Sunday assorted links

by on May 14, 2017 at 12:26 am in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 prior_test2 May 14, 2017 at 12:48 am

Talk about making sure things are done early – this is more like whatever happened before Sunday links.

Particularly when you think what fun could arise during the political interaction typical on a American Sunday – in about a half day’s time, that is.

2 Feldman May 14, 2017 at 8:08 am

… and just what do you think is the purpose of this blog? Why does it exist at all?

3 Dangling Pointer May 14, 2017 at 10:14 am

To give prior_test2 a reason to go on living.

4 Thanatos Savehn May 14, 2017 at 2:31 am

Neuroskeptic is Rick-rolling our gullible friend Tyler. Tyler just wants to believe, that’s all.

5 mulp May 14, 2017 at 3:46 am

6. Well, when robots replace humans, humans can replace insects that pollinate and insects that breakdown waste matter, eg dung beetle, termite, blow flies, …

6 BC May 14, 2017 at 3:54 am

4) Not necessarily due to overconfidence. First, unless there is a hazard in front of the green, often it is better to land short of the green than to fly past it. Short of the green is usually fairway; past the green could be a lot of garbage. Second, the article contains a chart that shows that, the longer the approach shot, the higher percentage of shots that are short. Many golfers would have difficulty reaching the green from 175-200 yards away, regardless of club.

Finally, many golfers may be aware that their club selection will require perfect contact to reach the green. However, it is psychologically difficult for golfers to choose a longer club, knowing that a perfectly executed shot will actually cause them to fly past the green, even if they understand that the probability of a perfect shot is low. It’s kind of like hoping for failure. That’s not quite the same as overconfidence. They may not even know their “average” distance because that average may correspond to a mishit, and mishit distances don’t seem predictable. (Mishits seem to lead to a wide variance.) In this regard, the software mentioned in the article might be helpful if it helps golfers see the distribution of shots, including mishits.

7 Jaffe May 14, 2017 at 4:04 am

If someone cares about a politician’s taste in music, estimation of that person should be lowered.

8 Anonymous May 14, 2017 at 5:58 am

I don’t care about the choices, but in 2017 I am impressed that anyone that intelligent and literate can be elected.

(In the US we think IQ matters everywhere *but* in governance.)

9 Thiago Ribeiro May 14, 2017 at 6:48 am

Yet, Brazil’s president is a poet-academic (his books on Law were sold hundreds of thousands of times and inspired generations of Law students), his legal acumen made him a multimillionaire. He helped to write the Brazilian Constitution, one of the most comprehensive of the world and has devised a plan to overhaul Brazil’s economy and state. He was one of the most accomplished Congressman of his generation. But I guess being a reality show star would have be nice, too. Maybe it is true what they say about every people having the government it deserves.

10 Anonymous May 14, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Something related on words, language, and intelligibility here:

http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/05/13/the-autocrats-language/

11 Thiago Ribeiro May 14, 2017 at 12:47 pm

It is sad that it has come to it in America, but it can’t happen here.

12 dearieme May 14, 2017 at 8:04 am

Your last clever President was presumably Nixon. It didn’t end well did it? Before him Hoover. It didn’t end well did it?

Many of your countrymen seem to worship JFK whose measured IQ would barely have got him into the second highest stream at my secondary school.

13 Thiago Ribeiro May 14, 2017 at 8:23 am

What about Carter?

14 dearieme May 14, 2017 at 8:42 am

Dunno. Was he as clever as those two? I suppose he must have taken the exams for applicants for officer training, so probably somebody could make a decent estimate of his IQ, as people have done for W and Kerry. On the other hand, Hoover’s lifetime record speaks for itself: he was clearly a very able bloke indeed. Nixon, it seems to me, is recognised as being more able than the great bulk of US politicians, but maybe I’m wrong; perhaps few Democrats would admit that their hate-object was intellectually gifted.

Anyway, Carter got a rotten press and no second term, so I suppose he was a bit of a failure too. (I’ve never understood why the Americans took against him so, but then at the time I relied on the BBC for much of my news and of course they would not have been frank about what was happening.) I would have hoped that a former professional naval officer might have vetoed the Iran rescue attempt on the grounds that it was hare-brained, so that counts against him, but it would be rather silly to evaluate him on just one episode.

15 Thiago Ribeiro May 14, 2017 at 9:16 am

“I’ve never understood why the Americans took against him so.”

He was not a wartime president. He was the president America deserved, but not the one it needed. He was the best of presidents and the worst the presidents.

16 Anonymous May 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Carter has a good soul, as evidenced by his strenuous good works.

I think his flaw was in presentation. We didn’t want Mr. Rodgers (the PBS character, if you are furrin’) as our President. We wanted someone a little more John Wayne. Reagan acted that role with good humor, and good intentions. He might not have been brilliant, but I think he was the least Dunning–Kruger of any President, ever.

17 Thiago Ribeiro May 14, 2017 at 1:17 pm

What is “furring”? Also there were problems: the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Israeli opposition to Carter, the Iran revolution/hostages situation, stagflation, the “Malaise” speech (I can not press ” m” after “Carter” without Google offering to search “Carter malaise”). America needed someone who could hold its hand and say everything would be right.

18 Danno755 May 14, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Since you mentioned Israel didn’t like Carter, supposedly Israel was behind Watergate. They brought Nixon down to prevent him from arranging peace with the Arabs. (That is according to an alumni from my school who was an aid to Reagan, while he was governor of California, then had some staff role with Reagan’s CIA Director.)

19 Jeff R May 14, 2017 at 2:49 pm

I’m pretty sure Nixon brought down Nixon

20 Thiago Ribeiro May 14, 2017 at 2:51 pm

I really do not know what people expect from foreign governments. The Israelis did not like Nixon and got Carter. The Soviets criticized Carter as if he were Nicholas II, they got Reagan. Americans did not like Saddam and got ISIS, or rather, the Iraqis and Syrians got ISIS. The thing is, unless one is Vladimir Purin, regime change does not work!

21 TMC May 15, 2017 at 12:15 am

Carter was a mixed bag after office. From the very commendable Habitats to lending support to the election process of any dictator around.

22 Anonymous May 14, 2017 at 11:22 am

George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, to name one from each side, were certainly clever.

But that was before the real rise of anti-intellectualism which culminated in the most anti-intellectual President possible.

23 Believe it! May 14, 2017 at 5:22 pm

If you’re so smart what are you doing cucking around internet blogs like this?

24 dearime May 15, 2017 at 6:25 am

Why…I…..damn you’re right…this is just another one of many of my public humiliations.

25 Ron Jeremias May 14, 2017 at 4:05 am

I agree that few golfers would would be comfortable “hoping for failure.” The golfer faces a choice: Use the right club, with a 20% chance of success (wow! I’m great!) and an 80% chance of falling short, or use a longer club, with a 20% chance of going over the green into the woods (damn!), and a 10% chance of a perfectly mishit shot that just happens to land on the green (dumb luck), and a 70% chance of falling way short. I would use the right club every time.

26 Evans_KY May 14, 2017 at 5:26 am

1. RadioLab “Smile My A**”.
2. Group think prevails, dissent suppressed. Rinse, repeat.
3. Swoon worthy.
4. Football. See #2. Rinse, repeat.
5. No cryopreservation? I’ll pass.
6. http://www.theonion.com/article/pressure-mounting-humans-step-down-head-failing-gl-55999

27 Anonymous May 14, 2017 at 5:54 am

6. It certainly looks true based on those examples. But you know, disbanded the EPA because nothing bad ever happens.

28 rayward May 14, 2017 at 7:01 am

2. There are more explanations for rising inequality than there are stars in the sky on a clear night. Piketty’s explanation (r > g) may be accurate, but only if considered in the short term: long term, rising inequality contains the seeds of its own destruction, for rising concentrations of capital chasing a higher rate of return in an economy with a stagnant or falling demand is a fool’s path to prosperity. Sure, owners of capital, by chasing higher rates of return, will bid up the price of “capital” for a time and create an illusion that r is rising. But it’s nothing more than a speculative bubble, and like all bubbles, it will burst. Why are economists confused? Because they employ tools fashioned for simple models that don’t reflect today’s economic landscape. It’s as though economists are stuck in the Karl Marx view of capitalism. To Marx, capital was either consumed or invested in plant and machinery. Does that describe the choices faced by owners of capital today? Hardly. Economists today can’t even agree on the meaning of “capital” or “investment”. Which leads some economists to craft all manner of creative explanations for the coming apocalypse, “complacency” being one of my favorites. Cowen is right in his prediction for where we are headed (the Great Reset), but his explanation is a made up term for the self-correction (the Great Reset) that is inherent in markets. The Austrians have it right (markets will correct what is wrong if governments and central banks allow markets to do what is right), but they won’t win a popularity contest.

29 rayward May 14, 2017 at 7:30 am

4. Golfers cheat; very few play by the rules of the game. From mulligans, gimmes, do-overs, and “practice” shots to creative math that a Republican crafting a tax cut would appreciate, golf is a game of deception, self-deception. Self-deception and hypocrisy, that which make us human. After I finish my usual subpar round with my buddies this morning, I’ll be watching today’s telecast of the TPC so I can call in and report if I see any of the competitors “cheat”. Some people!

30 Feldman May 14, 2017 at 8:03 am

# 5 #5 Amazon economists

AMAZON does not want “economists” — it wants technically skilled market/data analysts.

Some economists have those skills, most do not.

Apparently Amazon thinks it’s more impressive to label its marketing analysis department as:
” The Amazon Economist Team “

31 Mymagicflute May 14, 2017 at 11:32 am

I agree. But Amazon’s marketing department probably does a better job (any evidence?). I am also really happy that they compete well on hiring against Econ consulting firms.

32 dearieme May 14, 2017 at 5:43 pm

I’ve been playing the skin flute since public school days

33 dearieme May 14, 2017 at 7:34 pm

The above comment is bogus: he who cannot even imitate very well is back.

34 Believe it! May 15, 2017 at 1:28 am

Seems like a pretty spot on imitation to me dude

35 dearime May 15, 2017 at 6:25 am

Yet another of my many public humiliations

36 NatashaRostova May 14, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Why do you say that? I work on the economic forecasting team at Amazon, and we don’t do anything related to ‘marketing analysis.’ There are many different economics teams at Amazon, working on an array of different business problems.

37 Thiago Ribeiro May 14, 2017 at 12:07 pm

For instance?

38 wtsj May 14, 2017 at 12:17 pm

“… I work on the economic forecasting team at Amazon…”

interesting. Are you a professional economist ?

what portion of your Amazon team are economists ?

can you be more specific on what your team produces and how they do it ?

39 NatashaRostova May 14, 2017 at 5:50 pm

No I’m not a phd economist. I have a masters in Econ and a few years academic research experience, but I’m employed as a data scientist. I work for a phd economist, and the team has 5-10, and equal parts software engineers.

The work is centered at an intersection of time-series modeling, scaleable data and code, and mapping forecasts to business strategy. As far as what the team forecasts it’s about what you’d expect in terms of interesting business or product time-series (I’m sure I could go into more detail, but I’m maybe overly cautious/paranoid).

Lots of it though is using relatively standard econometric or time-series methods in Python/R that work at business scale. It’s fun, but the challenges have more to do with methods that scale and are robust than academic style research.

Other teams do causal inference stuff to measure the impact of given strategies. I don’t know as much about them though.

40 Mymagicflute May 15, 2017 at 12:02 am

This is interesting. What is a good forecast to Amazon?

41 Morris May 15, 2017 at 10:39 am

… so Amazon team is not doing “economics” in the strict definition, it’s doing applied statistics.

Physicists don’t build bridges over rivers nor think up intricate new designs for electronic devices — engineers do. Engineering is applied physics — a markedly different discipline than physics itself. Economic principles are critical to successful businesses, but no business hires pure economists to do practical business analysis (except as company window-dressing).

“Econometrics” might be considered as “applied economics”, but is really “applied statistics” to economic data … and only loosely related to economic science itself. But “applied statistics” is the key human skill.

Amazon wants intricate collection/analysis of time series data points about its markets & its production/distribution processes … to guide its management decisions.
Time series forecasting is predictive modeling of future values based on previously observed values. Vanilla economists don’t do that.

42 Donald Pretari May 14, 2017 at 12:52 pm

#4…Come on…Even the clown’s mouth and windmill aren’t that difficult.

43 Dick the Butcher May 14, 2017 at 12:58 pm

#3 – a different slant on Macron.

He has no children. There’s a pattern. German Chancellor Angela Merkel; British prime minister Theresa May; Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni; Holland’s Mark Rutte; Sweden’s Stefan Löfven; Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel; Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon; and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission have no children.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it. Much of Europe is ruled by childless Baby Boomers.

Finally, I prefer Wagner.

44 prior_test2 May 14, 2017 at 2:54 pm

I’m sure you mean that in an all-American fashion, as noted by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore – “It scares the hell out of the slopes. My boys love it.”

45 Lanigram May 15, 2017 at 12:51 am

>…macron…no children…

But he was a good student, the teacher’s pet even…

46 lbc May 15, 2017 at 5:55 pm

the comparisons between Trump and Macron in the Rossini twitter feed are cruel and embarrassing for Americans. EPIC.

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