Friday assorted links


3. I think sportswriters have been pretty liberal for some time. Certainly during the 70s and 80s, when the players unionized and won free agency and salaries began to skyrocket, the sportswriters mostly cheered while the fans (even the union members) groused mightily.

The world is divided between people who do things and people who get paid to sit around commenting on people who do things. The former calls for skills and dedication. The latter only really demands endless copy. Which can be produced in indefinitely amounts if you latch on to the complaints of the time. So because Western intellectuals are so dominated by pointless pop-Marxism, the cheapest and quickest way to look smart is to adopt some pop-Marxism yourself. Or the racial grievances that grow out of it these days.

All that means is that they are not as smart as they think

More likely you are not as smart as you think

That is always possible. But people who agree with the conventional wisdom are invariably stupid. Sports commentators have just learned what they have to do to be taken seriously by people like Salon. The peak of their ambition is a measure of their depths of their idiocy.

"In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read. But the bitter truth we critics must face, is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so."

Actually the world is divided in 10 people. Half of them understand binary.

lol. complaining on internet message boards about how people complain too much. that's so meta.

I could care less if a sports reporter or commentator were liberal or not. What I do care about is that they make it obvious especially when I feel that I am being proselytized too or disrespected. I cannot watch ESPN any more and I'm through with the NFL, Basketball is next but I'm hoping Baseball cleans up their act.

I tried to read that article but there was way too much navel-gazing, name-dropping, and general rambling to make it worthwhile. Basically, the way I read it is that DVRs and youtube have made much of a sportswriters job superfluous, so they've all tried to become Tom Friedman-esque pundits these days, explaining how the Columbus Blue Jackets' winning streak is a metaphor for the failure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.


Gamergate would like to ask why game reviewers became so left-wing. I don't care about the socioeconomic implications of Cortana being a holographic woman and what that means about historic oppression and objectification, I want to know if the new Warthog vehicle has more dakka. I love the minigun.

There's a time and a place for cramming your political opinions down everyone's throat - that time is now, and the place is Marginal Revolution. It's not when people are relaxing and enjoying their hobbies.

It seems to be a broad general trend of cultural colonization by the social-justice literary-criticism types found in humanities departments. Maybe it has something to do with the decline of tenure track positions. If you don't have any chance of becoming a sociology professor, you move on to another field with better job opportunities. After undergrad and grad school, you've spent nearly a decade learning esoteric ways to get offended over trivial minutiae. Modern social media makes it even than ever to whip up the mob into a moral panic.

So you make a name yourself in your new field by using your honed skills at picking out microaggressions at every crevice. Altogether it's a pretty successful strategy. Why limit your audience to the small subset of people actually interested in reading about gaming? If you get featured on Jezebel, you'll get way more clicks, mostly from people who don't even play video games.

Brink Lindsay's explanation was that as Americans have gotten wealthier and meeting basic material needs like food, clothing, and shelter becomes less of a problem, people become more focused on issues like status, respect, and perceived injustice, so everything becomeshould politicized and even frivolous hobbies become social justice cause celebres. I think there's a lot to that.


It is a phenomenon that extends throughout the developed world, but the "undeveloped" world can barely conceive of these notions.

Highly educated people are much more liberal than the population at large. The best writers are highly educated, and writing jobs in most fields of criticism go to the best writers.

> The best writers are highly educated

There are tons of easy counter-example here. But since we're on the topic of sportswriters in particular: Hunter S Thompson was a high school dropout.

It is, on the whole, flatly untrue that highly-educated people are much more liberal than the population at large.. There's an extensive sociological and political science literature on these issues. Highly-educated people are more liberal on certain issues, but generally they are not. If one had to summarize in a single sentence, one would say that highly-educated people are more libertarian then the population at large. (The cynic notes that winners in the competition of daily human interaction somehow find collective or governmental interference with the results unnecessary.)

It is also flatly untrue that sportswriters are good writers, but we'll save that for another day.

"Highly-educated people are more liberal on certain issues, but generally they are not. If one had to summarize in a single sentence, one would say that highly-educated people are more libertarian then the population at large."

This is nitpicking; Democratic presidential candidates have beaten Republicans by double-digit margins among voters with post-graduate degrees over the past few election cycles.

The proclivities of people with graduate degrees are wholly irrelevant to a discussion of sportswriters. And Democrats do not score higher among people with college degrees than among the general population.

Post grad has turned into the level you need to get in a social science degree to make $30k a year. Garbage degrees that require someone to be actively looking to avoid work to get.

Writing from a social justice perspective is the easiest criticism around. Seriously. It's pitifully easy. Writers with high education are low IQ. How many Salon writers can do econometrics or two-variable calculus? <1%? How many Math or hard science PhDs can write socjus articles? 100%

Anything not explicitly conservative will eventually become explicitly liberal.

I should add that this is due to the fact that liberals tend to view everything as an extension of and vehicle for their politics and conservatives generally do not.

Robert Conquest’s Three Laws of Politics:

1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.
3. The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies.

They won't be wooly mammoths. They will be Asian elephants with some odd features such as smaller ears and fur. You may as well paint an elephant and call it a giraffe.

Tax law is clearly for those people who find accounting too racy. However I am disappointed. I would like to see more priests wearing snuggies.

They started with 15 splices, they're up to 45, in a few more years who knows how much mammoth DNA will be in there? By starting with a working scaffold (the elephant), they can be sure they will have viable animals right from the start.

I'm wondering how soon I'll be able to buy Canadian mammoth for $5.99/lb at the supermarket.

Don't hold your breath, Mark.

They've kept mouse embryos alive for 10 days ex vivo...genetics aside there's a ways to go before they can match the 22 month gestation that elephants have.


You are thinking like a biologist rather than a businessman. If the target is meat there is no need to create a live mammoth. The closest to mammoth is Asian elephant and they already shared many common DNA. Thus a Asian elephant cell with enough mammoth DNA spliced in can be called mammoth meat. USDA rule dictates that 70% beef can be called beef.

What is needed is a spliced mammoth stem cell cultured in a vat. Beside the initial research costs, the production of cultured meat has dropped from $325,000 to $11.36 in two years for a burger patty in 2015.

The market might be overseen by FDA rather than USDA which only deal with live animals.

You won't get nearly the premium for mammoth meat without any live specimens. People will just assume it's just pure labeling.

I saw this coming, based on your previous curiosity about what Neanderthals taste like.

Care to put your money where your mouth is?

A 99.99%-mammoth elephant is still not a mammoth. Even assuming they have a clue about which order all that mammoth DNA should go in. We can't be sure. It is a chimera, not the actual animal.

But I look forward to trying a mammoth steak. To go with my slow-cooked panda.

1. Rent-seeking industry that is protected by government regs is against deregulation. What am I missing from my model?

Could be. But I'd question if they actually mean what they say.

Being associated or supportive of Trump in any way whatsoever is toxic to at least 40% of the country. Just look at Uber and Underarmour. Those CEOs didn't even endorse Trump, just agreed to meet with him. Yet they still felt major PR backlashes. To their credit Trump supporters seem to be much more level-headed in this regard. They don't tend to politicize every single aspect of their life. They tend not to get hysterically triggered by disagreement. How many pro-Trump rioters have their been?

From a PR standpoint, the safest position is to be moderately critical of Trump. (Regardless of what you actually think). Don't go full rabid anti-Trump, because then you'll piss off Republican consumers, and potentially even the president.

Trump supporters seem to be much more level-headed in this regard. They don’t tend to politicize every single aspect of their life.

I see you've been reviewing what's on my Facebook wall from the partisan Democrats in our social circle. (The partisan Republicans include one woman hardly posts anything, one women who posts infrequently and only includes a smattering of politics, and one woman who posts far too often - but 95% of it is non-political).

Careful--those people throwing firebombs in Berkeley are Tyler's friends.

FDA approval is seal of approval. Prayers will reimburse for a safe and effective drug. If FDA just says, eh looks fine I guess no data needed, payers won't pay without subsequent, rigorous studies, which may vary across insurers. Very scary for pharma

1. This doesn't surprise me at all. Apart from reimbursement, there is also the need to get physicians to prescribe new drugs. While I no longer practice clinical medicine, I can tell you that, when I did, I would never have prescribed a drug that did not have adequate evidence of effectiveness: it's all downside with only hope of an upside for the patient, and it's a liability risk for the physician that would be pretty much indefensible in front of a jury. Moreover, the notion that it is easier and quicker to establish safety than effectiveness has it backwards. Yes, phase I and II trials will easily pick up compounds that are grossly toxic. But the bigger problem lies with very serious but rare adverse effects. These are often difficult to pick up even in phase III trials where there are only a few thousand patients studied. Plenty of drugs end up being pulled from the market because of infrequent but serious adverse effects that only showed up after years of experience with millions of people, long after they were demonstrated to be effective.

The advocates of neutering the FDA and unleashing the pharmaceutical industry seem to generally believe that there is a huge stream of great, innovative drugs that will offer amazing treatments for all sorts of diseases we currently can do little about. But those who actually work in health care or drug development believe quite the opposite: most novel compounds are dangerous, a few can do some good that outweighs their dangers, but most of those offer only small improvements over the status quo. True health game-changers are rare events, and probably their discovery is more a matter of luck and perseverance at trial-and-error than anything else

The second paragraph in Clyde's comment is the key thing here. More drugs get pulled out of both development and off the market for safety reasons. Even after a robust clinical development program, a drug's full safety profile is not known and there are numerous cases where the medical community has been surprised by moderately rare adverse events or drug-drug interactions that were not studied The second point, and key one, is that drug development is just very difficult. Merck pulled another Alzherimer's drug out of development when it was found not to be efficacious. There has been a lot of money thrown at this disease by NIH and industry and yet we are not anywhere close to understanding the etiology of the disease, what a good target might be, or when the best time to start therapy is (and it's likely the answer to this one is very early on or even before the disease starts to manifest itself; but in the absence of a biomarker how do make that call?).

Thanks Clyde. I was wondering if from your perspective you would say we as a nation (the US) are spending too much on healthcare? Your comments seem to indicate small marginal benefits are only coming at extreme marginal costs.

Very informative comment, thanks!

One question, I read about severed or otherwise damaged Achilles tendon as a side effect of Cipro antibiotics. Is there a way to tell who are at risk. The disclaimers are pretty vague, but I understand the odds are less than one in thousand. I am thinking this is an interaction, but can't really tell from the drug info.

Viking, I'm no doc, but I recently took Cipro for 2 weeks and have had tightness/tendonitis in both achillies for the 2 months since, but it's particularly noticeable in a foot where I had previously injured my plantar fascia - so I guess that naturally puts more stress on that achillies. I'd read the warnings and was prepared to be careful with it, but it was really tight for a while. It certainly limits my walking. I can walk for about 30-45 minutes but often around that point it starts tightening up significantly. Before I was walking (and jogging in short bursts) without issue for pretty much as long as I wanted. Now jogging is out of the question. I can feel the lack of flexibility in it.

#1 - Sociologists actually appear to have a better handle on the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory capture than economists. Solve for that equilibrium.

#1: so health insurers are freeriding on drug developers. FDA requires safety and efficacy today. If the FDA relaxes efficacy standards.......well, someone has to do that job and this responsibility and costs fall on health insurers. The pharma guy may be strategically lying, but it's worth to think about the cost of efficacy tests and who should pay for this. Drug developer, health insurer, individual with such bad luck to have a rare disease?

The costs will always fall on anyone who ends up buying the drugs, directly or indirectly. That means you, me and your mama. The insurers don't just have some bucket of money to pay for research that doesn't impact premiums.

Re 5: he applied for over 140 positions? Seems high. One would hope that an econ phd would have a bit better idea of what jobs they want and are likely to get. If I knew that a candidate applied for 140 positions I would not consider them.

Who was #141?

I have a bridge to sell.

I remember applying for academic positions in biochemistry back in the late 1970s. I was a post-doc at a well respected Ivy chem department. I knew things were bleak when I got a nice letter back from University of Wyoming (and yes, I had been to Laramie and quite liked it) where they thanked me for the thought full package I sent and noted that there were 300 other applicants. I decided to move to NIH and do some additional post-doctoral research while retooling and found a nice career in the pharma industry from which I retired.

~150 is the average # of apps you submit.

This is an "efficient" market in the minds of those who are lucky enough to make it into a tenure track academic job.

Large pharma companies favoring current balance of regulations doesn't surprise me at all. They are huge incumbents with huge regulatory functions, who have largely divested themselves of the drug discovery function. Basically ALL THEY DO is buy startups that have invented a potential drug, push it through the FDA, price it, and market it to doctors. If the costs of the FDA process fell precipitously, their entire organizations would be obsolete.

Total BS. FDA costs are fixed and a minimal part of drug development. Many of the regulations would have to be complied with in the absence of the FDA as they deal with toxicology testing and safety assessment. Perhaps you are advocating that those requirements be done away with as well? Even if there were not an FDA, someone is going to demand to know if a drug works or not. How do you propose that be accomplished?

I'm not proposing or advocating anything you dweeb

#1) Of course the incumbent big pharma industry that has settled a predictable business model on the current FDA doesn't want a less restrictive FDA to shake things up with new competition. I hope that was the point Tyler Cown was suggesting.

Was going to say this. It is a very familiar model: incumbents sometimes want to keep complex regulatory processes in place as a barrier to new entrants.

I don't think it even needs to be an issue with new entrants.

The very last quote in the article: "The industry likes certainty."

If you shift from a stable system, where the regulator has a well-defined method of attaining approval for a drug, to a new system where safety and efficacy has to be proven to individual insurers and Doctors, there's a chance you are not going to have the 'best' new method. Now, what was an equal cost for every incumbent is a competition.

Even if Merck has a 50/50 chance of being at an advantage or disadvantage after the regulatory change, what industry is more risk-averse than pharmaceuticals?

The irony is that big pharma companies do less development of truly novel drugs these days (it's not like the 90s). A lot of the stuff that is innovative originates with much smaller companies that the big guys just buy up.

One side effect of pharma companies acquiring more, as opposed to researching in-house, new pharmaceuticals is that due diligence becomes vital. Accordingly, it is much easier to perform due diligence on products that have been subjected to a rigorous regulatory process. The rigorous vetting both makes more data available and decreases the probability that problems will be encountered after acquisition. This can be seen as shifting risk to the potential acquisition targets.

#4...I hope they ask Judge Gorsuch about this ruling.

3. I haven't read any golf sports writing that strikes me as liberal. The Masters is approaching and we will soon see the obligatory articles about Augusta National and how the Club not only has a few black members but now has a female black member, Condoleezza Rice, who will be interviewed countless times, in print and on television, and express how much she really likes golf and how the other members at Augusta National have warmly received her as a member. Nothing will be mentioned about her failure to advise President Bush that invading Iraq would be a really bad idea. I suppose letting the black lady off the hook for the fiasco might be considered "liberal". But in golf, acting like a gentlemen is still very much appreciated, even if the other sports have been taken over by those people.

Does this put Augusta one up on Rutgers regardless?

Those articles are obligatory because the diversity bean counters have created the climate that demands that they be published.

3: You are asking why people with no particular skill or talent, who got their jobs because of who they know in the city, and get paid to comment on and criticize the hard work of others, who pretend they are high arbiters of all that is right and good in the world and that they are inherently selfless, who look down upon the unwashed fans and demand respect for doling out their supposed wisdom that only they possess.... you are wondering why these people are left-wing? Are you effing serious?

How many flavors of meth are you on right now?

#4 Does this judge have magisterial authority over Catholics? I rhink my father's Congregarion's priest is doing it wrong.

3. Very interesting piece from Bryan Curtis. I think the answer could be as simple as this: demand created a vacuum for the supply.

For what it's worth, Bill Simmons has recently spoken in his podcast about how sports announcers are generally very conservative.

Didn't read the link but what about this: (a) sports fans are moderate or conservative; (b) professional journalists are liberal. Professional journalism has now taken over sports newswriting.

Re: announcers. Many of them are white ex-players who thus circumvented the liberal gatekeepers' grooming process.

#3. I think the analysis is overwrought, and it is mostly a function of the media in general becoming more liberal.

Were the sports writers back in the day who ignored their teams shutting out black players considered liberal or conservative? The Red Sox stank for over a decade being the last team to integrate. Would it have been conservative to point out why they were so bad? Liberal to call their racist owners racists, who would sacrifice wins and massive amounts of money putting out an inferior product?

I'd think the diversification of the people covering sports, in basketball at least, would have a big impact.

3. "By the time Jackie Robinson integrated baseball in 1947, black ballplayers knew Rodney’s was one of the first and loudest voices to rally to their cause."

One of the great misconceptions of all time. Jackie Robinson didn't integrate major league baseball, his general manager, Branch Rickey, did. Robinson didn't kick down the door of the Dodgers locker room and insert himself into the lineup, Rickey signed him to a contact and put him on the roster. If anyone deserves credit for the integration of baseball it's Branch Rickey.

Even if Robinson didn't kick down the door, he was still the guy that had to walk through it despite the threats and physical objects hurled at him. They both required courage but it seems pretty ridiculous to imply that Robinson's actions were in some way less courageous or meaningful than Rickey.

Did somebody mention courage? Or imply that signing a contract to play baseball wasn't courageous? The issue was and is that without Branch Rickey's decision Robinson probably wouldn't have been the first black major league baseball player. Instead it might well have been the Cleveland Indian's Larry Doby, signed by the colorless Bill Veeck.

An even greater misconception is that there were no black baseball players in the major leagues before 1947. In fact, there were many in the 19th century (though not without controversy); it was the wave of resurgent societal racism in the late 19th century (the post-Reconstruction era) that fully segregated baseball until the mid 20th century.

The example of activist athletes is interesting to me, because I found plausible an assertion that top UK soccer players tend to be right wing types who feel that they are themselves examples of how hard work, grit, and talent can bring success. Of course I can't point to any right wing (or even famous left wing) current UK athletes, although I do have a vague memory of a famous tennis player who ruined his career by acknowledging support for a far right UK fringe party. I can of course think of UK athletes where it is alleged that their entire life is optimized to bring them as much brand image, and therefore money, as possible. Where do the incentives point in the US?

#1. Sure it takes more money to get a drug to market - but because of the added costs of doing so, there are fewer competitors who are capable of doing so, so the pharma company captures a larger absolute amount of the value added by the new product than they could in a less regulated environment - even if the less regulated one is better for the consumer (I have my own biases but don't think the answer to this is relevant to the topic under discussion), its definitely not for the producer.

That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to
the blogosphere. Simple but very precise information… Thanks
for sharing this one. A must read post!

Comments for this post are closed