Sunday assorted links


On on-line tutors:
Turning the question around, why do instructors grade homework assignments, given the labor intensiveness of the process? One possibility is that performance on homework offers a measure of proficiency that improves overall assessment of the student's understanding of the subject, relative to in-class tests alone. If so, on-line tutoring can undermine student assessment by broadening the scope for cheating. Another possibility, which I think more likely, is that homework assignments give students a signal of what topics must be mastered to do well on in-class tests, and performance on homework is scored to lend some weight to the message. On this view, part of the function of the course is teaching students how to learn the subject. In the face of on-line cheating, together with rational expectations by instructors, the weight placed on homework assessment versus in-class test scores should be such that the gain from cheating on homework is outweighed by the resulting loss of points on in-class exams. In this way, on-line cheaters unwittingly reveal to instructors that they have failed to learn how to learn. It may well be that in-class tests can't assess such learning-to-learn as well in the absence of complementary self-revelation through homework. Scope for on-line cheating may thus be a help rather than a hindrance to accurately assessing student performance.

Often (especially in upper level courses) I have problems on assignment that are extensions of the material explicitly covered in the course. Given, time constraints of examinations, it would be unrealistic to put such extensions on examinations. However, without such questions, most of the assessment would involve students regurgitating knowledge, rather than learning how to derive results for themselves. The internet makes it harder to come up with such questions, than it was in the past. However, I do think that without them, education is much less valuable.

Agreed, Derek. But I think mastering the extensions tends to yield a deeper understanding of the basic material as well, and so tends to improve performance on in-class tests, even if those tests don't explicitly cover the extensions. Conscientious students such as yourself, who work through the extensions, not only learn more but tend to do better on in-class tests. I suspect that growth in the scope of on-line cheating may lead to less "teaching to the test" rather than more, because it renders homework (in conjunction with in-class tests) a less effective gauge of knowledge but a more effective gauge of learning-to-learn.

As a result of the ease of cheating, I don't give any points for hw. I assign non-graded homework, for those who want examples of what will be on the test. I have double the number of tests, so that I have the chance to test for understanding of the more complex questions. I don't think it's the end of education as we know it for subjects with calculated answers that can be effectively graded on tests. Papers and labs are much harder to prevent cheating, but one can just weight them less. I'm considering quizzing the lab material in class and tying that grade to the overall lab grade. I suppose those with a preponderance of papers could do the same.

If they are cheating in in-person classes, one can only imagine what they are doing in online classes.

[Michael Oher]'s low grades were initially a barrier to his acceptance to an NCAA program. He eventually increased his 0.76 grade point average (GPA) to a 2.52 GPA by the end of his senior year so he could attend a Division I school by enrolling in some 10-day-long internet-based courses from Brigham Young University. Taking and passing the internet courses allowed him to replace Ds and Fs earned in earlier school classes, such as English, with As earned via the internet.[7] This finally raised his graduating GPA over the required minimum.

Nothing to see here. Move on. Move on. Nothing to see here. Move on.

I would make some snarky comment about the North Carolina Africana Studies program, but I can't be bothered.

True, and in India they cheat so much in person at universities that there are photos showing cheaters climbing ladders to give to their friends or clients the answers to on-going examinations being held at the second floor of the university. Everybody, including the teachers and the security guards, are obviously looking the other way.

Why do instructors grade? Or rather why do they grade and tell. IMHO it puts them at cross purposes, they should be targeted on getting the student to learn.

Raise rates now.

Yeah. It looks like, maybe, if the Fed doesn't act decisively, inflation might, at some future point, exceed 2%, which would herald the end of civilization. Or something like that.

3) well this is obvious. Anyone that looks at the statistic of the gay community knows they are heavy on drug use and promiscuity, that they are basically grids factories. Furthermore, most of us know fag hags and note they tend to be more promiscuous as well. Not a surprise, you tend to adopt the opinions and habits of who you spend time with. Research of the opinions of gays and people who support clay rights show they are more ok with promiscuity, divorce, cheating on a spouse, etc.

There was some famous Ivy League women that made the argument a little while back that the best way to get a good husband is to stop hanging out with gay men. Cocktails and cock seems fun but it doesn't make you a very desirable women and you get older and older playing at sex in the city. Forget her name

Women who hang around gays tend to have psychological problems and are afraid of men. Gays are men that are sexually non-threatening to them.

a troll-bait link successfully baits two trolls.

True, up to a point. But it does look like people who know Gays best are the least likely to support Gay marriage.

Andrew Sullivan deserves a medal for his dishonest campaign to re-brand Gay people as solid, boring, middle class potential Republican voters and not, you know, the way Gay people like to present themselves every Gay Pride parade.

Sometimes the mask slipped. Highlights were his remarks on a television panel (which was edited out later) in which he said, of one of the studies by Edward O. Laumann, "I found that study very odd. I get more sex in a week end than these people seem to get all year"'; his tacit admission in 2001 that from the age of 23 to the age of 37 he'd never been appended to anyone longer than 18 months; and his goofy defense (as a middle aged man) of youngsters going to 'raves'. I'd never heard of such things 'ere that point, and he and I are contemporaries. He's aged wretchedly, and one can guess why.

When Sullivan, the supposed conservative advocate of SSM, explicitly endorses "open" marriage, which is what one would expect to be more common with two males regardless of what is said by advocates, it is hardly surprising that people who dislike the idea of normalizing promiscuity as part of marriage would be more likely to oppose SSM.

Observing my mother's contemporaries many years ago, I did not see that. What I saw was that women with an affinity for homosexual men tended to be those who did not like men in general (though they may have been fond of particular men). The company of old queens was valued because these men were unlike their husbands and unlike their friends' husbands. The next generation down, homosexual men seemed the object of social workers manque (and I'd wager that explains the affinity of clergymen for homosexuals). Half a generation younger, it seemed to do with fashion and virtue signaling. Small samples, of course.

The thesis does seem rather jejune. News flash, people for whom decadent vice is uppermost in their mind contemplating homosexuality tend to be resistant to granting recognition and privileges to homosexuals.

In college, the girls I knew who liked to go to dance at gay clubs did so because they could have all the fun of dancing at a club without getting groped. There's also little reason for boyfriends to worry that they secretly want to get picked up when they go to clubs when you're busy - however, I also knew of several straight guys who would go with the girls to the gay clubs because apparently it's very easy for straight men to pick up straight girls at a gay club, even more so than at a traditional club.

Why the exclusive focus on gay males? Apparently gay male promiscuity is disproportionately salient to everyone commenting if half of the population that wants to get gay married hasn't been mentioned yet. "Lesbian bed death" or "uhaul lesbian" ring any bells?

I think because the vast majority of males consider lesbianism as such sort of kinky, but regard anal penetration as repulsive.

1, Geithner likes to remind people that, like his one-time mentor Henry Kissinger, he is no economist; instead, he is a self-described crisis manager. And it was his task to avoid another great depression, and he succeeded. Unfortunately, we are at risk of another financial melt-down, and like the last one, it's the little guy that will pay the highest price. As indicated by the reviewer, many Americans believe the system is unfair, that those responsible are bailed-out while the little guy is punished. So how do Americans respond? Donald Trump. Go figure.

"it was his task to avoid another great depression, and he succeeded." I hadn't realised that a little tax fraud could be so effective.

Tim was NY Fed president for five years prior to the crisis.

One of the Bank's four responsibilities is bank supervision. In the NY Fed's case that is to supervise some of the largest banking companies on the planet.

Reading that stuff, he persists in having, as he did at the NY Fed, an imperfect idea about how the bubble inflated.

Regarding Canada's 5% down-payment requirement as reason Canada didn't implode. Canadian housing finance was done differently than the subprime/NINJA loan/no doc/ownership nation/FNM/FRE/HUD/clueless rating agency/broken appraisal profession/carry trade/securitization/CDO/CDS clown show that was massively run in the US between 1995 and 2006.

Compare the traditional, US banking home loan 20% down payment requirement with Tim's saying 5% would have done something to avert the crisis. Private mortgage insurance was required for low down payment loans until the owner's equity rose to 20% of the purchase price not some inflated/bubble appraisal value.

I think Dodd Frank legislated (that which a prudent lender would do without government policy incentives not to) the lender underwrite the loan so that the borrower is reasonably likely repay (without resort to liquidating collateral or refinancing based on a higher appraisal) based on income and employment analysis.

Look at "thin homeowners' equity." With market housing prices rising 15/16% in 2004 and 16/17% in 2005 (even higher increases in the hottest markets), who didn't have (nominal/perceived) equity in their homes?

The rest of the story is far too long and detailed.

It seems like much of the "subprime/NINJA loan/no doc/ownership nation/FNM/FRE/HUD/clueless rating agency/broken appraisal profession/carry trade/securitization/CDO/CDS clown show" would have been short circuited by a blanket down payment requirement.

5% or 20% I don't know.

Yeah, housing get prices rose 50% in just a few years because labor costs increased by more than 50% driving up prices of all building materials and manufactured goods and the labor costs of constructing housing and supporting public services.

Those rapidly rising prices were obviously driven by rapidly rising labor costs.

It was classic microeconomics.

Either that, it was free lunch economics with money from nothing being the rule.

Let's keep something important in mind, down payments do not stop bubbles. Stocks cannot usually be brought on margin unless you have 50% down yet no one thinks the stock market is immune to bubbles. Likewise better quality loans were not the problem in the crises.

Loans to poor credit risks happen all the time. Pawn shops have done it for centuries. Today there's plenty of low quality loans made in the auto finance industry.

The bubble wasn't in the loans but in the believe that financial engineering could make bad loans into safe portfolios. The investment banks then needed to buy up 'bad loans' and spin them into their CDO's that they could sell. When it got too hard to buy such loans from the market they started buying companies like Countrywide so they would have an inhouse supply line. The bubble wasn't in the loans but the CDO's.

If the gov't had done a massive effort to pull homeowners out of foreclosure by making their mortgage payments the collapse still would have happened. The bubble required new loans to constantly replace old loans so new CDO's could be spun and sold to the market. Even if home prices didn't collapse, the bubble would have imploded as the truth about the risks of the CDO's become known and the price they could fetch in the market would collapse.

Like most bubbles there was an element of truth to it. Financial engineering can take a huge number of poor to ok loans and spin out some very safe bonds from it. This means loans that would have been too risky to make before could be made now. But like the dot-com bubble, people assumed this innovation was magical and got carried away with it.

In Canada, there is a higher mortgage insurance premium, mandated by law, for small downpayment mortgages.

As Boontoon points out, this sort of thing will not prevent bubbles, but it reduces the downside risks (for reasons I don't quite understand well enough to explain in common terms). The relevance of packaging low-grade loans into highly rated instruments can hardly be understated in explaining the subsequent crash either - risk and reward were almost completely separated, a recipe for disaster.

and like the last one, it’s the little guy that will pay the highest price.

"The little guy' was investing in collateralized debt obligations?

Yes, in the sense they were persuaded or coerced into depositing funds with organizations that bought CDOs like 401k trusts, insurance companies, banks, mutual funds, and so on. The trustees would be paid huge sums of other people's money before the failure and really weren't held accountable because the bailouts allowed them to keep their jobs.

5. The writer would do well to use more economic thinking. On the one hand, self-driving cars lower the supply cost of transportation so there will be more of it. On the other hand, for any given level of transportation self-driving cars will almost certainly reduce emissions by a lot. Both of these are good things. With no taxes, then the net effect on emissions is ambiguous. But of course (in theory) we can use taxes

The argument he should make is that: self-driving cars with a proper tax on emissions is a great thing. If an emissions tax is not feasible for some political reasons, AND the net increase in emissions will be large (in general ambiguous and his article suggests more likely would be a net decrease), AND this net increase will have a very negative on welfare, then we should put on the brakes. But by his reasoning anything that makes cars cheaper are ipso facto a bad thing

Why would lower transportation costs result in more transportation?

Do you drive around the block 5 extra times now that gasoline prices are more than 50% lower that several years ago?

Very few people I know want to spend more time traveling the same repetitive trips.

Lower transportation costs is the difference in non-repeitive leisure trips such as a 50 mile trip to the beach vs staying home and watching a video.

And repetitively driving up and down the same street otherwise known as crusing is not an unheard of form of recreation as celebrated in the film American Graffiti

Just look at miles driven. Gas price has a strong effect on it

Re #5

If you have a quick look at the paper the authors say that automated cars could plausibly reduce greehouse gas emissions by half. So the increase is a worse case scenario.

What a shockingly evil article, which is run of the mill for Vox, and paper.

The *problem* is that people will want something. My god the horror. The last thing anyone would want is to increase people's welfare if it were to interfere with religion.

The evil. The gaul.

Definitely evil. People should refrain from any discussion of things which may contribute to higher emissions. Banned (thankfully not).

OT: George Starostin reviews Loveless.

See also the rest of his special series on his old site, working backwards from number 1 of the Rate Your Music chart in weekly installments. Given the alphabetical approach he's taking on his new site, I was worried neither of us would live long enough for him to do and me to read his review of OK Computer.

"With more marriages of equals, reflecting deep changes in American families and society at large, the country is becoming more segregated by class."

If it's going to be the aristocracy on one end of American society, and the Kallikaks and the Jukes on the other, then I choose Denmark. .

If you read the article, you would know the same is happening in Denmark as well.

I did a CTRL-F "immi" and turned up nothing. Did the same thing for outsourcing and other terms. You can't talk about marriage without talking about how men have been the greatest losers from the deindustrialization of America, especially lower class men. Given the truth of female hypergamy, the result has been a drop in marriageability and family formation. Charles Murray, in his recent article:

"For white working-class men in their 30s and 40s—what should be the prime decades for working and raising a family—participation in the labor force dropped from 96% in 1968 to 79% in 2015. Over that same period, the portion of these men who were married dropped from 86% to 52%. (The numbers for nonwhite working-class males show declines as well, though not as steep and not as continuous.)"

It's not just assortative mating. It's also how immigration and economic patterns have reduced social mobility for lower class people and their children, leading to even more "caste-based" mating above.

That's more or less it. The wealthy own assets, and thus benefit from and have an incentive to promote asset price inflation, while ordinary people have to sell their labor, which is worth less with asset price inflation. Ordinary people generally don't own assets or even have negative wealth with more debts than assets. So they can benefit from wage and commodity or goods inflation that increases the price of their labor and lowers their debts. Or they have mortgages or 401k's, which are attempts by the wealthy to try to bind ordinary people to asset price inflation, which is a double edged sword as while their home and stock portfolio values may increase, ordinary people need to sell their labor for income, and the asset price inflation makes assets more expensive to purchase hence cheapens their labor.

4. I found this article to be all over the place.

-- It talks about assortative mating and equality in marriage, but cites many examples where white collar couples have huge income differences (maybe assortative mating is only about working class marring working class? Then some mixing in whatever remains?)
-- The headline is about assortative mating but it starts with a graph about women's income as a percentage of male income.
-- It never provides details on how assortative mating leads to income inquality? Where are the facts? (Not that I doubt it, but more numbers would be helpful).

Yeah, Tyler used the word 'evidence' in the link. Got me!

Interesting quote:

“It’s kind of like if he’s shorter than she is, she doesn’t wear heels,” he said. “It’s in the cultural DNA that if anyone should be bigger, richer, more successful, it should be the man.”

Yeah, the weird cultural fetish for men to be bigger than women has got to go.

When you live in a mixed society where people come from different genetic stock and have a larger variance, yeah, it has to go.

#3 was basically already reported by this Onion article 15 years ago.

Remember the cross in dumbo? I was watching that movie a few years ago with my wife and kids, she the side made the obligatory comment about the crows being a racist caricature. I guess I was feeling contrary that day because I gave it some thought and realized that those were drive black musicians being their (on stage) selves. They were presenting themselves the way that they would present themselves to a black audience. Their mannerisms were animated. The weren't a black caricature, they were just black. Then it hit me, white liberals (such as I was) are offended by the existence of black people. Now apply to gays.

2. One way to discourage cheating is using in-class exam under proctoring to determine 90% - 100% final marks. Assignments are only for daily exercise. In that case, cheating on assignment is useless.

5. Almost everything to improve human life cost energy, like air condition, hot water, etc. And when things got cheat, people turn to use a lot more. I am not surprised to see that auto-driving cost more energy. But the main benefit is to improving living standard, right?

5. Yet the author assumes the worst and jumps to "It may be that the socially optimal outcome, at least for now, is partial, not full, automation. That way the energy and emissions benefits of smarter driving practices can be fully captured, without allowing drivers to tune entirely out — without making it too easy."

5. Today private driving involves a lot of sunk costs and a lot of infrequent costs, such as new tyres and maintenance, that people rarely consider when making the decision to drive or walk 200 meters to buy a slurpee. However, if people start to switch from private car ownership to using automated taxis, then they will be hit with a charge each time they use one which, while less less than that of current human piloted taxis, will be the full cost of using a vehicle. Focusing people's attention on the cost of being driven like this could counter some of the expected increase in road travel that may result from automation.

I expect automated taxi companies may attempt to profit maximise and introduce a fixed component to their charges - "Join Boogle Automated Taxi Club and get 10 free hours of quality robo chaufeuring a month!" in order to prevent people thinking about the total cost per trip. As this is likely to work, it might be a good idea to prohibit fixed charges to limit congestion.

"However, if people start to switch from private car ownership to using automated taxis, then they will be hit with a charge each time they use one which, while less less than that of current human piloted taxis, will be the full cost of using a vehicle. Focusing people’s attention on the cost of being driven like this could counter some of the expected increase in road travel that may result from automation."

I had not thought of that, good point.

However, I don't know if more regulation in the way you propose (i.e. "no fixed charges") would be the best way to approach the problem of congestion though. I think congestion charges would be more efficient (like they have in Singapore and a few other places, I think). Tax the thing you don't like directly!

No fixed charges is just one thing that could help. I'm sure it wouldn't be enough on its own. But there are other reasons to be down on fixed charges. They are often quite intentionally used to confuse consumers and prevent them from easily picking out the best deal for them. In other words, they can impede the efficiency at which markets operate.

TFG - A government bureaucrat trying to cover up the government's terrible housing policies. Undocumented loans, loans in excess of 125% of equity. No equity. Incompetent OTS. Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. Charlatans all.

I'm curious if anyone has seen data on assortative mating and income inequality in same-sex couples.

2) This sort of thing explains why the Chinese education system is 100% test based and does not acknowledge classroom- or project-based achievements as contributing to educational success. In such a system, it is next to impossible to promote "real learning" as opposed to a pure focus on test preparation. Only a handful of elite universities have started to incorporate factors other than the national Gaokao (standardized admissions test) in evaluating applicants. The same applies at lower levels as well - many middle schools also use standardized tests as the sole means of selecting students as well (although my understanding is that wealthy parents can usually get their children into many top middle schools and high schools regardless ...)

I also use a 100% oral basis for test evaluation (I still give marks for homework and participation). You have to be careful, because some students just aren't very good speakers but are good with the material. I used to threaten that I would give an automatic 0 to any student I even SUSPECTED of cheating, no questions, no debate. 0. Don't even look anywhere other than the test sheet. I only had to do it to one student, the stories went around, and the problem was gone entirely. The student became hands down the most improved student of the year in an effort to make up the difference. But I don't do written tests anymore.

I'm also a big fan of the open book approach, since this is a better approximation of the vast majority of real life situations.

"I used to threaten that I would give an automatic 0 to any student I even SUSPECTED of cheating, no questions, no debate. 0. Don’t even look anywhere other than the test sheet."

No wonder you fit in so well in a country ruled by a ruthless oligarchy.

You've obviously never proctored Chinese students taking a test. Cheating is virtually ubiquitous without such a threat. And, note, it worked. The idea is to reward effort and knowledge, not cheating ability. The other 90% of the time they were explicitly encouraged to question and doubt me at every step, something virtually unheard of in the freedom loving West, let alone China. I would even intentionally introduce various mistakes and fallacies to make sure they were up to the challenge at all points in time, with the added bonus that they would never hesitate to correct a fellow student.

Sounds like a great argument for ending Chinese immigration and university admissions.

Why? We don't put up with cheating on tests in the West. And, also, for the reasons I mention SAT and TEFOL tests are the main criterion of admissions - high school grades in China don't mean squat, zilch, nada, it's all in preparation for the standardized test (which you can repeat annually for the rest of your life, if you don't do well the first time).

And as for grad school admissions of Chinese undergraduates, only applications from Chinese universities which have proven status in the upper echelons of the academic world are taken as credible. There are many many thousands of universities in China, but if you're not from one of the top 5-20 in China (out of my butt estimate), I don't think there's a single university in the West that will even consider the application.

The proof is in the pudding - Chinese applicants perform very highly in Western academic settings.

Why didn't they study whether those who associate heterosexuality with monogamy were most likely to oppose opposite-sex marriage?

Liberals hate families and fathers. They love whores and drugs.

Make America great again.

"Liberals hate families and fathers. They love whores and drugs."

More of this please. Please do keep on teaching us about ourselves, oh wise one, you understand us so well. This is why we need Trump. He will help us to understand ourselves for the sick monsters we are.

Seriously though, have a family and be a father if you want. But what the hell business is it of yours if some lonely guy wants to get a hooker every now and then or make his own adult choices about what he puts in his body on his days off?

Great response; you really put me in my place about misunderstanding liberals ... Until you admit you think as a liberal that liberty requires prostitution and drug legalization.

We don't need Trump to explain liberals to liberals. We need him because he is not the kind of idiot who thinks legalized drugs and prostitution doesn't hurt families.

Seriously, do you really believe license is the same as liberty? Do you really not see how liberalism has destroyed the American family? Do you not see how drugs have destroyed lives?

Do most people overestimate or underestimate levels of gay promiscuity?

It'd be interesting to see what factors correlate with accuracy estimating levels of gay promiscuity. Do regular Modern Family watchers do a good job of estimating levels of gay promiscuity?

Is there a rule of thumb for parodies?

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