Assorted links


it's been a thiel love fest lately. sup wit dat?

Dr. Tyler Cowen was a chess champion in his youth (he won the prestigious NJ state championship) and once in a while he likes to espouse chess themes. You will therefore note a lot of chess motifs here. FYI also the chess economist Rogoff is a grandmaster and wrote a book with Reinhart "This Time Is Different" which is quite good, especially the graphs.

Informative. Now let's get back to the question: What's up with the Theil love fest?

Re #6. I mostly agree, but I haven't found a better way to reheat pizza than in a skillet.

What is meant by the expression "leftover pizza"? I am unfamiliar with the concept.

"leftover pizza”: That which is found after a symposium in the trash can of the student lounge.

4. can it really be that 100% of the time the answer is "denser housing" and 0% of the time it is "improve urban public transportation infrastructure"? because that's certainly the impression this piece and all its innumerable relatives give.

" and 0% of the time it is “improve urban public transportation infrastructure”?" I'm not sure how that the most likely improvements to urban public transportation will reduce the cost of housing in highly regulated housing markets. New York City has one of the best subways on the planet and yet it still suffers from steadily escalating housing costs on the open market.

That article seemed to ignore some very obvious potential explanations:

1) People would have a higher income if they moved to San Francisco or Boston, but they can't afford to because it is too expensive? Wait a minute; this doesn't add up. It sounds like their cost of living adjusted income wouldn't actually be higher in those locations. Postrel bases much of her article on this effect, yet doesn't admit the key point: that this means the "wealthier" places may not actually be wealthier--at least not for those outside the elite. This would mean the convergence has not stopped;
it has continued, but it has taken the form of increasing living costs in the richer locations.

2) Alternatively, perhaps the convergence has stopped simply because there is a natural limit to the convergence. There are significant downsides to moving across the country: leaving behind friends and family, uncertainty about finding a job, adjusting to an area that is culturally different, etc. As the potential gain in income becomes smaller, moving becomes less worth it. If you have the potential of 4x higher income, you probably move. But if it will only be 30% higher, maybe not. On top of this, there is a certain subset of people who are never going to move, no matter what. These people will also be a limit to complete convergence.

1. The rain problem is being unnecessarily geeked, and the extensions only obscure the underlying question. We know the answer. It's the question that confounds us.

Ignore the wind and ignore the shape of the human body. Ignore the fact that rain density changes from place to place.

Consider the most dense rain possible - being submerged in a swimming pool. You get just as wet if you swim twice as fast. Running in the rain does not increase or decrease the cumulative amount of the rain you are passing through.

Our skin and body temperature are affected more by longer exposure to wetness. Hypothermia and trench foot are examples. But if that is your measure of "wetness", then running is clearly better - your can dry off before the extended impact of moisture sets in. But this is not the problem originally discussed.

The problem would be better stated, "if a vessel, open at the top, were moved a certain distance through the rain, would it catch more or less rain if it moved faster?"

If you're worried about the two dimensional aspect, then ask whether a sponge of uniform composition moving through the rain a certain distance would absorb more or less water if it moved faster.

Considering that we measure the amount of rainfall (in inches) with a stationary cup and moving clouds at varying speeds, the answer should be pretty clear. The amount of water an object collects is based upon both rain density and time of exposure. Running (or faster moving clouds) gets you less wet if by wet you mean the collection of water. If by wet you mean saturation of water by absorbent material, then density of rain has more of an impact than time because of the pressure associated with denser rain. If by wet you mean overall damage caused by water, then time of exposure matters more for a fixed density.

We run in the rain precisely because it is the impact of long term exposure of damage and discomfort that matters most to humans. The absorbancy of water by our clothing increases with exposure. Dry soil and dry sponges repel water initially; their absorbancy increases with increasing saturation but then decreases rapidly like a marginal production curve. This is why we have flash floods.

If you just finished a 500 meter swim in your clothing and climbed out of the pool in a rainstorm, you wouldn't run because you were worried about your clothes or skin getting wetter. You'd run if the decrease in activity made you feel less comfortable. Even if you just sat in the pool, you feel different wet in the open air than in the water. Wind would matter to relative comfort, not relative wetness. You would be more worried about hypothermia than getting wetter. Even while saturated, you might run if the feel of large rain drops hitting you at high velocity was uncomfortable.

Why are we surprised that humans respond to how conditions makes us FEEL rather than what a science experiment tells us about subjective meanings of the word "wet?"

The question attempts to undermine the concept of human rationality without considering what really matters to humans. It dismisses what we feel and what we prefer from the calculation of optimality. Humans aren't irrational, only mis-modeled.

"The rain problem is being unnecessarily geeked. I will now talk about it for 11 paragraphs."

Mythbusters tested it and found that walking was better in terms of the weight of rain that ends up on your clothes. If smarter people than you can't figure this one out, I figure I may as well go with the experimental data for now.

My bottom line was in paragraph 1 - it's the question, not the answer that is in doubt. Mythbusters didn't explain why people run and what that means to them and about them.

So tell me, sport, how does walking really slowly affect the amount of water absorbed by clothing as opposed to just walking at a regular pace?

How about if I walk 0 mph? That should make me the driest according to Adam and Jamie.

Theory usually guides experimental research, otherwise you end up with poorly designed experiments.

Maybe Adam and Jamie could test whether austerity reduces economic output or whether unique ingredients on a menu or vodka specials signal food quality.

Wow, you take shit real personal. You must be loads of fun to hang out with.

"How about if I walk 0 mph? That should make me the driest according to Adam and Jamie."

I found four mistakes within this statement. To be fair, one of them was your tone, but that still leaves three that were based on faulty logic and/or a profound misunderstanding of hypothesis testing.

I'm not even mad; that's amazing.

And, of course, you mention none of the the three.

The most important aspect of hypothesis testing is to hold all factors other than the treatment constant. That's easier to say than it is to do.

Now consider something more complicated: a couple. Should you dance between the raindrops back to your door? Conga or salsa?

Mythbusters retested this hypothesis in ACTUAL rain and came up with the opposite result. So much for your experimental data.

The thing about a fruit fly trap with apple cider vinegar and a couple drops of dish soap really works well. But, you won't ever get fruit flies if you just clean up. (I don't so I have had to use this before)

The chalkboard eraser to clean the fog off the inside of a car window seems like a good idea....but I don't drive so I wouldn't know.

But, I read this the other day and in general agree....most of them aren't worth taking the time to do. As someone already pointed out, reheating pizza in a skillet is the best way to do it, but I like cold pizza so I never do.

Another great fruit fly trap? Leave out a glass of cheap, sweet wine.

On the whole I agree with Tyler's summation: either they aren't worth doing, or in some cases I doubt they work at all (keeping mosquitos away with a dryer sheet). The one that I'm dubious about, but that might be worth trying: freezing an envelope to unseal it. I wouldn't expect frozen temperatures to "unstick" the adhesive, but I have no real evidence. So an experiment might be in order.

Somehow the post office delivers in sub zero temperatures without all the letters falling out.

The Virginia Postrel article, plus an earlier one she linked to on the same topic...both were good. As to #6 I never liked those dryer sheets anyway.

You are a mosquito?

Use your hair conditioner to shave your legs. It’s a lot cheaper than shaving cream and leaves your legs really smooth.

I'll bet a lot of women will start doing this. But not just on their legs.
God damn it.

Before I grew my beard, I used conditioner to shave my face in the shower. Cleanest shaves I could get and no hassle with the sink. But be careful if you're not a conditioner-using-long-hair-hippy-type like myself and think about using your wife's conditioner: Some of that stuff's pretty expensive, ask if you can use it first!

If you have a slow radiator leak, a spoonful of ground black pepper added to the water won't hurt your engine's cooling system but it will plug a small hole.

Now that's one that I wouldn't risk trying.

The shadiest of shade-tree solutions is to use egg white. How you get stranded without "duck" tape but with an egg is a mystery for another day.

If M-R were higher in PageRank, perhaps we could Google-bomb using an eggs benedict recipe for slow radiator leaks.

4. Portland WA is a good example.

re: 6. And yet, I still would prefer an earnest attempt to be helpful over a condescending dismissal of someone else's ideas.

After having an experience in the family with encephalitis thought to be due to a mosquito bite, I'll be getting some Downy sheets.

6. None are worth doing?!? Then you haven't left a banana in a lunch bag for a month. After the ensuing fruit fly infestation I came across their love for vinegar by trial and error. I put it in bread bags, closed up the flies and microwaved for 10 seconds. Now I know to just add detergent!

I don't understand 5. Shouting releases large amounts of air from the lungs. To capture the sound, it would have to have a fairly tight seal. It must release air at a slow rate, and it doesn't appear capable of expanding.

So... ?

About the rain problem: with the last recession hitting them real bad, I am surprised universities still have enough resources to work on research problems like the one about whether it is preferable to walk or run when one is caught in a downpour. I wonder what was the opportunity cost of the resources spent on addressing this question

The opportunity cost of labor when unemployment is at 8%+?

On the rain question the answer seems obvious to me, and the details about shapes and wind irrelevant: If you run at infinite speed you don't get wet at all, if you stand still you get maximally wet. Moreover, I don't see why the function wetness(speed) wouldn't be decreasing monotonically. So, the faster you run the less wet you get.

Re: #6. Rubbish. The deviled egg thing is just a field-improvised pastry bag. I do it from time to time. It's especially convenient for taking deviled eggs to a cookout.

Enjoyed Postrel's article very much thanks. It is worth thinking about the complementary effect of federal housing subsidies, such as the mortgage interest deduction and mortgage guarantees in relation to her observations.

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