Saturday assorted links

1. How Ezra Klein reads on the internet.  This is probably good advice for many people, but it is too complicated for me to even read, much less follow.  Maybe with an app I could understand it, though I can’t understand most apps either.

2. Model this.

3. What would Michael Polanyi say? (bicycle video and Boettke bait, all in one link)

4. Upscale goodwill shops (the culture that is Los Angeles).

5. “Intellectual ability may be an endophenotypic marker for bipolar disorder.” (pdf)

6. Freeways no longer define Los Angeles.

7. More on Alice Goffman.

8. Claims about Putin.  And is a slow putsch against Putin underway?


I thought upscale Goodwill stores were called Oxfam.

And you have to live quite a ways away to think that Huntington Beach is Los Angeles

I use tumblr post and then if I highlight something, it immediately posts to tumblr. I can also tag it or write a note. From there I can use google to search for it because it's on the internet.

And if you want to post a snippet from a pdf, go to the google cache version and highlight there and then post it to tumblr.

1. I have not thought of it before, but now I am surprised that there is still no automatic way of keeping Evernote in sync with Kindle highlights.

#2 (Interesting bits to look at) * (proportion of population who wants to look).* y

Is the Internet beginning to shutdown?

CHE won't let casual readers consult their sterling prose, without prior registration. Talk rises in some internet chatrooms that enough chatterers indulge in juvenile patterns of sociopathic abuse to justify the outright abolition of chatrooms.

So much for freedom.

Anything by old friend and longtime textbook author competitor, Paul Gregory, writes about what is happening in Russia must be taken seriously. I am only glad that my wife, Marina, is at this moment unscathed on a plane home from Moscow.

Regarding LA freeways, one sign of their declining importance is that they have come to be known only by their numbers, not their names, as symbolized in the linked article in which the expensively rebuilt freeway is identified as only 495 (if I got that number right). It used to be known only as the San Diego Freeway, a name that one can still see (or could a few years ago) on a few signs. Perhaps this rebuilding is expunging the last of those. When I visit there I find locals giving me these numbers, when as someone who spent a lot of time there in the past would know what they were talking about if they said "Harbor Freeway," or "Hollywood Freeway," or "Santa Monica Freeway," etc.

BTW, same thing has been going on in the Washington metro area. It has been some time since I have heard anybody call 395 the "Shirley Highway," although a lot of people still call 495 "the Beltway," even as I sense the latter usage declining.

Close. (It's the 405 freeway, not the 495.) It takes a hell of a long time to get to San Diego on the 405 any more. That's probably why we don't use that name for it. Most people use it to go from the San Fernando Valley to the west side of LA and back again.

LA Freeways don't need a "reexamination." Their design, cultural and literary meaning are of just about zero significance.

The only important statement about today's LA Freeway is that it is overcrowded, unregulated and can't do the job it was built to do.

I always found it amusing that the 405 which goes South only upto Lake Forest (where it joins the 5) is called the San Diego Freeway. Wheras the I-5 which goes to San Diego is often called the Santa Ana Freeway ( which is a city along the way but not the destination).

IIRC the gradual switch from names to numbers was part of an overall signage improvement plan that California started a little before I moved out of state four years ago. Plus simple practicality started the process even before that.

The freeway signs in southern California were frequently useless to non-locals, e.g. you'd see a sign saying that an interchange with the Santa Ana Freeway was coming up, which was fine if you knew what the heck the Santa Ana Freeway was. And now you're on that freeway and the next interchange is for the San Bernadino Freeway, and the signs give you a choice: "San Bernadino" or "Santa Monica". Which branch should you take?

And to make life even more fun, that very same freeway which was called the Santa Ana Freeway was also called the Golden State Freeway, depending on which part of town you were in. Different names, same freeway.

Translation: "Santa Ana" and "Golden State" were merely local LA names for I-5 (if you're unfamiliar with the west coast, it's the west coast counterpart to I-95). Everyone who lives on the west coast knows what I-5 is and where it goes. But what the heck is the Santa Ana Freeway or the Golden State Freeway?

And the San Bernadino Freeway (which was also called the Santa Monica Freeway) is I-10, another major transcontinental interstate which had those inscrutable local names. And for direction: if you wanted to go west you would take the exit that said "Santa Monica"; if you wanted to go east you would take the exit that said "San Bernadino". Worked great if you knew where Santa Monica and San Bernadino were; tough luck for everyone else.

I lived there for almost 25 years, and even before the state's re-signage campaign, people were gradually using the names less and instead of calling it "the San Diego Freeway" were calling it "the 405" (note the use of the definite article; one of the reasons Angelenos always use the word "the" with their freeways is a legacy of when they had names and had to be prefaced with "the").

The signage campaign had three elements: either replace or supplement the freeway name with its number. At interchanges, identify directions as north, south, east, or west, against instead of or in addition to naming the destination. And the exits were assigned numbers, as in most states, with exit 1 being the one farthest to the south or west, and the highest numbers being to the north or east e.g. I-5's biggest exit number is 796, just before the Oregon border.

With California being so big, that freeway re-signage project was supposed to take years but I think they may've finished it already, and early. Maybe because the new signage is so much superior to the old one, including the use of freeway numbers instead of local names.

This photo might be a current one or a transitional one, showing both the freeway names and numbers, as well as the cardinal direction. But it lacks the exit number.

Very well explained.
The Highway numbers and Directions are very useful,especially for one unfamiliar with the area. The GPS directions use Exit numbers but I have rarely heard a Californian tell someone to take Exit 87 , when giving directions.

I've lived in California now for ~two years total, and am always amazed at how poorly exits are numbered here. I think on Federal interstate highways it's mandatory to number exits, but in California you never see references to the exit numbers ahead of time, whereas in other states you'll see signs that list upcoming points of interest and the proper exit number to reach it. On California state highways, it's even worse. No exit numbers at all. I always thought those poor states who refused to embrace the virtues of mile marker-based exit numbering and stuck with sequential numbering were barbaric. Now I know there is an even lower rung of civilization and its name is California.

If you like to post pro-Ezra Klein and anti-Putin articles: you are a cuckatarian!!

Non-Cucktarian = various flavours of white nationalism. So pretty much everyone who isn't a moral/intellectual pygmy is a Cucktarian.

I believe you have to be a libertarian to be one, so no.

Even in the Russian oligarchy the super-annuated must eventually be replaced by younger studs. So what's the big deal?

#8: Betteridge's law in full effect. I think you could go back to whenever would have been the time of greatest strength and internal security for Putin ($140 per barrel oil?), and you could have come up with a pretty good case that there were troubling times just ahead with regard to his cronies, their corruption, and his political enemies.

Re: #6, Freeways.... reminds me of a child who, having smashed their toy against a wall and broken it, now proclaims that it wasn't a very good toy and they never liked it anyway and when are they going to get the new toy they really wanted in the first place.

The same people who have worked to limit freeway expansion and kill new freeways are now declaring them dead, proclaiming nothing can be done and that public transit should be the new focus because freeways obviously just aren't cutting it anymore... I'd have more sympathy for their loss if they weren't still standing over the body with a bloody knife.

Perhaps only a local would know that the "denuded" Sepulveda pass is the victim of multiple California wildfires?

I will drive the 405 from Newport Beach to Encino today. Because I've lollygagged I will now meet average Saturday jams along the way.

IMO the title is idiotic. LA freeways are sub-optimal but herculean, and as SNL's "the Californians" so aptly captures, part of us.

@2. Male models are paid less for the same reason that female professional athletes are paid less. The majority of the audience for fashion is female, and they want to see female models just as the majority of the audience for pro sports is male and they want to watch male athletes.

I really do not believe that is why people primarily watch male athletes. Much more likely to have something to do with the enormous performance gap between the sexes.

LA is a good example of mistaken investment decisions based on the failure to properly price congestion.

Well yes, but I think this is a somewhat superficial answer. The externalities of the LA freeway system include positive ones - service to the largest container port in the United States, among other things.

As I say above, sub-optimal but herculean. I'm not sure anyone's more theoretically pure solution would have done better.

"Putin’s failures are becoming more evident on a daily basis."


Also, there's nothing wrong with PDFs. I frequently read them when I'm not connected to the Internet on my WinBook TW700.

Gregory's seems a rather florid reaction to two quarters of recession.

Which he enumerates as six quarters of recession. One might also get the impression that 80% of the production occurring in Russia is fictional.

Putin's poll ratings peaked in June at 89%, then at 87% in July. Probably has slipped more since, but almost certainly still in the 80s. People in the US have no idea how sophisticated some of the stories the Putin people are telling the citizens. All this bad economy is just to be expected given that Mother Russia is under attack by nasty conspiratorial western fascists. This is very widely believed, so buckle up and suffer for the motherland. Gregory's argument is that it is elites who are getting unhappy and going after Putin's inner circle, and it is a fact, although it is also being put out that this is just replacing some bunglers with younger more competent people. Hard to know which it is.

However, it is true that the economy has been in recession for about six quarters, but the decline in output is nowhere 80%. Gregory is no fool, very far from it. Sorry about that, art deco, he is not someone to sneer at.

"six quarters"

Since when did a month become a quarter?

I just checked, and the correct answer is that real GDP in Russia has been declining for four quarters, with rate of decline accelerating so that this quarter will almost certainly a fifth one. And, yes, E. Harding, that is quarters, not months. The Russian economy is in really crappy shape between falling oil prices and economic sanctions against Russia, which kicked in middle of last year. And, yes, the reason that outsiders have come to want Russia ill has been because of its conduct in Ukraine, just in case you have not been paying attention.

Barkley, I think that Russia will return to modest growth during the 3rd quarter. Let's see who's right.

Two quarters.

Or three:

Also, unemployment has declined for the fourth straight month, and is back to 2014 levels. Quit doling out that bad economy line!

And yes, much of the Anglo-American elite does want the Russian people to suffer, so such stories are to be expected, given that they have more than several grains of truth to them.

E. Harding,

Regarding Putin's poll numbers, I think there is something you need to understand. My wife has returned, and Russia has returned to nearly full Soviet mode. People will not talk in public, or if so, in whispers. "They are everywhere," meaning security people reporting on people. We have returned to the period of 99% yes votes for the government.

So, it is utterly naive to take seriously any precise poll number out of Russia. If somebody is asked if they support Putin, well of course they do if they are not an insance crackpot. They are thinking they will get reported if they do not say yes. That is where things are, although I do suspect he still has a majority of support. But you are seriously out of touch with what is going on.

As for economic growth this quarter? Not with Brent crude prices plunging throughout the quarter to their lowest level in six years and economic sanctions remaining fully in place. Just what sector is that you see growing? Maybe military exports? (that is one candidate, but about the only one)

My, my, the Western paranoia here is so thick, you could cut it with a knife. If your claims here are correct, online opposition activity would be festering (there are ways on the Internet to get around much government snooping). So far as I'm aware, it is not, though I have heard many online and offline complaints about the food burning. As for why I think Russia will grow in Q3: rising employment due to lack of wage stickiness. "Oni" ne vezde. If this was a time of 99% yes votes, there would be 99% support, wouldn't there? Russia isn't Belaroos' (where Lukashenko' s recorded unofficial poll numbers are routinely below 50%) or Kazakhstan. It isn't even Ukraine (the Communists have been banned there). I don't deny being out of touch (I don't live there), but you seem to be just as out of touch as I.

You don't read do you, My wife is from there and was just there. We study this stuff. We are published experts. We have had serious experiences involving the place that are a matter of record I shall not go on about. Really.

Who are you? Are you even a professional economist? Have you ever actually studied the Soviet or Russian economy in depth? What is the basis of any of the so-called knowledge or claims you are making here other than some gut feeling coming from your left pinkie finger?

My wife was a high official in the economics establishment there. We personally know most of the top economists there. We are not just some "western paranoids." You really have no idea what you are talking about.

Argumentum ad hominem is never convincing, Barkley. Can you even think outside it? We shall see who's correct about the third quarter. And you've made no argument outside of the ad hominem one in your last response. None at all. Unconvinced. No, I'm not a professional economist, I'm just a dude who was linked to by Cowen once.


"pithom"? Does this mean that you are the notorious "pithcom" from Noahopinion, or that you cannot spell.

So, can the ad hominem stuff where we realize you do not have any grounds for any of your views and note my comment below. It will probably be impossible to determine what the real growth rate this quarter will be because the reported inflation rates are likely to be way understated. As noted there, they are now about as reliable as growth rate data out of China, that is, not.

Again, the one sector in the Russian economy that is probably growing is military production and exports, maybe. But not much else is, and many parts of the economy are in very bad shape and going downhill, especially the energy sector with the crashing as we speak world oil prices.

Barkley, it is you who cannot spell, for "pithom" has been spelled "pithom" for the past four and a half years.
I don't believe growth is likely to be overstated. If anything, growth in Russia since the 1990s (and since 2012) has been understated, from my various impressions of the country. The Russian CPI is, after a spike from September to April, is back to growing at normal rates:
And unemployment has still fallen for the fourth straight month, whether you like it or not. This month's energy shock won't have as much of an effect on the Russian economy as that of 2014, as it's much smaller than that of August-December.

#3 is fascinating; I wonder if devices like the "reverse bike" have the potential to slow down cognitive degradation as we age?

"But again, to focus exclusively on Goffman’s individual conduct misses the larger point. Alice Goffman is a product of system that uncritically rewards the kind of things she was doing, even when those things may have included engaging in serious crimes, or serious academic misconduct."

-Dude, that's awesome. Using sociologist rhetoric to burn a sociologist.

#5 being black may be an endophenotypic marker for drapetomania disorder

Given various kinds of huffing and puffing about what is going on in the Russian economy, let me warn to E. Harding and anybody else who is hot to make bets on what will be this quarter's growth rates there: inflation rate numbers out of there are now about as reliable as GDP growth rates out of China. As of July, what one finds on the internet coming out of official Russian sources is that the annual inflation rate was 15.6%. What I have just heard from my personal sources is that it is more like 27%, which might actually get officially reported for August when it is over. But, if we see officially reported numbers much closer to that 15.6%, well, these are substantial differences that would throw a major monkey wrench of doubt about any reported real growth rates.

I would say that all bets are off exept that probably the only sector in the Russian economy that is growing is military production and exports.

Do you have any evidence from any kind of organized source; e.g., PriceStats for that? No doubt Russia's year-over-year inflation is bound to decline, as the Ruble shock ended in April.

Also, do you seriously think Russian RGDP has declined 10%+, 2008-9-style?!? LOL. There's no way 27% is being reported for August.

In fact, PriceStats data shows that Russia routinely overestimates inflation, and I don't expect that bias to have disappeared over the past year:

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