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Awesome! The Northern Atlantic coast is a tragedy-of-the-commons factory farm in which cheap herring is converted into delicious lobster! It's a tragedy for the lobsterman, but a windfall for lobsterphiiles like myself. Time to book my summer vacation to Maine or Nova Scotia.

Question: Why not better traps?

It sounds like no one realized the current traps were so terrible.

If accurate the research suggests effective traps could be extremely disruptive to industry. What happens if 90% are caught instead of 6% and 80% of the food supply vanishes at the same time?

To me the other big question is why traps never improved on their own, at 6% effectiveness even a small improvement should have significantly increased yields. Thoughts are
1) No one has tried alternate trap designs in a very long time.
2) The variance in catches is too high to differentiate between differences due to trap design.
3) To catch the dumbest 6% of lobster is fairly easy, but to catch the dumbest 10% requires a much more difficult trap.

Trap construction is specified by regulations. This mandates a Great Trap Stagnation.

http://www.maine.gov/dmr/rm/lobster/guide/#traps

+1. thanks. I was wondering the same thing. I wonder what was initial impetus for such specific design specs.

#7: wot, only two?

#5. Why not ask if Santa is the slave of the elves?

Had the same thought. I suppose one answer might be Santa would seem to have an exit option -- but perhaps the reindeer are the jailers and Santa chained to the sleigh.

#6...A very good list. I bought a number of the books suggested, and I already owned a few. I would say that most of the books recommended sound like good books, and have no obvious ideological predilection that I could discern.

#6: what paleoconservatives recommend.

You mean the recommended reading on being gay and Catholic and about the British Empire's disastrous invasion of Afghanistan ? The list didnt look especially paleo to me.

Well gay catholics are a reactionary specialty in themselves, and Palmerston's invasion of Afghanistan was criticized by the Duke of Wellington himself, and led to the rise of Disraeli, though he was more of a neocon... But if you are taking the same side of an argument as Arthur Wellesley, you are by definition taking the paleocon position.

So I would call those pretty conservative positions.

7. Matt Yglesias's economic knowledge is at the level of an average college freshman. Not too surprising, since he was a philosophy major who has never held a job. His advice about economic policy is one level below sophomoric.

>Yes, I am serious

We know, Matt. We know. The problem is that you're not astute enough to grasp the sadness and horror of those four words.

Yglesias should rename his column, "I Blatantly Don't Understand Economics."

To be fair, he does understand economics well enough to be reviled by those leftists who are stuck in a completely pre-economic mindset (which is to say, most of them).

But yeah, the obvious counterpoint is that this is likely a time-shift in consumption, not an actual increase. Also vulgar Keynesianism, and the chart suggests that we already have a second Christmas.

Don't think it's a simple time shift. I know I got stuff for Christmas that I would never, ever buy for myself if the holiday didn't exist. I assume the same is true of some percentage of what I gave to other people.

Next you're going to tell me that the elves didn't make those items out of the infinite fountains of fairy dust at the North Pole. Or that humanity's well-being is not utterly dependent on chewing through consumer products at the fastest rate possible. Oh the huge manatee!

"Next you’re going to tell me that the elves didn’t make those items out of the infinite fountains of fairy dust at the North Pole."

Ok, now I understand Yglesias' column much better. I forgot the fairy dust component.

#4
I would add "physicist's analysis of how fast Santa must travel and how much energy he needs to carry all the presents". Thank you very much.

On the other hand, I miss answers to some important economic questions:

- What is the maximum tax burden an economy can survive over the long term? (Survive = keep slowly growing without debt steroids and with an acceptable unemployment rate)
- Why do so few people apply the Quantity Theory of Money on the stock market? (The impact of money supply on stock prices *should* be obvious, but it isn't.)
- Why does anyone still believe in CAPM betas? (Santa is more credible.)
- Why is the economic divide between civilisations still so huge? (Civilisations in the Huntingtonian sense.)
- Why are central bankers so hopelessly divorced from reality as to the effects of low interest rates? (Every financial planner knows that very low interest rates make people saving more and spending less.)

On the other hand, I miss answers to some important economic questions:

- What is the maximum tax burden an economy can survive over the long term? (Survive = keep slowly growing without debt steroids and with an acceptable unemployment rate)

- Why do so few people apply the Quantity Theory of Money on the stock market? (The impact of money supply on stock prices *should* be obvious, but it isn't.)

- Why does anyone still believe in CAPM betas? (Santa is more credible.)

- Why is the economic divide between civilisations still so huge? (Civilisations in the Huntingtonian sense.)

- Why are central bankers so hopelessly divorced from reality as to the effects of low interest rates? (Every financial planner knows that very low interest rates make people saving more and spending less.)

3 - Florida. The inlaws live there. I go there a lot.

1. Weather. Wretched in the summer. I cant stand it.
2. Real estate. Yes, you can buy a cavernous McMansion for lol cheap in certain places. But those places are not going to be the best for quality of life or services. If you want quality of life the prices will be more like you would find in the Midwest or mountain west.
3. Politics. Won't touch that one.
4. Attitude. It doesn't seem that great to me.
5. Immigrants. Yes, there's immigrants lol. I've lived in 4 countries and South Florida is like a foreign country. More people speak English in Germany I think. S FL is more like Italy, or Spain. Maybe 1/3 English speakers that you encounter out and about.

Some ppl like it because of no state taxes. But then services are pretty light. If it wasn't for tourists and federal transfer payments Florida would be pretty bad.

Immigrants are easy to explain. Look at a map, and nearly all of South America is east of Miami. A straight line from pretty much anywhere in South America to pretty much anywhere in the continental U.S. goes through Florida.

He's right about the water off the California coast being freezing cold. I also tend to agree about the state government. I do consider relocating from Silicon Valley to Florida. Especially during times like now, when it's cold.

I'm a bit dubious about Florida real estate, because of the sinkholes. I don't fear earthquakes a bit, but the idea that a sinkhole could open up under me at any time without warning is kind of frightening.

He doesn't say anything about hurricanes. I like earthquakes, and I think I wouldn't mind the occasional hurricane.

A friend of mine lived in Florida for several years before moving to Virginia. She said the Florida drivers were rude, like New Yorkers. Our theory was they are transplanted New Yorkers. She liked the people in VIrginia -- she said they were friendly, sometimes a bit too friendly. As you'd drive around town, people would wave to you, and they'd expect you to wave back. If you didn't, the next time you met them they'd ask why you didn't wave. I could do without that.

If you live in Florida anywhere near the coast (most but not all of the state), you just have to be comfortable with the notion that any given year, your house and belongings could all get washed away and destroyed. Same thing living on the coast of NC or on the gulf wherever. Other places have things like mud slides and wild fires and tornados (relatively infrequent in FL compared to other places).

Florida's difficult to characterize in universal terms; it's just too big and diverse. Real estate is generally cheaper than in denser places (obviously....), but I don't think Miami is particularly cheap relative to most of the country. There are generally more Latin American immigrants here... at least until you're north of Tampa. Then you might as well be in rural Georgia or Missouri or whatever.

The one universal I've noticed is that everything is really spread out. From Miami (very flat/spread out city) to Melbourne to Sarasota to Jacksonville to Orlando to Pensacola, everything feels like it was built with the idea that construction next to someone else's stuff is probably a bit more expensive than construction 1000 yards down the road, so let's build it there; it's only an extra minute in the car. I guess Ybor and parts of Miami were sort of walkable. I just find it weird driving past open space for 2 minutes, then seeing a huge planned where 1000 retirees live, live, then more open space, then a massive shopping center, then open space, ad infinitum.

6. Re: Paul Gottfried. Why would an American paleoconservative carry water for the then relatively new, centralizing, state-worshiping, pension-distributing German Empire? (See also: Raiph Raico)

I'd be happy with a second Christmas. If we wanted to do it in February, we'd add a second Valentine's Day style holiday with gift-giving and celebrations (like how Japan has both Valentine's Day and White Day).

We've only got one Saviour, you know. On the other hand, we don't have Golden Week, of which there is one in Japan and two in China. At an earlier employer, we had an urgent need to procure a critical material from Japan, and we were told that it was Golden Week and the whole country was basically shut down until the following week. Arrrgh!

You silly goose, Christmas doesn't need any savior. Christmas and New Year's are just modernized pagan winter solstice festivals. Santa is just a tame version of Odin. We're cheering ourselves during what would otherwise be a depressing time of year. The reason we can't have two Christmases is that there's only one winter solstice. Cheers! Or go grovel in front of an image of arbitrary execution if you really prefer.

You atheists are tedious with your constant hectoring. It's curious that they celebrate Christmas in the Southern Hemisphere with as much intensity as we do in the absence of winter.

Down Under we do nothing intensely at Christmas. Oh sure, Grandma might get a bit psycho with the food preparation, but she's usually from Europe so that's to be expected. It's hard to do anything intensely when it can be 40 degrees Celsius, so it's just a lazy day of getting together with relatives or if you are away from home someone will invite you around to help put a dint in Grandma's food mountain.

I am just curious what services the state of Florida should be offering that it isn't?

It is actually pretty hilarious that Kevin Drum complains about "evergreen" topics. Damned funny.

#3: "Libertarians" are amazing. Pure gold.

I like Florida, he says, because of the immigrants and because I detest "patriotism". Yeah, I bet Mr. Bryan Caplan will be hanging around the waiters and servers and landscapers, which is what most of the immigrants in Florida do. I also bet his children will fit right in to the "cosmopolitan" gang-infested schools in Orlando or Miami. And I bet he will live in their neighborhoods, enjoying the "vibrant" blasting music at 4am Thursday-Monday. Right?

Have "libertarians" ever lived in the real world, or do they just read about it on Reason magazine?

I say this as an immigrant myself. I couldn't get away from immigrant neighborhoods or "communities", as usually they are very very ignorant, Leftist places (not to mention not fit to live in).

Of course what Bryan Caplan really means is...immigrants of his social status. Florida, isn't where he's going to find such people.

PS: What exactly is wrong with patriotism? Sigh...

In my opinion, Florida is the armpit of the US, precisely because all it has is the service industry, attracting lots of low-skill low-knowledge immigrants, and lots of tourists and retirees in need of these services.

I couldn't think of a more boring place to be.

But if you've only read about the real world on Reason magazine, even Florida may appear as an attractive place.

But if you’ve only read about the real world on Reason magazine, even Florida may appear as an attractive place.

+1

"...How the elevator transformed America…"
Fascinating timing in that Germany’s ThyssenKrupp announced earlier in the month "the first cable-free elevator, unveiled ... Called the Multi, it will be powered by magnetic levitation, or maglev, motors and allow several cabins to zip along a single shaft in a continuous, flowing loop … system would even allow the cabins to move horizontally, in a zig-zag pattern, or on inclines, giving
architects the freedom to design exotic buildings that break away from the now-standard tall and skinny format. 'We are calling this a revolution,' says Patrick Bass, ThyssenKrupp Elevator’s research and development executive vice-president…"

http://archinect.com/news/article/114965218/up-and-down-side-to-side-thyssenkrupp-s-cable-free-multi-elevator-to-begin-testing-in-2016

1. Without the elevator? Sky-scrapers don't happen. Block & tackle, modern energy and materials, still true though . . . (Jer excellent)
2. Informative about Lobster, also the water temperature, and the Cod over- fished
3. Florida 'Real Estate', structures don't last long. When the 'Rust Belt States' are forced to look at their pension obligations and institute a 50% reduction for those who leave their respective States upon retirement, demographics might change moreso than they already are.

5. “One of our main predictions is that there will be more coercion when workers have worse ‘outside options,’” Wolitzky, now at Stanford University, writes in an email. “When the worker has a bad outside option, it’s easier for her employer to get her to work hard (as she’s willing to accept worse employment terms, including terms where she has to work harder).”

It's like he doesn't even know what "coercion" means. This is completely backwards. When workers have lousy outside options, the employer has no need to coerce, because the worker will voluntarily work long hours for low wages. It's when the workers have good alternative options that an employer may feel tempted to coerce, because making a competitive offer is more expensive.

There's never been a better time to be alive . . . but I'm looking for a fight tonight, am tired of the bullshit, want to tell it like it is . . .

1 - Many old European cities are seriously deficient in elevators, yet they still manage to function adequately. So it's hardly such a transformative revolution.

five, six stories, sure . . .

7. Yglesias has brought up this stupid idea before and Tyler linked to it then. In the comments, it was brought up that the worst recessions included a Christmas season and it did nothing to boost the economy.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had a real world test of this? Oh wait, we do. Japan has two major gift holidays. What has that done for them?

Also, Yglesias makes one of the most common errors when evaluating the impact of Christmas. Look at a calendar and what do you see? There's Christmas and one week later there's New Year's Day. The fact that Christmas comes a week before the end of the calendar year is a major factor that is usually overlooked. If Christmas were in August (when many theologians say it should be), I'm not sure it would have the same impact.

In my opinion, businesses would be better off without the holiday spike if that demand could be spread throughout the year. It would make the most important aspects of running a business, like inventory, easier to manage.

Not to mention the drop in workplace productivity in the second half of December.

6: Leah Libresco recommended a book of essays, _The Empathy Exams_, by Leslie Jamison. The title essay is online: http://www.believermag.com/issues/201402/?read=article_jamison

A fantastic essay, initially about working as a medical actor (pretending to be a sick patient, and evaluating the medical students who examine her), but it explores the meaning of empathy including its selfish aspects.

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