Friday assorted links

Comments

That first link is quite interesting.

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Yeah I'm pretty sure you put a an email as your first link :/

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I feel the interactive name calculator would be better if it showed share rather than total number.

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3. Sub-headline: "Like it or not, science has is about to pose a slather of moral, ethical and societal dilemmas"... I wonder if the new superhumans will be able to edit copy.

Can you honkie edit that for us?

Buncha nerds r makin' things in the lab n stuff.

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http://www.snopes.com/politics/science/suicidebear.asp literally 5 seconds of due diligence

That's what commenters are for.

Comparative advantage.

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6. I really don't understand Summer's logic with regard to lottery tickets. Letting the winners of the lottery have more of the money they want reduces inequality how? A much better thing to do would be to simply eliminate the lottery. Some people will drive across state lines to buy lottery tickets, but some will not.

"cut the state's take from 40% to 10%, and make up the lost revenue through higher sales and property taxes, where the burden is shared more fairly across all of society."

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It is kind of odd how much support state lotteries get despite how incredibly regressive they are.

The middle class get funds for nice things and the poor get brief respite from their sad, meaningless lives. It's a win-win...what's not to love?

>The middle class get funds for nice things

Well, no. That's a common misperception.

The GOVERNMENT gets funds for nice things, to be doled out by connected people at the highest levels to their friends. All of these people are quite high-class. Sure, the middle class might end up with a shiny new bathroom in their town hall to use twice a decade, but the cost was 5x what it should have been, and they never saw a dime.

The lottery is a wealth transfer from the poor to the elite. A Democrat's dream come true.

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Don't underestimate the potential black market for *running numbers*. Binion made his first fortune running an illegal lottery. In fact, if you legalized drugs and got rid of state lotteries, gambling would be an obvious market for inner city gangs to move into.

Given that, wouldn't the most equitable thing to do be legalizing private lotteries? I imagine competition would drive down the margin on those so that those running the lotteries only keep a few percent and return the rest as winnings (as seen with casino's, such small percentages are still quite lucrative).

Only if you assume the government wouldn't continue to overtax the winnings. It would be more efficient for the state to keep a monopoly on the lottery, because competing lotteries would take more labor to provide the same worthless service.

Ideally state lotteries would:
1) Not spend a penny on marketing.
2) Payout at 100% of revenue - costs.

(And only tax winnings over 6 figures)

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With the lottery, a number of different things are going on.

1) People really want to have a lottery
2) "We" want to discourage people from playing the lottery
3) Poor people are more likely to play the lottery

The standard economic policy would be to tax the lottery (to discourage its use) and then rebate the money with lump sum transfers to the poor to deal with the income effects. Other consumption goods that are approved of (healthy food?) should be subsidized for the poor since the income and incentive effects work in the same direction.

If one is willing for the government to intervene in this way, I'm not sure what's wrong with that kind of policy. It's not perfect but it's not obviously a bad idea either.

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"Letting the winners of the lottery have more of the money they want reduces inequality how?"

Think of the daily lottery as a form of 'stochastic savings' -- put in a dollar a day and once every three years, on average, you'll suddenly have $1000 in savings. But that's only if the state doesn't take most of the money before redistributing it to the winners. A potential better approach (one that does not involve state governments preying on the vulnerabilities of low-income people) is 'prized linked savings accounts':

http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/11/pf/prize-savings/

(That's assuming, of course, that the government can keep its hands off the prizes).

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I'm disappointed his book isn't teaching the Solow model. We need a The Number Devil for economics.

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Children resulting from frozen embryos were more socially adept than those implanted fresh after eggs were fertilised. The children also moved better, had superior communication skills and showed more independence. Allan Pacey, a fertility expert at the University of Sheffield, suggested that this was caused in part by the rigours of the thawing process. Not all embryos survive thawing, and perhaps those that do are “stronger”, he said.[11] Perhaps freezing and thawing embryos is an inadvertent eugenics process, most successful with embryos having a low mutation load.

That is one of the more interesting paragraphs I've read in some time.

Indeed. The proffered explanation seems reasonable. Not something I'd ever thought about though.

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I thought you were going to make a comment about the distribution of names over time. Do people tend to use names that are popular at the time the embryo is frozen or when born?

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#1: Warning - may be severely deterimental to productivity! "Oh, I'll just try other name..."

I infer that you were likely born in 1962. That's pretty old for an internet commenter.

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Seems I've picked names for my sons that are potentially right at the crest of their popularity.

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The male/female distribution of Madison over time demonstrates the masculinization of America.

I am sure that there is another name that demonstrates the feminization of America.

we are all happily meeting in the middle.

Why are you sure that "there is another name that demonstrates the feminization of America"? I bet there isn't...

Agree, female names are way more likely to borrow from masculine names than the other way around. I can think of plenty of guy's names that are now ok or even hip to name girls: Madison, Ryan, Sydney, James, Michael, Billy, Charlie, Addison, Alexis, Blair, Paris...

Some have even gone from hip to not used much anymore...

Heck there's a whole list: http://nameberry.com/blog/unisex-baby-names-names-that-morphed-from-blue-to-pink

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Check out Adrian. Not quite as dramatic and Madison or Kennedy, but still there. Also Drew.

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#6 Measuring the externality of cigarettes through secondhand smoke only seems like it's leaving a lot out, namely the externality of high health care costs for smokers borne by the public through Medicare/Medicaid (smokers are disproportionately poor, the diseases get more serious as the smoker reaches Medicare age). Also, part of the goal of the smoking tax is to make cigarette smoking a totally unaffordable habit for young people, so excessive taxes are desirable here.

I thought that smokers save public expenditures by dying earlier.

How much taxpayer money is a QALY worth?

That depends on a lot of factors.

If I'm 67 and start collecting $20,000/year from SS over the next 20 years and the discount rate is 5%/year, my benefits are worth about $250,000.

If I'm 67 and I die a horrible, agonizing death from lung cancer at age 68 then I only cost the government about $20,000 in Social Security plus maybe $70,000 in chemo treatments with Medicare.

Sometimes the cheap thing isn't a good thing...

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eugenics is the wrong word. "designer babies" is more accurate.

And the difference is what?

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#5 Again the genetic determinism fallacy; here revealed by this quote early on: "Mitochondrial DNA does not affect appearance, personality or intelligence ..." The argument that altering the cell's powerhouse cannot result in an altered phenotype is a priori stupid and further, whether to do with appearance, personality or intelligence", empirically false as quickly revealed by a search of "mitochondrial dna" and "phenotype" or "phenome" on PubMed.

Andrew Gelman and others have it right when they say that most people can't handle uncertainty and so not only proceed from an essentialist world view but insist on it well past the point of absurdity.

The majority of mitochondrial genes have migrated to the cell nucleus, over the hundreds of millions of years of evolution since they took up residence in eukaryote cells.

The mDNA remaining codes for genes used in the 'fine grain' regulation of mitochondrial activity & division.http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/mitochondrial-dna

Having trouble understanding your point. Love your first name, though

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#7 is really really important. And very obvious when you think about it. But it contradicts the Leftist narrative quite nicely.

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1: And here's why Hillary will never be president. Go ahead, type it in.

That name was soaring in popularity until it became toxic waste in the mid-90s. The destruction of its value was complete and total.

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

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5. " A noteworthy article in 2003 by Tania Simoncelli, then a policy analyst at the International Center for Technology Assessment in Washington, decried the use of IVF with pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (screening) to select the sex of babies for non-medical purposes (as offered by the New Jersey Fertility Center). One reason is that unlike the old state-sponsored eugenics, the new type is “individual, market-based”.[27] Consumer demand can be difficult to regulate—and the stronger the demand, the more difficult the regulation. As shown with prohibition of alcohol in the USA in the interwar period, with recreational drugs from the 1960s, and with prostitution since time immemorial, it is difficult to prevent wealthy consumers of goods or services from getting what they seek from willing providers."

Yeah, that's what it's all about, government regulation.

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#1 - Barack really took off around 2009, didn't it.

Looks like Monica is becoming extinct.

The history of Hillary and Chelsea are quite interesting; a sudden peak around 1992 then a precipitous drop back to previous levels almost immediately.

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The 'Osama' chart is unsurprising but still interesting

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'Adolf' same thing

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There was too much speculation in the eugenics link, but the parts about mutational load and dysgenics redeemed it.

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