Assorted gated and ungated links

1. NYT profile of Stephen Dubner.  And WSJ profile of Dubner: “Sitting in New York’s Central Park, he sees two tennis players nearby and wonders, “Why is the average age of top-tier tennis players going up and the average age of golfers going down?””

2. Claudia Goldin on gender pay gaps (NYT).

3. Arizona as the new mecca for testing self-driving cars (NYT).

4. The politics of sex abuse in sacred hierarchies (ungated).

5. “35-year-old Ben Sansum of Cambridgeshire, England has chosen to completely immerse himself in the year 1946.”  Neatorama is ungated.  More photos here.


I love Dubner’s work. But the NYT story (and accompanying photos) is a case study in Bobo lifestyle porn.


Isn't it an ongoing series of articles, with various celebrities or notable people, describing what they do on Sundays? I.e. all of the articles in the series are pretty much exactly like that one.

So I pretty much never read them, unless the person is someone who's lifestyle I might be curious about. Hmm, I might indeed read one if Tyler were the subject.

The gender pay gap has become much less an issue of whether one gender is being paid more than the other, but more so an issue of where information is coming from and how people close themselves off to dissenting arguments. This is the prevailing issue and the primary obstruction which has imposed itself on people, yielding them incapable of making sense of anything or producing any progress.

" Whatever changes have already taken place in American society, the duty of caring for children — and for other family members — still weighs more heavily on women."

Basically, the history of not only the human race but also most mammals. Women, like other mammals, by definition suckle their young and are thus the primary providers of care for their offspring. Denial of biology is a cornerstone of the progressive philosophy.

Aside from that, why is the wage difference between genders a matter of concern or even notice? Shouldn't the wage difference between any two individuals be more important? I'm pretty sure that Megan Kelly makes more money than my cousin Ralph, a prison guard. Is that right or fair?

#2) It would be interesting to determine whether the "pay gap" is completely offset by women's outearning men in home production (commonly referred to as women "bearing a disproportionately large burden of household chores" by those wishing to frame every observation as an example of privilege). Buried far down in the article, Goldin explains that "classic economic[s]" explains that couples can earn more by optimizing which one works less flexible hours and which one works more flexible hours outside the home to exploit comparative advantage in outside production vs. home production. If couples are optimizing their welfare though, it's unclear why "there are many battles ahead" to fight such welfare maximization, even if it results in men bearing a disproportionately large burden of earning outside income to support household finances.

#5: 1946 was a good year for dogs. I wonder whether he tries to survive on 1946's rations.

That was exactly my reaction: England had food rationing well into the 1950s. Unless he's incorporating that into his lifestyle too, he's not walking the walk (or meeting the meat i.e. Spam).

London had deadly smog episodes into the 1950s too (however I don't know about 1946 specifically). 4K-12K died in early December 1952.

Why do you assume that it's London he wants to replicate? If he wanted to do that he'd probably surround his house by ruins.

3. Google engineers have already made it clear by their gaffe that autonomous vehicles aren't safe sharing the road with non-autonomous vehicles unless the autonomous vehicles are limited to about 35 mph. Yea, right, what's the demand for a vehicle that can't exceed 35 mph. Of course, there are stupid people everywhere, perhaps more in Arizona than in other places. Yet, in the many articles in the NYT I've read about autonomous vehicles, how may repeat the Google engineers' gaffe? That's right, none. I suppose that's the same number that questioned WMD in Iraq. Anyway, here is a book review in the NYT of two books with contrasting views of Silicon Valley. You won't guess which the reviewer agrees with. I might point out that the book with the negative view of Silicon Valley makes it a point to identify Cowan's friend Peter Thiel as especially villainous. You may recall that Thiel endorsed Trump for president, giving both money to his campaign and delivering a speech on his behalf at the convention. Well, Thiel, the arrogant fellow that he is, has since decided that Trump, the narcissistic ignoramus that he is, is about as likely to be a total catastrophe as the "disruption" Thiel hoped Trump would be. That's the problem with arrogant folks like Thiel: they think they are smarter than they are just because they have lots of money

"Yea, right, what’s the demand for a vehicle that can’t exceed 35 mph."

My two hour - both ways - commute to work rarely exceeds 35. So maybe there's a market for autonomous vehicles willing to endure the slog while the likes of myself text safely.

SLOUGH is a completely indeterminate word.

The speed limit is 37 miles an hour here. Is America like Death Race 2000 or something?

There's no way it's that low. Is that the fastest you can go on the freeway, 60 km/hr?

Most highways have a 100 kilometer speed limit which is 62 miles per hour but some have 110 and in the Northern Territory there is one that is 130. But that's not relevant to the majority of taxi trips here. Because of our ability to plan ahead, if they were speed limited, we would put the robo-taxis where it's not relevant.

Indeed, robo-taxis will obviously start in urban areas where 35 miles and hour is fine.

"Google engineers have already made it clear by their gaffe that autonomous vehicles aren’t safe sharing the road with non-autonomous vehicles unless the autonomous vehicles are limited to about 35 mph. [...] Yet, in the many articles in the NYT I’ve read about autonomous vehicles, how may repeat the Google engineers’ gaffe? That’s right, none."

I work in machine learning. I am very interesting in the gaffe you mentioned. Do you recall where you read it?

I could be wrong, but based on the incoherent, flight -of-ideas way he writes, I’m guessing it’s a conspiracy theorist’s interpretation of this article:

“This fall California approved legislation that allows testing of autonomous vehicles without a driver, steering wheel, brake pedals or an accelerator, as long as the cars do not travel above 35 mph.”

Then again, instead of drive-anywhere autonomous vehicles, perhaps the path will be to vehicles that can drive autonomously only on highways designed for this purpose. Which most likely would mean limited-access highways from which non-autonomous vehicles (and pedestrians, and non-motor vehicles) were banned.

The win would be in greatly expanding the capacity of these highways without consuming proportionately more land in the process. The system would be a sort of client-server system in which the vehicles were the clients (capable of rapid response, but lacking a global overview), with servers (much slower, but responsible for global efficiency and safety). Because computers can react in milliseconds where humans require seconds, rapidly moving vehicles could be packed much closer together, thus vastly increasing highway capacity. Not to mention the gain from impersonally managing merges and lane changes, and globally managing entry/exit to/from the system.

The challenge would be managing the transitions back to human control, plus enforcement of the compliant-vehicle-only requirement.

#2. Goldin takes a passing swipe at employers who pay employees for the work they actually do rather than their job "qualifications". I'm too dull to understand how she expects longer hours (ceteris paribus) to NOT result in higher pay. She's hardly unbiased and has a political axe to grind: equal outcome. Apparently, she believes the "solution" is to restructure our society in some unspecified way so that women and men choose "flexible" work schedules in equal proportion. I'll not hold my breath.

She doesn't expect "longer hours to NOT result in higher pay." Read the article again: she is clear that some of the gap is due to the longer hours worked by men while another big part is due to differences in job characteristics. One of those characteristics is whether or not you are "on call" outside normal working hours. Those with these sorts of jobs (who tend to be men) get higher *hourly* wages and Goldin admits to the economic logic of this discrepancy.

1: The WSJ article is gated so I don't know the context of Dubner's claim that the average age of golfers is going down. But I keep seeing articles that talk about the diminishing and aging demographics of golfers. The optimistic ones say that golf in recent years has stopped its slide; I'm curious about what stats he is seeing that say that golfers are getting younger.

That article of course is not definitive either; some current 20-somethings who are following soccer might switch to golf when they hit 50. A lot of 8-year old soccer players switch to American football when they reach 12 or 14. And concussions or the next Tiger Woods might affect those future sports decisions.

It is more than the fact that Kenneth loves the shade of the jeans, which he does. Upon first inspection, the pair reminded him of a Crayola crayon he had eaten as a child, the named color of which he has been unable to pinpoint. He had been given this pair of jeans as an anonymous present on his twenty ninth birthday before he went to Senegal. He received a yellow-padded package an unsigned note “For the raging of the yam; when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” They had lasted his time there, and he was proud

I think he meant top rank pro golfers, like Justin Spieth, et al.

#2. If you force men to take more responsibility at home you end up with fewer children, especially from the couples who should be having the most children (i.e. the ones who are able to stay married). Her way of addressing things makes it seem that top-down forced equality is the only way to go, but to me it seems like it'll force a much worse equilibrium on us all.

2. One of the few NYT articles I have read to the end. What she says makes sense; if men could be made into women they would earn the same amount.

lol. Best comment yet

#2 Claudia used to comment here. (i'm pretty sure it was the same Claudia). She usually added a pretty good insight when she did. I wish she'd come back.

Wasn't it another economist named Claudia, Claudia Sahm, who used to comment here? I.e. Sahm not Goldin. I agree that her comments were good.

You are correct. Glad to see she's doing well.

#2. A recipient of the benefits of sex-based discrimination has the nerve to call opposition to sex-based discrimination, "ill-natured grousing". The evidence is clear that appeasement doesn't work. The most vocal supporters of sex and race-based discrimination are those who have been most generously rewarded for their race and sex. Black graduates of Yale perceive more racism upon matriculation than acceptance. This author received undue and unjust considerarion in her undergraduate, graduate, and job market applications, and the legacy of that injustice is this New York Times article explicitly demanding more sex-based discrimination, and labeling her victims as the sexist that she is.


"Mr. Ducey fired the regulator who hatched the idea of going after ride-hailing drivers and shut down the entire agency, the Department of Weights and Measures"

We need more governors like this.

"When Billie Jean King won the United States Open singles tennis title in 1972, her reward was a meager $10,000. Ilie Năstase, her male counterpart, won $25,000.

Ms. King fought hard for equal rights and, on the tennis court, she won. By 1973, men and women received the same prizes at the Open....That is not the reality in the overall labor market, however"

Well, the overall labor market isn't completely segregated between men and women. To come to think about it, it won't be totally equal until men and women compete in the same tennis tournament. I wonder what the gender gap in rewards will be then.....

It's a bad start to the article. Winning a mens' tennis tournament and winning a womens' tennis tournament is obviously not "equal work" whether one considers the work playing tennis or garnering viewers.

#2 Gallup Poll: 56% of women with children under 18 prefer to stay home over going to work but only 26% of men.

Men and women are significantly different on average in attitudes toward employment, so why would we expect them to earn the same amount on average?

BTW their talk of 77 cents on the dollar was one of my biggest objections to HRC and Bernie Sanders, it is hard for me to believe that they did not know that they were talking foolish nonsense.

There is a great comment the subject by Steven Pinker here:

#5 - His next project will be to arrive at Quixote in the spirit of Pierre Menard.

“Why is the average age of top-tier tennis players going up and the average age of golfers going down?””

Tennis has had a technological change in the makeup of the four surfaces, which has tended to make them play more similarly, with longer points. This has tended to reward older players with more experience, and to hurt younger players with more power and athletic ability.


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