Assorted links

by on May 3, 2013 at 1:15 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Quandl searches economics and financial databases.

2. Bitcoin ATM fails.

3. Anatomy of a robocar accident.

4. Child guesses the plots of classic novels, based on book covers, via Yana.

5. The dining culture that is Missouri.

6. Summers and Hubbard on basketball and economics, but Davidson is the real star here.  And will we eradicate global poverty?

sailordave May 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm

for the first 3 fixed income rates that came to mind i found good results on Google and nothing on Quandl.

joshua May 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm

5. As someone who has lived in Missouri for most of my life, I find it somewhat amusing that Lambert’s is a novel discovery to others. Sikeston definitely wouldn’t be a contender for your “most average city.”

prior_approval May 3, 2013 at 1:45 pm

And to think there was just a discussion about that very point at this very site.

PD Shaw May 3, 2013 at 2:15 pm

As someone who lives in a neighboring state, it would be hard to miss the billboard signs. I’ve eaten there a few times. I imagine most Missourians think the bootheel (or near-bootheel) is actually a misplaced part of Arkansas, if not the Mississippi delta.

Thomas May 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

For those not familiar with the state: it’s cotton country.

Peter Schaeffer May 3, 2013 at 9:34 pm

PDS,

It’s not really Arkansas either. Arkansas is generally more upcountry. It’s really part of the Mississippi river delta.

MichaelD May 3, 2013 at 2:54 pm

Having lived in Missouri for 12 years, I never realized that there was a Lambert’s in Sikeston. I have been to the one in Ozark quite a few times.

PD Shaw May 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm

There’s also a Lambert’s in Foley, AL. But I’m guessing you haven’t driven I-55 btw/ St. Louis and Memphis.

Peter Schaeffer May 3, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Having eaten there it’s pretty good. Even without the thrown rolls. Recommended.

As several other folks have pointed out, Sikeston is quite different than the rest of Missouri. It’s down towards the Boot Heel and is dead flat. Geographically it’s in the Mississippi River floodplain. Sikeston is actually 15 or so miles from the river, but only 7 feet above it. Any serious Mississippi River flood will inundate Sikeston.

The farmland around Sikeston is very rich bottom land and highly productive. However, the area is quite poor. The demand for labor in farming has been falling for years as farms become larger and better mechanized. It’s the sort of place that young people leave unless they inherit a farm.

If anyone really thinks that America needs imported farm labor, they need to spend more time in places like Sikeston.

My family owns property in the area. Property values have been falling for years with no end in sight. There is some limited manufacturing in the area. However, it isn’t doing much better than manufacturing nationwide. Between declining farm and factory employment, leaving is the practical choice.

Rahul May 5, 2013 at 12:44 am

Do the “falling property values” follow from “imported farm labor”? Are you implying a causal relationship?

Norman Pfyster May 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm

It’s “Throwed Rolls,” not “Thrown Rolls.”

rhode runner May 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Hmm, Quandl’s search function needs a bit of work but on the other hand I found this via their browse pages: http://www.quandl.com/markets/us-interest-rates .

Michael May 3, 2013 at 2:08 pm

#2. It doesn’t sound like the Bitcoin ATM failed so much as that one particular person is no longer involved. I thought the non sequitor jabs at Obama and talk of fascist imprisonment were a bit unnecessary in the explanation of why he was no longer involved. It made him sound like an angsty teenager.

TMC May 3, 2013 at 8:25 pm

I only saw one soft jab at Obama. Not much of a non-sequitor either given the author’s views and Obama’s history.

dan1111 May 4, 2013 at 3:11 am

Yeah; I think over-regulation is a big problem, too, but “The fascist system in the US has done its job”? Good grief.

Sean May 3, 2013 at 2:19 pm

We’re currently working on a more robust search solution, but as pointed out our topic pages may be good way to browse and find what you’re looking for (such as http://www.quandl.com/markets). If there is any specific data that you can’t find but feel should be on Quandl just shoot us an email at connectquandl.com.

Sean May 3, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Oops, the site removed my angle brackets. It’s connect (at) quandl (dot) com

Anon. May 3, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Are you guys doing anything about all the missing data? Futures series are missing tons of observations.

Sean Crawford May 3, 2013 at 5:35 pm

We’re a new, small group and are working hard every day to improve our collection of free data. If you can send an email with the specifics of what we’re missing that would be really helpful. connect (at) quandl (dot) com

mobile May 3, 2013 at 4:19 pm

#6. You said basketball and Davidson. Then I read the whole article and Stephen Curry’s name didn’t come up even one time.

mkt May 4, 2013 at 6:54 am

Yeah I was looking to see what Davidson did that was so great; but you’re right no Curry and it was a disappointing article overall. Hubbard believes in low taxes and low debt and Summers believes in gov’t spending to reduce the unemployment rate. Who’da thunk? I came away with the article having learned nothing new.

There was one twist that Davidson put into the article and that Tyler pointed out, namely the basketball angle. Summers famously was (and presumably still is) a surprisingly good tennis player, but I’ve never seen or heard of him having an interest in basketball. Yet there he is shooting baskets and addressing the (NCAA bound) Crimson team. OTOH he was missing those shots. I infer that he’s a frustrated jock — a lot of economists seem to be that way.

JasonL May 3, 2013 at 4:34 pm

The restaurant that featured throwed ribs was replaced by a more innovative competitior who was better able to cater to the needs of the customer. All hail the free market. Or something.

MPS May 3, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Re: Child guesses the plots of classic novels, based on book covers, via Yana.

It is amusing that Clockwork Orange is spot on.

dan1111 May 4, 2013 at 3:17 am

I would rather read some of the books as described by the child than the actual books. Particularly The Great Gatsby.

Seth May 4, 2013 at 12:09 am

Does one restaurant’s marketing gimmick constitute a dining culture for an entire state?

James May 4, 2013 at 7:03 am

Yes and no,

Obviously the throwed rolls are not representative of the area, but the fried okra, lots of gravy and the other add ons seem to be fairly representative of the region. Of course, if they really wanted to represent the dining culture they would need to have gooey butter cake on the menu.

zbicyclist May 5, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Yeah, fried okra seems pretty common in the rural, southern parts of Missouri. Plus, there’s the German heritage of the Missouri River valley, so in Boonville I had a restaurant lunch special of knockwurst, sauerkraut and fried okra.

Slocum May 4, 2013 at 8:27 am

@3 — Nice analysis. This point is worth a little more time, though, I think:

“Perception failure: The system doesn’t see or recognize something on the road. This could be due to bad sensors, bad software or a particularly difficult obstacle or set of circumstances. Note that this is, in a way, the cause of 80% of human accidents — not seeing something.”

The problem is that this could also be due to the fact that the best artificial visual systems are still nowhere close to as good as natural vision systems. So we might end up with a situation where robocars make particular kinds of mistakes due to vision system limitations — mistakes that humans would not make — and those errors won’t be fixable by any over-the-air firmware updates. What if robocars are about as safe as human drivers overall (or even somewhat safer) but have very different patterns of error?

Mark Thorson May 4, 2013 at 10:25 am

Humans can’t see in the infrared, which cuts through fog and dust. Humans don’t have 360 degree vision.

Slocum May 4, 2013 at 12:07 pm

That’s true. But humans can recognize and categorize objects in their environment. They know what the objects mean. If they are animate objects, they can infer intentions and predict their goals and future actions. AI vision systems can’t do any of this. Never mind robocars, there are no AI vision systems that can effectively recognize and interpret the objects in digital images and produce textual descriptions and generate appropriate keywords. You might think of robocars as operating with 360 degree, infrared capable blindsight. Will that be sufficient? We’ll see.

Dan Weber May 4, 2013 at 6:48 pm

The robocar probably won’t see “dog” and know “it might jump into traffic,” but it will see “pattern of things that tell me it could jump into traffic; let me keep on scanning it 100 times a second to see if it is going to do something stupid.”

I agree with you that there will be things that the robocar can do a lot better than humans, and things it doesn’t so as well as humans. The goal for the short-term should be to identify the second category and don’t let it drive in those conditions yet. The average human probably beats robocars in heavy rain or snow-covered roads currently, for example.

Roger Sweeny May 4, 2013 at 11:45 am

6. “Will we eliminate global poverty?”

Not as long as there is a People’s Democratic Republic of Korea.

eric May 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Does anyone a the link about the failed Bitcoin ATM? All I can find is that it works.

lxm May 4, 2013 at 2:55 pm

#6 Eradicate poverty by 2030.

That’s the second post this week that touches on an economy of abundance. The first was http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2013/05/izabella-kaminskas-counterintuitive-model-of-the-modern-world.html

What forces will insist on maintaining an economy of scarcity?

Yup, we may be at the birth of a new world where resources for a basic life are not scarce. Of course, there is also the counter example of the Arabian Spring which may have been brought about because wheat prices became too high.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: