Friday assorted links

by on December 29, 2017 at 12:38 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 dearieme December 29, 2017 at 12:52 pm

The point implicit in #1 is that if low dose radiation were as dangerous as people like to pretend then the death rate for aircrew would be remarkably high. It ain’t so it ain’t.


2 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 12:54 pm
3 dearieme December 29, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Yeah, if you omit the cancers they get less of then you conclude they get more cancer. Science!


4 TallDave December 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm

But then you take a green jellybean to cure your cancer, so it all works out in the end.


5 TallDave December 29, 2017 at 5:51 pm

Well… pink for breast cancer, obviously.

6 Mark Thorson December 29, 2017 at 8:04 pm

I really hate comparisons in which you don’t really know what is being compared. Why would you expect working around a nuclear reactor to expose you to radiation? They’ve got radiation detectors everywhere and protocols for dealing with leaks. A better comparison would be with uranium miners, people living in Denver, dentists, or people living over rock formations that emit radon.


7 So Much For Subtlety December 29, 2017 at 9:08 pm

Because you are standing a few dozen feet away from an incredibly large source of artificial radiation? Radiation detectors do not block radiation. They detect it. Why are the walls covered in these things? Because everyone is being exposed to low levels of radiation from the reactor core. Leaks are not the problem. Routine exposure is. Some radiation goes through concrete you know.

8 dearieme December 29, 2017 at 1:54 pm

Here we are: “Among female cabin crew, overall mortality … and all-cancer mortality were slightly reduced, while breast cancer mortality was slightly but nonsignificantly increased … Among airline cabin crew in Europe, there was no increase in mortality that could be attributed to cosmic radiation or other occupational exposures to any substantial extent.”

So the big question is, commentor, are you naturally a liar or do you have to make a conscious effort??


9 Hazel Meade December 29, 2017 at 4:25 pm

It helps to actually read the papers your opponent is citing, I have found. Surprisingly often they say the opposite of what is claimed.


10 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 4:36 pm

Isn’t the conclusion more important than intermediate data?

“The next step is to study these disease rates in frequent fliers and not just flight crews to determine if they also have an increased risk,” says Rafnsson.

In the meantime, he recommends that anyone who works in airplanes — or uses them frequently — take the necessary precautions to reduce risk of breast and skin cancers. “That means getting a mammogram at least once every two years and wearing sunblock whenever exposed to sunlight.”


11 Viking December 29, 2017 at 5:41 pm

Breast cancer has an inverse correlation with giving birth. I am wondering if the increased risk of breast cancer would still exist if the model used age at first and second child birth as predictors?


12 Jacob Grier December 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm

Glancing over the research, it’s a complicated topic that doesn’t seem fully resolved yet, due to potential confounding lifestyle factors. Here’s a recent cohort study with a large sample size and a relevant control group that concludes lifestyle factors are more significant, though it wasn’t large enough to fully address breast cancer risks:


13 dearieme December 29, 2017 at 2:29 pm

If the radiation were as dangerous as some people like to say then the risks would jump off the page. If you need to pour massive statistical effort into spotting tiny differences then the topic doesn’t matter. The conclusion that “all-cancer mortality [was] slightly reduced” matters only because it screams that there is no substantial increase in all-cancer mortality. Whether there is in fact a tiny reduction in mortality matters not a whit.


14 Agnostic December 29, 2017 at 2:44 pm

With my God, and His expertise in expensive pencils, I stenciled $

15 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 2:55 pm

The really odd thing to me is, as much as you are all supposed to be individualist and libertarian leaning, solar is a much better match for you.

You can buy for self-sufficiency. You can, or should lobby for, trade with your neighbors.

It is a way to decentralize energy management.

And you don’t need the same level of “violence of the state” as you would to inspect and certify nuclear design or operation.

16 Jan December 29, 2017 at 3:40 pm

I don’t know exactly what magnitude of risk you mean by “as dangerous as some people like to say,” but the risks wouldn’t necessarily jump off the page. There could be an increase in risk that is hard to detect, largely for the methodological challenges stated above, but also fairly small.

17 Hazel Meade December 29, 2017 at 4:35 pm

The really odd thing to me is, as much as you are all supposed to be individualist and libertarian leaning, solar is a much better match for you.

So you should choose your energy sources like you choose sweaters, because they fit your personality?

The problem is that the supposed dangers of radiation are being used to support the contradictory position held by climate change activists of claiming that global warming is a catastrophic threat and simultaneously that we can’t use nuclear because it’s too dangerous. So, QED, we must radically re-engineer society via central planning. The government must strictly ration energy (and therefore everything, really), because anything else will lead to ecological disaster. If we have abundant nuclear energy, our present evil consumptive capitalist lifestyles won’t have to be reformed, and that will be BAD. Because BAD. Therefore nuclear energy must be bad.

18 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 4:39 pm

I have a simple question for you, Hazel.

Why does the government spend so much more time securing nuclear power plants from terrorists than they do solar PV farms?

Could it be because “standing next to” a well functioning nuclear power plant is actually a very small part of the total risk envelope, over the next 10,000 years?

19 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 4:50 pm

Supplemental question: Who is supposed to pay for Yucca Mountain and why?

Follow on Supplemental question: When to we get to STOP paying for Yucca Mountain?

20 TallDave December 29, 2017 at 6:14 pm

We already paid ten times the cost of Yucca Mountain in solar subsidies. Why?

Where are we going to put those giant solar farms when they wear out? Who gets to pay for that?

21 Hazel Meade December 29, 2017 at 10:12 pm

I have no problem with charging nuclear plants to store their waste at Yucca Mountain, or selling it to a private operator who will attempt to turn a profit doing so.
Maybe we should just legalize building private nuclear waste repositories. You think Yucca Mountain got started because nobody out there was interested, or because for some obscure regulatory reason they just couldn’t get the approvals to do it?

22 TallDave December 30, 2017 at 10:21 am

Good point Hazel. Plus, people generally don’t realize how ungodly enormous the ratios of power density are where nuclear fuel is concerned, and the implications for the environment. Plus, modern LWRs can be built to burn nearly all the radioactive waste materials… if anyone would build the darn things.

$84 billion divided by 26.4 trillion kWh is $0.0032/kWh… 1/3 of one penny per kWh to dispose of the entire inventory of high-level nuclear waste.

If solar panels and the rest of the toxic waste associated with solar installations could be compacted in such a manner that they could be disposed of in deep boreholes, the cost would be greater than $1.00/kWh (300 * $0.0032 = $0.96 plus the cost of compacting the panels, etc.).

So… Why would anyone in their right mind prefer solar over nuclear power?

23 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 30, 2017 at 10:49 am

The bottom line is that nuclear power is always and everywhere a substantially state enterprise.

It must be, for reasons of public safety, up to and including risks of enemy attack.

24 Hazel Meade December 30, 2017 at 3:14 pm

It’s a state enterprise mainly because it emerged out of nuclear weapons development, and nuclear reactors are capable of producing materials to make bombs. Lots of things that are terrorism threats are in private hands.

25 Careless December 30, 2017 at 8:36 pm

Just stop talking about Yucca Mountain if you’re unaware of the fact that it’s already been paid for by the nuclear plants

26 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 1:06 pm

BTW, I’m not sure why the continuing triumph of wind and solar is not a better year-end story. Talking “molten salt” seems kind of like rehashing an old war.

Solar is now the most popular form of new electricity generation worldwide

Global Installed PV Capacity Leaps to 303 Gigawatts


27 Anonymous December 29, 2017 at 1:31 pm

If you invested in PV and your prediction came true you’d make a good profit. Don’t think you will.


28 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 2:50 pm

We all came out well, didn’t we?

And of course we will profit further down the learning curve.


29 TallDave December 29, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Sure, but that’s like saying toy cars are an increasing proportion of overall vehicle sales. Solar’s contribution to baseload power is still nearly zero, and almost has to be if you want power when a cloud passes over the sun.


30 derek December 29, 2017 at 8:05 pm

PV Capacity. There is a meaningless term that suckers the overeducated.

I would guess the supported load of that capacity is about 1/20th.


31 TallDave December 29, 2017 at 8:59 pm

You can also light your house using solar… you don’t even need a panel! And it’s free! And the installed capacity is enormous!


32 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 30, 2017 at 11:22 am

I get a yearly power content statement from my electric company.

The rightmost column shows energy “as used” on a statewide basis.

33 TallDave December 30, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Sucker. I don’t even get paperwork.

34 TallDave December 30, 2017 at 5:20 pm

Oh, and remember… that power grid still has to be maintained, so if they get less money from you at their (state-mandated) rates to make their (state-mandated) profits, everyone else’s rates have to go up. So, until they offload some baseload power (which, remember, they can’t), what you saved is mostly just paid by everyone else, except at the margins. You’re welcome!

What’s one more subsidy, though, right?

35 Dect December 29, 2017 at 2:33 pm

@dearieme — you are quite correct on this issue. This aircrew cosmic radiation topic has been studied extensively since the 1950’s with no evidence discovered of a general cancer link. But the speculation and fear-mongering on low dose radiation never ends.

As for me, I keep my cell phone in a solid lead box — but I seem to miss a lot of calls.


36 dearieme December 29, 2017 at 4:57 pm

I don’t know how things are now, but when I last looked into these things the UK had quite different radiation standards for hospitals and for nuclear power stations. If we’d reclassified the hospitals as power stations we’d have had to shut them down. I find that quite a powerful reminder of the irrationality that often attends the matter of radioactivity.

A second example that makes me shake my head is the ludicrous business of the Japanese fretting about low doses of radiation in their power stations but happily building one on a coast vulnerable to tsunamis. In other words, they worried about the minor problem but did little about the major one. Another triumph for irrationality.


37 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 5:27 pm

Why did the Japanese even call it a disaster scene? Call it a beach resort and get out of the way, am I right?

And $188 billion on cleanup? Who are they kidding, radiation is good for you, am I right?


38 TallDave December 29, 2017 at 6:18 pm

Sure, nice clean solar.

The Post article describes how Luoyang Zhonggui, a major Chinese polysilicon manufacturer, is dumping toxic factory waste directly on to the lands of neighboring villages, killing crops and poisoning residents. Other polysilicon factories in the country have similar problems, either because they have not installed effective pollution control equipment or they are not operating these systems to full capacity. Polysilicon is a key component of the sunlight-capturing wafers used in solar photovoltaic (PV) cells.

39 Thor December 29, 2017 at 8:52 pm

“Beach resort”, *rolls eyes*

Funny bear face, you are smart, so why must you be dislikable and snide? Does it give you pleasure?

40 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 30, 2017 at 10:53 am

I don’t know why I am cranky, maybe the start of a flu bug. I have noticed that in the past.

But yeah, I find the “radiation is safe, so let’s have a huge, expensive, risky, centralized state enterprise to support it” very annoying.

41 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 30, 2017 at 11:13 am

And TallDave, do you have an argument against Solar, or against Chinese industry.

We have made a lot of silicon products in the US. Similar record?

42 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 30, 2017 at 11:23 am

The Chinese famously could not even make milk safe.

43 TallDave December 30, 2017 at 4:29 pm
44 TallDave December 30, 2017 at 4:36 pm
45 albigensian December 29, 2017 at 3:01 pm

This source at least gives one an idea of the magnitude of the risk:

“let’s pretend that you have a mathematically convenient 370,000 total flying miles. That would mean 370,000 miles divided by 3,700,000,000, which comes out to be 1/10,000 odds of contracting cancer (or a 0.01 percent increase in risk).”

Scientific American magazine has been dumbed down beyond dumb, and thus this estimate doesn’t come with anything like a confidence interval. Nonetheless, even if it’s off by an order of magnitude, the risk still doesn’t seem high enough to keep one up at night. Although it might be something to put on the scales if you’re thinking of a career path that might result in your accumulating 370,000 air miles.


46 dearieme December 29, 2017 at 12:54 pm

#3: aw, come on, it was only a freshie. It’s the salties you should be scared of.


47 rayward December 29, 2017 at 1:04 pm

6. “We also find that, except for the period after 1945, dividend yields predict dividend growth rates.” Except for 2017, weather in Puerto Rico predicted employment and economic growth.


48 rayward December 29, 2017 at 1:12 pm

2. Those silly Chinese. George Washington likely died because he was bled to death by his physicians, bleeding being the standard medical practice of the day to cure one’s ills. Thomas Jefferson quipped that “whenever he saw three physicians together he looked up to discover whether there was not a turkey buzzard in the neighborhood”. Hot water isn’t likely to do harm, but bleeding a sick person certainly will. Those silly Americans.


49 msgkings December 29, 2017 at 1:18 pm

ray, most educated people know that bleeding patients was invented in and used widely in Europe well before the US existed. The fact that you post stupid stuff like this all the time really adds to the unfair stereotype of Southerners as idiots. Try to keep up with the smart people here.


50 TMC December 29, 2017 at 2:06 pm

lol +1


51 rayward December 29, 2017 at 4:18 pm

Thank you.


52 Thor December 29, 2017 at 8:53 pm



53 Anonymous December 29, 2017 at 1:29 pm

5. “But now I am trying to get a child into daycare. After discovering that daycares in some cities (like mine) have wait lists that are years long (not a joke)”

As a childless single person I don’t know much about the subject, but how much of this is real and how much is just “I need to send my kid to a daycare with only the children of the rich?”(Or whatever the euphemism of the month is.)


54 NPW December 29, 2017 at 1:49 pm

I suspect it depends on where one lives. I found this to be fairly real problem. I wasn’t trying to get my daughter with the children of the rich; I’m not and couldn’t afford it even if I wanted too. This is particularly a problem for infants since my state (and I think most) raises the ratio of caregivers/kids depending on the age of the kids. It’s a bit of an inverted pyramid.

As the beasts get a little older, the process becomes easier. I don’t know if it is really that there is such a long wait, exactly, but rather that the legal restrictions loosen up. I suspect one may find some correlation between the time spent on the lists and the local regulations.

I once my daughter was potty trained we found her a place close to home. I found it a far better idea to have the daycare close to home rather than work for coordination with my wife. Additionally, I found it more likely that the environment that I want for my daughter more closely reflects where I live than where I work.


55 Mark Thorson December 29, 2017 at 3:01 pm

Affluent communities like Marin County have the highest rates of unvaccinated children, due to widespread anti-vaccination quackery propagated by chiropractors and naturopaths. Your children are safer staying away from the children of the rich.


56 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 3:16 pm

There is a new study out:

“Social media chat on anti-vaccination Facebook pages is led by a tone of moral outrage, plus a strong belief in the oppressive nature of governments and the media. What’s more, the vast majority of participants are women.”


57 Potato December 29, 2017 at 4:19 pm

Stupidity is non discriminatory.

This strain seems mostly specific to wealthy white women who lean left in a weird and off kilter way.

58 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 4:27 pm

People are weird, I’ll give you that. But I wouldn’t file “a strong belief in the oppressive nature of governments” as somehow “off kilter left.”

59 Mark Thorson December 29, 2017 at 7:40 pm

I would not ascribe anti-vaccination beliefs to the left. There’s plenty of them on the right too. It seems to be more associated with the extremes of left and right and less to the middle.

60 Luis Pedro Coelho December 29, 2017 at 2:26 pm

On the one hand, this is very dependent on location.

On the other hand, it’s extraordinary how it’s actually not so dependent on location. Parents from all around the Western world share very similar experiences in how messed up daycare is.


61 Engineer December 29, 2017 at 3:43 pm

It’s expensive to provide a substitute Mom, of a quality that the real Mom will tolerate.


62 Dan Lavatan December 29, 2017 at 3:16 pm

It is based on the chain of infinite stupidity.
1. Gather so many people in one place for no reason so that no daycare workers can afford to live there
2. Rather than working from home or an area with actual natural resources, make sure to go to an office for no reason every day
3. Refuse to raise your own kids
4. Raise taxes to fund a government transportation system that is completely unusable so even fewer people can afford to live there
5. Discover basic services for things you could do for free are super expensive, and everything takes a long time. Write a blog post about it.


63 Jan December 29, 2017 at 3:31 pm

I would suspect that daycare worker wages adjusted for cost of living do not tend to keep pace in more expensive areas. On the other hand, people everywhere complain about how insanely expensive childcare is.

Have you seen data?


64 Jan December 29, 2017 at 3:27 pm

It seems to be a real issue in most larger cities and suburbs. The upper middle class, or however we define rich, of course tend to want to send their kids to “good” daycares. But even for parents who aren’t very particular, a location relatively close to their home or job is needed. By geography alone people are often limiting their search to places serving socioeconomically similar families.

In my experience, even the in-home daycares in what is a solidly middle class (not rich) part of the DC suburbs all have waitlists of at least a few months, meaning you really have to have it figured out before the kid is born. The local daycare centers for kids 3+ are at least 9 months. I’ve seen some people without the foresight to reserve spots end up having to hire a nanny that they can’t really afford because there weren’t any other local options for their infant.


65 Potato December 29, 2017 at 4:25 pm

This seems like a massive market failure. Which doesn’t make sense. Illegal immigrants can’t watch children?

Or, there’s no stay at home mom who could take in 7 kids and help make up for the lost income?

This isn’t an issue in high trust societies. This has to be legal liability.

I smell lawsuits/insurance and regulation which prevent a SAHM from watching 5 or 6 monsters for money. Otherwise the arbitrage opportunity would lower the price.


66 Jan December 29, 2017 at 5:26 pm

Illegal migrants certainly do watch children, but it’s not a large part of the market. And most people really want their caregivers to have at least decent English, which many immigrants don’t.

Some stay at home moms do this, but very few. There’s a not insignificant cost to set up a sufficient dedicated space in a home. And the number of kids is capped, usually by regulations (esp for infants) which tend to be sensible limits. For example, 7 would be an insane number of under 3 yrs kids for one person to care for. Almost no parent would go for that. Other regulations are in fact idiotic (e.g. daycares must have a wheelchair ramp outside and no carpet inside, even if no disabled kids attend; though there is no requirement for a ramp or elevator between floors inside the building itself, even when disabled kids do attend.)


67 Hazel Meade December 29, 2017 at 9:55 pm

There might be a shortage of illegal immigrants to watch children, largely caused by government intervention in the market.

68 bop December 29, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Before foresight, an adherence must be developed. Take an easy example, before forebearance, donuts saw anything in disgust. This simple proposition puts forth the notion that the failure of busyness arm the oranges on clean, well lit tables.

“… my dear Charles Kinbote, in whose footnotes my own footsteps suicidally follow,” the unseen shadows of unheard cracks, oblique angles, blithe remarks, created by aston martins, on ashen streets of elasticity that seem always bend to the far right and fade in the distance.


69 Sandia December 29, 2017 at 1:30 pm

I mean this in all sincerity – who the hell cares what Ezra Klein says he likes or thinks? It’s all a curated pose.


70 Jan December 29, 2017 at 1:58 pm

The evidence would suggest…a shitload of people.


71 Transnational Pants Machine December 29, 2017 at 6:15 pm

>a shitload of people.

All of whom think exactly the same, and are never exposed to contrary opinions, except to mock them as a unified group.

And all of whom are currently living in a Collective Hell. It’s a beautiful thing.


72 Jan December 29, 2017 at 8:23 pm

So then you read Klein’s stuff, to make sure you expose yourself to contrary opinions, right?


73 P Burgos January 1, 2018 at 12:53 am

How else would he know so much about Klein and his work? Also, as a liberal, Klein really does seem to be very, well, I guess what you would say is that he always seems to tow the party line, and very much has the tone of a conformist. Whereas there are other liberals who don’t seem so to be such over the top conformists. But I would say he (and the Vox News site he runs) is the go to guy if you want to know the party line of the elite left, so for that reason alone he is worth reading, if not actually thinking about too much (cause he doesn’t really do much in the way of original thought). I mean, Pravda was worth reading back in the day, right?

74 Chip December 29, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Klein is part of what’s wrong with America’s elite today. They move from academia to policy-making without stopping in the real world of risk and uncertainty, where failure can arrive from a thousand directions. Their decisions are always simplistically binary (party vs party) and swaddled in voluminous detail to pretend they are complex.

Has he been insightful about anything important? He gave the Iran deal an A+, said Obamacare was the best decision in a generation, and recently lamented that Trump can’t be impeached for saying things on Twitter.

And of course this gem:

“My friends on the right don’t like to hear this, but the Constitution is not a clear document. Written 100 years ago, when America had 13 states and very different problems …”

So why would we – or anyone – want to know what books he’s reading?


75 Al December 29, 2017 at 2:44 pm



76 TMC December 29, 2017 at 2:45 pm

“So why would we – or anyone – want to know what books he’s reading?”

I worked construction throughout college. We used to have a weatherman here who was about 80% wrong when it came to predicting rain. The others were running maybe 60% right. We’d watch the him, and do the opposite. This might be a good rule regarding Klein.


77 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 3:29 pm

You guys have the funniest definition of “elite.” A middle class child of a math professor, who achieves some level of internet fame? Who next, PewDiePie?


78 TMC December 29, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Agreed. I doubt Chip thinks he’s elite, but he’s sure set himself up as a self-styled elite.


79 Potato December 29, 2017 at 4:30 pm

Net worth is 4 million at age 33?

I guess it depends how you define elite. He’s about 40x wealthier than the average household. And much younger and that’s only his personal net worth.

But sure he’s basically a YouTube video dude.


80 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 4:46 pm

I think in America we used to set “self-made men” in opposition to class-based elites.

If our elites are self-made, that is very good, isn’t it?

81 P Burgos December 29, 2017 at 4:59 pm

@ Nate
Self-made elites can still suck b@lls. You could argue that Genghis Khan was a self-made elite, and he (and his army) were responsible for the deaths of about 11% of the world’s population. Bill Clinton was a self-made man, and likely a rapist and sexual predator. I could go on, but it is easy to see that US elites haven’t been delivering quality leadership for quite some time. Median wages stagnant for a generation, falling labor force participation, declining life expectancy, Donald Trump, an economy where industry is becoming more concentrated in a few hands and markets less competitive, etc. These are not the results of leaders who have been making good decisions, and I don’t think it particularly matters if the elites who got us here were self-made or blue-blood WASPs.

82 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 5:07 pm

Perhaps all we’ve confirmed then is that “elite” is an empty charge. It may be a rich man, it may be a poor but popular man, it may be a good man, it may be a bad man.

“Elite. noun (often used with a plural verb) a group or class of persons with more Twitter followers than me”

83 Anonymous December 29, 2017 at 4:45 pm

Pretty sure media figures were always considered “elite” no matter their family background. This isn’t Victorian England.


84 Chip December 29, 2017 at 5:43 pm

He created JournoList, a secret media group that attempted to deflect unflattering news away from Obama. GQ calls him one of the 50 most powerful people in DC. As an influencer, he’s a member of the elite.

Klein just tweeted the following, which I think is a reflection of how painfully dim he really is:

“The standards for Trump have become dangerously low. A coherent speech, a punctuated tweet, a measured response. He is treated like a child, not held to the bar traditional for presidents.”

You see, trillion dollar deficits, spying on political opponents, hyper regulation, quashed Hezbollah investigations, shambolic healthcare policies, a corrupted IRS, decisions that let 100,000 die in Iraq and enriching enemies like Iran are not standards by which presidents are to be measured. Instead, it should be a pleasant speech and good grammar.

It seems clear that Klein sees Trump as a child because Klein’s engagement with Trump – and Obama – is inherently childish. A naive hero worship for one and an irrational hate for the other. Typical for the simplistiic binary world that Klein and others inhabit.


85 Zeepod December 29, 2017 at 8:02 pm

“enriching enemies like Iran”

Thankfully, Iran was not an enemy back then when Reagan was arming it. Hell, Saddam and Sunni twrrorists were not enemkes when Reagan was arming them.

86 Jan December 29, 2017 at 8:30 pm

His tweet is not something anyone who’s been watching can argue with. What part would you dispute?

87 TMC December 29, 2017 at 10:24 pm

It’s like all those words were pent up for 8 years and now he can finally say them. Whether they makes sense anymore….

88 Benny Lava December 29, 2017 at 4:12 pm

I like how conservatards think people with whom they disagree should not be heard by anyone. Why would anyone want to know what Klein read? It is a question whose answer is pretty obvious. But then again conservatards are at their core intellectually bankrupt.


89 Anon7 December 29, 2017 at 4:46 pm



90 bop December 29, 2017 at 5:03 pm



91 A clockwork orange December 29, 2017 at 5:04 pm

Count it!

92 Moo cow December 29, 2017 at 5:27 pm

From a blogger at Pandagon to his own new media company? No risk jumping from WaPo to a start-up?


93 Jan December 29, 2017 at 8:27 pm

Surprised to learn that Klein is a policy maker. He’s no longer just a wealthy businessman, but a real heavyweight.


94 Josh December 30, 2017 at 3:40 am

@Chip you think the guy that left his job at one of the largest/most-established media companies to start a new media company isn’t partaking in the real world? Please do tell us what you have done that qualifies you as being part of the real world.

You don’t think he took risks? What are you talking about? Stop letting your ideologies completely eliminate your ability to reason.


95 Careless December 30, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Um. You didn’t know that Vox media was founded before anyone had heard of Klein? When he was still in college.


96 Thor December 30, 2017 at 12:13 pm

It was in my opinion a very mediocre list of books.


97 Guy Makiavelli December 30, 2017 at 1:31 pm

Ezra and Tyler apparently have some mutual promotion pact.


98 Jan December 29, 2017 at 1:57 pm

Whither the ZMP worker?


99 Uribe December 29, 2017 at 2:58 pm

+100. This deserves a revisit. It was a Big Idea for a while there.


100 ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ December 29, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Don’t forget ZMP jobs, the hated flip side of the same coin.


101 Potato December 29, 2017 at 4:43 pm

I don’t get it. Is this a pseudo witty critique of Say’s law?

There are multiple equilibria in a labor market.

At a certain level of aggregate demand there are more ZMP workers. In a total war production economy the number of ZMP workers falls to almost zero. Even an idiot can dig a trench.

Under more normal conditions, hiring managers are more likely to take risks on potential ZMP workers when they need the labor. In the real world many managers are loathe to fire ZMP workers in good times. There’s a social aspect to internal firm dynamics that economics does not model well (yet). If you fire a marginal employee your good employees may believe layoffs are coming and look elsewhere. ZMP workers can survive in a profitable company in good times because firing a ZMP workers can incur large costs to the firm in terms of human capital loss via incorrect signals being sent to employees.

A recession is the ultimate excuse to lay off your worst employees. And hire some good employees for pennies on the dollar when rival companies go under. But everyone understands that it’s a tough labor market and will try even harder to keep their job (this is one of the reasons labor productivity increases during recessions).

If ZMP workers did not exist you need to explain the labor productivity increase during the financial crisis.


102 December 29, 2017 at 5:39 pm

But everyone understands that it’s a tough labor market and will try even harder to keep their job (this is one of the reasons labor productivity increases during recessions).

We ahould have more receassions!


103 spencer December 30, 2017 at 10:11 am

Strong cyclical moves in labor productivity is a function of actual output
deviating from expectations. If firms expect 4% growth they will hire the labor needed to achieve 4% growth. If actual growth is greater than or less than 4% growth there is a lag before firms adjust employment and over that tag time you see strong increases or declines in productivity.

That is why productivity growth lagged two quarters may be the best single leading indicator of GDP growth in the economy.


104 Tom Warner December 29, 2017 at 2:33 pm

If Egyptians hadn’t adored their pet crocodiles enough to mummify them with scraps of old papyrus books, our knowledge of the ancient world would be much poorer.


105 Ironman December 29, 2017 at 2:45 pm

Ungated version for the “four centuries of returnpredictability” paper here.


106 Mark December 29, 2017 at 3:17 pm

#4: Too good to fact check. Really quite elegant. Kundera, Havel, all would be proud.


107 Ironman December 29, 2017 at 3:29 pm

Some quick thoughts on the mystery of the post-1945 (post-World War 2) era:

1. The post-World War II transition period (1946-1951) saw the lifting of New Deal era and World War II driven wage and price controls. During the years when these economic constraints were in effect, companies learned to operate in a lean manner. Once unshackled from these restraints, and combined with a surge in productivity driven by the return of highly skilled workers from wartime duty, corporate earnings surged, followed by a corresponding surge in dividends.

2. The recovery from the 1948 recession led to a short-term decoupling between earnings and dividends, where both had declined in step with each other on the way down (just as in the pre-1945 period), but where dividends grew much more slowly than earnings on the way back up in the recovery that followed. In terms of stock price volatility, this dynamic produced a larger “margin of safety” for stock prices compared to the pre-1948 period, where major indices have been much less volatile in the period since.

This extra “insulation” may allow stock prices to be higher in the post-1945 era because dividends are less susceptible to being cut in minor business cycle downturns than they were in the preceding period.

3. The Monetary Accord of 1951 (dating from 4 March 1951) between the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve is also a contributing factor in that the Federal Reserve committed to sustaining a positive rate of inflation for the U.S. economy, which has contributed to fewer major business cycle downturns in the period since. You can date the modern era for the U.S. stock market to the day this accord was announced.


108 Ironman December 30, 2017 at 9:12 am

Apologies – my seemingly random comments are a response to a yet-to-be-answered question in the paper linked in Tyler’s item #6!


109 spencer December 30, 2017 at 10:20 am

Prior to 1958 when the risk free rate was higher than the dividend yield on a sustained basis most of the return from stocks was from reinvesting the dividend rather than stock price increases.

I think you comment is right and the shift in the source of returns after 1958 from value stocks to growth stocks is a major problem for the article on returns. Interestingly, from 1958 to 1995 when the risk free rate was more than double the dividend yield the market would fall. It was a perfect market timing rule as both a buy and a sell signal.


110 A B December 29, 2017 at 3:38 pm

Given Mr. Klein’s penchant for outrageously dumb things, why should anyone read his book list?


111 lxm December 29, 2017 at 4:12 pm

Or for that matter why should anyone listen to our President who has a penchant for also saying outrageously dumb things and many times flat out lies. If I remember correctly he said he would not benefit from the tax cuts. And then after signing the bill he changed his mind.

But the real reason for listening/reading Ezra Klein and listening/reading Donald Trump is that reality does not belong to either side nor does either side know the best path forward.

You read the people you disagree with because you might learn something and because who wants to be an unthinking member of some tribe lost in a bubble.


112 Roy LC December 29, 2017 at 4:46 pm

One is actually president of the US, what ever drivel he spouts is of some importance to every person on earth no matter how fatuous it may be. The other is an alleged “policy wonk” and journalist whose only power is that of a propagandist.

There is absolutely no shortage of the latter, and Klein’s days of glory are long behind him and I doubt many eorking pols care what he has to say anymore.


113 Anon7 December 29, 2017 at 4:50 pm

The very fact that Trump is president makes what he has to say noteworthy. Klein is just another boring member of the chattering classes.


114 Potato December 29, 2017 at 4:59 pm

As someone who thinks both Trump and Ezra are less than intelligent, let me offer an opinion.

Klein is brilliant at marketing Vox, and Trump is brilliant at marketing Insanity. They’re both two sides of the same coin. Klein hates Trump because he knows he’s the mirror image.

Klein sells bullshit analyses to people who aren’t intelligent enough to understand the source material, but want a “scientific” explanation for their priors. He hires people who are not smart enough to understand the source material, but are smart enough to Voxsplain material to their reader’s predilections.

Vox Writers can’t pass a Calc 3 or Advanced Econometrics class. And yet they write explainers on economics. I’d love to see a video of Vox writers doing stochastic calculus. You’re “voxsplaining”, show me your reporters understand the math.

Their war “correspondents” have never left CNAS or DC and yet they’re the authority on war and conflict…but hey their sociology degree is super helpful.


115 December 29, 2017 at 5:47 pm

Thanks God all the other economics mainstream media (newspapers, econ magazines, particularly popular Milton Friedman books and not so popular Austrian School) are full of dense Mathematical thought. I can not read the Wall Street Journal columns the far-right obsess about as if they were the Gospels because they are sooooooo dense. I mean, as in weighty, not stupid…


116 amartya sen December 29, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Alight from my hurt, search steadfastly the arch of the covey, the air in the mist, far-away from the distance. – Michael Cooper

117 TMC December 29, 2017 at 5:01 pm

” who wants to be an unthinking member of some tribe lost in a bubble.”

Self-awareness seems to escape you.


118 lxm December 30, 2017 at 8:16 am

I read the people I disagree with. My guess is you don’t.

Enjoy your bubble!


119 TMC December 30, 2017 at 11:12 am

swish.. right over your head.

120 lxm December 31, 2017 at 1:41 pm

“swish.. right over your head” and over the backboard!

Enjoy your bubble. Hope the oxygen lasts.


121 Hazel Meade December 29, 2017 at 4:22 pm

#4 sounds like a horrible form of torture. You better be sure those elderly patients enjoyed communism.


122 December 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm

At least the trains ran on time.


123 Transnational Pants Machine December 29, 2017 at 6:26 pm

I’d bet almost anything that Tyler knows a econ grad student who is terminally unemployed and $175,000 in debt — oops, forgive me, I meant “who is on the job market” — who is currently studying Moscow records from the 1950s to show that their train punctuality proves “socialism” really is the answer.

And if not, hey, you’re welcome for the PhD idea, Caitlyn!


124 Cooper December 29, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Daycare is insanely expensive.

In Minnesota daycare for a 4 year old costs about 12% of the typical median family’s income. In Washington, one year of infant care costs more than $12,000.

The costs don’t scale down that dramatically for lower income people and there aren’t many economies of scale for having more children in the system. The cost tends to be fixed per child.

For a mother with three children, childcare costs could easily exceed her take-home pay. There’s just no way around that math. If you want a large-ish family, you need a stay-at-home parent.


125 December 29, 2017 at 8:00 pm
126 MC December 29, 2017 at 9:04 pm
127 maverick carter December 29, 2017 at 9:15 pm

Lebron’s always been a sadhu dosa.


128 Hazel Meade December 29, 2017 at 10:05 pm

#5. Daycare around where I live is about $900 a month. There is a lot of other stuff I could buy with $900 a month.
It also seems like most daycares aren’t really simple daycare, but are trying to provide pre-school, or at least pretending to. They call their fees “tuition”.
Hardly anyone offers a cheaper service of just minding 2 year olds without bothering to try to educate them. Since my husband is a stay at home dad, it’s not necessary to afford childcare, but I can definitely see how it would be crazy to try to afford daycare for multiple kids under 5 for most families.
It would be interesting to know why – there appears to be a huge unmet demand while the market is only offering what is in effect “premium” services. As if everyone wanted McDonalds but the only restaurants open were Mortons Steakhouse outlets. WTF.


129 anonymous as usual December 29, 2017 at 11:49 pm

Good luck, Hazel Meade: it is a good thing to be concerned about the costs of daycare.

You realize, of course, how lucky you are to be the sort of person who knows things about day care.

2017 has been a good year for me, but for some of my close friends, who have become experts this year on the costs of Alzheimer’s disease (mother) and Parkinson’s disease (father) and schizophrenia (nephew AND niece – darn it that is sad) and who have become experts on the costs of yet another year wondering what could have been if their brother/father/cousin had not died, long ago, after fighting a war for civilization (Bataan/Pacific/decency): well, for some of my friends, this has not been a good year. Regardless of the ballooning costs of day care, one way or another

Dear Hazel, I am not telling you anything you do not know – many people – trust me, I know what I am talking about, unfortunately ( I would maybe prefer not to, but have not been given that option) have dreams at night where they are happy people whose biggest worry is about the large costs of day care. How happy they are! Other people fall asleep and dream about their friends who were tortured to death by the Japanese Empire flunkies or the Nazi flunkies, or who were beautiful little children who grew up to be tortured schizophrenic people who nobody wanted to spend time with (Time, of all things) , or who, a mere decade or two after their glory years, were burdensome victims of Alzheimer’s or of Parkinson’s. Welcome to my world, and please pray for the people I know who have suffered so much.

Don’t pay so much for daycare. Barter if you need to. Live well.

God bless them all.

I cannot respect people who profit from fast food joints. Maybe I should, but I can’t. I live in the real world. Please don’t say anything thoughtlessly good about McDonalds circa 2017 when someone who knows what the world really is like is listening. Just don’t. That food is vicious.
Why does God love us so much? Because he loves us the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way. WTF. Wherefore Thousand-fold failure Forever flees.


130 anonymous as usual December 30, 2017 at 12:12 am

Either you care about other people or you don’t. Cor ad cor loquitur. (Heart speaks to heart). I remember (and I am not the only one who remembers, thank GOD).


131 Hazel Meade December 30, 2017 at 3:22 pm

You’re making a pretty large assumption assuming I don’t know anything about Alzheimers or schizophrenia, or any of those other things.

It’s bizarre how frequently people around here make assumptions about who I am or what my life is like with absolutely zero personal knowledge about me, and those assumptions turn out to be wildly incorrect. Last week someone was incorrectly assuming I was childless and single based purely on the fact that I criticized a link about reasons why we need to increase the birthrate. Now here you are blindly assuming that nobody in my family has suffered from any of the above list of calamities.

In point of fact, my mother had schizophrenia and died of Alzheimers. And guess what, people who have had relatives with schizophrenia and Alzheimers are just as entitled to worry about daycare costs as anyone else.


132 Artimus December 30, 2017 at 6:04 am

1). Being that I am a long haul Captain for a middle east airline that flies more polar flights than any other airline in the world and fly sectors that average seven hours with many as long as 16 hours, I am pretty much a poster child for radiation exposure while flying.(My airline has a radiation monitoring program for crew). If you guys give me a decade or so I will let you all know how that works out…


133 Crikey December 30, 2017 at 11:03 am

Do you know how many millisieverts you are exposed to a year? If it’s less than 100 the risk is probably low. If it’s 10 or less it’s probably inconsequential — provided you don’t spend your off hours applying radium paint to watch dials or at your holiday home in Maralinga.


134 Artimus December 30, 2017 at 11:42 am

Its well below 10 milliserverts per annum. Additionally our airline constantly monitors space weather for polar flights and, depending on the severity of the space weather will either flight plan us a lower altitude or reroute to a more southern routing.


135 Crikey December 30, 2017 at 7:24 pm

There are people who are exposed to a natural background radiation level of 10 millisieverts a year and they don’t appear to suffer negative effects from it. This doesn’t mean there is no health risk, but we can be sure it is very small. Being exposed to radiation in regular short bursts is likely to be more dangerous than being exposed to it constantly, but if it’s well below 10 millisieverts you are probably fine. Possible concerns are, if humans can develop resistance to radiation, people in high background radiation areas may need time to develop it or may only develop in chlldhood. But we have enough information to be sure the risks are still very low.


136 Hiawatha Jones December 30, 2017 at 7:14 am

I’ve never understood the regard Tyler has for Ezra Klein. At his best, Ezra seems like a dim bulb.


137 TMC December 30, 2017 at 11:18 am

Ezra is a dim bulb, but with a big microphone to many other dim bulbs.


138 Dan in Euroland December 30, 2017 at 12:23 pm

TC is trying to maximize profit and to do so he must maximize his audience. People like Klein love to feel validated by actual intelligent people like TC. TC knows this and exploits this to move merchandise, i.e. his books.


139 Crikey December 30, 2017 at 9:41 am

1.2 A solar farm has been built near Bedfordshire in the UK, apparently without subsidy. The Hinkley C reactors, if they ever get build will receive a subsidy in the form of a floor price of over 10 pence per kilowatt-hour provided to the grid. That’s in today’s money. It increases with inflation.


140 JMCSF December 30, 2017 at 10:54 am

#5. Just don’t have kids; it’s a lot cheaper.


141 msgkings December 30, 2017 at 1:56 pm

There goes the species.


142 Rohan Jolly December 31, 2017 at 6:25 am

Unfortunately I am inclined to agree with JMCSF. The world is overpopulated as it is and people should give family planning serious thought. Those who are not seriously motivated to be parents should consider foregoing procreation for the good of all concerned.


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