Sunday assorted links


I don't think the comment about alcohol is perceptive at all. I doubt there is a positive correlation between abstaining from alcohol and instant recall, or any other dimension of being an observant polymath. If anything I would guess the opposite.

You got it backwards, you meant "negative correlation" not positive correlation.

CNTRL + F + "Lopez" yields no hits in #1. I was expecting some praise. It's OK.

But if you spend all of your time drunk like me, you won't have time to put your genius to use.

Alcohol may have many amusing effects but enhancing productivity (conventionally understood) is certainly not one of them. This charge may be leveled against many leisure-time activities but alcohol is one of the few whose effects persist after playtime is over.

Jan is right. Alcohol may not make you stupid but the hours left to work decrease...... Can I sleep it?

No doubt a drunk is a fool... but i'll trade a life with a photographic memory (though I am skeptical and would pay money to put tyler's photographic memory to the test) for a mortal's memory so long as there are some of good times sippin grape or curling barley soda's.

But imagine finishing a wedding party drinking tea -- it would be shameful! Wine is necessary for the celebration. - Pope Francis

No 1: Self recommending

You have a hard-on against C2H5OH

Surely one of civilisation's signature molecules.

Although a teetotaler myself (drinking is antithetical to the Brazilian character), I muvs at least acknowledge Mencken's interesting contrarian views on alcohol: Note that he mentions "brutes", who is more than just Popeye's nemesis, he is also one of the blog authors' major concerns.

'drinking is antithetical to the Brazilian character' *

yeah, right:

* not when I was there

This is a residual of Portuguese colonial domination, it doesn't count. Every real Brazilian is a teetotaler or at the least drinks very sparingly as even a cursory glance at Brazil's history and its great historical figures proves.

1. Meet the author with the opinion that 'Marginal Revolution may well be the finest blog ever.' - 'Robert Cottrell is editor of The Browser, which recommends five or six pieces of exceptional writing available online each day. He was previously a staff writer for The Economist and the Financial Times.'

From the bottom text in the green window from -

'Always be interesting. Never be bored.

Authors, academics and Nobel prize winners rely on The Browser to hand-pick the best writing on the internet every day. Why not join them?

Knowledge is pleasure.

“My number-one go-to site is The Browser”
David Brooks, New York Times'

I left out the click here to subscribe button though, at the bargain price of 34 dollars a year. Along with the fact that is apparently also interested in subscribers (though seemingly at no cost but a bit of personal data), this is some of the more amusing meta-PR encountered in years. Likely because SEO has so poisoned the well that it requires some serious effort to do round-robin link enhancing.

For anyone else interested, visiting alexa should be enough to provide a couple of minutes worth of fun. Such as how essentially all of the alexa determined (take with a lot of salt, obviously) visits to are from work, involving people who have been in graduate school. Or how each site benefits from including a commonly searched for term - 'slate' and 'browser' specifically.

Nytimes commenters losing their minds over the McCloskey piece.

Well, this tells me a lot about myself. Working on my fourth startup ...

conomic it might be easily resolved. The problem is part of what it is to be human. The drive that gets people to be successful is often a form of sociopathic tendencies and often that the person is simply an outright sociopath. That translates into enriching myself at the expense of others and usually blaming them for both my failures and their own lack of "success.""

It weird since what she is saying is inarguably true. They are all losing their minds over things that were not written.

Which is weird, because it's usually the comment section here that loses their mind when McCloskey ever comes up.

It is widely known that people who abstain from alcohol tend to be smart, good-looking and humble.

I.e., Muslims?

Most Muslims are problably OK or at least not too awful (after all, if they were, there are 1 billion plus of them in the world, and some of them are your closest and dearest allies), not much different from the American from the 1920's person (particularly if you consider the Prohibition) or the average European Middle Age peasant, i.e. they may go around carring Tommy Guns or thinking theoseJews are poisoning the wells and killing little boys, but mostly they just want to get on with their lives. Most people everywhere have been like that, worrying about their bills, the economy, the state of public schools and pogroms.

But my favorite example of the greatness of not drinking alcohol is Brazil itself. I know precious few people who drink alcohol, my forefathers didn't drink alcohol all and the most revered Brazilians, such as Rondon, Constant and Caxias, either didn't drink or drink so little that they were virtual teetotalers.

I was a quasi-teetotaller until a lengthy stay in a Muslim country (and not even one of the more notorious ones) as a young man changed my mind about alcohol as a cause of social ills.

Jimmy Carter, George W. Bush and Donald Trump?

They don't count. Bush is a reformerd substan abuser, Trump is already drunk on himself and Carter is Ned Flanders' hillbilly cousin. I am talking about real people, with real personalities, like me, my relatives nd people I know.

No true Scotsman drinks alcohol. Everybody knows this.

My point exactly. No true Brazilian either.


The Chinese government has figured out that it will be quicker and cheaper to gain control of Australia's natural wealth by bribery rather than take it by force.

MR is one of the tree places I find interesting things to read each day, the others being much more highly staffed (I follow about 150 Twitter accounts and scan Google News). So yeah, it is amazing that Tyler can compete 1:N. Still, I found that article a bit obsequious. I prefer respect to be grudging.

5. Ms. McCloskey is correct, that "liberalism, in the free-market European sense" caused the Great Enrichment, but as our mothers taught us, too much of a good thing can be harmful. The China miracle is astonishing, as Ms. McClosky points out, but what she doesn't mention is that inequality within China has risen far above the level of inequality in America; even as inequality between developed countries and developing countries has shrunk with globalization, inequality within developing countries, like inequality within developed countries, has risen. So what, you might ask. I would respond that "liberalism, in the free-market European sense" self-corrects excesses and imbalances, and in doing so perpetuates the Great Enrichment for future generations. That's the beauty of markets. For those experiencing the self-correction, well, as our mothers taught us, too much of a good thing can be harmful. Who knew mothers were economists.

"...but what she doesn’t mention is that inequality within China has risen far above the level of inequality in America; "

No, China and U.S. disposable income inequality are about the same with China a bit higher.

The Gini coefficient in China was .49 in 2012; only two countries, Brazil (.53) and South Africa (.63) have higher Gini coefficients. By comparison, the Gini coefficient for the U.S. is .41. On the other hand, wealth inequality is higher in the U.S., where the wealthiest 1% own more than 42% of all U.S. wealth (that's in 2012, and is higher today as asset prices have increased); in China, the top 1% own only a third of all China wealth. The accuracy of the figures for China, however, is doubtful, given the rampant corruption and unreported income.

The Chinese government claims .47 in 2012 but hard to know. (Right, probably not. ) The disposable income comparison puts China and the U.S. closer together. I just wouldn't say "China has risen *far* above the inequality of the U.S.", although higher by income measurements.

How do the figures you assert (a citation would be helpful) calculate "disposable income?" If it's quasi-consumable expenses like education or housing are dragging down the Chinese elite because they're treated differently than vacations and restaurants, that doesn't really seem to meaningfully detract from the point.

Global GINI has never been lower since the pre-historic time when everyone was on the precarious knife-edge of existence.

4 is behind a pay wall. Anyone have a link to the free article?

You've got to be fast: reload site, and immediately click on "stop loading"

That worked! Many thanks.

Or simply google the article.

1. I agree with Cottrell's assessment of Marginal Revolution and Cowen and Tabarrok. And I share the same concern as Cottrell about Cowen spreading himself too thin with his new responsibilities at Bloomberg. But I am heartened by the dullness of most of Cowen's posts at Bloomberg, dullness as compared to (for example) Ms. McArdle's posts, which are catnip for the type of reader that Bloomberg seems to attract. We can only hope that Cowen's dullness at Bloomberg will continue so his insightful posts on this blog will continue. Keep up the good, bad work, Mr. Cowen. We are depending on it and have the utmost confidence in you that you can do it.

2. It's interesting that the algorithm for a bestseller isn't the same as one for a consistent seller. For example, dogs might sell better than cats, but browse the cozy mystery section of the your local Barnes and Nobel, and you'll find plenty of authors who have made a good living writing books with cats prominently featured.

I can recall reading as a kid that publisher Bennett Cerf joked that books about Abe Lincoln, doctors, and dogs sell well, so he was looking to find a manuscript entitled "Lincoln's Doctor's Dog."

1. Now I know the answer to the question "what do Gene Simmons, Donald Trump, and Tyler Cowen have in common?"

1. On the other hand, in the Gospel of John, the first miracle (sign) Jesus turned water into wine during a marriage-feast; Ulysses S. Grant, known for his drinking habits, saved the union; Winston Churchill, the most famous drinker of the past century, saved the world from German conquest; and Cowen's buddy, Joseph McCarthy, who "saved" America from subversives, was a falling-down drunk.

Are Tyler and Alex the Last Bloggers?

no ads, comments, links?

3. Why the link?

What is new here?

Is there anyone out there who does not know about this part of France?

It is not part of France, it is a legitimate part of Brazil.

actually the Browser is also the best of its breed too...and is a life sans alcohol worth living?

Yes. I live pretty well without alcohol. And Rondon, the Patron of the Telecommunications branch of Brazil's Army lived to be almost 93 and was a Marshall. He abstained from alcohol since his youth and spent decades in Brazil's jungles installing telegraph posts, researching Brazil's wildlife and pacifying and helping Brazil's indians.

Half of US adults drink alcohol either never or less than once a month.

More than half of the alcohol in the US in consumed by about 10% of the population. They are usually pretty easy to spot, as they tend to do things like post "Is life worth living without alcohol?" on message boards.

As a likely member of that 10%, this entire debate strikes me as quite silly. Some people are able to handle high levels of consumption; some aren't; some are but choose not to consume; and some aren't but find ways to make it work anyhow. History is littered with examples from each group of people who went on to do amazing things, and it's kind of pointless to draw conclusions about a persons character based on which group they happen to belong to.

With respect, Tyler cowen is not one of the most intelligent people ever, marginal revolution is not the best blog ever, and the comment section is gene rally moronic. The fact that the claims in that article have been accepted here as inarguably correct just proves my point.


#1...I've always thought of commenting on this blog as a way of supporting it. It's coming up on eight years since my first comment on October 10th, 2008, which pointed out that Chinese peasants were going to be allowed to own land for the first time under communist rule. It seems forever ago. And, yes, I've learned quite a bit from the posts and comments over the years. Sadly, not enough to shut up. More people should comment.

#3 La veuve de Saint Pierre was a good movie.

Regarding St. Pierre et Miquelon, their preservation as French territory is largely a matter of a deal involving maintaining French fishing rights in the North Atlantic.

Dangit, Cowen, why did you blow the cover off SP&M!?! They are the answer to my favorite go-to trivia question, "What part of North America uses the Euro as its currency?" (There may be other bits that do, beats me.) And now my odds of stumping my audience have been marginally (sic) worsened.

For fans of the place, see this old Car & Driver article about "driving from New York to France:"

1. All true. But even more true about Slate Star Codex.

#1 - Tyler : Penn :: Alex : Teller, I don't get in any permutation. But that just buttresses that blog's argument that this one is smarter than it is. Check. Glad they liked it.

4. If Australia "loses the fight" against Chinese spies is that likely to be a bad thing or a good thing for the average Australian? Clearly since Australia has no desire to harm China the more spies China has confirming this the better? And obviously spies have got to eat and need somewhere to stay which is good for service sector jobs, which is something our current government doesn't seem terribly interested in. And the more foreign spies there are the greater the chance Australians will learn what is going on in the concentration camp on Nauru island, since it is currently illegal to tell people.

Of course there is an optimization problem. How can we maintain a high number of Chinese spies in Australia if they come to the conclusion we're not hiding anything from them? Possibly by having the government randomly block Chinese investment and complain about spying.

Wasn't the US Communist Party more-or-less subsidized by all the dues-paying FBI and local police infiltrators? Maybe something similar is Australia's strategy....

4. The AFR article is a reminder of how casual racism persists in Australian society; xenophobic in tone and even includes a outright offensive phrase -- "round-eyes"

I'm pretty sure that "round eyes" is a descriptor used by Chinese people in China, and in this context refers to the distinction between Chinese Australian business people in China versus caucasian Australian business people there. That reflects on the Chinese, not Australians.

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