Assorted links

by on February 8, 2013 at 11:22 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. The KFC culture that is Japan, and Pizza Hut innovation from China.

2. Critical review of Banerjee and Duflo.

3. What really happened in the Anglo-Irish deal?

4. Competitive wood planing, and does the CBO believe in the great stagnation?

5. Do people swap genes more easily than folk tales?

6. Claims about micro-moments of positivity resonance.

7. Can intangibles explain the UK productivity puzzle?

Brian Donohue February 8, 2013 at 11:45 am

#6 was interesting- good link!

prior_approval February 8, 2013 at 11:56 am

‘Do people swap genes more easily than folk tales?’

I don’t know – do more Americans talk about Snow White than French speakers? If so (thanks, Disney), the answer would seem to be something like maybe, as the U.S. is neither a French nor German dominated country.

And let me interject an observation from a JMU scholar (note the single letter difference from GMU, and do note that this may not be a unique observation) –

‘Why is Shakespeare the greatest author? Because in every language other than English, he is considered the second best author to have ever lived.’

Troy Camplin February 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

It has to do with gender and how people migrate, as I argue here:

http://zatavu.blogspot.com/2013/02/how-stories-spread.html

Edward Burke February 8, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I was still waking up when I heard it but NPR’s morning “Marketplace” segment today mentioned a McD’s in (I think) Australia that petioned hdqtrs to formalize the McD dining experience with cutlery (plastic? don’t think it was specified), napkins, plates, or what have you. The experiment has been well received by patrons there, but no word on whether kangaroo tail soup will be appearing on their menus.

IVV February 8, 2013 at 1:09 pm

I heard that. And yes, eating with your hands is a skill that Americans are particularly adept at. I distinctly remember the first time my wife (who is from Germany) ate at McDonalds. First, she looked for the cutlery, and was surprised that there was none. Then, she tried picking up the burger. Now, when you pick up a burger, you want to be sure you have good, broad contact between your finger surface and the bun. She, however, in trying not to touch the burger, tried to support it only with the very tips of her fingers. All that managed to do was drive her fingers through the bun into the patty, causing the burger to disintegrate into a sloppy mess that was far more problematic than just being honest about touching the burger. She’s learned since.

It’s amazing all the little ways cultures can be different. Incidentally, she can do amazing things with a fork and knife that I can’t, and there is far more I can do with a fork alone than she can.

mkt February 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Interesting observation. At Ethiopian restaurants (where one eats by using injera bread to pick up the food), I think that my fellow diners and I lack dexterity because we usually run out of bread. I conjecture that we’re using pieces of bread that are twice as big as what an Ethiopian would use, because we don’t know how to successfully grab the food with just a small piece of bread (if we tried, we’d end up basically using our bare fingers).

And of course there’s chopsticks. I think I’ve read that the McDonalds’ in Japan and even Hawaii have chopsticks? I know I’ve read that the ones in Hawaii give you a choice of french fries … or rice.

Tom Noir February 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Dr. Fredrickson’s ‘micro moments of positive resonance’ seem to be based on an awful lot of junk science: http://www.tomnoir.com/2013/01/more-than-feeling.html

Brian Donohue February 9, 2013 at 11:50 am

‘junk science’ is a bit harsh. In talking about the human mind, there is quite a bit of tentative and speculative theorizing right now- I’d advise anyone against swallowing whole anything in this area.

What do you think is the likelihood that the human brain does not possess mirror neurons?

Jack P. February 8, 2013 at 1:05 pm

(2) I like this critical essay but I think the author makes a fool of himself by putting every economics concept in “quotation marks”. I understand that he is “skeptical” of “clean identification” but this style makes him “look” like a petulant critical theorist, who “doubts” the “reality” of every “social” concept. You get the picture.

C February 8, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Absolutely loved the competitive wood planing (accompanying video is really amazing). Made me pause and reflect on how wonderful humanity can be ….

Hazel Meade February 8, 2013 at 3:29 pm

#4 Is the CBO allowed to believe in the Great Stagnation?

Low growth projections are bad for business.

Karl February 8, 2013 at 5:48 pm

“The KFC culture that is Japan”

Is that grammatically correct? I really want to know as I’m trying to improve my grammar. I’m not a troll. I love Marginal Revolution.

ThomasH February 9, 2013 at 6:25 am

It is a correct sentence fragment. It could be part of a correct sentence such as “This is the KFC culture that is Japan.” “X is Y is Z” is a correct sentence.

Brandon Berg February 9, 2013 at 5:16 am

Probably. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a pretty girl and thought about how much I’d like to tell her some folk tales.

Andrew' February 9, 2013 at 5:44 am

4.b. “There‚Äôs no guarantee, says Gordon, that any new technological innovations will show up to match the ones of the 19th and 20th centuries.” If Peace were a technology, we could develop that.

ThomasH February 9, 2013 at 6:13 am

On gene/cultural mixing, I doubt the methodology could be applied in the same way, but it would be interesting to see how “cultural” v “genetic” mixing of ethnic groups in the US. My guess is that cultural would be greater. Intermarriage will drag along lots of cultural traits but there are lots of other factors dissolving cultural traits into a more or less homogeneous mix. Of course it might depend on which cultural marker or mix of markers is chosen — language, religion, national origin. For exampe, judging from really long-run experiments such as Christians and Muslims in Egypt, the population becomes homogeneous genetically (?) but retains religious but not language heterogeneity.

Colin February 9, 2013 at 9:48 pm

#2 is a pretty good critique but man does he beat you over the head to get to his word count.

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