Assorted links


#1 Another.

#5 The price is too low. (Referring to the fact at present most sizes, waist size I should emphasize, are sold out.)

1. Of course, there's no there there. In WhatsApp or Whatsever. Building a better mouse trap offers a better mouse trap. Building a better way for advertisers to reach consumers offers nothing.

Employment, payment, and judgement.

In a very real sense, doing work for money, means earning the approval of society. Being paid for work/creation/etc. is quite firm proof that emergent judgement of the economy values you. Work is what you do to gain the approval (money) of the faceless mass of other people. Being unemployed or poorly employed is a very a real signal that the view which emerges from society and the economy as whole is that you have no value. Nobody needs you.

Per force, it will often be the case that such work will involve pressures, or aspects, that one would rather avoid. And very often, part, or large part, or all, of the value produced (what one is really being paid for) is those pressures. And so, the retail worker who actually likes clothing and selling clothing may find that her highest source of stress is timely start, orderly closing, and dealing with shoplifters and deluded customers. While her employer finds that the main reasons to pay her, and retain her, are that she shows up at the start, closes up at the close, does a good job managing shrinkage, does a good job managing deluded customers.

I don't think this rule - the real value of what you do is usually the hard/nasty parts - is changed by corporate versus small firm versus self employment. The self employed clothing maker working out of her dwelling still has to confront theft, keeping order, finding time to meet with customers, and deluded customers. Management in a firm might make these problems better or worse, but can never completely remove them.

Put another way, Rock Stars aren't paid to play their instruments when they feel like it, but to play them when the tour schedule says they play them even when they aren't in the mood.

Well said

6. I do not think "decentralization" means what you think it means...

#6. The article argues that the role of some institutions is to mediate between the individual and the state, but "the state" should be replaced with "any locus of power that infringes on liberty."

State power is bad, but don't forget about religious power and market power. Don't let government get too big, don't let big corporations get too powerful, and don't let big religious groups dictate what is/isn't a repugnant transaction. Don't just argue for the decentralization of things you don't like.

Regarding dynamism in general, Levin writes, "This is not all for the good; not at all. But it has some enormous benefits along with real drawbacks." I guess I need more education on the supposed drawbacks. It's easier to retreat into echo chambers, but those specific echo chambers will shrink over time as the number of voices continue to proliferate.

and don’t let big religious groups dictate what is/isn’t a repugnant transaction.

That's a community decision, so it would be intermediated by elected officials. And if you want hookers and pole dancers about, most places the municipal council will say no.

"That's a community decision," says Mao while he is busy absconding private property.

"I am the Community"-Louis XIV, attributed

While in theory religious power and corporate power are problems, they are less relevant in practice. Outside of the Islamic State, religious power has been on the wane for centuries. Corporations haven't had all that much power either. MS is far less relevant now, and it wasn't broken up nor can it be attributed to the three users of Windows N. Even traditional utilities are less necessary as solar power and such become more common.

Eich was fired for not being pro gay enough. People have their lives crushed for a wrong word or a word taken out of context. We have a secular religion, progressivism, that is very good at crushing people, destroying their careers, suing their businesses out of existence, making them unable to be a part of social society, etc. Basically everything short of a firing squad, and that's enough to control 99% of the population and get your way on everything that matters.

Brendan Eich resigned, he was not fired. He did deserve to be fired though for coming up with the idea of optional semicolons.

There isn't a single religion or corporation which exercises control against me on any given day without my consent - except if that corporation has been granted a monopoly by the state.

3. Very interesting piece. While even short fluctuations could have major impacts, climatic factors don't seem to dominate history. The comparative advantage argument is intriguing.

"Thanks to concerns about global warming, an increasing number of annual winter and summer temperature reconstructions now exist"

How convenient that global warmist "reconstructions" now question the Little Ice Age.

The flip side is that global warming also seems to disappear when annual data are used. Recent peaks are nothing unusual, if one considers the second graph in the linked article.

It's much more likely to serve to re-enforce the Vox readerships belief in climate change than it is to discourage them from believing in Climactic determinism. It is unlikely to stop the publication of articles suggesting for example climate change caused the Syrian revolution.

Didn't one of the Climategate e-mails urge the conspirators to eliminate the Little Ice Age with their "reconstructions"? Some people are a bit late to the party.

+1 Medieval warming period too.

Indeed. I was not familiar with that randomness-into-cycles statistical work of Slutsky.

Re 6 - Is the author referring to the conservative decentralization that brought us the pill bill, the highest incarceration levels in the world, intellectual property expansions which defy logical explanation, an innane billing opportunity for friends at Haliburton, a few trillion in asset transfers from the Fed to Wall Street, or the flushing of the bill of rights by the DOJ?

Libertarian (traditional liberal') = principal
Conservative = agent.

That simple.

6. One big problem with a libertarian-conservative "alliance" is that many of today's libertarians don't want to be associated with White religious Christians. One can tell that the Charles Cookes and Jonah Goldbergs of the world aren't too enthusiastic about their ideology being associated with White Christians from middle America, but that serves a purpose, because the bulk of the WASPs, Jews, SWPLs ect, aren't buying their neocon ideology, only White religious Christians do. But Bryan Caplan knows(even if he won't explicitly admit it) that his ideology is never going to get any support in the real world so he has no reason to try to ally or associate himself with conservatives.

Apparently, business conservatives (20% of voters, according to Pew), don't exist in your world.
Those types are actually very amenable to JG and BC.

Good luck winning an election with 20% of the vote. That's why business conservatives have to work with the Religious Right.

Thanks for pointing out the obvious. I was only pointing out that there is a large fraction if the voting population that Cover ignored. Not sure what you thought I was saying.

I'd prefer to work with independent centrists, as Eisenhower did, but they seem to have disappeared.

They're called Democrats now.

A strong plurality of libertarians are Christian and white. However we may tend to interpret Christianity in the way that say, elected Democrats do, in that we don't see any application to public policy and tend not in enforce morality.

So who's Deng Xiaoping to Jesus' Mao?

Paul of course.

I know Paul tampered with a lot of Jesus' teachings, but is there anything in the epistles specifically about the poor, the rich, charity, or the like?

I think the switch-over may have been after the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of (Eastern) Rome.

I've never had the sense that Jonah Goldberg had issues with social conservatives; he may disagree with them on some points, but contention over those points is not much to be found in his writings.

Charles Cooke makes plain his distaste for vernacular culture and sensibilities, a distaste in which he finds a motor for his writings. Well, Oshkosh ain't Oxbridge. He should feel free to self-deport.

I think Caplan is a manifestation of a psychological minority more than a political one. You could say that about the alt-right too, but at least those characters have recognizable impulses and affinities.

#3. A single contrasting data point that has always fascinated me: It was cold enough in the 19th century that the East River occasionally froze solid enough to support a steady flow of horse-drawn sleighs crossing from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn.

This is astonishing to me because the "river" is actually a strongly tidal salt river strait with nearly constant ship traffic, one that didn't even come close to freezing this winter — the coldest in recent memory — even though nearly 2 months elapsed without the temperature getting above freezing more than a handful of times. It did get cold enough that floating ice shut down the East River ferry in late February, but the last time it was cold enough for a person to actually walk across appears to have been 1888.

And I think it was more common in the 18th and 17th centuries, though I'm too lazy to look for proof.

The East River has one major fresh water source flowing into it - the Bronx river. That does not flow as strongly as it used to because of the Kensico Dam. This used to be one of the main suppliers of water for New York City.

It was first built in 1885. My guess would be this is not unconnected.

If you take 18 million gallons of fresh water out of the salty East River, it is going to get a lot more salty. It will have to be a lot colder before it will freeze.

The French Revolutionary Armies over-ran the Netherlands without too much trouble in 1794-1795 in part because the rivers were all frozen. The traditional Dutch defensive policy of cutting the dikes and retreating does not work if it is too cold. This resulted in the famous French capture of the Dutch Navy by a cavalry charge. I would like to say it is the only time cavalry have defeated a Navy but I bet it isn't.

The Navy was frozen in Texel harbor and so the horses could cross the ice.

I wonder if the Spanish were unable to do this because it was warmer when they were fighting the Dutch or because Armies at that time did not campaign in the winter?

There is of course a comic for this:

The Potomac also used to freeze over each year, solid enough for horses to traverse the river below the fall line. Unfortunately, we don't have the same kind of temperature data for North America that we do for Europe, but my understanding is that the Little Ice Age has been considered phenomenon of the northern hemisphere, not just Europe.

#2. Correlation = causation

Don't say that, you'll upset the neo-social-darwinists. They love their circularly defined correlation metric.

"In truth, Milkie’s study and others have found that, more than any quantity or quality time, income and a mother’s educational level are most strongly associated with a child’s future success"
Mother's education and income are proxies for IQ so contrary to the article it's not the quality of the time but the quality of the parents that is most important. This is doubly so as class effects related to income either directly re-enforce pre-existing advantage or, as in in the Robert Plomin model, serve to indirectly strengthen underlying genetic advantages.

" a child’s future success"

I'll bet that when you say success, you mean "making money". Ergo, individuals that don't make a lot of money are failures, regardless of any other features of their lives.

If you make enough money that you can question the value of money, you are a success.

If individuals who don't make a fair amount of money aren't failures, why is poverty generally considered a bad thing?

#2: "Plenty of studies have shown links between quality parent time — such as reading to a child ...": I've never shared the sentimental attachment to reading to children. I have no idea whether I was read to; I know my daughter couldn't bear being read to. Mind you, I have even less time for "helping with homework". Bloody silly idea.

Interesting. What is your idea of quality time with your kid? (No snark, I'm genuinely curious)

Maybe this is what Dearime does instead of reading to kids?

"Come over here, kid, and sit down and watch how I comment on a thread at Marginal Revolution."

Not dearieme, but: Sharing your joy by teaching them to ice skate; sharing their joy by acting out Team Fortress 2 battles with their Lego figures; intimate hug and snuggle games;; exploring a state park. I add very little value over an audio book when reading to kids, except for explaining the jokes in Calvin and Hobbes. It's good quality time for them and their grandma, however.

I'm hoping this is exactly what 'quality time' is- Doing something that actually lets you enjoy the kids (why else have them?), and vice versa.

@#5 - Surprised TC has not cited this story, from George Mason University, on no Great Stagnation. I can see this being part of a fire department's arsenal (I'm sure it's not that much better, perhaps even worse, than chemicals, but it's probably good for fire suppression):

Boom out da fi-ya! Bass out da flames!

Firefighters may be snuffing blazes with deep-toned sound, if a new device invented by two engineering students in Fairfax, Virginia catches on.

Viet Tran and Seth Robertson's new fire extinguisher looks a little like a conventional one, but instead of a compressed air tank spewing out chemicals, theirs has a loudspeaker the size of subwoofer drumming out sound waves.

It's not much to listen to, just a low hum, but when pointed at flames, it makes them vanish

"The possibility of a device that produces frequency that causes vibration of the eyeballs" (and any other type of balls) ...

what if a firefighter heard a really low bass

#4 on the intangible corporation is very interesting, but I think too narrow. I blogged a response here:

From #4, a big argument is that "Alex Bryson and George MacKerron have measured people's experienced happiness during 39 different activities, and found that paid work comes 38th of 39; only being ill causes more unhappiness."

This was in the UK, I'd be interested in seeing whether it reproduces in more free-market US.

(Btw, anecdotally it seems to me that much unhappiness at work derives from negative interactions with co-workers)

#5. So when are codpeices coming back in style?

No. 2, shorter: "Spending time with your children is irrelevant! Back to your desks!" I wonder how much the Koch bros. paid for that bit of propaganda.

And of course, #2 is missing the other side of the equation -- how much does it benefit kids to have that second income? The answer is, for middle class folks, not at all. (By necessity all this "should mom work or not" hand-wringing is limited to the middle class; the lower class doesn't have a choice and the upper class doesn't care).

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