Most Popular MR Posts of 2013

Here is my annual round-up of the most popular MR posts of 2013 as measured, somewhat eclectically, using the number of links, tweets, shares, comments and so forth. Sadly, the post that was most linked to this year was by neither Tyler nor myself but by… Tyrone.

Look people, I have explained this before. Tyrone is a bad man. Do Not Encourage Tyrone. Fortunately for us Tyrone doesn’t like it when people like him. 

Second most highly linked was my post No One Is Innocent. I was also pleased that a related post, Did Obama Spy on Mitt Romney?, was also highly linked although I think that the question raised in this post about the potential for NSA tools to be abused for political purposes hasn’t been truly addressed in the main stream media. Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic in The Surveillance State Puts U.S. Elections at Risk of Manipulation was one of the few people to pick up on this important question.

Also highly linked were my post The Great Canadian Sperm Shortage and a few less substantive items drawn mostly from elsewhere such as Equal Population US States and What is the Most Intellectual Joke You Know.

If you followed Tyler’s timely advice in another highly linked post, China, and the soaring price of Bitcoin, you would have saved yourself from a big loss (albeit you would have made an even bigger profit by ignoring Tyler’s earlier advice).

The most shared post was Tyler’s Stereotyping in Europe with over seven thousand shares, followed by Nobody dislikes inflation more than strippers. I was pleased that a bunch of my substantive posts were highly shared including:

Another highly shared and commented upon post was Our DNA, Our Selves on the FDA and 23andMe. Mark my words, when this or similar case goes to court the FDA will eventually lose on free speech grounds.

Gun posts get lots of comments including The Culture of Guns, The Culture of AlcoholGuns, Suicide and Natural ExperimentsFirearms and Suicides and How Japan Does Gun Control.

Question posts such as Who is the Worst Philosopher? and Who is the most influential public intellectual of the last twenty-five years? get lots of comments as did Who is Juan Galt?

There is overlap between most linked, shared, and commented so some of the above would fit in several categories but it’s surprisingly weak. Posts with a lot of comments, for example, often do not draw lots of links.

What were your favorite posts of 2013? And what requests do you have for 2014?



1. find Andrew'.

2. Longitudinal analysis. Take a median 25 year-old in 1950 and track his income growth. Repeat for 1951 cohort, etc. Very useful for untangling stagnation claims, I think.

Yeah, I wonder what happened to Andrew, too. Have not seen him post a comment here in over a month at least.

Wherever he went, I hope Ray Lopez follows him. I'm not fond of people commenting on every comment.

And why is that Karl Cuppazucchini? Is 72 your birth year or your IQ?

Which leads to my request for 2014 topics: "An economic theory of compulsive commenters and why they don't get their own blogs."

Love tha Tyrone "rant" -- and it was great to revisit it now - wonder if we could see an update from him on how he sees Obamacare evolving now that we have seen so many "adjustments".

Tyrone needs his own blog IMHO :-)

I pretty much liked all that you mentioned - but perhaps my second fave would be "Who is Juan Galt?"

Requests for 2014:

1) How is it the most productive, functional country Singapore has one of the lowest birth rate in the world? Is this robot future in which only the better off have children? Why is it richer the world is the less people can afford children?

2) Now that solar without tax subsidies is becoming economically competitive with Western states (over-priced?) utilities, how does the net metering program roll-out the next 10 years?

3) Why has crime so dramatically fallen the last 23 years? With The Great Recession into its sixth year, I would safely say the crime rate drop is real but few have put out convincing reasons. In general almost all social measures (outside of single motherhood) has improved the last 6 years. Why is that?

3) Sesame Street

#3- Record levels of incarceration and an aging population.

Seconding the interest in an exploration of the demographic transition. Singapore has done more than most to encourage fertility, with generous tax breaks for large families, very low-cost higher education, and active government calls for larger families, yet the effects seem to be unmeasurable. (This is evidence against the common thesis that educated women have fewer children for purely economic reasons of higher opportunity cost.) Western European fertility also is unimpressive despite generous social support for new mothers, particularly when you break down fertility by ethnicity. Something very strange is going on with the demographic transition and nobody seems to have a great theory of what it is.

Keep in mind that the fall in birthrates in England actually started in the late 1800s, far predating lots of the common culprits.

I think Tim Taylor showed a chart of birth rates in the US showing the decline births started early 19th century and has continue to decrease the last 200 years except for the interruption post-war Baby Boom years. I believe most developed nations follow the same pattern.

It is a big misconception in history that the fall of the birth rate is anything new. It has been continual and only the interruption of post WW2 years and seems to be here to stay.

3) Deleading children has had huge behavioral effects since 1978*. Also, the decline in violence against children, particularly by school administrators.


I loved "Torture in a Just World." Thank you for it!

Oh, requests for 2014: the economics of climate change.

Request: less Ezra Klein.

Request: No more links to David Brooks.

They are the same person.

It's a collegial obligation.

Or a marketing imperative - back when I worked for GMU's PR department, it was always difficult to make the distinction when it came to such matters.

Could you explain this more? Does it apply equally to Klein and Brooks? Is there a reason for mentioning and linking to those two in particular as opposed to others from top-tier newspapers? E.g., referring to Krugman often makes sense to me, even though he's turned into a contemptible hack he is much more intelligent and knowledgeable than most big newspaper hacks, and he has a history of merit-based accomplishments to boot. Frequently referring to Klein just mystifies me. Thanks in advance for any demystification you or anyone else can provide.

It is always instructive to look at the works of Krugmandias and consider whether you feel despair.

Any time you find yourself typing the words "interesting article by David Brooks" just stop. Stop and do something else until the madness passes.

Husserl can surely be seen as the defender of a certain (most valuable) kind of privacy, in this way not entirely remote from Hayek.

My interest as a 20-something male pertains to climbing the corporate ladder, though that does not appear to be a KEY interest in the about some discussions of other emerging market economices besides China and India? Turkey has lifted itself from Syria-level GDP per capita to half of Greece's level. Would we expect this convergence to continue? How about Slovakia, Poland? We hear so, so, so much about China but less about these other developing regions. PS: Mexico's growth to me seems to be returning to trend, which is less impressive than Brazil's quick acceleration.

A post on the subject: "Things that I believe that I know are not true."

A post on: "Things that I once believed and now question."

More on how Ayn Rand is the reason everyone hates Libertarians.

So, the three most popular subjects on this website are: politics, guns, and medical matters, followed by the NSA and strippers.

Not very different from Huff Post in other words.

Shortest Math joke: "Let epsilon be negative."

taking requests? I doubt if, but here goes anyway - charisma half-life of Taylor Swift, Jorge Bergoglio, and James Levine as seen fifty years from now; when will the unquestionably converging IQs of point guards, quarterbacks, and chess champions meet up; what would life be like for a tenured economics professor who decides to spend a year studying midAtlantic Lepidoptera in the wild and learning Norwegian; Peter Hitchens versus Christopher Hitchens - who was or is less deceptive and deceived, assuming an ability to consider them as intellectual equals; how old was TC when he read "all of Harold Bloom's canon" leaving out some of the Icelandic sagas. Not that any of these topics will be taken up, but if TC or Alex takes one of them seriously how about the Hitchens one, which has the whole Pascalian eternal potential return thing going for it.

to make those request economic, to what extent do the super-popular girl singer, the admired and beloved Pope, and the exciting opera conductor benefit from measurable or predictable generational affiliation, second, is there a sufficient supply of potential chess geniuses to make increasing compensation for potential future chess champions allow or provide for an increasing IQ for chess champions to keep pace with the observed increasing IQs of quarterbacks and point guards on winning teams, third, when do the diminishing returns from being an accomplished economist dip below the returns for spending a year with the wild moths and butterflies of Northern Virginia and perhaps some extra time learning Norwegian, fourth, which of the flamboyant Hitchens brothers has demonstrated a greater ratio of signaling intelligence (numerator) to signaling respect for the evidence (denominator); fifth, I vaguely recall a TC claim to have read almost all of Blooms canon list from the Western Canon book, with the largest gaps being the Icelandic sagas - a claim I find not hard to believe but I would be curious to know whether this claim (assuming I did not misread it) was from a surprising (and, to me at least, disappointing) respect for the list or from an overlap in taste ....

Re: No One Is Innocent

Marcus Tullius Cicero: "The more laws, the less justice."

I would really like to see a post in that obscure Bitcoin spinof: Freicoin. A sort of bitcoin but with a demurrage fee built in.

The lack of overlap between most linked/shared and most commented is not surprising, if the most commented are on gun control. The posts are not particulary insightful (hopeful for more gun control, resigned that it wont happen and that it wouldnt have any impact anyway, devoid of supporting data, no special insight due to a lack of exposure to firearms/firearms culture, not worth sharing), and gun control brings out large numbers of partisans.

Request: I'd like to spend a few hours a week in 2014 learning a new game. On one hand, I'd like to pick it up the basics quickly and attain a reasonable level of competency within the first few months. On the other hand, I don't want an easy to master game. I'd like the opportunity to continue to improve and master the game's subtleties over my lifetime. I'm thinking along the lines of poker, bridge, chess, go, etc. The ability to play in a social setting is a plus, though I'd likely spend most of my time learning on the computer. Which one would you recommend I try?

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