Assorted links

by on February 13, 2014 at 11:59 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 ummm February 13, 2014 at 12:16 pm

No great stagnation in Bay Area and other innovation capitals of the world. Facebook (FB) keeps making new highs. Now is a great time to be an economist, coder, real estate investor, self-actualizer, speculator, etc. Not so great if you graduated in a non stem major with mountains of debt.

Josh Brown debunks this 1929 comparison chart

Nerds are the ones making all the money in this new era while being showered with accolades by the media for the innovations they bring to society.

Obama’s corruption scandal

Why the unemployment rate may not matter

2 Anti-ummmmm February 13, 2014 at 1:23 pm

1 out of 6 prime age men are not in the labor force. 1.2 million school kids are homeless. 50 million Americans are on food stamps. My friend’s organization receives 1,000 applicants per job opening.

It’s Revenge of the Nerds on steroids out there. But the accolades will eventually be replaced with bottles and rotten fruit (e.g. San Francisco). Death and destruction to those with IQs under 100….110…120…130. $120 smoke detectors and refrigerators that make square ice while talking to your mobile phone are awesome – but rental property backed securities are even better. I love living in the 2010s – onward ho!

3 Chris S February 13, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Eventually the top half (or 25% if you prefer) will eventually just pay off the rest to hold the revolution at bay for awhile.

4 TallDave February 14, 2014 at 12:21 am

Some people object to rising living standards.

5 prior_approval February 13, 2014 at 12:17 pm

5 – with page not found, I don’t think one needs to point out the difference between intra and interstate commerce.

6 john personna February 13, 2014 at 12:23 pm

2. I did not think the pizza cutter would interest me, but I’ve got to admit the “tactical” designation makes it work. Painful, given the broad non-ironic overuse of the word … but well played, well played.

7 Rahul February 13, 2014 at 12:27 pm

#2 was disappointing. I was hoping it cuts with the laser.

8 john personna February 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Perhaps you’d prefer some Tactical Ballistic (I mean Ballistix) memory for your pc: Crucial Ballistix Tactical 16GB $199.99 (newegg)

9 john personna February 13, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Nothing says balanced individual like a Tactical HRT Sniper Watch $279.99 (la police gear)

10 JWatts February 13, 2014 at 4:44 pm

“#2 was disappointing. I was hoping it cuts with the laser.”

That’s a bit beyond consumer grade lasers at this point.

11 Chris S February 13, 2014 at 10:22 pm

There’s the Great Stagnation for you. We wanted flying cars and we get drones delivering beer before we know we want it.

12 JWatts February 13, 2014 at 11:44 pm

Where’s my ray gun?

13 PD Shaw February 13, 2014 at 12:39 pm

5. “When it comes to federal, you can’t cover federal because it’s illegal and we’d all go to jail for insuring an illegal operation.”

I would love to see the legal opinions produced to advise people to go into this business (a.k.a. federal crime) or enter into contracts with such business. The law says you will go to jail, but the President has made non-binding promises that you can count on until he changes his mind or leaves office. And maybe a judge might enforce private party agreements with an illegal subject matter, or maybe not. Perhaps rule of law regimes are overstated as a source of stability for economic growth.

14 Finch February 13, 2014 at 12:57 pm

FWIW, business decisions based on attempts to mindread particular judges or politicians are commonplace in America. It’s just the way things have to work today, and it’s not specific to controversial topics like this one.

15 Z February 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

#2: Immigrants are great unless they are sawing your head off in the streets or blowing up your subway. Other than that and the crime and cousin marriage and the high levels of retardation resulting from said cousin marriage. But hey, there are some cool foreign restaurants for the bankers.

I do find it interesting that the open borders nuts use their prior wrongness on immigration that they are right this time.

16 john personna February 13, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Do you fear street assault or subway explosions more than you fear heart disease? If so, you might be exhibiting bounded rationality.

17 john personna February 13, 2014 at 1:04 pm

BTW, you use “open borders” like you do “socialism,” right? That is, to mean something else entirely. In this case a regulated system of immigration and citizenship.

18 Z February 13, 2014 at 1:45 pm

No, you are wrong, but that seems to be a perpetual state for you.

19 john personna February 13, 2014 at 3:12 pm

So, when you say “open borders” you actually mean that, and a total elimination of a citizenship or visa status?

20 Finch February 13, 2014 at 3:29 pm

I don’t know what Z means, but that’s what the open borders movement means, and that’s the common usage of the term.

Bryan Caplan writes about this a lot, and regardless of your opinions is worth reading.

21 john personna February 13, 2014 at 3:43 pm

I know that there are a minority of economists etc who mean take down the border crossing, build a freeway, but there is no one suggesting that in popular American politics. Indeed, real “open borders” types are about as rare as “seize the means of production” socialists. But, what we have are a group, common in political discussion, who will look at a pragmatic immigration plan, such as the one(s) proposed by George W. Bush, and shout back “no open borders!”

22 john personna February 13, 2014 at 3:14 pm

(The problem here is that there could be a rational discussion on visa or citizenship requirements (or about an appropriate level of social services) but when you say “open borders” (or socialism) you are signaling very strongly that you don’t want to have that rational conversation. You are only prepared to label things you don’t like in a black and white fashion.)

23 Chris S February 13, 2014 at 10:24 pm


24 So Much For Subtlety February 13, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Sorry but this is bizarre. First of all, whatever anyone says the plan is for open borders. Pathways to citizenship is just a euphemism for amnesty for all illegals. As in fact happened last time someone tried this on a big scale. (That would be Reagan actually).

Second, to accuse anyone opposed to whatever euphemism you have come up with this week of avoiding a rational discussion is unbelievable hypocrisy given the standard tactic on your side has been to shut down the debate by screaming racism. People have been screaming racism a lot longer than people on the other side have been objecting to open borders. What is more, attacking a person in the most vile way possible is much worse than criticising their policies. Especially as, you know, they do actually support those policies.

If Open Border supporters do not support open borders, how precisely are they going to enforce the border laws they say they want?

25 john personna February 14, 2014 at 8:44 am

“Pathways to citizenship is just a euphemism for amnesty for all illegals.” Sorry, no. As long as there are conditions, even as “mild” as “no felonies” this is not the same as “open borders.”

26 john personna February 14, 2014 at 8:45 am

(“Words have meaning” is kind of a basic prerequisite to “rational conversation.”)

27 Owen February 13, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Immigrants saved London. In 1950 as today Greater London was populated by eight and a half million people. Back then, they were mostly Britons. It was one of the world’s great wealthy metropolises, full of culture, industry, interesting and enjoyable places, and the seeds of artistic and musical revolutions.

In the interim, Britons have left London in droves. Now there are five million foreigners in the city because Britons prefer to move out to affordable and safe bland suburbs of outlying backwards cities.

Luckily, five million foreigners have arrived to replace the Britons that chose to leave and refill the city. Sure, there are problems with crime and welfare dependency and cultural or technological stagnation has replaced creativity, but at least the foreigners saved London from abandonment.

28 Keith February 13, 2014 at 8:26 pm

Huh? If Britons lived in London for a thousand years, immigrants show up, and then Britons don’t live in London, why wouldn’t you conclude that the Britons were pushed out?

29 Dave February 13, 2014 at 8:43 pm

Keith, please recalibrate your sarcasm detector.

30 ummm February 13, 2014 at 12:59 pm

I agree with the underlying principle of the ‘dark enlightenment’ except that trying to replace the government or secede isn’t the best approach. The system we have now is actually pretty good at rewarding success and talent, especially compared to other countries; furthermore, we don’t really live in a democracy, so there really isn’t anything to replace. Steven Pinker refutes tabula rasa – that everyone is a blank slate, and uneven outcomes in life (winners vs losers) are the result of environmental factors (racism/discrimination), instead innate qualities such as genes. The modern liberal approach of forcing equal outcomes through welfare programs, taxation, interest rate hikes, and regulation are counterproductive in contrast to the classical liberal approach of equal opportunity in a meritocracy.

31 Anti-ummmmm February 13, 2014 at 1:26 pm

“The modern liberal approach of forcing equal outcomes through welfare programs, taxation, interest rate hikes, and regulation are counterproductive in contrast to the classical liberal approach of equal opportunity in a meritocracy.”

I’m pretty sure that charity and taxation date back to biblical days, so pinning this on the liberals doesn’t really seem fair. Naked Capitalism baby – winner take all – money and genes – that’s all that seems to matter with the MR crowd!

32 Anti-Anti-ummmmm February 13, 2014 at 1:50 pm

I think you are loading ummmmm’s invisible knapsack with your own baggage. Or, you have a reading disability. He makes clear that the end is equal outcomes and one of the the *means* is taxation. He makes no reference to charity. Perhaps instead of worrying about the MR crowd you should go have the CAT scan.

33 Anti-ummmm February 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Liberals aren’t seeking equal outcomes. Liberals understand that smarts are genetic and high g people are usually going to be better off than low g people. Living wages, affordable housing, workers rights (etc). are not about equal outcomes – they are about sharing society’s wealth among everyone – even the least able. And right now there are way too many hard working people being left behind because they aren’t HFTs or computer programmers or lawyers or bankers or doctors. Every major religion promotes charity and care for the least able. Heal the world Z-Man!!!

34 Z February 13, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Maybe. Maybe it is just emotive nonsense to keep the bees buzzing in the right direction. The ultimate vision of the Rue Saint-Jacques crowd has always been a Utopian one. Whatever practical compromises the CML makes, what drives them is the belief that over the next hill lies the promise land. All that leaning forward stuff is just so they don’t look back at the trail of corpses felled in the name of justice, charity, equality, fairness, etc.

I’d say more but my butler is waiting for me to supervise the snow removal.

35 Anti-Ummmm February 13, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Maybe? That’s as good as a “yes” in my book! Where do you live? I’ll come and get you. We’ll do some volunteer work together and then I’ll talk to you about donating to some of my favorite non-profits. Don’t worry, they’re all means tested and evaluated by economists – your dollars will be put to good, productive uses! Then we can grab some falafel and craft beer!

36 Chris S February 13, 2014 at 10:26 pm

Mmmm, falafel and craft beer. You’re my kind of Anti.

37 The Original D February 13, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Because extending unemployment benefits and food stamps is exactly the same as earning six figures writing code. Forced equal outcomes FTW!

38 So Much For Subtlety February 13, 2014 at 11:03 pm

I kind of like the idea of saying “Hey Baby, I would like to inspect your phenotype”. Alas, I am not sure I live in a neighbourhood where that is likely to work any more. Or in fact be understood.

Someone is clearly unaware when some other people are pulling his leg. The Eldar? Come on. Although the Sith Lords would make me say that wouldn’t they?

(Just in passing this doesn’t sound any different to that nut ball in Norway’s claims when he was on trial. Didn’t believe it then either. Although the Knights Templar have turned up running a drug empire in Mexico …. )

39 Paul February 13, 2014 at 1:14 pm

4. Bravo. Great idea.

40 casey February 13, 2014 at 3:48 pm

PlanetMoney Econ 101
EconTalk with russ roberts for Econ 201

41 William Luther February 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm


42 Mm February 13, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Furman’s performance at the Peres conference about the CBO report was far from stellar- the attempted spin was so obvious one felt sorry for him

43 Alex February 13, 2014 at 3:03 pm

I’m impressed by Furman’s juggling of spinning balls as a teen, not so much by his spinning of jumbled policies as an adult. I haven’t read Raj Chetty’s paper on upward mobility, which apparently found it hasn’t declined. Can someone explain what was the “misinterpretation” of this paper that Furman corrected? Was he clarifying some economics, or just saving his boss from embarrassment?

44 Urstoff February 13, 2014 at 2:30 pm

The contrast in quality and knowledge between Planet Money and Marketplace is quite staggering. Let’s hope no one uses the latter to try to teach econ.

45 Chris S February 13, 2014 at 10:27 pm

Does anyone watch the atrocious Nightly Business Report on after PBS Newshour? That show makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

46 Scoop February 13, 2014 at 2:54 pm

London and Immigration

In areas where Tyler isn’t a passionate partisan, would he ever link to pieces that essentially argues thus: X happened over the past 30 years, life in Y has gotten better over that time, therefore it is X (rather than one of the million other things that happened) that made life better?

I find it particularly odd that he’d link to this given that it’s highly disputable that London has actually become a nicer place to live once you consider how much the cost of living has risen over that period.

47 JWatts February 13, 2014 at 4:39 pm

“”We proposed that, under certain conditions, nonconforming behaviors can be more beneficial to someone than simply trying to fit in. In other words, when it looks deliberate, a person can appear to have a higher status and sense of competency,” write authors Silvia Bellezza, Francesca Gino, and Anat Keinan (all Harvard University).”

So, somebody watched an episode of Happy Days and noticed that Fonzi was the cool guy?

48 msgkings February 13, 2014 at 4:48 pm


49 Norman Pfyster February 13, 2014 at 5:22 pm


50 Brian Donohue February 13, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Hilarious! Way to slam home that alley oop!

51 Ray Lopez February 13, 2014 at 10:24 pm

I did not watch Happy Days, but I recall Fonzi was the “cool” one, not the “nerd”. What this study is saying is that the “nerd”, wearing the obnoxious bow-tie and argyle socks, wins respect.

It’s like the New Yorker cartoon where a white collar professional is wearing a Bozo (TM) the clown suit facing a new client, and the prospective client is saying: “You must be really good” (since nobody unless they were really good at their job and secure would risk wearing such an outlandish costume).

52 Age of Doubt February 13, 2014 at 10:45 pm

3. Here’s how to tell the Software engineers from the janitors these days: janitors tuck their shirts in, and their jeans have no holes.

53 Chris S February 14, 2014 at 4:14 pm

I have no idea why we all started untucking our shirts, but we did.

54 Turkey Vulture February 13, 2014 at 10:48 pm

3. I regularly wore a t-shirt with a smiling Spongebob to my law school classes. Also typically had a beard. Is that what they mean? People must think I am pretty great.

55 TallDave February 14, 2014 at 12:19 am

The fusion story is not good news, it’s not news at all. These laser devices have absolutely no plausible path to net power production. They’re a big expensive science project, nothing more.

Even the result is not new, Los Alamos got more energy out of fusion than they put in many, many decades ago…

56 LI February 14, 2014 at 3:35 am

#2_b Fusion. Article from Ars Technica is wrong. The NIF team is trying to keep their jobs and over-hyping a small (but possibly significant) step. The energy actually DELIVERED to the hydrogen (D-T) fuel was less than that emitted by it. Thats a pretty small step since there are HUGE losses along the way between the lasers (and even before them) all the way through the optics into the Gold target and finally (as X-Rays) into the fuel. The efficiency (energy out ÷ energy in) is still miserable and much much lower than what they initially promised, and lower than what they’ve expected. The most hopeful thing is that their models – which have been consistently and thoroughly WRONG, are a better match this last time. Until they have some idea about what they’re doing, which means have a model of the process that actually predicts outcome, they’re just flailing around in the dark. That’s OK for the basement, not so cool when Billions of tax-payer dollars have been consumed, and millions are being spent on salaries and upkeep. NIF, last I heard, has depreciated (I belive ‘discontinued’ is the correct term) fusion power experiments and is focusing (pun) on weapons work (modeling). The Nature article, my guess, is more of a PR stunt than anything else.

57 Ian February 14, 2014 at 8:09 am

Will the crop insurance cover…umm… accidental fire?

58 John Trevor February 16, 2014 at 10:39 pm


59 nike air max 95 March 13, 2014 at 5:04 am

Tomas Berdych extended his winning streak to eight matches with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Romanian qualifier Marius Copil earlier. Except for losing to eventual champion Stanislas Wawrinka in the Australian Open semifinals, Berdych has won 12 of his last 13 matches. Berdych, who reached the final here last year, won the Rotterdam title two weeks ago. ‘

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