Wednesday assorted links

1. A survey of the evidence on alphabetic discrimination.  It is real.

2. What went wrong with the Concorde?

3. Where does the New Jersey Italian-American accent come from?

4. Data on retirement insecurity: “The percentage of workers very confident about having enough money for a comfortable retirement, at record lows between 2009 and 2013, increased from 13 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in 2015, and, in 2016 has leveled off at 21 percent. The percentage of workers somewhat confident increased from 36 percent in 2015 to 42 percent in 2016, while the percentage not at all confident decreased from 24 percent in 2015 to 19 percent in 2016.”  And here is a complex discussion of SSA estimates.

5. The new science of cute the culture that is Japan — “Nobody is cute in Shakespeare.”

6. “It seems to me that news events over the past twelve months or so have put a strain on those who are inclined to view human nature as good.

Comments

I took action to overcome alphabet discrimination!

When I married my wife and I hyphenated our names, my name "Willeke", with my wife's name, "Oh", to make "Oh-Willeke". The result, I moved all the way up from the "W"s to the "O"s. While the benefits of being earlier in the alphabet aren't huge, they are real.

Getting in front of the S's is important, because there are so many of them.

If you added Gosh you could have moved up further.

#2. The main thing that went wrong with Concorde was that it was completed and put into service. The commercial writing was on the wall when there were no commercial orders besides the state dictated ones for Air France and BOAC. That was as clear a sign as you could get that no-one could really make any money operating the plane. But the UK and France had committed themselves to Concorde by *Treaty*. If it had been a normal commercial project between two companies, they would probably have abandoned it.

Oh, and the French insisted on adding an 'e' to "Concord", which no doubt helped to doom the thing. Oh, and the Russians managed to do one better. They produced the TU-144 which was a commercial flop *and* a technological failure.

6) As an alternate, "statisticians tend to believe things are getting better, but with newsworthy outliers." I guess that puts Kling's libertarians closest to reality, but his is obviously a convenient framing for what I regard as an excessively political view of reality.

Better to approach each actual problem with a statistician's eye, and a pragmatist's (lack of) politics.

4. Rising prices for equities make people who own stocks feel richer and more confident about the economy. #TheWealthEffectIsReal

(1.) No doubt this is true to some extent, but one must consider costs and benefits. One advantage is that this norm discourages free-riding co-authors. In other fields, the cost to the lead author of adding someone as third, fourth,fifth author is very small, since he or she retains first authorship. In econ (and math I think), that's not done because the cost is higher

Another advantage is that this norm encourages writing papers alone, which I think improves the quality of the pool of research. It's good to have some papers with a single voice, like the "auteur" theory of film-making, with directors who are given free reign to write, direct, edit, and produce their movies. Sure, some are disasters but you also get classics.

Interesting that the paper is a single author piece and that in the acknowledgement footnote the names are reverse alphabetical order.

4. Maybe they should be confident:
http://www.aei.org/publication/retirement-crisis-retirees-have-same-average-incomes-as-prime-age-workers/

"–Conservatives tend to believe that we need traditional institutions and restraints to control the evil impulses that are in everyone."

"–Libertarians tend to believe that we just need smaller government to bring out the good that is in everyone."

Both of these aren't exactly correct but close enough.

"–Progressives tend to believe that we just need the right leaders to bring out the good that is in everyone."

This is laughingly wrong. This might be what some Progressives tell themselves. But a far more accurate comment would be:

"–Progressives tend to believe that we just need the right leaders in control of a strong state to protect the weak from their own poor decisions and to protect them from the evil that the strong would do to them."

It's funny. You "radicalize" the progressives line, but you only make it mean what has been US policy for 200 years.

I didn't radicalize the Progressive's line. A strong state & protection of the weak are core tenets of Progressivism.

Well, I thought you were indicting progressives for very American values. Take usury laws. They definitely are about "a strong state to protect the weak from their own poor decisions and to protect them from the evil that the strong would do to them.” We are told by modern cool kids and libertarians that they aren't needed, are an indictment of the market, but they were there in the beginning:

"Early 18th Century American colonies adopt usury laws, setting the interest cap at 8%.

After 1776 All of the States in the Union adopt a general usury. Most states set the interest limit at 6%."

I'd challenge you to actually process that. Many things that are considered leftist and crazy today are in fact foundational.

Well, at the time there was probably deflation. But anyway everyone knows usury laws were huge in the Middle Ages, decreasing in popularity since then. Also like so many Prog policies, they hurt the people they are mean to help, go figure.

Those usury laws were a terrible idea and made formal credit inaccessible to the majority of the population.

Americans would not be better off today if we instituted a 6% cap on all interest payments.

Usury follows from founded on the bible as a Christian nation.

Remember, Jesus attacked the bankers, chasing them out of legal authority of the Hebrew nation.

I grew up in Indiana in the 50s and 60s, and debates about repealing usury laws or raising the limits were met with bible quotes. Sermons.

And then, Indiana government was more secular than it has become since Reagan.

"Those usury laws were a terrible idea and made formal credit inaccessible to the majority of the population."

Exodus 22:25

“If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him."

Deuteronomy 23:19-20

“You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it."

Ezekiel 18:13

Lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself."

I do wonder, Cooper, how do you expect the poor to repay a debt when they can't provide all they need on their income, much less save in the first place?

When usury laws denied many access to debt, and then only to debt on tangible objects that could and were repossessed by the lender quickly on missed payments, people saved far more than people save today.

Here's another one. Public education. Progressive, right? Only if you think America was founded on progressive principles:

"The first American schools in the thirteen original colonies opened in the 17th century. Boston Latin School was founded in 1635 and is both the first public school and oldest existing school in the United States. The first tax-supported public school was opened in Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1644 and was run by Rev. Ralph Wheelock"

(History of education in the United States)

And yet we hear at yesterday's Republican convention that "Our schools and universities are like the old Soviet department stores whose mission was to serve the interests of the sales clerks and not the customers."

Republicans are around the bend, hating on foundations of the nation, as not even progressive, but "Soviet"

anon, you are just completely confused.

The Republican and Democratic parties are a melange of both conservative and progressive ideas.

IE The Republicans were staunchly anti-slavery (progressive) and the Democrats pro-slavery. (conservative)

It's your obsessive attempt to define one party as bad and the other as good that leads you to attempt to shoe horn every fact into a narrative. And your examples are poor. There are plenty of conservative Republicans that support Usury laws. They often quote religious texts to support their point. Usury laws would fit under both the conservative and progressive definition.

“Republicans are around the bend, hating on foundations of the nation, as not even progressive, but “Soviet””

This is silly. Republicans aren't advocating we abolish schools. They are arguing that we should change the process to be less rigid and have more flexibility so that we have better results. The Republicans are progressive with respect to public education, attempting to protect the students from the power of the bureaucracy and teacher's unions. Whereas the Democrats are conservative, attempting to protect the traditional institution from change.

JWatts 1, anon 0

Retreating to a defense of progressivism was a good strategy, yes. He got his point by making my argument, before veering off to treat "Soviet" as constructive criticism.

The Trumps call our public school system "Soviet," and I am the one being hyperbolic. Gotcha.

There are certain sane and adult conversations possible about how to improve public schools. There always have been, but this "Soviet" thing is not about that. It is what you say when you want it all gone, privatized.

http://www.ontheissues.org/2016/Donald_Trump_Education.htm

Love that that old link has Trump Universityas a model.

The Progressive ideal of government-public-schools is pure socialism, though not quite Soviet.

In American colonial times thru the early 18th Century -- 'private'
education was the rule. Private-Schooling in that early period was plentiful,
innovative, and readily accessible to the common people.

"Common Schools" {compulsory, public-- but religion-based} were the
exception, located mostly in the New England region. Massachusetts
later spearheaded the compulsory-education movement, establishing the
first modern American government schooling system in 1852. Most citizens
resisted, but the Massachusetts militia was eventually used to
persuade parents to give up their children to the system.

When Massachusetts' Horace Mann in the 1830s began to proclaim the concept of the public school as an agency of personal virtue and social redemption, his timing was perfect. The state of Massachusetts abandoned tax support of Congregational churches in 1833. The public school soon became America's only government established church. The common creed of the public schools was Unitarian and moralistic: salvation by good public works.

American political Progressivism stems directly from that New England Protestantism and has firmly shaped today's U.S. In every meaningful way, Progressives control U.S. politics, government, business, and culture. Progressivism is so endemic, few people even recognize it anymore, nor know its dramatic evolution. Progressives have a deep "religious" fervor to perfect the world and everybody in it-- and are quite willing to force compliance to their dreams. American Conservatives have a similar outlook and methods, but differ a bit on the details of the desired perfection.

"Private-Schooling in that early period was plentiful, innovative, and readily accessible to the common people."

Hahahaha. Oh, God.

"The Massachusetts School Laws were three legislative acts of 1642, 1647 and 1648 enacted in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The most famous by far is the law of 1647, also known as the Old Deluder Satan Law (after the law's first sentence) and The General School Law of 1642. These laws are commonly regarded as the historical first step toward compulsory government-directed public education in the United States of America. Shortly after they passed, similar laws were enacted in the other New England colonies. Most mid-Atlantic colonies followed suit, though in some Southern colonies it was a further century before publicly funded schools were established there."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Massachusetts_School_Laws

"American Conservatives have a similar outlook and methods, but differ a bit on the details of the desired perfection."

I.e. there is no real difference between American Progressives and American Conservatives. OK, then. The crazies get crazier and crazier.

Why call it Progressive? Why not just call it American if it is all pervading?

Because it would not feed the polarization?

From anon source"""educate by the traditional English methods of family, church, community, and apprenticeship,""

But your own source says that this was the first methods of education. Local public schools came later. And I don't see anything about the foundations of the US which included the Department of Education. A top down and much closer to a soviet style bureaucracy then anything from the 17th and 18th century.

Is this a claim that Common Core is Soviet? Not very:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Core_State_Standards_Initiative

Is the Governor's Association really a Soviet sleeper cell?

Its a top down bureaucracy like the soviets, and far different from the education that children received in 17th and 18th century.

So if you want to base education on what happened 300 years ago then the Republicans are far closer then what you seem to support

1. I remember some years back there was a major issue in CA about alphabetical ordering of names in ballot papers in some counties.

1. Leave it to someone with the last name Weber to investigate this!

Yeah, this guy has felt the pain.

Regarding 1 seems like there's an interesting implication if the bias is true. Those early alphabet names in multi-author piece get the cred as the experts over their other, perhaps more expert collegues and so get tapped for interviews and expert testimoney and such. Are we rejecting the idea that such status would be chellenged, and at times the first listed but less expert would show their limitation.

Is there not a market in ideas and expertise that stands a check to the bias/discrimination?

(really widh MR would add an edit abillity for one's own posts...)
"Estimates are that the probability of receiving tenure at these departments are roughly 1 percentage points higher per letter earlier in the alphabet (slightly less at top-10 departments) accruing to a difference of around 26 percentage points between someone whose surname starts with an A compared to someone with a surname starting with Z."

Quite possible this is something of a special case of general name discrimination. In Korea young job seekers are increasingly changing their names to improve their likelihood of landing a job. (http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2016/03/19/2016031900434.html)

THe real problem with the concorde was safety. A Boeing 737 has millions of flight hours to work out the safety bugs to the point where most Boeing crashes are now the result of intentional human action. The Concorde's hours in service was much shorter. Even if the Concorde had made money, it's poor safety record would have doomed it.

> What went wrong with the Concorde?

You can't have commercial airliners flying over populated areas creating sonic booms constantly, so the Concorde business model was limited to flying ocean routes, The End.

Dude, you don't know what alphabet discrimination is.

"increased from 13 percent in 2013 to 22 percent in 2015, and, in 2016 has leveled off at 21 percent": how can he know that the 2016 figure is a levelling-off until the 2017 and 2018 figures are available?

It seems to me that news events over the past twelve months or so have put a strain on those who are inclined to view human nature as good.

What would these sensitive souls have felt during WWI or WWII or during the 1960s, when every major American city was aflame with rioting? What would they have thought in 1929 when there were more than 150 "terrorist" (criminal, union or labor-related) bombings in the city of Chicago alone (source Time magazine of 1929)? The belief that human nature is good is a tough one to maintain in any generation. It doesn't bother me, because i personally think it's the wrong answer to the wrong question. We can only describe human nature, we can't evaluate it.

(Forgot to close my italics! Sorry about that)
It seems to me that news events over the past twelve months or so have put a strain on those who are inclined to view human nature as good.

What would these sensitive souls have felt during WWI or WWII or during the 1960s, when every major American city was aflame with rioting? What would they have thought in 1929 when there were more than 150 “terrorist” (criminal, union or labor-related) bombings in the city of Chicago alone (source Time magazine of 1929)? The belief that human nature is good is a tough one to maintain in any generation. It doesn’t bother me, because i personally think it’s the wrong answer to the wrong question. We can only describe human nature, we can’t evaluate it.

"It seems to me that news events over the past twelve months or so have put a strain on those who are inclined to view human nature as good."

LOL. Tell Arnold to lie down on his fainting couch. Has he ever heard of Pol Pot, Mao Tse-Tung, Joseph Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Genghis Khan? Neither Bernie nor The Donald are in any of their leagues.

Does this elderly scholar not know that human nature is fallible at best?

"There are multiple reasons why alphabetical name ordering can be considered unfair. Authors of articles with more than two authors disappear for example in the term ‘et al.’, because references in the text to such articles are often abbreviated as ‘first author et al.’"

In Mathematics (the second of the four fields that the author names as one using alphabetical order), this is completely false: usage of "et al." is excessively rare. In the text of an article, references are cited either by the complete list of the initials of their author (e.g. [BGG]), possibly followed by the year of publication ([BGG1993]), and a number to distinguish several articles with the same sets of initials ([BGG1], [BGG2]), or simply by their rank in the bibliography (the first paper cited, in alphabetic order, is cited [1], the second [2], etc.). In this situation, the argument of the author is not valid. The only advantage an author with a name beginning by an early letter (say [B]) still has, is that in the bibliography, all the contributions of that author will be grouped together [B1], [B2], [BGG], [BC], [BD], [BX], [BZ], while the contributions of the author Z may happens in very different places ([BZ], ..., [KZ], ... [Z1], [Z2]). Quite slim.

Moreover, that Weber doesn't even precise if the paper he refers to concern mathematics or other fields. Not very serious, but this was to be expected from someone whose name begins by W.

Concerning mathematics and "et al.": You are just picking one of the reasons that can lead to alphabetical discrimination. Not using "et al." as mathematics do certainly alleviates the problem of alphabetical discrimination, but "et al." is not the only problem. If researchers are partly evaluated by people outside their own field, alphabetical discrimination is again likely to arise.

I think that I am very clear which fields are investigated by the papers that I survey (e.g.; in the introduction "The relevant studies on this topic focus almost exclusively on economics"; then again each time when I discuss a study).

3.- "the wealthier northern parts of the newly-constructed Italy imposed unfair taxes and, basically, annexed the poorer southern parts"

So that's how the professor who was born in Naples explained that to you mr. Nosowitz? Interesting point of view...

#3: I'm a NJ Italian. My family came from North Italy and never used those pronunciations, but I'm quite used to hearing Mozzarel and Pro-zhoot and they sound quite authentic. I never knew that was a NJ thing but I believe that they are derived from past regional pronunciations.

If I'm speaking Italian, I prefer the Italian pronunciation. If I'm speaking English, I actually prefer the American English pronunciation, especially of food terms like Mozzarella or prosciutto or risotto that are quite commonly used in American English.

At no 6 - wasn't it Hunter S Thompson who wrote about the essential decency of the white man's culture? Where does that variable fit in?

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