting Level 1 of Mario Brothers–en toto–on a Mobius strip, but also has the insight to know that the idea is clever enough to warrant realization? And how likely is it that such a person would also have the motivation and to go out and attempt it, let alone the wherewithal to actually pull it off, and the talent to do so with such elegance?
That such people exist is reason enough to be excited by the 3D printing technology. Until now, most artists and inventors have been at the mercy of other numerous other craftspeople (and therefore of their own financial means) for turning their ideas into finished objects. 3D printing eliminates several burdensome steps between creative vision and reality, and in doing so, has the potential to spark an explosion in the number of ideas brought to fruition. Probably the vast majority of great ideas never leave the mind of the maker, either because a person is too preoccupied to venture into creative entrepreneurship, or perhaps too afraid of ridicule and failure, or too shy, or–given the nature of creativity–too distractable to follow through with any project requiring more than a few days’ work. Provided the learning curve of computer design tools eventually becomes gentle enough to accommodate the less-than-technically brilliant, 3D printing could change the world–even if only the world of art–which itself tends to eventually be imitated by life.
Most insightful thing I’ve read all year.
So, most insightful thing in 2 days? 😉
I don’t really want to spend $3k on a 3D printer.
I’m going to free-ride… Wait for a friend to splurge on the 3D printer and then have him just print me my own 3D printer.
First rule is, you can’t wish for more wishes
This is exactly what the RepRap project is trying to do.
#3: Rapid prototyping was impressive in its own right, and the artistic possibilities of 3-D printing are certainly interesting. But the hurdle for changing the world is 3-D printing of devices for substatial, non-decorative operational use. There are real technical challenges to overcome before that happens, and none of the ten enumerated gadgets qualifies. What we have so far are decorative or illustrative placeholders that look like things which would be operationally useful if we could print them to tighter tolerances out of better materials.
Oh, and a rifle that disintegrates after six shots because it is made out of cheap plastic. Does it count as ironic that the AR-15 design was used for that demonstration?
Which is why the Klein bottle opener is arguably the most important of the ten items shown–because it is designed to be functional.
Can we print food yet?
“3. 10 objects from 3-D printing, should I be impressed?, you tell me.”
Yes. I doubt you will be impressed, but you should be. Its going to do for small objects what the internet did for images.
I’m more on your ‘side’ than Tyler’s in being impressed with 3-D printing, but your last sentence cannot possibly be true because of the fundamental difference between objects and images.
Just try re-tweeting that Mariobius strip. You can send images of it of course, or even the source code. But the thing itself is still a thing.
Unless the person you send the source code to also has a 3D printer…
By the by: I don’t suppose even the latest model of 3-D printer is any more stingy with power consumption than the laser printer on my desk. Of course, there’s the upfront expense of the printer itself and whatever resin cartridges (?: however the stuff gets delivered by the printer)are needed, too. I cannot think button manufacture expense would be lower. Tyler’s post on 3-D printers from last month also suggests these marvels remain notoriously SLOW. Who is or who will be performing cost benefit analyses per product or product type going forward?
End the crap you imbecil! END IT! – HOW MANY TIMES DO I HAVE TO SAY IT? HOW THE HELL DO YOU AND YOUR PIG IMBECIL FRIENDS THINK YOU ARE?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
I suspect that people who work in manfacturing are under-represented among regular readers of this blog. For what it’s worth, I’m the manager of a small factory and I’m impressed by 3D printing.
So far there are about 20 commenters on this post. You work in manufacturing and so do I, so at least 10% of commenters on this post work in manufacturing.
Commenters aren’t representative of all readers, and this post is not representative of all posts, but considering about 9% of employment is in manufacturing it seems like the industry is not necessarily that badly under-represented.
Source for 9% is mfg employment as percent of total employment from FRED: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=ecS
I’m an industrial automation engineer. So add me to the work in manufacturing. And I am also impressed by the ‘potential’ of 3D printing. However, it’s still mostly potential at this point.
What’s interesting in this post is that Tyler went to a hobbyist site to find 3d printed objects and asked, IS there more.
Of course, if you had gone to commercial sites, or linked to them, you could have had a different answer.
So, here is a different answer from Wikipedia:
As of 2012 3D printing technology was being studied by biotechnology firms and academia for possible use in tissue engineering applications where organs and body parts are built using inkjet techniques. Layers of living cells are deposited onto a gel medium or sugar matrix and slowly built up to form three dimensional structures including vascular systems. Several terms have been used to refer to this field of research: organ printing, bio-printing, body part printing  and computer-aided tissue engineering, among others. 3D printing can produce a personalized hip replacement in one pass, with the ball permanently inside the socket; at available printing resolutions the unit does not require polishing.
A proof-of-principle project at the University of Glasgow, UK, in 2012 has shown that it is possible to use 3D printing techniques to create chemical compounds, including new ones. They first concept printed chemical reaction vessels, then use the printer to squirt reactants into them as “chemical inks” which then react. They have produced new compounds to verify the validity of the process, although not seeking anything with a particular application. They used the Fab@Home open source printer, at a stated cost of US$2,000. Cornell Creative Machines Lab reported that with 3-D Hydrocolloid Printing method customized food production is possible. 
The use of 3D scanning technologies allow the replication of real objects without the use of moulding techniques that in many cases can be more expensive or more difficult, or too invasive to be performed, particularly for precious or delicate cultural heritage artifacts where the direct contact of the moulding substances could harm the surface of the original object. Even a smartphone can be used as 3D scanner: at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, Sculpteo unveiled a mobile app that allows a 3D file to be generated directly with a smartphone.
Pass the titanium, please: if as John Schilling noted above a 3-D printed rifle disintegrates after firing six rounds, how durable would anyone expect a “personalized hip replacement” to be? 3-D printing may already be a fine thing for modeling and design purposes, but 3-DP product manufacturing yet seems elusive. At whatever time 3-D printers become self-replicating, things undoubtedly will be different: in the interim, however, I would not want to rely, or have to rely, on a 3-D printed hip replacement (no matter how snugly the ball fits inside the socket), a 3-D printed walker, or a 3-D printed wheelchair.
If a 3-D rifle can sustain 5 shots without disintegrating, it can probably work as a walker for decades. Do you think your average current walker can survive being shot 5 times?
Even though I’ve never thought of firing rounds from a walker (.22 caliber? .45 caliber? 9mm? –entrepreneurs, take note!), I would not be enamored of using a rifle as a crutch (even though F. Forsyth appropriated exactly such a use in Day of the Jackel). Would a walker capable of firing one, two, or even five rounds retain the structural integrity needed to support the weight of a 150-pound octogenarian? Stay tuned.
Great, now I’m imagining fully weaponized motor carts for the elderly.
Actual rocket launchers are heavy. You don’t expect the elderly to carry them around without assistance do you?
And of course this protects the wheel chair enabled elderly from being pushed off a cliff by the evil Paul Ryan.
fwiw, plastic replacements seem to be more durable than metal. I don’t have a link but the newer metal joints that they began installing have a higher failure rate than plastic.
On 3d printing, I don’t think you want to compare this with other similar knickknacks you could buy. Instead, compare printing your design (with a service — no need to buy a printer) with the cost of having someone create it for you by hand. The 3d printed model is far, far, cheaper.
4. Did I miss something or does this contain no neuroscience?
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