Assorted links

1. Physical bitcoins (!) (markets in everything, some are gold-plated)

2. Barter proceeds: (markets in everything) “An owner of dozens of wild animals who freed them before committing suicide this week was an avid gun collector who had traded weapons for a monkey, a leopard and a tiger cub, federal documents show.”

3. Might the Greek haircut reach 100 percent?

4. There is no Great Stagnation, ‚ÄúThis report has really opened our eyes to the diverse uses of the bathroom.”

5. Dance your Ph.d., a nod to Stravinsky?


Is it legal for a sovereign to take on new debt and declare old debt junior to it? Or is just about anything legal for a sovereign?

Since the ability to declare what's legal and what isn't in your realm is basically the definition of sovereignty, that question doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Whether breaking your own promises is a good idea -even for a sovereign- is another question of course. And whether Greece has enjoyed de facto sovereignty for, well, um, a long time is another interesting question I'd say.

I think the question does make sense. Whether a nation follows its own laws is a significant test of the quality of a government. This includes 1) following the laws that are currently on the books and 2) not arbitrarily changing the law in a way that effectively breaks previous promises.

Sovereign nation enjoy complete freedom to change their laws at will. And yes, any change will discomfit someone.

"Or is just about anything legal for a sovereign?"


I am personally more interested in kitchens than bathrooms. There's been a huge revolution in the concept of public family space in the last 20 years, with the formal living and dining rooms becoming vestigal, and the kitchen and family room taking center stage. This reflects both the continuation of the feminist (feminine?) revolution and the continued declining utility of wealth and income. Thus, rather than bringing the hostess into the public space (and out of the kitchen), we've brought the guests into the hostess's private space--the kitchen--and converted it to public space. The care of the home (cooking) has not been de-feminized on aggregate, but the status of the hostess has risen greatly; guests now come to her, not vice versa. This has involved the upgrading of the kitchen, on the one hand, and a greater informality with guests, on the other. (I'd also note the placement of appliances, particularly the stove, and the emergence of the "island" concept. Both are central to the hostess's interaction with others in the kitchen.)

Another economics article to be written.

Living rooms are going the way or parlors which went the way of drawing rooms which replaced some other sort of room. Houses for the non-poor have always had a room where the family hung out and did things, and another room whose purpose was to be a show-off room for guests. However, the latter room tends to be underused and is ultimately disgarded-- until people start to wish for a room like it again and so elevate the current family-living room into the new show-off room, and then have to invent a new private space room for the family, beginning the cycle over.

It's modern labor (and space) saving technoloy, along with modern HVAC systems, which have enabled the merger of kitchen and dining room.

Bitcoin has been on a long slow decline in value until just the week, when suddenly it was in thew news again - because of its long slow decline. It was down 90% since its peak, but now up 50% from its low. Bitcoin's value seems to be tied tightly to the amount of press it gets.

Backed by buzz.

So bitcoin enthusiasts are 'buzzbugs'?

Bitcoincoins: gold backed by a fiat currency?

Actually number four seems like more evidence of stagnation. Neat as those proposed innovations are, my bet is that for the share of income that those improved bathrooms will cost there is almost no major improvement from the 1945-1975 period that cost the same share of contemporary (pre 1975) income that most would willingly give up.

Pretty much. My bathroom is almost completely identical to a typical 1974 bathroom. Who knows how much any of those doodads cost but there is no way floor tiles that mimic sand are cheap, and no way I'd buy them.

But kitchens are too hot to eat in; unless it's breakfast, eaten before the house has warmed up.

What the heck are you cooking with over there?

Honey, let's buy some electric shower curtains so that we can follow the news while taking a shower. What could go wrong?

I always thought that existing bathrooms are a strong argument against the "Great Stagnation" thesis. Our bathroom (we live in New York City) was built in 1925 and literally nothing has changed, except that the faucet in the sink has been replaced once or twice. Truly, we have all the original fixtures, the original tile on the floor and walls, etc. Total stagnation from 1925 until 1975, and continued stagnation from 1975 until today.

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