Wednesday assorted links

1. An intuitive presentation of the fiscal theory of the price level (pdf).

2. New Zealand police investigate theft of one hundred cows.  And how an ordinary New Zealand town became the steampunk capital of the world.  The only thing is: Oamaru is anything but ordinary.

3. Should you be especially suspicious of inspirational stories in psychology?

4. “The origins of the treaty are unknown, but restaurateurs say it originally capped the number of noodle shops in a Hui village at one.” (NYT)

5. How dependent on state support are China’s provinces?  And is China’s movie boom doomed?


5b. the wave of beautifully violent films coming from Indonesia does not help China's movie industry. They are surrounded by competition.

The Indonesian movies are paper tigers.

#3. No -- at this point, you should be suspicious of all findings that are surprising and newsworthy regardless of whether they're positive or negative. For example, the priming research that's mostly failed to replicate wasn't inspirational (not unless you think it would have been a wonderful thing if human behavior could be readily manipulated by subtle environment cues that people are unaware of).

5. American states differ, but China's provinces really differ. Really differ. And it's not just differences according to the level of economic development. Guangdong is as different from Hebei as Hebei is as different from Tibet. It's not altogether clear who supports whom in a country with such divergent economic development and political influence.

#3. If forced to choose between broadly believing findings published in the psychology literature or burning it all and starting over, the latter is the clear choice. The methodological problems are amazingly widespread and endemic, to the point where good-faith students who have come through highly rated programs literally have no idea how badly and deeply they are misapplying statistical methods. There are different levels of statistical cheating, all of which have profound effects in generating hypothesis that cannot be replicated.

1) Falsifying results, ie making up data.
2) p-hacking, ie applying different tests to data and/or including/excluding/slicing data until something hits the magical threshold of p < 0.05 and then publishing that.
3) Publication bias -- only publish postiive results, not negative results.
4) Researcher degrees of freedom/"the garden of forking paths": Choosing one's analysis as a function of the observed data (ie, exploring the data, looking for interesting patterns and then analyzing those patterns).

One big part of the problem is that most psychologists seem to think that the big problem is 1), but that's a small problem and everyone already recognizes it as wrong. 2) is standard operating procedure, and there are powerful incentives to do this, like: if you don't it's hard to generate the never ending flow of "interesting" results that are required to get tenure, etc. 3) is widely viewed as an unavoidable fact of life and why would you ever worry about it, and most researchers have no idea what 4) even means, can't we get back to "power pose"?

It's a disaster.

I think it is an exaggeration. There have been great advances too.

Like what? I'm actually curious. Do you have links? Naive Googling didn't return anything that looked like a great advance.

Skinner proved pigeons can be supertitious and can be conditioned to bomb Japanese ships.

"... and can be conditioned to bomb Japanese ships."

Falconry is much older than Skinner and I'm sure a competent Falconeer could have done the same. So, no that's not an advancement of modern psychology.

Yet none of them ever tried. They simply never tried.

Science is corrupt:

BBC story claims it was 500 cows. Not 100.

It must have been some criminal genius. I would pay to watch the movie about a criminal genius who decides to accept one last job before retiring, a cow heist. He must put the old gand back together for this job, but his nemesis, Inspector Wellington, is closing in on him. What they didn't know is, they are brothers and Wellington needs an organ transplant or he will never be able to play Bach again. What does the criminal do? Helps his long-lost brother and risks being jailed? Or does he retire in the Caribbean with his cow money? Is he his brother keeper? Is blood thicker than manure?

The coppers tried to track him down but he hoofed it out of there.

He wasn't satisfied stealing only one cow at a time, he wanted to raise the steaks.

I guess next time they'll beef up security at the range.

Growing up without a father, there was no one to steer him in the right direction.

His mother tried to raise him right but she was udderly overwhelmed.


I think he's milked all he can out of it.

Yes, he did. The cream always rise to the top.

This post convinced me to buy a substantial amount of beef to grill tomorrow.

Elsie meets the Italian Job?

What kind of a grade would that lame article receive if it was turned in as an assignment in a journalism class?

5b. Hollywood blockbusters may be doomed. Or at least mildly doomed. Other regions are now making CGI fests for the Chinese market. For example, Russia is now focusing less on movies about a deaf boy's cow being shot by Nazis and instead is starting to make superhero movies for China. No word on what the cow thinks about this development.

#1...Interesting. Thanks for posting.

#4 More photos

Also, a different "one noodle" shop

""" "Two liang (0.2 jin) noodles need to be swung around 60 times; while three liang noodles need 90 swings. No matter how many times I swing it, it's only one noodle (in a bowl)," Zhao explained to reporters.

... customers in no hurry savor it from one end to the other. People on a lunch break scoop it up and devour it in large bites. Couples who order together eat the noodle from each end """

#1. Apparently one person's "intuitive explanation" can be another's farrago of fallacies. Just for starters, the paper opens with the claim that "widely held beliefs" about inflation (including Monetarists beliefs) take for granted that it must go hand-in-hand with low nominal interest rates. That this is a canard should be evident to anyone aware of, say, Scott Sumner's views on the subject, to pick just one example which, if I'm not mistaken, been frequently and favorably endorsed on these same pages. If Sumner has emphasized anything, it is that low interest rates don't necessarily mean easy money.

Are Sumner's arguments (which can also be found in the writings of most better-informed monetarists) counterintuitive? Or is the fiscal theory's intuitive appeal one that depends on its proponents' misrepresentation of conventional monetary economics, among other (equally bad) things? I know where I'm putting my money!

#1...I think what's meant is not relying on mathematics. I find papers by Sims, for example, rough going.

2. Maybe the cows wanted to get out of the South Island-even more boring than the North Island. It

"Oamaru is anything but ordinary": when we went there, we were impressed by its beautiful warehouse buildings. Honest.

An awful lot of Psychology is rubbish. It's a Social Science after all.

If the job of a science is to find regularities in nature, then Psychology's main accomplishment is to have established the heritability of IQ and of various personality traits - about as heritable as height. This is (i) utterly unsurprising, and (ii) vigorously denied by tribes of liars.

What do you mean? Psychology has found many regularities in nature that have taught us a lot about: child development, language, biases/heuristics, memory, interfaces, group conflict, self-identity, intelligence (as you mentioned) and more. It is a field that is fraught with a lot of small theories about things compared to the congruent mega theories of other disciplines. This leads to ideas being tested less as they're not as likely to be built upon, generating issues of reproduciblity. However to say an awful lot is rubbish as it's a social science is far too dismissive.

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