Assorted links


Glad I'm not the only one who noticed that photo. Everyone wants a piece of Lagarde. Yellen looks like she just came back from the trenches.

"1. No Big Bang? "

Wait, what? I thought we had a consensus. This isn't how 'science' is supposed to work.

Mm. Wasn't the science settled?

The article really means "no strict singularity". Physicists have long taken that singularity with a pinch of salt. Evidence points to a time when the universe was much hotter and denser than now and since then the distances between things have been expanding. This paper doesn't seem to challenge that consensus.


Ah, scrape some peanut butter off the toast and add fluffernutter instead. Likely cooked up by some second echelon wonks at the Heritage Foundation. What does it do to promote the use of a price system as an allocative device in medical care and to have real prices out there and visible? How about limiting the public commitment to health care expenditure? Correcting perversities in the provision of long-term care??

Just remember. It does not matter who are the Republicans who sit in Congress. The end result will reflect the imagination of Bob Dole.

Who's going to bring the nutella to the healthcare table?

Toast with nutella, peanut butter and fluffnutter. Mmmmmmmm.

Bob Dole was a pharmaceutical hero. He was the third experimental patient to receive streptomycin. The first one died, the second one went blind from the treatment, and the third (Bob Dole) was a resounding success.

We need more Bob Doles!

Because we need more politicians whose answer to whatever the question is begins with "We passed a bill just a couple of weeks ago which provides for a $500 credit for families who have more than $2000 in expenses on...."

What does it do to promote the use of a price system as an allocative device in medical care and to have real prices out there and visible?

Well, it allows any kind of plan to be sold. Which means that we can go back to high-deductible plans, where people pay out of pocket for most services. More people paying out of pocket creates market demand for transparent pricing.

The main reason transparent pricing has withered is because people use their insurance for everything so they don't care what the prices are.

Well, it allows any kind of plan to be sold.

I'm not referring to 'plans', but to transparent and publicly quoted prices for medical services.

#1a. The "no big bang" title is misleading. The question is whether this is the beginning of the universe or not. While it popularly has been characterized as such (Hawking famously has), the problem is the laws we know break down at that time. Other physicists have not been as apt to characterize it as the beginning, but have been open to other possibilities.

But even given lots of possibilities, there was a big explosion and expansion of space at that time, so don't worry the big bang is still around.


I find this highly amusing, because I have been warned repeatedly of the dangers of creationists conspiring to stop schools from teaching Big Bang theory to children.

I think a universe without beginning would also not be found too appealing to conservatives who take Genesis literally.

Advocates of biblical inerrancy are just that, not 'conservatives', which is a political category. You're an Antidote only to clear understanding.

They are overwhelmingly on the political right so my comment is apt. I actually am not against teaching alternatives to the Big Bang because its clear to me science doesn't have all the answers, some scientists are just as arrogant as religious fundamentalists. However we should have origin stories from many different world religions to give students more perspective. Maybe the Buddhists, have it right, maybe there's some obscure South American Andean tribe that got it right. We need more perspective is what I'm calling for.

They are overwhelmingly on the political right so my comment is apt.

No, your comment is not apt. It's a reflection of what's happened to portside politics. Everything's status games so a grab bag of characters with different motives and interests are thrown into your mental-emotional kitchen sinks. They probably speak with Sarah Palin's flat vowels too.

"However we should have origin stories from many different world religions to give students more perspective. Maybe the Buddhists, have it right, maybe there’s some obscure South American Andean tribe that got it right. We need more perspective is what I’m calling for."

So Christians are bad when their theological views conflict with science but on the other hand we need more religious accounts of creation by approved minorities. Surely this is parody !

All beliefs should be given time, but many of these Creationism advocates only want a Judeo-Christian western viewpoint given to the exclusion of other equally valid viewpoints. There is a lot of close mindedness in Western societies because we are not exposed to other perspectives.

Is it peculiarly American to associate conservative political views with biblical literalism?

My own view is that anyone who takes Genesis literally is a bloody fool.

Well my own view is that there's a big group in intersection between bloody fools and conservatives.

Did you read the article? No where does it say the event didn't occur-- we're as sure of that as anything in science. Here's the rub: "some scientists see it as problematic because the math can explain only what happened immediately after—not at or before—the singularity." We just don't know if it was the finite beginning of things or not. Our understanding breaks down as we approach the singularity.

I was always told that due to relatively time would slow down towards the beginning of the universe, so the singularity would basically be infinitely far back in time.

The article also said that using the quantum adjustments resulted in a conclusion the universe had not begining -- so not Big Bang to start anything.

No, the big bang occurred. It was simply a local event, not the beginning of everything if their model is correct.

"we’re as sure of that as anything in science": personally I'm more persuaded by experimental evidence. But I do know that some people find it difficult to distinguish theoretical physics from science.

"I’m more persuaded by experimental evidence"

I'm right there with you, but in their defense, this is a test that's difficult to replicate in the lab.

Can't do experiments in cosmology. But can test predictions. Here's why we are so certain that the big bang happened (whether it was the beginning or not):

This is empirical, not theoretical cosmology, btw.

Yeah it's almost like, kids in science class should learn about the current scientific consensus on a given topic, and the process by which scientists change their views over time in response to new evidence.

LOL stupid liberals.

I don't think it matters much of first graders learn big bang theory, honestly. All they are going to learn is "There was this big bang, and all the stuff in the universe came from it. Ok, that's it. " It's not like they are going to be doing equations explaining general relativity.

Evolution, on the other hand ....

As to #6:

#2. I had a similar idea a while back for a website called 'Penny For Your Thoughts' , where you would pay a penny to comment or upvote someone. People who received upvotes would get paid a percentage of the upvotes and replies (in pennies).

Hmmm, Penny, the Big, Bang Theory? Penny, Penny, Penny.

#1 - Not sure the paper really says no big bang. It argues against a singularity... which is (somewhat) different. We had a big bang... It's just that the volume of the universe 13.8 billion years ago was not reduced to a single point for which physics breaks down entirely.

Useful as a construct I suppose, but speculative.

2. Removing comment sections is a great way to defend bad/tendentious journalism, if nothing else. My visits to Vox often lead me to think, wow, if they had a comment section they'd be getting ruined right now.


Anyways the initial novelty effect seems to have died about Vox. No one's talking about them much any more. Good riddance I say.

I give them another year before they fold.

"2. Removing comment sections is a great way to defend bad/tendentious journalism, "

Popular Science removed their comment section specifically because they didn't want to encourage contrarian views. The scientific process I was taught in school is apparently old fashioned.

Don’t read the comments—they can make you mistrust real experts

re: #2 nerdy white guys have deep pockets when it comes to having their voices heard. always have.

That's why I've urged President Obama to add a refundable, means tested tax credit that would pay income-disadvantaged racists and trolls to post comments on blogs everywhere.

The time to stop this sort of inequality is right now, before it starts!

6. I have two criticisms of the analysis: first, it is based on a health insurance market that no longer exists and, second, it is based on a health insurance market that no longer exists. As to the first criticism, it uses as the baseline the insurance market before ACA. Thus, it states that the Republican proposal for a modified community rating for premiums that allows insurers to charge older insures five times the premium charged younger insured would punish younger insureds. What? Under ACA the ratio is "only" three to one, meaning that under the Republican proposal the premiums charged younger insureds most likely would be reduced (as compared to those under ACA) because insurers can make up for it by substantially increasing the premiums for older insureds. As to the second criticism, the health insurance market has changed and Republicans haven't noticed. By changed I don't mean because of ACA, but because of the market. Today, it's all about increased co-pays and deductibles, but from the Republican proposal you wouldn't know it. The Republicans wish to return to a world that no longer exists.

first, it is based on a health insurance market that no longer exists

Yep. Whether or not getting rid of the ability to exclude based on pre-existing conditions was a good idea, it's what we have now. And you can't just yank it back away.

It's very easy to give the people a new geegaw, while it's very very difficult to take it away.

Agreed, that boat has sailed.

HIPAA has required group plans to cover pre-existing conditions for almost 20 years. There are some exclusions for breaks in coverage, but even those can't be for more than 12 months, and the period is less than that in most states. The Dems have done a great job of concealing this and, sadly, leaving too many people with the idea that they'll lose coverage if they change jobs. Pre-existing condition coverage is simply not an issue for the vast majority of people (only about 6% of the market is individual plans). Note that under the ACA, grandfathered individual plans are still permitted to exclude pre-existing conditions.

If the Republicans are smart, they'll leave that provision, to the extent there was anything new in the ACA, alone; it just doesn't make that much difference. JWatts is correct; that boat has sailed. But it sailed in 1996, not 2010.

Pre-existing conditions may not be an issue for the majority of people with insurance (or seeking insurance) but it is a an issue for financing health care through insurance. The question isn't how many people have pre-existing conditions but how much health care cost is coming from pre-existing conditions? My guess is it is a lot, it is growing and it will continue to grow into the future.

A pre-existing condition only exists in the context of changing from one insurance plan to another. The net cost of treatment doesn't change because the patient moves to a different vendor; the new vendor pays more and the old one pays less. It has no effect on costs to the industry in aggregate.

True but in an environment where you are allowed to deny coverage or charge extra for pre-existing conditions individual plans can boost profitablity by using them to filter their pool into people who are healthier and whose only major expenses are totally unexpected illnesses.

What is interesting about the GOP proposal it seems to have an underlying philosophy of creating a shadow single-payer system for those with long term, chronic conditions by pushing those people off to state run 'risk pools' which at the end of the day sound like the taxpayers funding the difference between what a 'normal' insurance policy would cost versus what is charged for a pool of only sick people. That would make the rest of the health insurance market revert to a more standard type of insurance model where you are only paying to protect yourself from unexpected events. But at the same time it would be a large expansion of gov't run health coverage. Is this what Republicans really want or are they just trying to throw together anything to offer as an 'alternative'. I think it is the latter and if it is the latter why is this a good idea for the political party? Sometimes it makes more sense to just accept the defeat and move on from there.

#6. At least it's honest in the sense that it admits that if you get rid of the mandates, you must also get rid of the ban on pre-existing conditions. I think the idea to make it more expensive for the young and healthy isn't going to do much to help the problem of getting the young and healthy to sign up in greater numbers. It also seems like there are a few things in there which aren't going to make insurance any cheaper, but rather just push the costs off the government books and onto the consumer at a rate that increases over time. It also strikes me that the idea of getting rid of the exchanges and returning to a system of people paying insurance agents isn't so much about an improvement, but taking down the more public face of Obamacare.

All in all, it doesn't seem like a plan that's really going to excite the public other than Obama-haters who will support any not-Obamacare plan, even if it were a return to blood-letting and leeches.

It is not going to excite them either. You've still got a bowl-of-spaghetti system of mandates, tangles of regulation, and cross subsidies of one sort or another. This thing just removes some features that do not do well in focus groups and re-arranges a bit.

It's another indication, in case we needed one, that the Republican Party at its apex and center is ineffectual and sterile. It might be something else if you have Jindal or Walker sitting in the President's chair (or, let's be fair, Giuliani), but they'd still have to contend with chinless Capitol Hill apparatchiks (who will not do something minimally sensible and restore the filibuster).

Outside that nexus, discussion among committed Republicans tends toward a romantic retro-libertarianism wherein every significant innovation in social legislation enacted since 1932 is eliminated and medical care is a fee-for-service enterprise like car repair. All we need is a Convention of States which will repeal the original sins of the income tax and direct election of Senators.

Will not do something minimally sensible and eliminate the filibuster. Ach..

There is no mandate to sign up for the the workplace health plan, yet nearly everyone does (other than people covered by their spouse's plan). An since 1996 when HIPAA was passed and signed into law insurers have had very limited ability to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions in the employee group market. Yet that market have not collapsed or seen a "death spiral" as a result.

It's also interesting that employer provided plans charge a flat cost whether the person is young or old. Since older people typically have higher health costs, this implies employer based insurance would be overcharging young people and undercharging old people. Yet Americans love it.

It's perplexing then that the 'problem' with the ACA is that it supposedly hurts the young even though it allows insurance companies to charge less for young people.

There is a fundamental difference between providing an option and forcing something on everyone. You don't seem to have noticed. In other news "we allow" restaurants to charge less to chicken eaters than to steak eaters, yet they're both getting dinner, it's the same thing! I'm actually a bit frustrated by how stupid your logic is here.

In what alternate universe is "chicken" the same as "steak"? One comes from a bird, the other from a cow. You do understand there's a difference, right?

Meanwhile we are talking about charging people the same price for the same product-- you know, the way just about everything else in the market is sold. If restaurants charged some people 2$ for a plate of chicken and other people 200$ and refused to even serve other people we would rightly cry foul. Why shouldn't healthcare funding work the same way?

A fundamental difference with your analogy is that people who don't eat at a restaurant don't have to care about covering the costs of those who do. When you and your coworkers go out to eat and agree to split the tab evenly, it is a fact that the chicken eaters are subsidizing the steak eaters. Yet people put up with that because they would rather not deal with the hassel of seperate bills or trying to allocate costs by dish. But those who don't bother eating at the restaurant at all don't have to worry about it.

If we are talking about using health insurance as a model for providing for health care, then all costs have to be covered by the system. The Republican proposal allows young people to buy insurance cheaper, but then it imposes on taxpayers the costs of covering pre-existing conditions and tax deductions for paying health insurance premiums. So what the young will supposedly gain from lower premiums will be taken under the table by various taxes, fees, and other gimmicks in order to cover the sicker.

That's not really an alternative proposal at this point. If Obamcare is an ice cream cone, this GOP plan is putting ice cream in a paper cup as an alternative. Maybe during the debate over the ACA this might have been something to consider but back then the GOP didn't care about presenting a serious alternative. If you want to overturn the system now after all the work has been done the gain should be something radically new and improved...not simply a variation on the same theme.

Jon missed the point, I was being sarcastic to emphasize a point that he seems to miss still: health insurance for two different people is not the same product, "letting" insurers charge more for a more valuable insurance product is like "letting" restaurants charge more for the steak. Boonton, I really don't know what you are on about but I don't believe that you don't understand my point, and therefore the fault in claiming ACA doesn't hurt young people.

#6 - isn't the effect of widening age bands the opposite of what Laszewski states? Going from a 3:1 limit to a 5:1 limit will allow premiums for older people to be higher. Today's 3:1 ratio is making younger people susidize the higher costs of insuring those older.

It isn't completely this straightforward, but it is not as he says "...would reduce costs for older consumers but increase costs for the younger buyers"

That comment was completely backwards.

2. Way to fight those stereotypes.

Ouch, I didn't get that at the time.

6. The Republicans should be ashamed of themselves.

Why? For putting a mustache with BO's Mona Lisa?

"A Return to Pre-Existing Condition Limits..."
"...higher premiums, benefit restrictions, or not covered at all..."
"People who lost their continuous coverage guarantees would have access to state-run high risk pools with no assurance as to cost or coverage levels in those plans."
"Lots of people between 300% and 400% of poverty would lose their tax credits. In 2015 a single person at 300% of poverty earns $35,310 and at 400% of poverty earns $46,680."

Yes, the most horrible thing in the world is admitting to someone that resources are finite.

You did notice the guarenteed renewability component right?

"Resources are finite" is a canard here. It doesn't apply. Healthcare resources can grow to cover everybody's needs.

In fact it goes further. Expanding the healthcare sector is called "economic growth"; it is creating new opportunities and new jobs; and it should be "dynamically scored".

What we should do is get the insurance companies OUT of it. They are taking up to 20% (they had been taking up to 40%) and they give no value added -- none.

"Healthcare resources can grow to cover everybody’s needs." is the only canard here.

By your logic, we want healthcare prices to rise since that increases GDP and creates jobs.

Insurance companies give a ton of value-added. Most are non-profit. They bear the risk so you don't have to, they negotiate prices, they police fraud, etc.

Finite resources? Prices? Private insurers? Let's take them 1,2,3 in your order here.

1. Demand for basic, necessary healthcare is NOT infinite. Therefore the finitude of resources to meet this demand is not a serious issue, here. ("Basic, necessary" -- because this does not include elective cosmetic procedures.) The demand for necessary healthcare is finite and completely predictable; statistics are given for every condition and procedure. Why is healthcare demand finite? It is easy to see, upon reflection: it is because nobody wants any more of it than is necessary to become well again. You want to leave the hospital as fast as possible; you spend as little time in the doctor's office as you can. It is not something we tend to overconsume.

2. Your phrase, "...we want healthcare prices to rise..." does not explain whether you are talking about a supply shock, or a demand shock, or inflation. This is a blog on basic economics, so please specify. Two of these could increase GDP and create jobs, inflation does not. Expansion of the healthcare sector to cover the previously uninsured is booked as unambiguous, real growth. (And probably leads to increased future real growth, if "dynamic scoring" is used.)

3. Health insurers previously did some policing, and that is just about the only value acknowledged in the literature. Even then, this is no longer crucial. This function now is mostly obviated by computerization of records and procedures; by transparent cost comparisons at regional oversight levels; etc. (Blockchaining may even help.)

The rest of the case in favor of private insurance for necessary healthcare is "hand-waving" and "vaporware": Private insurers tend to "pass through" the prices to the consumers, so U.S. healthcare costs 40% more than other advanced countries, yet with broadly comparable outcomes. Supply-side changes in tech and procedures are coming so fast that treatment is a discussion more wisely (and efficiently!) kept among patient, family, and doctor. The idea that major risk is being transferred makes sense in fire or auto insurance, but not so much in healthcare, where almost everybody ends up needing it, sooner or later.

Health insurers are basically left with performing a simple accounting function. This was useful before computerization, and they turned it into a cash-flow business where they were sitting on a billion or two of daily short-term cash and/or investing in securities such as mortgage derivatives. In fact we bailed them out, along with the rest of the FIRE sector, after it brought us the financial crisis.

Most are non-profit? Then it's smarter and more cost-efficient to have a single payer. This will mean that we are making decisions by "votes" instead of "prices" (i.e., naming the two main ways in which we do things), but so what? It's all imperfect. Price-finding does not work in a so-called "market" with such a large number of odd characteristics, on both the supply-side and demand-side, that nullify the requirements for market competition (not to mention, the distortion of inserting a third-party rent-seeker, i.e. the private insurers, where none is required).

It's not rooted in a government-caused problem; healthcare coverage was a problem long before government ever got involved.

Passage of ACA was a message to private insurers: "Take the money now, and get into another line of work. Your game is about to end." If the general field still interests you personally, get into hospital administration or medical information systems; there is a mini-boom going on with lots of exciting opportunities.

4. The Republicans? In other news that we should all know by now, the Republicans are trying to combine two arguments: the "slippery slope to socialism" argument, and driving a wedge between young and old. The first one is nonsense, and the second one appears oblivious to the fact that the old raise the young, and then the young help the old, and then after that, the young turn into the old. So it's about as unintelligent and useless as attacking Social Security or Medicare.

And in the meanwhile, the Republicans are opening a can of worms they will not enjoy, because they are going to have to LEARN all this stuff, and they are going to rediscover all the many dozens of reasons why Romneycare-Obamacare is the way it is, and last but not least, they will be enjoining this rediscovery under watchful internet scrutiny. We are all going to be watching them cross every goddamn "t" and dot every "i" until they give us exactly the same thing, or better. Right into the next election year.

So this is a long-term political loser unless the Republicans intend to become the party of single-payer.

The reason for this disaster? The long-term Republican political problem is clear: Hayekian Thatcher-Reaganomics is a phony bill of goods that is crashing into reality after 30 years, but the Republicans still must sell the magical elixir because otherwise their base will stay home, and so they can't win any elections. And now, Rand Paul is attacking the Fed, in order to capture an electorate that doesn't even understand how "money" and "banking" work. This isn't going to end well.

Anyway, the Republicans should cease and desist on this "repeal and replace" issue. They named it Obamacare as a derision, and that was a political mistake. As Robert Laszewski's blogpost (linked to by Tyler above) correctly concludes, they should have been on board from the beginning, and called it "Bipartisancare" instead. Now the Republicans are in over their heads; they're an untrained intellectual embarrassment and, in introducing any form of denial of coverage, they are verging upon moral turpitude. Thus I wrote: the Republicans should be ashamed of themselves.

We started with "a return to pre-existing conditions limits", and then you jumped to "demand for basic necessary healthcare". Way to move the goal posts.

If all you want is to provide "basic" healthcare, you don't need to mandate coverage of pre-existing conditions. The purpose of that provision is to mandate coverage of ALL healthcare needs, not just the basic ones.

The main reason health insurance inflates prices is because we've moved to comprehensive coverage, largely due to the incentives provided to consumers by employer-based coverage. Employees generally see a fixed price no matter what they spend so they have no incentive to spend less and don't care about prices.

Your problem is that you don't think that anyone, ever, anywhere, should have to make rational economic choices about their healthcare.

Hazel, You are absolutely right, I do not think that anyone should have to make rational choices about their healthcare. They should just be made well.

And that proceeds directly from the characteristics of the demand. It's the goalpost you erected. You wrote, "...the most horrible thing in the world is admitting to someone that resources are finite."

But it does not matter in this situation whether resources are finite. if demand is finite, and enough resources can be created to meet it, then rational choices needn't be forced on anyone.

Cliff continued the misunderstanding, and my long comment was in regard to his points.

What you probably meant to write was that you think we don't have enough money to pay for it. But that is a matter of politics, not economics and the availability of resources.

Now in your new comment, you appear to have written: 1. that covering pre-existing conditions is not basic healthcare; 2. that healthcare cost increases are due mainly to employer coverage; 3. that individual consumers have enough time and information to create informed demand in a "market" where, on the supply-side, providers hold regional monopolies, technological innovation is exploding, and providers hold a huge information asymmetry; and 4. that forcing people to "'have to make' rational economic choices about their healthcare" is some sort of metaphysical virtue.

I doubt all of these. #1 makes no sense to me, #2 is only one of the top four or five reasons (and it is begun to be addressed in ACA), #3 violates the laws of market competition, and #4 seems like some sort of Hayekian mysticism.

There is just no need to suppress the demand for healthcare.

Lee Arnold: "“Resources are finite” is a canard here. It doesn’t apply. Healthcare resources can grow to cover everybody’s needs."

There are a finite number number of health care providers. There are a finite number of hours in the day. Consequently, there is a finite, although not fixed, supply of health care. The issue, then, is how to distribute (i.e. ration) that supply. Ultimately, we can either ration by ability to pay (the market) or by need (as determined by some sort of centralized, data-collecting, decision-making authority AKA "death panels").

This is where all rational debate grinds to a screeching halt. Why? Because the right and the left talk past each other. Why? Because each side operates from a completely different set of values from the other when it comes to health care.

The right views health care as no different from any other kind of consumer good. To them, it's no different than cheeseburgers, iPods, or back massages. It is simply another good to be traded in the arket. Its affordability, its provision--or lack thereof--has no moral dimension whatsoever. Any and all attempts by the left and/or government to muck about with the economics of health care in the name of universal access or economic fairness are, at best, absurd and counterproductive and, at worst, a gross violation of sacred property rights.

The left views health care, because at least some degree of it is necessary for long-term survival, as a basic human right. To them, it is thus in no way, shape, or form a typical, morally neutral market good. Rather, its provision is a moral and political imperative. Everyone is entitled to it simply for being alive. Attempts by the right to keep its economics in the market are, at best, selfish and short-sighted and, at worst, a cruel violation of sacred human rights.

The politically shallow, low-information masses fall in the untenable middle. The majority instinctively agree with the left but refuse to come to grips with the economic consequences of what that means. They want the benefits of the left's version, but they don't want to pay for it. They howl when the left starts talking about raising taxes and setting up the inevitable bureaucracy, but then they also howl when the right starts talking about cutting benefits. Finnegan beginagain.

There will be no meaningful progress on the issue until either the right or left view permanently wins out over the other. It needs to be all one way or all the other. In the middle, there is only the unsustainable, kludge-ocratic mess of stuff like Obamacare. Either health care is a human right, or it isn't.

FUBAR007: "...there is a finite, although not fixed, supply of health care. The issue, then, is how to distribute (i.e. ration) that supply... This is where all rational debate grinds to a screeching halt... The majority instinctively agree with the left but refuse to come to grips with the economic consequences of what that means."

As I have tried to write aove, the premise of that debate is fallacious, and the so-called "economic consequences" are really politics, not economics. The demand for necessary healthcare is finite. Healthcare demand is not endless, like the demand for shiny new cars or big screen TVs or glittering baubles. We can increase supply of providers to meet that demand, and no rationing is required in distribution. It is not really an issue. (There are regional allocation issues for rarely goods, such as the available supply of livers for immediate transplant, but that has usually been performed by lists, not market allocation, and biotech will soon make this concern unnecessary.)

#2 How appropriate that this website would link to such an article. Apparently the vast murky funding of Mercatus Center never suffices, and it wouldn't do to ask how other regimented countries that seem to have comment sections that function perfectly well cope with the commentariat. Look for the tip jar to not accept Bitcoins so that uncomfortable questions are never asked, as GMU has an aversion to uncomfortable.

We'll see where this goes but most who have suggested BBT is incorrect have been marginalized in the community. It's also, to me, an amusing result as I recall some young physisists on NPR a few years back claiming the results from the CBR survey proved as fact the big bang occurred.

Whether it's true of not (both BBT and this new conclusion) perhaps it will at least get some of these scientists to become scientists again rather than priests that some seemed to have turned into. Science needs to retain it's skeptism and particularly in a field we we really don't know or have must actual experience. We have not even gotton off at planet in any real sense and just gazing frmo afar is not the same as getting hands-on type experience and knowledge. Even if the gazing is good, it's still only allowin us to see 5% (at most?) of the universe we say is there. Would anyone really make strong knowledge claims based on 5% observation without even knowing if the obervations are giving a representative sample (they are not)?

A Jew publication is going to jew its commenters?

At least Ted Craig (above) had some subtlety to his bigotry.

I'm not really a bigot, just to clarify.

I'll take you at your word, and give myself permission to laugh.

Soooo, a hilarious Arrested Development reference is deleted from the comments of the last post but this crap is still here? Stay classy, MR.

"people are self-replicating and largely self-maintaining" I'll bet Robin Hansen is thinking about this sentence right now.

7. Perfection is the mastering of simplicity.

#4 : Do you still get to publish a paper when you merely confirm what every single fan of the sport already knows? If 80% of a random sample of 10 year olds from India and Australia can predict your research findings correctly then I'm not sure what your contribution is.

Batsmen get more nervous and conservative when they near a milestone and get more aggressive and careless right after the pressure release from crossing the milestone. Both captains respond to this well known behavior. The fielding captains tries to add on to the pressure by either trying to steal a wicket(aggressive fields) or by slowing down the run rate(defensive fields). The batting captain usually lets the batsman get to his milestone because this equilibrium keeps all the players happy (including him) in the long run, unless they're really pressed for time.

"Match xxx was an example of .." Who on earth cites one data point as an example of a theory? How the hell can they establish any causality with one data point?

Eh, it's intuitive that this would be true but having numbers behind intuition is always nice. Plus, sometimes obvious intuition is wrong. That's what all the brouhaha about the hot hand in basketball has been about.

I came to the comments with the same view. I suspect the bold "breaking" is sarchasm. This has been conventional wisdom for at least 200 years, but I guess these guys have measured the stats involved. I once plotted the distribution of individual scores from all first class games since 1800, and you can see clearly the milestones in the distribution.

I don't understand the reference to "economic incentives" in the link language at #4. The same behaviour is obvious in both amateur and professional versions of the sport. The incentives are what is regarded by players and spectators as valorising, and have been developed in a sport where it is possible and common to play a five day game without a winner, and during periods where the financial difference between scoring 99 and 100 was far from obvious, particularly for amateurs in the days before the sport became fully professional. Also, current economic personal incentives for professional cricketers largely involve contracts with the IPL and for batsmen in this competition the metrics are more six-hitting and strike rate - the behaviours described in the paper are either discounted or depricated in that market.

The language in the link at #4 seems like assuming that the best explanation for George "Because it's there." Mallory's attempt to climb Everest are to be found in economic incentives. If that were a true reflection of the link-writers attitude to the world, I think I would classify such an attitude as impoverishing.

#7 - he acts as though he is worried about the plight of those workers who have to spend their days assembling zippers, but it is a fair assumption that, for those workers, assembling zippers is their best option and that they would be far worse off if everyone switched to the fully-automatically produced zippers.

Most of that piece read as: "Aghh! Customers have preferences and are willing to pay for those preferences but I don't agree with those preferences and OMG these poor workers I would really prefer they did not have jobs!"

My pants zipper has a tab on it. I'm betting the tabless zippers are going towards designer clothing.
It's a small price, but on the margin clothing made with the fully automated zipper process will be cheaper.
Hence, only people who aren't too concerned about marginal costs are likely to use the tabless zipper puller.

In the future, people will take care to check other people's clothing to see if their zipper pullers have tabs on them. A true upper crust personage will only have tabless zippers. Haute Couture shoppers will also make sure to check the tabs on clothing to determine it's "quality".
Because the fewer machines touch a product, the more expensive, and therefore, better it is.

Hmm, I just looked at that link:

"I suppose alternately, an engineer could spend countless hours trying to design a more complex method for aligning the pullers and sliders"

That's a solved problem. You build an insert that's smaller at the bottom than at the top that the zipper tabs will only fit into the correct way. And then you randomly bounce the zipper tops via the "virbrapot" and zippers will fill up the insert in the correct fashion. They slide down the insert horizontally as they slide in vertically (in the correct orientation) into the joiner.

Alternately, you could just shave off enough material at the bottom of the tab, so that they orient correctly (in the same way they do with the tabs at the top). This approach has the advantage in saving you some metal in you final output. After all shaving off 1% of the metal involved in the final zipper, saves you 1% in aluminum ingots from the input end.

The physicists have a model. I thought speculation was, like, shooting from the hip.

#7 It is the other blog from Bunnie Wong on Chinese's concept of IP that is significant which I did not have time to comment on yesterday.

I am not a lawyer. The US DMCA forbid reverse engineering but the Chinese seems to allow fact finding exploration from which independent development can be performed.

"My most striking impression was that Chinese entrepreneurs had relatively unfettered access to cutting-edge technology, enabling start-ups to innovate while bootstrapping. Meanwhile, Western entrepreneurs often find themselves trapped in a spiderweb of IP frameworks, spending more money on lawyers than on tooling. Further investigation taught me that the Chinese have a parallel system of traditions and ethics around sharing IP, which lead me to coin the term “gongkai”. This is deliberately not the Chinese word for “Open Source”, because that word (kaiyuan) refers to openness in a Western-style IP framework, which this not. Gongkai is more a reference to the fact that copyrighted documents, sometimes labeled “confidential” and “proprietary”, are made known to the public and shared overtly, but not necessarily according to the letter of the law."

"This brings us to the situation we have today: Apple and Google are building amazing phones of outstanding quality, and (US) start-ups can only hope to build an appcessory for their ecosystem."

"Chinese entrepreneurs, on the other hand, churn out new phones at an almost alarming pace. Phone models change on a seasonal basis. (Chinese) Entrepreneurs experiment all the time, integrating whacky features into phones"

And then mostly they sell half baked phones with software they will never fix. I head Xiaomi is the one exception and actually does update MIUI quite frequently. The cottage phone makers? Not so much.

At $12 a phone, get a new one.

None of the health care reforms attack the real problem: The supply of health care providers. Increasing this supply should be the real solution. Vouchers of $50,000 per year or some number for medical students and some amount for nurses. Eliminate student debt which is at the root of high practitioner prices. Phase out the mortgage interest deduction and phase in the medical insurance deduction. Let's get a surplus of health insurers, doctors, nurses, specialists instead of real estate brokers. We have a huge excess supply of real estate, why not health care providers? Government lending programs for leasing equipment to medical practitioners such as offices, equipment, medical supplies, etc. Government sponsored research programs all designed to bring down prices through technological advances. More technology, less government control.

The AMA blocks all attempts to increase doctor supply (and why wouldn't they?), but it needs to happen somehow.

While the supply of physicians is a problem it is not *the* problem. Doctors bills are only a part (and not even the largest part) of the country's total healthcare tab.

Cricket is a subtle, unpredictable game where scores and psychology feed back on one another. Fans know about this "selfish" behaviour and approve of it in reasonable cases. It is often better to see the man get his looming hundred than than to hope for some highly speculative team advantage from "selfless" risk taking.

It's weird to see all the comments saying to the effect: all the paper says is that there was no singularity, it doesn't say there was no big bang without explaining the difference. I thought big bang was a non-technical term anyway? I guess you can redefine it however you like, but if it turns out the universe didn't ever expunge a massive amount of energy from one spot but instead slowly moved outward while gradually cooling down, then calling it a big bang sounds very misleading.

Laszewski offers more fairy dust.

What he misses is the fact that the piece of Obamacare that has the most impact on the increase in premiums in parts of the individual market is the universal coverage option, not the various mandates on policies (I don't recall the source for this analysis, but one can research and find that).

In an earlier article he complained that the administration should have asked people what they want rather than mandate it and hypothesized that people want a policy that pays for office business and large unexpected expenses---very close to what a bronze Obamacare plan does. In a private email exchange I asked how he thought an appropriate plan would differ from the Obamacare ones and he just repeated that he would "ask people" to find out.

For example--he would allow insurers to offer any policy but allow people to change insurance plans at any time without re-underwriting as long as they were continuously insured. What happens to children who become adults? Do they get one "bite at the apple" without medical underwriting?

More seriously, people can chose a very bare-bones junk plan with limited coverage and switch to a comprehensive plan if their health gets worse. Obamacare also has this flaw, but to a lesser extent because of the minimum coverage guarantees.

Policies are a lot easier if you skip the details.

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