Assorted links

1. Review of the new Chris Hayes book.

2. Garett Jones on speed bankruptcy (pdf).

3. The politics of Obama vs. Romney; politics isn’t about policy!

4. NYT presents 32 innovations that will change our world; are you impressed by their list?  I like this one:

A team of Dutch and Italian researchers has found that the way you move your phone to your ear while answering a call is as distinct as a fingerprint. You take it up at a speed and angle that’s almost impossible for others to replicate. Which makes it a more reliable password than anything you’d come up with yourself. (The most common iPhone password is “1234.”) Down the line, simple movements, like the way you shift in your chair, might also replace passwords on your computer. It could also be the master key to the seven million passwords you set up all over the Internet but keep forgetting.

5. Are economics Ph.D programs teaching the right material?

6. More Paul Krugman on science fiction.


#4 That list seems wacky. Were the looking at utility or a wow factor?

But if your movements change, it would be near impossible to recollect the exact way you used to do it - so there would still have to be securities like with online registration. And are they really going to ask us to shift in our chairs every time we sign up for something?

#4 Almost everything evokes the reaction "WTF do I need that for?!", except the playground thing. That's an excellent idea.

.......only in a world without lawyers.

Might be a better world.

6 - In the video interview Krugman sounds like Tyler talking about tech stagnation.

Wow, he even advances an "infovores" hypothesis, saying most of the worlds tech gains have gone to the "chattering classes" in his words.

#3: Politics is and isn't about policy, is and isn't about perception, is and isn't about personality, is and isn't about campaign funding. Politics also is and isn't about perspective and proportion: we all know by now that Romney's net worth is c. $250 million. But how many of us appreciate that Bruce Springsteen is worth c. $200 million, that Mick Jagger is worth c. $300 million? (Granted, Sir Mick cannot run for POTUS; but these two are both populist men-of-the-people and members of rock 'n' roll royalty, and both are as comparably wealthy as Romney. Gives a new shine to the Boss's "Born in the USA", hunh?)

re. 4 "dark roasts may just become a relic of the past" - someone doesn't understand regional preferences

I would agree with you......but suddenly I remembered that global calamity called Nescafe.

2. Btw, at what point did we consciously decide that not defining a property right, and in bank deposits, was a brilliant genius idea?

I also read the Foundation Trilogy in high school. Only my reaction to the psychohistorians was "Who the hell do they think they are?"

It would be funny if the series ended like Red Plenty.

If you break your arm, your iPhone won't work anymore?

Your iPhone will work fine, but you will be relentlessly hunted down by Dr. Richard Kimball.

#2- what does it do to bond holder expectations to make this change?

#2, Garret Jones, proposes that long term debt of banks be convertible to equity in speed bankruptcy. Doesn't that just make long term debt preferred stock?

No, it makes it "more preferred stock."

This Garret Jones article strikes me as what you get when you have an article on bankruptcy written by someone who has never read through an actual bankruptcy docket. It'd be so easy! Just, you know, convert some debt! But see, e.g.:


The gesture password idea has the same information security flaw that biometric scanning has - once someone gets a hold of your digital signature, you can't change it like you would a compromised password.

#4 lists truly marginal improvements.

Suvorexant is perhaps the most interesting innovation, an orexin-based sleep aid. Modafinil/Armodafinil, wakefulness medication, work through orexin to the opposite effect.

Skip to #32 and you won't have missed much.

The blood test for depression may be equally impressive if it actually works (there I have my doubts). Orexin is indeed fascinating stuff.

Oh and that non-hangover booze seems like a distinctly bad idea. If it is similar to benzos (useful but very dangerous stuff), it must be a veritably strong GABAergic and those tend to be addictive as hell.

The blood test could well backfire. Only a certain segment of depressives have it. What is it going to say to the depressive when the doc comes back and says "the blood test is negative, ergo you must be faking"?

Has Tyler read this one yet?

#4 (#20 on the list): Right, there are not enough people with ethanol dependency; we need to replace it with faster-forming, stronger benzodiazepines dependency.

6 - From the last paragraph in the piece: he not only lives in an echo chamber, but advocates it for others?

Re #4: I've got the same password on my luggage!

Seriously though, I call bullshit on this. While you allegedly will do it the same every time unconsciously, it's going to be very hard for people to consciously replicate it.

4. No driverless cars or 3d printers? Way to completely ignore the actual incredibly disruptive and game-changing technologies that are coming and focus on fancy shampoo.

Maybe I'm missing something, but I've been in a couple industries that use 3D printing and am still waiting. It's nice, mostly flashy, but the biggest disruption I suspect will come with printing organs.

I see no reason why most people would need a 3D printer. Maybe in 50 years this will make sense, if we have something like The Feed and matter compilers, but economically today it makes a lot more sense to make a million of something than have a very specialized device that maybe makes the thing you want at much greater expense, and even then only if that thing can be made of a certain uniform material (look around at the things you own and see how many could have been printed without sacrificing utility; it's a pretty tiny fraction).

Number 5 is same old, same old but still sad. You don't have to agree with Galbraith to lament the reasoning that says, because the top graduate schools continue to hire those graduates of ours who do the most fashionable technical dissertations, the market for economists has therefore spoken and what the graduate schools do is correct. I wonder if the big Four programs would say the same about the relative efficiency of sociology, psychology, modern language, women's studies, law, and african american studies? All intellectual fields have efficient markets for determining quality academics? Our economists are good because they're well paid and the top journals choose to take their stuff?

4. Let's check back in 5 and 10 years. I predict roughly zero of these will impact most people's lives.

Thank you for the Garett Jones article. It is something that I think needs to be used, especially right now in Europe. It would address the solvency issue with so many of their financial institutions and avoid the "can the government do this? Can the EU do this?" discussion. Instead of putting new capital in, when the fin instn is so hopelessly insolvent, just take the capital already there and equitize it. It would solve a lot of Europe's short-term problems.

This is also something that can and should be built into the cap structure of all large levered fin instns - an identifiable layer of debt above the equity that converts to equity when a certain level of financial risk arises, or, alternatively that the regulator converts when it deems the step necessary to avoid insolvency. I think Greenspan has endorsed that (no need for snark).

I agree... this idea might be the best idea in the world for the next few years, and hopefully trump the way that we've dealt with failing companies the past few years.

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