Assorted links

by on July 3, 2014 at 12:38 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Sendhil Mullainathan on the limits of Big Data.

2. Will Republicans become a party of ideas?

3. Should North America import more elephants?

4. Is market monetarism going anywhere?

5. A robotic lab that puts science in the cloud.

6. Testing the Springsteen conjecture: do we live in a post-authentic musical world?

Mark Thorson July 3, 2014 at 12:58 pm

I keep thinking about those hippos released in South America from the drug lord’s zoo. Why not do that here? Lousiana would be a good place for that. Hippos in the bayous! It would add to the tourist industry, which is already a significant part of the Louisiana economy.

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Z July 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm

It violates foundational doctrine in the conservation movement. Plus, there may be some complication from introducing hippos into the bayou. For instance, they like to swallow midgets for some reason. That said, I’ve always thought that certain species should be transplanted here like elephants, rhinos, giraffes. We have vast amounts of free range that would not be harmed with these species. Maybe there’s a business to be run in farming them or keeping them as a game preserve. Maybe giraffe taste good.

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anon July 3, 2014 at 3:16 pm

And if they turn out to harm the local environment, it would be easy to kill the population off. Plenty of rednecks would just love to hunt large game animals to extinction.

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Z July 3, 2014 at 3:40 pm

There are plenty of big game hunting business. Letting them import and maintain a herd of giraffe or rhinos would probably work.

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The Cranky Professor July 3, 2014 at 10:50 pm

Rednecks? The First Peoples hunted plenty of species to extinction.

Nowadays, big game is a carriage trade. Rednecks hunt wild hogs. Which look like challenging fun to me.

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zbicyclist July 5, 2014 at 12:02 am

Yes, this logic has worked so well for wild boars.

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Mark Thorson July 3, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Giraffe is kosher! I think there would be a market for its meat among Jews that would like to try it at least once. If it actually tasted good, an industry might develop.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/2084281/Giraffe-is-kosher-Israeli-vets-have-ruled.html

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greg July 3, 2014 at 4:36 pm

I guess it has the split hoof and is a cud-chewer, so it counts as clean, but I would think it might be hard to slaughter a giraffe in the kosher manner. My understanding is you have to cut the neck of the animal with a special knife of certain dimensions, but I would think the size of the giraffe and the long neck would present a bit of challenge there.

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Mark Thorson July 3, 2014 at 8:09 pm

This has already been considered.

http://www.kashrut.com/articles/giraffe/

dearieme July 3, 2014 at 4:47 pm

“3. Should North America import more elephants?” is a question to which there is only one possible answer. Hell, yeah.

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andrew' July 3, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Exporting more would be tough.

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dearieme July 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm

Just wait a few generations. (How long is an elephant generation?)

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Tyler July 4, 2014 at 4:18 am

The unintended consequences are huge. Transplanting any species from one place to another, even under controlled circumstances, can often end up as a disaster. Nutria escaped from fur farms off the coast of Louisiana and are now all over the South. Australia has been hit by one invasive after another, most introduced intentionally, such as the rabbit and the cane toad. These species cause huge amounts of economic and environmental damage to their host states.

Now, hippos, elephants, etc. may be different due to much slower reproduction rates, easier tracking (and if necessary, elimination), etc. But this idea has been out there for a while (“Pleistocene Rewilding”) and has made no traction, so I’m inclined to think SOMEONE has good reasons not to do this.

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Brian Donohue July 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm

#2. We can call it ‘compassionate conservatism’. So, the NYT idea of Republican ‘ideas’ is moving to the center. Ironic, inasmuch as in my 50 years, the Democratic Party had had exactly one decent idea, it came from Bill Clinton, and it was “move to the center.”

I think the analysis is wrong. Romney lost because he didn’t have a “feel” for the people, unlike Reagan or Clinton.

Scott Walker wrote a very good book about his experience in Wisconsin. It’s not about repackaging ideas- it’s about the kind of person you are. Lots of ‘Obama/Walker’ voters in Wisconsin. The key is figuring out what makes these people tick. And the answer, I think, has more to do with “feel” than policy.

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FYI July 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm

You got to love the euphemisms. I wonder if they call the current Democrats a “party of ideas”. Maybe a party of bad ideas? I am really tired of this whole debate to be honest with you. It feels like a sham in so many ways. Obama talking about “taking action alone” and people don’t see what that actually means.

Oh, maybe they will call Obama a “man of ideas”. Great stuff.

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Jan July 3, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Congress is making it so easy for him by doing nothing. He can pick and choose to take executive action only on the really popular issues. Then Boehner goes and makes Republicans look so desperate with the lawsuit. It’s terrible optics.

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Brian Donohue July 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Unlike most people, I don’t focus on political gamesmanship. I look at the last 18 months (starting with the ‘fiscal cliff’ crisis) as easily the most responsible period the federal government has exhibited this century, just when we needed it. And the economy looks like it’s turning the corner.

Gridlock forever!

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Jan July 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Things are slowly better. Just watch out for causation versus correlation and all that.

At least we can celebrate some record-breaking performances: Senate and House most gridlocked they’ve been in a lifetime by 538′s metrics. http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-house-and-senate-are-the-most-divided-theyve-been-in-our-lifetimes/

Brian Donohue July 3, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I’ve kept my eye on causality.

Reagan/O’Neill
Clinton/Gingrich
Obama/Boehner

Better than:

Clinton plus Democratic Congress
Dubya plus Republican Congress
Obama plus Democratic Congress

The Other Jim July 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm

>Things are slowly better.
>And the economy looks like it’s turning the corner.

Riiiiiight. I’ve only been hearing that for five years. “Don’t expect to see any improvement in your own lives, but things are getting better! Slowly! I promise you they are, because I read it in the New York Times, every day since January 2009!!”

mulp July 3, 2014 at 7:31 pm

Well, all the Obama stimulus tax cuts have expired and the Obamacare taxes on “capital creation” have not hiked taxes to the highest since about 2006 and the number of jobs created is the highest since about 2006.

On the other hand, the roads and bridges and water and sewer mains are decaying more rapidly than ever but government spending on them is lower than ever and about to get lower.

Meawhile, the Tea Party opposes all gas tax hikes, but has figured out what PPP means: super high tolls to profit foriegn corporations who are the only ones willing to invest in toll roads and bridge leases in the US because US investors know a PPP means going bankrupt and that means wealth redistribution by an unelected government techncrat.

I guess you expect that your odds of driving into a sink hole or having the bridge collapse below you are low enough, you don’t mind US transportation efficiency falling. After all, lower efficiency means more truck drivers spending more hours on congested roads and more mechanics fixing cars and trucks damaged by bad roads.

Jan July 3, 2014 at 8:16 pm

TOJ. Yes, I was _reluctantly_ agreeing with Brian. Objectively, by most measures, the economy has gotten better but very slowly. That’s just a fact.

I still think Congress sitting on its ass has not helped the situation. I’m not sure if you are really trying to make any other point, but nobody is really disagreeing with you.

Brian Donohue July 4, 2014 at 10:03 am

mulp,

On behalf of American taxpayers, I point out that we have forked over $5.7 trillion to various levels of government this year. That’s $17k per citizen (including, of course, lots of citizens that pay little in taxes.)

Y’all spent $6.2 trillion.

Jan July 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Both Obama and Walker had a lot of hate directed at them, beyond the usual amount anyway. The motivation for the attacks was very different, but I wonder if that played a role in those voters’ decisions in 2012. Business Insider wrote about an analysis that found those voters were generally young and lower-income but consistently turned out to the polls.

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Dan Weber July 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm

I’ve noticed the more the other side hates the guy, the more likely he is to win re-election.

There are a billion explanations, and some of them are probably even correct.

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tt July 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

that picture is classic.
we are thinking really really hard !!! did you see the crumpled paper ??!!?!?

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superdestroyer July 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm

The real future for the Republican Party is extinction. Does anyone really believe that a country where less than half the children in public schools are white, where more than 50% of the children in public schools are on free lunch and where 50% of the children in public schools are being cared for by a single mother that any form of a conservative party can be sustained. Why would anyone want to go into politics when the future will be about entitlements, who gets them, and how to pay for them.

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buddyglass July 3, 2014 at 7:19 pm

Doubtful. It’s more likely for the GOP to adapt (potentially becoming unrecognizable) than to disappear completely. There’s a huge amount of inertia and structural bias built into the system that favors two political parties. Not “one”. Witness the GOP’s choice to deemphasize opposition to same-sex marriage at the national level and at the state level in states that aren’t deeply red. I expect more of that over time.

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superdestroyer July 5, 2014 at 8:39 am

Chicago has been a one party state for decades. The same for the District of Columbia and for Maryland. With the right demograhic situation, there is no way for the Democrats to lose. See Detroit.

Those state Republican Parties that are moderate are also irrelevant. See the Northwest and the Pacific Coast States. There are no positions that any form of Republican Party can take that is going to get anyone to walk away from the demographic advantages that the Democrats currently have.

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So Much for Subtlety July 3, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Romney lost because the demographics had changed. Not just more Blacks and Hispanics, but also less marriage. The two largest groups voting for Obama were Blacks and Single Mothers.

So it is not a surprise that the Democrats are relying more on the Single Mother vote:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/clay-waters/2014/07/03/nyts-calmes-cheers-democratic-quest-hold-senate-through-single-women-st

I wonder if Reagan could have won with America’s present voting population.

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Jan July 3, 2014 at 8:18 pm

No, Romney lost because he was full of shit and anyone with a brain could see that.

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So Much for Subtlety July 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm

Thank you for that well-thought out intellectually-deep and nuanced response Jan. About what I would expect.

On pretty much every issue Romney has shown that he understood the issues, and he was right. Obama simply lied, Shamelessly. And the voters bought it. Romney was not my sort of candidate but there is no denying he was brave to be honest – and that events have shown he had a better understanding of America’s problems than Obama or the media.

He did not lose with the White vote. He did not lose with the male vote. He lost with Blacks and Hispanics. And Single Mothers. That is, the 47% did not vote for him. As he actually foresaw. He would have won but for the decline in marriage.

So your claim is a pile of fetid dingo’s kidneys. Unless you think that married women are stupid. As are men and especially White men.

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Jan July 3, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Nah, he was seriously full of shit. Just about the least genuine candidate in memory. If there were a sliver of sincerity to him he would have gotten more white voters and even probably a few minorities. But again, he was a cold, deceitful fish of a candidate. You’re a total moron if you don’t grasp this. Everyone else does by now.

Jan July 3, 2014 at 9:10 pm

And you’re right that he was basically running a 20th century campaign. Maybe he would have won in those days with those voters, but more likely he would have lost like his father, because he was a dishonest flip-flopper. But I don’t know, maybe ask Karl Rove.

chuck martel July 4, 2014 at 12:13 am

“Just about the least genuine candidate in memory. ”

I remember Al Gore, John Edwards and John Kerry.

Cliff July 4, 2014 at 1:13 am

Is Jan slowly morphing from voice of reason to candidate for worst commenter?

zz July 6, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Yes, he has become increasingly deranged, almost Z / mulp level at this point

Brian Donohue July 4, 2014 at 9:52 am

Reagan would have been fine today.

This is the sort of comment that lays bare the childish petulance of the “our country is gone” crowd.

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Careless July 4, 2014 at 11:01 am

He couldn’t even have been elected governor

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Brian Donohue July 4, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Wah!

So Much for Subtlety July 4, 2014 at 6:21 pm

What makes you say that? Reagan only got 50.8% of the vote in 1980. Around 44 million people voted for him. Some 60 million voted for Romney.

That growth in population has not been among the White voters. America’s birth rate has been below replacement since 1972. It has been Black and Hispanic. Romney actually did better among Whites than Reagan did. Reagan did better among Hispanics and Blacks – but in 2012, I don’t see how any Republican could have made much inroads in either community.

So why do you think he would have been fine?

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Brian Donohue July 5, 2014 at 9:19 am

As recently as 10 years ago, Republicans swept the government sweepstakes, with a Presidential candidate who had a greater feel for the American people than the Democrats (Bush v. Kerry). And Bush was no Reagan.

So you are pinpointing precisely the decisive shift toward the Democrats as occurring in the past 10 years. In this way, you join a long list of failed nativist prophets.

Jan July 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm

The only real way to make it work is if we import them to let people kill them. We know people love shooting animals (bullets AND arrows) and they pay a lot of money for the privilege. When it comes to hunting (or something like that) animals, the bigger the better. And the bigger the profits.

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Jan July 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Re #3, though my proposal could be attributed to #2 as well (Republican ideas).

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The Anti-Gnostic July 3, 2014 at 1:01 pm

# 3 – We’ve enabled a human population boom. You can’t eat scenery.

A few years ago, I was leafing through some magazine and read an account from an environmentalist who said the movement had largely given up on Africa. What a shame.

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Brian Donohue July 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm

#4. Sumner is the heir to Friedman. And his trusty sidekick Mark Sadowski is the reigning king of economic ‘nowcasting’.

Good seats available- climb aboard!

I should write a little story to my Austrian friends: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Inflation and Love NGDP Level Targeting. It would be mostly links to Sumner.

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Benny Lava July 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm

That would be really useful. I’ve found that the recent economic crisis has really vindicated the market monetarist cause.

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x-fighting hack July 3, 2014 at 1:24 pm

If any of the low status males wooed a beautiful, desirable female and was rejected, he would have to make
do with one of the fat and ugly girls for the rest of his life, or worse,
nobody. There are in fact hundreds of the people who
get either injured from the medical negligence or medical malpractice, or even the result of medical malpractice is the
death of the sufferer. With this, it is crucial that you understand how the illness
may be avoided and cured to ensure your loved ones’
safety and well being.

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Nathan W July 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I think most music produced by the music industry has been post-authentic for a very long time already.

There’s always some authentic talent, and perhaps also a desire of the entertainer to entertain, but when music is entertainment per se, it is already less authentic.

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whatsthat July 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm

don’t think that’s the notion of authenticity being talked about

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Andrew' July 3, 2014 at 3:42 pm

It seems like the definition of authenticity they are working with is what the computer spits out as a result.

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whatsthat July 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm

i thought it was about whether people are producing music “true” to their genre

most “regarded geniuses” have usually gone against some aspects of their genre

not sure it makes any sense to talk about post-authenticity, because i dont think there was any authenticity (in this fashion) to begin with – not with the better musicians at least

further proof why I regard Springsteen as #1 overrated.

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andrew' July 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm

This one goes out to all those hard working out of work musicians who remember where they come from and are true to wherever their chosen road takes them 2, 3, 4!!!

andrew' July 3, 2014 at 2:58 pm

1. Algorithm. I get it.

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Andrew' July 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm
ThomasH July 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm

The GPO could start participating in the policy debates but it will require a) not allowing any increase in tax progressivity to trump all other considerations and b) to risk having to continue to support ideas that might be agreed to by Democrats the did with Romney care and cap and trade.

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ummm July 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm

The GOP has always been the party of big ideas. The left, on the other hand, wants to cling to the past by opposing technology, automation, creative destruction.

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The Other Jim July 3, 2014 at 7:30 pm

The NYT approach is two-fold. Ignore every idea proposed by Republicans, and then insist they have no ideas.

It works well with the lib-bubble crowd. No reason to change that approach, really.

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Z July 3, 2014 at 4:50 pm

#2: Reform Conservatism is just another racket for the usual suspects in Conservative Inc. April Ponnuru could not get a paying gig in the Tea Party so she and her hubby are running with this crowd. Those college tuition payments will upon them soon enough.

As I’ve written on my award winning blog, the GOP and Conservatives have to come to terms with the neo-con years, particularly the disaster that was the Bush presidency. The GOP’s problem is not a lack of policy proposals. Their problem is no one believes them. When they had the chance to implement their policies, they morphed into New Deal Democrats.

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Art Deco July 3, 2014 at 7:01 pm

#2: Reform Conservatism is just another racket for the usual suspects in Conservative Inc. April Ponnuru could not get a paying gig in the Tea Party so she and her hubby are running with this crowd. Those college tuition payments will upon them soon enough. -

Mrs. Ponnuru has a long history as a congressional aide to a legislative insider named Roy Blunt. She gave up a position on his staff for her current employments. Her husband has been employed as an opinion journalist for 14 years and had the same primary employer for the entire time. He’s Catholic social conservative, not Tea Partisan.

the GOP and Conservatives have to come to terms with the neo-con years, particularly the disaster that was the Bush presidency. The GOP’s problem is not a lack of policy proposals. Their problem is no one believes them. When they had the chance to implement their policies, they morphed into New Deal Democrats.

That’s not a description of Bush or McCain, but never mind. Both men are working politicians and well aware that libertarianism and palaeoconservatism are about as marketable as tooth decay, in addition to being substantively wrong.

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Z July 3, 2014 at 8:21 pm

A political cult that pulled the pin on itself is in no position to lecture anyone on marketability. And while I’m at it, the Pope being a Marxist should give you pause. Just because someone goes to confession does not mean they are on our side, brother.

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Larry July 3, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Re “post-authentic”: I see millenials as PA in every domain, not just music. They’re not even authentically millenial, in that word has no connotation other than maybe “digital”, which itself is empty. Strange, new world.

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OP July 3, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Adding this here with the hopes it will make it into a “Markets in Everything” post:

https://reservationhop.com/
“The service scrapes advance reservation systems to fill up its inventory and sells them back to users for “as little as $5.” In other words, they’re scalping dinner reservations.” from Gawker.

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shrikanthk July 3, 2014 at 9:14 pm

#2 Ideas are overrated

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shrikanthk July 3, 2014 at 9:15 pm

And principles and beliefs underrated

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Pete Harvard July 3, 2014 at 11:34 pm
Brian Donohue July 4, 2014 at 10:21 am

I’ll bite.

The word austerity, in public finance, has become meaningless. http://www.usdebtclock.org

Also, there is a demographic tsunami coming in the next several years. Our last ditch effort to get our financial house in order ahead of this tsunami now appear to have a chance of succeeding. So, sorry big spenders and tax cutters, the answer remains ‘No’ for the next several years.

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HumansOrElephants? July 3, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Replacing elephants with humans in #3 works quite well. The subheading of the article would be “Humans are in trouble in both Africa and Asia. But there is somewhere they could live in safety.”

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Eddie Vedder July 4, 2014 at 12:08 am

Authentic:
The Who
The Doors
Killing Joke
Nirvana
PEARL JAM

Post-authentic:
Most “artists” that came out since about 2002 or so. While there have always been record producer created acts ready-made to appeal to the LCD, it seems now that this is all there is. But maybe I’m just getting old.

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Axa July 4, 2014 at 6:14 am

#6: I’d like to have testable hypothesis that nice and clear in my research. I don’t know if my data/model allows that =(

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Henrique Dolabella July 4, 2014 at 8:40 am

A suggestion for the “there’s no great stagnation” section.

This chap has adapted a small engine and a steering wheel into a crate of beer, usually used to carry 24 600ml bottles.

The brakes are his croc soles.

In the video, you see police officers having a chat to the fellow and asking him about the beer. He reminds them that it is against the law to drink and drive. Not unexpectedly, they are quite amused.

http://noticias.r7.com/minas-gerais/homem-pilota-caixa-de-cerveja-motorizada-e-faz-pm-cair-na-risada-03072014

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