Tuesday assorted links

1. Who’s complacent?: wine-infused coffee exists.

2. “Across a range of policy settings, people find the general use of behavioural interventions more ethical when illustrated by examples that accord with their politics, but view those same interventions as more unethical when illustrated by examples at odds with their politics.”  Link here.

3. Microfoundations for the endowment effect?

4. After plastic surgery, three Chinese women are stuck at the South Korean airport.

5. Chinese scientists can identify you by your walk.  And China’s AI awakening.

6. David Brooks on Thaler (NYT).

7. Markets in everything, bulk discount edition.


5a is not surprising to me. One day I broke my glasses and went to work without. I found that I could identify coworkers at great distance, by how the blurry blobs moved.

In the dark on patrol in the middle of the woods without NVGs I'd know who was where by their movements/outline. It isn't that hard to develop the skill as a human, but might be rather more challenging to code. I'm always surprised at what is easy vs hard to code.

5b is also not surprising.

Does anyone know which McDonalds in Indiana has the Schzuan sauce?

I wish I could find the original .. but I saw something on Twitter like "the old man looked up, and in the light of the LEDs you could see the scars .. 'Szechuan sauce, yeah I was there.'"

I heard there was going to be a location in Indiana. My car is ready I'll go if I can get confirmation.

Bloomington, broadripple and south bend.



Shame on you, America. In Red China, at least, those people would have been shot.

On such a scale as shall be adapted to our penises and vaginas. For such an object as to define treason and judicial review.

Next year in Wyoming.

Defensive innovation is akin to the iceberg lettuce theory. There is an unraveling and each leaf let falls leaving. Unless one takes a bit from lettuce head. Then the 50/50 Mozart Beethoven split has been spoiled by Wagner's dive over the cliff of sententiosness. No it is steadily the unraveling that the iceberg melts. Until the tip is under the water and the iceberg is not seen anymore.

4. A Robin Williams' joke is that cocaine is God's way of letting you know you have too much money. I'd add plastic surgery; indeed, God is likely offended by elective plastic surgery, as if His work wasn't good enough.

"Consider god's work. Who shall make straight what he hath made crooked" - Ecclesiastes

As famous American president Kennedy said, "on earth, God's work must truly be our own."

6. Brooks: "And certainly I can think of individual beacons of intellectual honesty today: George Packer, Tyler Cowen, Scott Alexander and Caitlin Flanagan, among many."

#4 Looks more like Hillary Clinton on election night.

5a. Hasn't it been common knowledge for years that the CIA does this?

A couple of weeks ago I met an old friend I hadn't seen in 35 years. I recognised him from his posture: there wasn't even any need for him to move.

#3 How can we know if Stevie Wonder is actually blind?

#1 Innovation for its own sake is not a sign of zealousness, especially when you've innovated a particularly bad idea.

#2 Duh

#4 Viral and funny yes, but from a security perspective absolutely the right move. I'm sure they'll take it in stride but you'd think if you had the wherewithal to plan this you'd plan your departure better under the circumstances.

Wine-infused coffee = no shortage of absolutely terrible ideas. Now, Four Loko, that's a case of government overreach stifling valuable private sector activity.

6 was a very interesting take. Did I mention how nice it is to be an independent? It feels great to face a Weinstein discussion knowing that you voted for neither Bill Clinton nor Donald Trump. To have rejected them both, in part, for moral failings. It feels great to pick and choose, and not have to defend anything you regard as false or poorly designed coming from Right or Left. Because you don't want membership in one or the other.

If you used your name we could engrave it on a trophy.

Thank you, but I"m no hero. Any good man would have done the same.

Then, how they won three times in aggregate?!

Let's accentuate the positive. If you felt uncomfortable having to defend something because it felt like "your side" .. just don't. You'll feel better and find yourself in a stronger moral position.

So that's what America has become.


Of course, 97% of the smart kids just knew Hillary was going to win.

I get it. You're good man: You voted for someone without a shot in Hell instead of Bush, Dole, Trump, Kerry, Slick Willie or Crooked Hillary. The rest of us are ass holes.

You and the 360,000 other "good guys" might just as well have stayed in bed.

I don't use my name because I'm too easily located. More vitally, my wife told me she'd kill me.

What's your dodge?

Do people really not know what an independent is?

You can vote for anyone, applying that vote as you think best. You can vote for Dole in one year, and Hillary in another.

You certainly don't have to debase yourself by saying "I'm a Deplorable" or voting for an obviously dishonorable man like Trump because that is "your side."

Yes, the moral purity voter. Xhim and xhe never vote for anything but the perfect embodiment of their own ideals.

Anything less than that is a sell out!! Compromises are injustice perservering. We must heighten the contradictions!

I love the psychological profile of the “I don’t deign to vote for any of the actual candidates, they’re impure!”

Aesthetics, busybodies, and puritans by blood. The descendants of the people burning gays are the same people haranguing people over driving a minivan.

Heh. I actually voted though, and so I obviously did not hold out for an ideal.

George H.W. Bush was underrated as a thinker.

Bob Dole was underrated as an honorable man.

Hillary Clinton was underrated in competence.

What was W. underrated as?

A painter.

I sat out Bush v Gore, because there I could not see a clear winner. That was my mistake. I don't believe W was as good at "presidenting" as Bill Clinton.

Whatever Bill's flaws, he took the job seriously.

I don't think so.

5. My (now former) wife was amused by my imitation of how men of varying levels of status walk. That was before George W. Bush was elected president (GWB's walk an imitation of how good old boys in Texas walk). My (now former) wife was a keen observer of other people. I believe she enjoyed travel because she could observe people in the airport. Being a Southern girl from a "good family", her observations were, well, rather critical. That was before young women (and some not so young women) started wearing platform shoes, which are popular today. Do they wear them because they want to look ridiculous? She wasn't keen on men in ill-fitting (tight) suits. I've wondered what she thinks of the ill-fitting suits fashionable men wear today, suits that look like they were made to be worn by Pee Wee Herman. Maybe one day I will run into her in the airport people watching. I'm sure she would have something to say about my appearance after all these years. Her father, a Barrister, had thinning hair (at about my age today). He would tell people the girls rubbed it (the hair) off, and she would laugh out loud. Would she laugh out loud if I told her that about my thinning hair if I were to run into her in the airport people watching. She'd probably ask me to do my imitation of how men of varying levels of status walk.

Sheesh. Sometimes a walk is just a walk. Who says W was so insecure he imitated someone walking? I mean apart from you Rayward.

I agree with Rayward. It is well known that Bush changed his way of talking, and walking, after he lost his first Congressional race (he was surprised and embarrassed, as most kids as rich and connected as him win their first race at that level - you can look it up) . It was not insecurity that made him change the way he walked, though, it was condescension (if that is what the sheeple want, I will give it to them, he thought - I think this is true). That being said, the little rich kid was brave when he was young, as most of us were (take a time machine and fly an old badly designed jet plane in the 1960s - like the most recent President Bush did, many times - go ahead, do it, when you come back I will not say you are not brave). This is a big country but the leaders have come from too small a pool. Still, he was brave in his 20s. You probably were too, The Centrist - I was, I guarantee you that, I remember more than one shot fired in anger - they all missed, but not for a lack of trying - but not everybody was brave, like us. I voted for him twice and I do not regret either vote.

10,000 here 10,000 there. I'm broke. I gotta get out. I gotta get out from under. And the irony of it is, I got an opportunity, and I can't take it.

Thanks for the good advice. When you get a chance - take care of the necessities first - Book of Proverbs, chapter 8: then the chapters ending in 7s - 7, 17, 27, 37, you get my drift - and if you are still interested, the prime chapters - either the real primes 1 2 3 5 7 11 13 17 19 or my preferred style the primes in each stretch of 10 - 12 3 7 to be generous, then 17, 23, 37, 41. None too far apart from each other. Don't just read, reread, but within your reading, read at whim. Hodge, one's cat, will wait - hopefully not to long - for you to finish - but do not forget to feed the cat.

Yes, Hodge will not mind ... I remember that one time I was in a motel somewhere in the Bible Belt (nice Starving Artist picture of a Delibes ballet scene on the wall, though) and the previous lodger had swiped the Gideon's Bible. Hodge will not mind - and it is not true that Wolfie would be furious if he found out those were missing.

A.C. Orange's suggested reading plan for efim pollen

Ruden, Sarah
Augustine (2017). Confessions (trans.). Modern Library.[8]
Apuleius (2012). The Golden Ass (trans.). Yale Univ. Press.[9]
Virgil (2008). The Aeneid: Vergil (trans.). Yale Univ. Press.[10][11]
Homer (2005). The Homeric Hymns. (Homeric poems) (trans.). Hackett.[12]
Aristophanes (2003). Aristophanes: Lysistrata, Translated, with Notes and Topical Commentaries (trans.). Hackett.[13]
Petronius (2000). The Satyricon of Petronius: A New Translation with Topical Commentaries (trans

sorry to misquote - frantic, not furious: Hodge is Johnson's cat, not mine: and in the Book of Proverbs, I did not really follow a prime number trail, rather, I chose those chapters that focused most on what I needed to know at the time - to take an example (not mine but a good example) the fool who says in the foolish heart (not that they did not want a heart that was not foolish, but that was in another chapter, the one that teaches us how to understand) that there is no God, the fool saying this, the fool saying that. Taking my Illinois accountant's tests (thanks, I scored near the top, and would have scored at the top on a better written test - just joking, I won the "time management award" for just barely passing - accountant humor, believe it or not) involved lots of study so I neglected the Bible: but I still remember Aspen Press, and Marty Ginsburg and his stories about his co-author who scored at the top on the Illinois Accounting test, after already winning tenure at a Cadillac law school - and I remember him saying how he would read, on the kitchen table, the new regs as they came out, at that time of year, after the baby and her older sibling had been fed. That being said, Proverbs 1, 8, 11, 17, 23, 29, 31, 37, and from there to the end as you will. You may be grateful, you may not be. It is not up to me.

Chadwick's sister was a genius (google image Chadwick saints of the year) but her brother's version of the Confessions was a little too liturgical-committee for me; perhaps Ruden has some good finds! By coincidence, I bought Lysistrata at the B@N last week, in the version from our friends at Dover: Aristophanes is of particular interest to me at this moment because I do not believe Eco was being honest when he said he did not understand how to explain comedy: it always saddens me when those who can, do not - even Rowling disappoints, when one thinks what she could have done had she read a little more Aristophanes (poor girl - she dislikes so many people I like - how could I not feel bad for her??) / I read Vergil in the original (I memorized Vix e conspectu Siculae telluris in altum Vela dabant laeti spumas salis aere ruebant) walking - I kid you not - along a sidewalk through a tidal swamp on the way to a town where the pizza shop was famous both for the New York and the Sicilian Pizza.) Apuleius is good, I prefer the purple edition from Cambridge of the Psyche story (the last hundred pages in the Lewis version were as good as he ever got, poor guy needed a catheter in his late 50s, who can write in such pain "novels": he was an inspiration to us all nevertheless, I do not really care about novels compared to a kind word spoken in season).

The chapters of Proverbs - 1, 8, 11, 17, 23, 29, 31, 37, and a couple more, remembering they lived in a world even more distorted by unkindness and cowardice than we generally think ours to be - that is my best guess. Thanks for the suggestions, A.C. Orange, but what do you think? Wisdom in the middle of town like a living statute of light, more alive than any of us, even more alive than your arrogant but sweet grandma who thinks that I, who have studied Dante since she was a mere slip of a middle-aged crabby immigrant from Sicily, mispronounced Gnocchi!

I will do this thing. But tell me do you see anything to discuss?

We should tell the truth and expose lies.  

Perverted ambition is the stuff of happiness.  Courageous struggle is a maker of cheerfulness.

Would you care to meet in person to discuss?

Sent from my iPhone

No I will never read it but I hope someday someone will - Orange's view of the world, having reflected long on selected chapters of the Book of Proverbs. Some years are better than others.

you meet people more interesting than me every day: how kind of you to pretend that you don't. Remember what year this is! A kind word spoken in season: thank you.


29:26 ? Amador Valley 1974/8: I, among many, asked what the prince had to say: but it was the Lord who answered with truth.

3. Micro foundations for the endowment effect?

The micro foundation explanation given for the endowment effect (people worry that they will sell for too low a price or buy at too high a price--fear of seller's or buyer's remorse) just trades one asymmetry for another. Why don't people have remorse about a trade not taking place? For example, remorse that they did not sell the item for $5.00 because they asked for $6,00 when it was only worth $4.00 to them.

It is quite possible that the many of the results in this literature depend on the subject's interpretation of the question and probably depends on background knowledge (e.g., the cost of a cup).

Maybe, a better way to say this is that a seller wants to sell at a price that the highest bidder is willing to pay (the market clearing price), but most buyers will not be the highest bidder. Most people in the experiment have already bought all the mugs that they want to buy at prevailing market prices, i.e., they value mugs below the market price of $5. That's why they were not out shopping for mugs before the experiment. The market price is $5 because that is the clearing price at which the highest N bidders are willing to buy N mugs for sale. Most of those N bidders are not in the experimental group; they are at stores shopping for mugs. Sellers know or believe that they can sell their mugs for $5 to people outside the experimental group so they are unwilling to sell for less than that even if they wouldn't buy the mug themselves for $5. "Fear of making a bad deal" is the wrong way to phrase it. Selling to the highest bidder rather than the average bidder is a better way to understand it. There's no asymmetry or irrationality.

Have tou seen how he dress?! Also have you heard how he sings?

Stop impersonating me!

3. This doesn't look to me like a foundation for the endowment effect. Why isn't it an entirely different effect that explains the results of the mug-and-pen experiments, results which have, perhaps wrongly, been claimed to show the existence of an endowment effect? It also would explain the tendency of some people to buy new cars rather than slightly used ones, a practice often claimed to be irrational (and which plainly has nothing to do with the endowment effect).

Daniel Kahneman's book concedes that people who are well-informed about what they are buying and selling don't seem to exhibit an endowment effect. If there really is such a thing, why would it go away when people learn more? A fear of getting a bad deal, on the other hand, fits very nicely with Kahneman's observation. Are there any instances of the so.called endowment effect that can't be explained by other more-plausible things like loss aversion, asymmetric information, high transaction costs, status quo bias, or fear of becoming a sucker?


#2 - The scenarios used are nudges -- light-handed -- and make for good illustrations that nudges aren't just used by liberals.

He dresses and sings like one.


My Italian grandfather used to pour red wine into his black coffee all the time, especially in the winter. It is excellent. Just a few teaspoonfuls. No cream. Try it, it's really delicious.

In a story written by Henry James, one of the unpleasant characters complains that her hostess has failed to pour a little of "la fine" (cognac) in her coffee. It was the story where the heroine visits Europe after saving up for 10 years, meets a cousin at Le Havre, her first stop, and he wheedles all her ready cash out of her, and she returns, broke, to beautiful New England after spending one whole afternoon in France - but her cousin's mistress follows her back, moves in, and insists that the morning coffee have a little of "la fine" poured in.

She’s liberated now. Jwatts is a Trump supporting red neck who will obviously be the next Las Vegas shooter.

Rayward is white and a man. And southern. Patriarchy, check. White privilege, check. Cisgender privilege, check.

Umm...obvious KKK Neonazi.

#4: Can't they just be identified from their walk?

Koreans do not have that technology.

3. Microfoundations for the endowment effect?

They describe tradebook uncertainty. In the experiment, there was only one person in line to buy the mug, so there was no observable queue of buyers. If I see one buyer, I have little idea of a fair price. When I see two lined up, and an occasional third, then my confidence in the market price goes way up. Same with sellers. No observable queues, no market price determined.

2. We lack politicians skilled in persuading anyone outside of their tribe. Democrats need to remember the moderates in red country and Republicans need to moderate to attract blue state conservatives.

6. Anti-Snoots: We Are the Many, the Humble, the Proud, the More or Less Constantly Exhausted by Everyone Else's Hysteria.
I dream of a World where objectivity and moderation are virtues.

There may have been tribes among some of the early European immigrants to North America. Perhaps the Puritans were a semblance of a tribe and maybe some of the extended families of the Irish, Scots and even some Scandinavians. Those semi-tribes were quickly erased, however, by the American experience. Today even families disintegrate within a couple of generations except in some isolated rural backwaters.

Now what are referred to as tribes are affinity groups whose interests are centered around a limited number of issues and no real bonds with others of the group. Political parties are just that, not tribes. You would have a difficult time knocking on the door of a house displaying Mrs. Bill Clinton election signage and getting a free meal on the basis of your Democratic allegiance, especially if you have a different skin color than the homeowner.

Actually, "moderation in the protection of liberty is no virtue; extremism in the defense of freedom is no vice."

Re #6
the venom expressed in NYT reader comments towards Brooks and towards the Times Monday coverage of Econ Nobel are astonishing IMO.

#5b. It was not so long ago that we heard that the Chinese can only copy and cannot innovate. That was hubris. They're a very smart people. Once liberated from the economic ball and chain of socialism, there's no limit to what they can achieve; and they don't have a doomsayer/showman Elon Musk to drone on about the dangers of it .

Population is part of it, and this has bearing on immigration. When you have a billion people, you have a lot of smart people, no matter the offset to your bell curve.

Not sure how necessary population is: Israel has only 8.5M people but over 3000 startups. They spend > 4% on civilian R&D. A smart population and the right economic environment certainly helps

Oops, see below.

That's kind of my point, neither 8.5M people nor 3000 startups are big numbers in China.

"According to a report by China’s Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC) released on 14 January 2016, the number of companies in China is 77,469,000."

#1 red wine in coffee? That is eaily done. Now smoking red wine is something else. https://www.hellocig.com/red-wine-hellocig-e-liquid-30ml

#5 I though I was paranoid about Putin's walk. Not so. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/dec/16/putin-gunslinger-gait-kgb-training-report

As editor of the Review of Behavioral Economics, I consider all studies about the endowment effect that involve coffee mugs and students to be worthless and unworthy of publication. The effect is real, very real, although what is involved is a very complicated matter, and there are very serious economists who question it.

If Robin Williams said that (about God and Coke), he lifted it from Richard Pryor.

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