Assorted links

1. How much will TARP have cost?

2. Google trends: Wolfram Alpha.

3. Within a company, the powerful think that rules are more important.

4. Which countries are hardest for informed people to find on a map?  Kiribati appears to come in first; source here.

5. Underwear as an economic indicator.


This explains why I haven't purchased new underwear since I started grad school a couple years ago.

Re: item 4: The task wasn't "find this country on a map", but just "name all the countries in the world". That's quite a different task. Countries correctly entered are marked in green, so it's easy to see that you have missed large countries, but small countries are difficult to spot. After having entered 120+ countries it's difficult to tell if there are any countries in Oceania left. Conversely, it is easy to see if there are any countries in South America left.

So the proper question should read "which countries are hardest for informed people to name".

Huh, I'd forgotten about Wolfram Alpha. I haven't seen anything that over-hyped since the last British indie-rock band.

Regarding second-order recession indicators, I wonder whether this is the first fully-fledged recession in which pretty much every generation is completely alien to the concept of actually mending or repairing things to make them last longer? It's never mentioned. People know that things can be made to last a bit longer if pushed, and people know that things will eventually expire, but it's really only a late 20th century mindset that got everyone to replace items unnecessarily due to fashion or other aspiration, as opposed to things actually wearing out. Prior to that, you'd fix things until you couldn't.

I'm noticing that people simply aren't upgrading their phones. I don't know what it's like in foreign countries, but here in the UK, people were going through new phones almost every 9 months or so, it seemed, in the years 2001-2004ish. Now, people have more or less stuck with the phone they had a few years ago. Either that's because phone development has plateauxed out so that any new phone you get won't offer any significantly greater utility or advantage, just a different styling and colour perhaps. Or, it's because people realise that the phone they're on now still actually works well and they're (for once) happy with it - no new phone these days causes any stirring of wanting or lusting*.

For example, my main phone is the one I had in 2006 - I essentially stopped looking when I got the W800i. A lot of people are walking around today* with a phone that is several years old but one which they're now familiar and comfortable with and see no advantage in upgrading. I wonder what effect this has had on the networks which hitherto would have had to subsidise this prior frantic upgrade cycle?

* (if you discount those with iPhones - which is a huge majority) (yes, I'd like one, but I hardly ever make calls on my PAYG sim, I'm not a big phone user at all - I'm better off with my iPod Touch and a separate phone. It saves me money if other people call me instead.)

And an even lower percentage of people know how to correctly pronounce Kiribati.

Interesting factoid: several years ago I was waiting at an airline ticket counter in the Ft. Lauderdale airport, and the two men in front of me had Kiribati passports.

This notion that the powerful think rules are more important goes against every observation I've made in my entire life. I think I'll need more than one "study" to overturn that. However, if the claim is that the powerful think rules are more important for other people to follow, then yeah, no shit.

To be honest, Wolfram Alpha sucks. The one thing I do enjoy is it's ability to spit out scales, distances between musical notes, etc.

BTW - I just bought a pack of underwear this weekend....

If I read the article correctly, the study on power and rule following didn't have actually powerful or powerless people in it, just college students "primed" to think the way they imagine such people think. Sounds to me like very thin gruel to support claims about people who have significant actual experience as powerful and/or powerless adults.


I wrote about the underwear thing a while I the only one that is disturbed by the cyclical nature of underwear sales plus the fact that countercyclical stimulus checks are disproportionately spent on porn? More porn + less underwear = gross. =P

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