Assorted links

by on March 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Russ Roberts interviews Jeffrey Sachs, the most contentious parts are toward the end.

2. U. Chicago is the most leveraged of the wealthy colleges.  Dangerous or not?

3. Very good 538 piece on Venezuela and Bolivia.  And a list of the economics questions they are being asked.  And Megan on the new media start-ups: “The biggest constraint that any of these organizations will face in growing traffic and reputation is the finite time of the founders.”

4. Billsnooper.com.

5. David Wu, currently of Lehigh, will be the next Provost of George Mason University.

6. For those of you who wish to debate the origins of Bitcoin.

7. Are people willing to take orders from a robot boss?

Nick March 18, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Re 8: http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm
Like most science fiction, a little silly, but apparently on point.

JWatts March 18, 2014 at 10:02 pm

LOL, the author of the story doesn’t seem to understand what the managers at a fast food restaurant actually do.

“And so on. The employees were told exactly what to do, and they did it quite happily. It was a major relief actually, because the software told them precisely what to do step by step.”

Um, no, that’s not how it works. Managers ask then threaten then beg for teenage minimum wage workers to actually show up on time, not leave early and not hang out in the back smoking and talking. And you can’t really threaten many of the employees with the loss of their job, because most of them don’t really care very much about it and can find another job just like it in a day or two.

A computer voice telling a teenage girl that it’s time to clean the bathroom will probably have about as much luck as her mom does telling her it’s time to clean the bathroom via a text message.

prior_approval March 18, 2014 at 1:32 pm

So, did it take as long to replace the current provost as it took the current provost to investigate this? –

‘Wegman has blamed a graduate student for the plagiarism. Daniel Walsch, spokesperson for George Mason University, says that an internal review of the matter began in the autumn. He cannot estimate when that review will be complete, and, until it is, he says, the university regards it as a “personnel matter” and will not comment further. He adds that the review is still in the “inquiry” phase to ascertain whether a full investigation should be held. “Whether it is fast or slow is not as important as it being thorough and fair,” says Walsch.

The fact that 14 months have passed since Bradley’s complaint without it being resolved is disheartening but not unusual. An examination of George Mason University’s misconduct policies suggests that investigations should be resolved within a year of the initial complaint, including time for an appeal by the faculty member in question. According to the university’s own timeline, the initial inquiry should have been complete within 12 weeks of the initial complaint — in May 2010. But there are loopholes galore for extensions, and, like many universities, George Mason seems content to drag its feet.

Long misconduct investigations do not serve anyone, except perhaps university public-relations departments that might hope everyone will have forgotten about a case by the time it wraps up. But in cases such as Wegman’s, in which the work in question has been cited in policy debates, there is good reason for haste. Policy informed by rotten research is likely to have its own soft spots. Those who have been wronged deserve resolution of the matter. And one can hardly suppose that those who have been wrongfully accused enjoy living under a cloud for months.’ http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v473/n7348/full/473419b.html

This could become the new GMU motto – ‘Informing policy through discredited research for as long as we can get away with.’

Though ‘GMU – you can never be too cynical’ is undoubtedly also in the running.

Stan March 18, 2014 at 2:22 pm
Millian March 18, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Because no university other than GMU has ever had a researcher involved in plagiarism. Ever.

Silas Barta March 18, 2014 at 8:02 pm

We need a *thorough* investigation into how much status the professor brings to the university before holding him to the same academic standards as incoming freshmen!

Jeff March 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm

I believe the technical description for Sachs’ reaction is that his jimmies were rustled.

revver March 18, 2014 at 4:07 pm

#7 The nerd part of me (roughly 80%) immediately thought of the vignette from the Japanese animated “Neo Tokyo” movie:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPv8R4QevaU

Donald Pretari March 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm

I’ve zeroed in on what really bothers me about 538, etc. ( Although I will peruse them. ), and, I could be unfair in thinking this, but it sounds like they’re each saying “Come Here for the Bottom Line on Any Issue or Any Subject.” But, in the end, it’s still just someone’s take on an issue, however smart and objective they are. Now, if I set up a Website called “Don Settles the Question”, on which I post each week my assessment of an issue that I’ve studied for a week, say, Godel’s Proof one week, the Beatles’ Best Record the next week, the Greatest Basketball Player of all time the following week, etc., and then claim that my post is the best assessment on earth of the topic, well, I’d sound Delusional, and with good reason. However, in this country, it often seems that Pundits are allowed to belch forth on any topic they choose, by virtue of the fact that some magazine, etc., has dubbed them Pundit. What Pundit has come to mean, instead of Employed Entertainer, is someone who has Profound Powers of Insight into Any Topic, or even something more Oracular in Nature. In the end, on these Sites, some things will be good, some bad, but they haven’t invented anything new. It will simply be someone’s take on an issue.

Hoover March 18, 2014 at 5:37 pm

#3 Why does Prof Cowen no longer take questions? I used to enjoy that feature.

MPS March 18, 2014 at 6:43 pm

Re #7 if you tell people the robot is their assistant I’m sure they’ll take orders from it.

Donald Pretari March 18, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Since people are used to taking orders from a Horse’s Ass, I doubt they’ll balk at a Robot. They might even consider it an improvement.

bjk March 18, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Silver & Klein might work, individually I don’t see it. Silver has the worse odds, he is not even a rounding error to Disney.

Benjamin Cole March 19, 2014 at 3:39 am

Are people willing to take orders from a robot boss?

So, instead of sleeping with the boss, you get some fresh new cylindrical batteries, and slide them gently but firmly into her slots?

RPLong March 19, 2014 at 10:22 am

#5 – Because somebody has to do it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHpoSL-SEhA

Kilowhat March 22, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I tried billsnooper. Useless.

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