by Tyler Cowen
on October 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm
in Uncategorized |
1. The true size of Africa.
2. Martini markets in everything, Winston Churchill edition.
3. How the theory of lines and totally empty restaurants applies to Texas barbecue.
4. Stephen L. Carter on Average is Over and also sports.
5. Interview with Lars Peter Hansen.
6. An eighteen-point polemic against neoclassical economists.
The map of Africa made me rethink my mental image of India — I had thought it was much larger.
This is a much better map than the one circulating recently showing the US as about the same size as the Sarah Desert.
Why no comments? I will be the first. Surprising how often that happens, though MR claims to have tens of thousands of readers.
Anyway, on #1, this is known as the “tyranny of distance” and one reason some scholars speculate that Africa is poor. Water moves bulk goods (even China had the Grand Canals), while land travel is expensive.
Re #2: apparently the b.o. of Churchill is used to make a martini flavor. Perverse English.
Re #3- a human interest story about how some people like long lines at TX BBQ…god I lost time reading that and I hope nobody beats me from the coveted first commentator honors for this post…
Re #4 – sigh, another review of AIO. I got the Kindle but have not yet read it, but after reading all these reviews I guess I won’t have to. Moneyball, income inequality in sports, use of computers in sports discussed. OK time out: here’s a riddle for you: Joe Studwell in his new book How Asia Works makes the provocative claim that household farming, not economies of scale, works best, and that land distribution in Asia, even by force, was good, since 10% of the population owned 70% of the land (the traditional store of wealth). Question: since 10% of US households own 70% of the income/wealth in the USA, does the Studwell prescription apply to the USA?
Re #5–all over the place interview that did not even touch on Hansen’s Nobel contribution, which is understandable given that it’s hard to explain. Time magazine is for wusses.
Re #6 – reasonable, worth a read. I like this one, which Hansen in #5 neatly sidestepped: “8. They think positive and normative economics are 100% separable, and their discipline is “value free“.”
I bet this lengthy post denies me from my rightful place as the first commentator. Only one way to find out though…and that’s to hit the Enter key. Now!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! Spencer. Posts an ignorant comment about his own ignorance of the size of Africa and beats me to #1!!!!
And this from Spencer: “This is a much better map than the one circulating recently showing the US as about the same size as the Sarah Desert.[sic]”
Oh the humanity…
Or lack thereof?
I’m not sure what I’m supposed to learn from the fact that Africa, a continent comprising lots of countries, is in truth as big as lots of countries put together.
The potential for value-added crops.
Oh, now that is choice. I’ll have to see about having a case sent over for the next tour of the States.
#4 – IMHO Carter underestimates just how much Moneyball is making it onto the diamond. Pitches are almost all based on data. The shift is in, small ball is used less. The Card’s game 1 performance notwithstanding, fielding is valued more highly than by the A’s in the early 2000s, in large part because the metrics have gotten better. Billy Beane denies he’s got a competitive advantage, preferring to call it “competitive differentiation”. The Yankees, meanwhile, have hired over 20 stats geeks. Perhaps most telling is that no teams are sharing their findings anymore, preferring proprietary development.
Did you ever take into account that there is an enormous time savings advantage for restauranteurs and their customers when it comes to lines? Lines keep things moving quickly. Taking names and tracking people down is extremely cumbersome and is almost a sure bet to double the wait time. I think the “manufacturing unnecessary lines” as a form of marketing point is a bit overrated. In short, lines are a way for brunch, lunch, bbq and other “cheap eat” restaurants to maximize table turns per day.
How does a line save a customer time?
With lines I think a lot depends on how well educated the market is regarding the product in question.
With BBQ in Texas, it’s the local cuisine and a very high number of people are going to know what’s good and what’s average, so the better places will have lines. With Persian restaurants in Northern VA, however, there’s only going to be a handful of people who are going to eat Persian often enough to know the really good places from the average ones (most here eat that sort of thing as an occasional novelty), so differences in lines aren’t going to be attributable to quality.
The continuing popularity of the size-of-Africa meme surprises the hell out of me. I’ve always known that Africa is about three times the size of the U.S. It’s easy to look up and almost as easy to figure out from looking at a world globe (the only unbiased map “projection”).
Map of Africa, from U.S. news coverage.
1. I saw that same image while in college, so it’s at least 20 years old. Why is everybody talking like this is a new concept?
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