Assorted links


I tend to find jokes about tragedies the funniest on the day they happen...

#5. Is the Hadza endowment effect about exposure to markets predisposing people to value ownership per se or is it about learning that seemingly "fair" trades are often unfavorable and distrusting those who would tell us that two things are equal? This might be especially true in when dealing with strangers. Hadza without exposure to trade might be less cynical.

Also, sounds poorly designed. The endowment effect isn't about swapping A for A. I would be unsurprised that rational humans thought "what is the point of that?"

Also, small sample size.

Also, the article said this: "In fact, there have been studies (for instance, this one) which found that people with a lot experience trading in real markets lose the endowment effect." To some extent, understanding behavioral economics can help us unwind these biases.

#2. That article starts with the example of Prince Harry and Sarah Silverman making jokes about Germany, introduces a theory of humor based on timing and severity of event, and then fails to mention that Sarah and Harry do not differ in timing or severity, and that Harry might have the edge in victimhood. It's never mentioned that Harry is a white male, while Sarah is a female Jewish vegan. Some people are allowed to speak while others are not. We all know that what Harry did cannot be funny, and what Sarah did can be funny, and that predominates whether either one actually is funny.

Similarly, it's cool to wear Soviet insignia or Che t-shirts, but not okay to wear swastikas. Really, none of that should be cool.

I think link 1 needs fixing but nice click anyway.


#3 reminds me of herb strippers. Yes, fingers work fine, but you can buy a thing ...

6. Ah, whatever happened to the golden age? Probably it never existed.

Speaking of journalism, I enjoyed this article by the Observer on the disrespect in which the NYT editorial board is apparently held by NYT journalists. (Also I was unaware that the keeper of its Economix blog, Ms Rampell, had been lured away to WaPo).

#6. "Mammoths were alive when the Great Pyramid was being built."

Yep, I saw it in a movie, so it must be true. ;)

Actually, this I believe. Modern estimates are that the mammoth survived until as late as 1750 BC. The Great Pyramid was built around 2500 BC.

Now, the mammoths had by that point been driven to extinction everywhere except Wrangell Island in the Arctic, so it's not like the Egyptians were using trained mammoths to build the pyramids. But there is, in fact, overlap.

#2 - Tyler Cowen "Assorted Links" meme generator: (a) Applied acoustics research there is no great stagnation; (b) Applied acoustics research we are not as wealthy as we thought; (c) The culture that is Germany, helicopter edition; (d) Science news average is over; (e) Assorted Links average is over; (f) Markets in everything: German helicopter research.

What else we got?

#2 Lame story, that.
I read the title of the link, summoned my elementary aerofoil theory from the vasty deeps, and conjectured "it'll be the interaction of the vortices and the blades". Spot on. What on earth else would it be?

You gotta work on your delivery. That didn't sound anything like Tyler Cowen...

Agreed. The article more or less explained why helicopters make noise (with pictures!), not why the noise is loud.

g) Best ethnic food in a german rock quarry. (and how to get there quietly)

I asked not too long ago for someone to explain, from her academic background, what makes her qualified to be the Fed Chairman. I couldn't find any academic papers not co-authored with her brilliant husband that demonstrates any excellence. In fact, she failed to get tenure at Harvard.

I noticed in the news today that the MSM is referring to her as "Dr. Yellen."

I don't recall anyone referring to Bernanke or Greenspan as "Dr."

The media also highlights the "Dr." every time they mention Jill Biden. If they must throw titles in our faces, it demonstrates insecurity in how poor their credentials are. Of course, the PhD itself is noteworthy, but that alone isn't qualifying for an important position.

You should visit Germany

Austria - where apparently the Dr. title is a big, big deal. I work with a number of PhDs at a German company - not a single one cares about their title in daily life, and a number of recently hired people remain unaware for extended periods (up to years in a few cases) that the person they work with has a title. Just anecdate, of course. Where 'Dr.' is used routinely is for medical doctors - it is simply not that commonly used in this part of southern Germany.

And as noted below, Angela Merkel is rarely referred to as 'Frau Dr.'

'it is simply not that commonly used in this part of southern Germany.' - for PhDs, in daily life. Certainly less than was common at GMU and in Fairfax (though military rank was common when I was growing up - a minority of my neighbors were 'Mr.', most were 'Capt.,' 'Lt. Col.,' 'Major,' 'Rear Adm.,' etc.)

'Frau Dr.'? Is that like 'Mrs."?

You cavemen sicken me.

I knew a woman who was married to a German PhD student. The government, especially the Post Office, insisted on referring to her as "Mrs Doctoral Candidate ... ". It sounds better in German.

I lived in Germany for three years as a lawyer in the US Army JAG Corps.

In Germany they refer to lawyers as "Dr." acknowledging the D in J.D. although I don't think law school is as rigorous as a Ph.D. program, in general. Some doctorates are worth more than others.

I absolutely insist on being called Dr. Vulture.

Turkey Vulture, Esq.

I'm Willitts, J.D., CFA, CFP, CTFA

"Esquire is a title one may tack on without the approval of the American Bar Association or any other legal entity. Therefore, it can be somewhat controversial. Some have added it to their names without having obtained the actual qualifications. This gives the false perception of their ability to legally practice law. Therefore, it serves to be cautious and not presumptuous when encountering this term."

Being an esquire is basically being a non-titled man of quality. Never understood why the Americans associate it with lawyers.


Very few german lawyers (Rechtsanwaelte) are referred to as "Dr". In order to carry that title, the lawyer has to obtain what is essentially a Phd in law by writing a doctoral thesis and having it accepted. Doing this thesis isn't necessary to practice law or to be a Rechtsanwalt.

That's not to say Germans are not fond of their titles.

Beg your pardon. I know that Germans always referred to us American lawyers as 'Herr Doktor' or Dr in correspondence. Now that you mention it, I don't recall a reference to any German lawyers as Dr. I hastily assumed it applied to all. My limited exposure to German lawyers were in claims, a job I did for only a few months.

Presuming what you say is true, I conclude that they were probably being polite to us.

I'm proud to announce that I have a friend who is "Dr Dr Frau Dr".

Rather "Dr" than "Maestro".

Strangely, the German media rarely refers to Angela Merkel as 'Dr. rer. nat.' - being awarded a doctorate for her thesis on quantum chemistry, and having worked as a researcher and published several papers according to her English language wiki page.

Odd how that works, isn't it? Somehow, a female physicist is not considered worth referring to with her title. Well, her academic one, that is.

Or maybe Angela Merkel does not need the American press pointing out that she is actually a trained physical scientist, considering that about half the American population are creationists. It has been a generation since the last American president with even a mildly equal educational background to Merkel's, that of Naval Academy graduate Jimmy Carter, was elected.

I agree with you that Merkel's title is quite honorable, but it is hardly relevant or necessary for her job. If it were up to me, the US presidency would have a minimum educational and military service requirement, but a JD would be disqualifying. :)

It is a matter of considerable gravity that the Fed Chair be more than a boilerplate leader who can regurgitate speeches generated by well qualified civil servants. Monetary policy is hard, and I just don't see where Yellen has earned her chops.

How does her CV stack up against TC and AT? What major pubs does she have on monetary policy? It appears to me that she has held mostly administrative posts as a +1 to her Nobel Prize winning husband.

Uh, Carter's degree was not remarkable. I don't know anything about a degree in the physical sciences which is particularly relevant or qualifying other than native intellect.

Other than lawyers, the only academic I know who became president was Woodrow Wilson. Our Founders, though, were clearly men of advanced education at least equivalent to a doctorate.

There has been a lot of work on "stealth" helicopter blades to reduce the blade-vortex interaction, for example:

Fixed-wing airliners have been adding vortex-reducing wing tips for a while, it also improves fuel efficiency.

#5: Is there any real evidence for an endowment effect? Professional traders certainly don't suffer from it, and the evidence seems to consist of experiments in which college kids don't bother swapping coffee mugs for pens. I don't swap coffee mugs for pens myself, though I do throw them away pretty often. As others have noted earlier, this study doesn't seem to prove anything either.

I have my doubts about the controls in these experiments. Possessions typically have a cost associated with acquisition. In other words, if everything you owned burned in a fire, paying you the full replacement value leaves you far less than made whole.

That doesnt even include sales tax (which must be paid again) and the sentimental value of particular gifts and purchases. Goods are not completely fungible. There is also uncertainty involved in replacement.

There can be gains in value, such as getting new and better replacements and undoing prior poor choices. Still, the choice to keep the bird in hand is more lucrative than hypothesized. We are less irrational than we appear.

The very existence of property is probably based upon this irrationality. Hunters in hunter gatherer societies do not own their kill (in our society this is, to an extent, still the case, see the series 'Yukon men') - it is 'property' of the group. There is no difference between 'my salmon' or 'your salmon' as it are the salmons of the group. The concept of trade however introduces a difference beteen 'mine' and 'your' which, in a psychological way, can of course only be sustained if one values 'mine' more than 'yours'. Without this irrationality no property! This experiment i.e. compares apples with oranges.

4. I believe South Park has already addressed this issue.

I was thinking the same - AIDS is funny now.

The bat bombs in WW II were designed to work against Japanese "paper houses" that were highly inflammable.

I doubt they were tested or would work against more substantial buildings.

Still a hard to believe fact. People would think you were batty.

B. F. Skinner spent the war teaching pigeons how to be kamikaze pilots. Not only could they guide their missiles into ships, they could be taught to recognise street corners and even faces.

Which suggests an interesting use for them.

The jihadis of the Sokoto Caliphate burnt at least one beseiged city down by tying burning material to the tail of pigeons.

"I doubt they were tested or would work against more substantial buildings."

During testing some of the bats got loose and caught one of the wooden buildings at the air base on fire. So they were probably a little more effective than you give them credit for. Though still not obviously useful enough to ever be deployed.

2. Helicopter noise is very well understood. For civilian purposes the noise that matters most is not the vortex induced noise they mention but the harmonic noise and interactions of the tail rotor. That is the source of the loud whine that is most painful to human ears.

When it comes to the deeper wump wump sounds that are generally not very annoying you have a bunch of interactions of which the blade vortex interaction is just one and not necessarily the most important or the hardest to solve.

Of course a lot of the science is still classified but if anyone looks at the mockups of the blackhawk that crashed during the Osama bin Laden raid you can see how the rotor tips have been modified to reduce the tip vortex.

The real interesting science is in using continuously variable rotor blade spacing. The worst noise effects are caused by the natural harmonics that magnify particular noise sources.

The real hard part is load based noise caused by various vibrations and stochastic sources that has more to do with the ambient air which isn't uniform.

There's also blade slap, which is a huge part of the distinctive noise of the classic Vietnam-era UH-1 "Huey".

One of the most promising techniques for noise reduction and rotor efficiency improvements is individual blade control, where instead of a conventional swashplate arrangement to control collective and cyclic pitch via mechanical linkages from the swashplate to the rotor pitch horn (everybody except Kaman) or the servo flap (Kaman), the blade pitch is individually actuated on each blade, making possible detailed control of the tip path of each blade. The Kaman servo flap design is particularly well suited to this because of the relatively low actuation forces required (the servo flap is a particularly efficient way to control blade pitch).

I confess I found the article to which Tyler linked to be quite "meh".

You and @Errorr's comments have more meat than that darn article. They made it sound as if Science had no clue to helicopter noise and the reporter seemed mesmerized that the flew one down a quarry.

Neat way of checking their real world validity of their CFD models, though.

#4. Of course, if anyone should prefer to live in a society without the "endowment effect" they should feel free to live as the Hazda Bushmen so long as they're defining "rational" as they are.

I think the endowment effect is more rational than believed, based on imperfect information. I presumably know more about the quality of my lighter than your lighter. All I really know about your lighter is that you're willing to give it away to acquire my lighter. This suggests that given your knowledge of your lighter, my lighter is worth more. Therefore, the rational response is to keep my lighter.

Then, of course, there are plenty reasons that my things are more valuable to me. Chances are my coffee mug and your coffee mug are equal in quality to the task of holding coffee. But if my coffee mug was given to me by my kids, there's a sentimental value that my mug has that yours does not. It is thus more valuable to me, and more rational to keep. Besides, trading mugs would potentially upset my kids, and that's a negative to me.

Yeah, well, that's just, like, your capitalist upbringing talking, man.

@#1 - wildlife photos were Photoshopped, bummer.

@#2 - repeats the lie about Bernoulli effect creating *most* of the lift in a wing. In fact, Bernoulli effect as taught only produces about 30% of the lift in a three-dimensional airplane wing. The rest is boundary layer effects and vortex lift, see: and

Lift is produced primarily by circulation; boundary layer effects are very minor on all but the thickest wings. See for reasons why explanations of wing lift via viscous effects are largely wrong, and for one of the better correct explanations of how wings really produce lift.

Humans share 50% of our DNA with a banana. Good fact (that sounds false) to respond when asked, "Is that a banana in your pocket or are you glad to see me?"

#2 I hope that leads to quieter air boats.

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