Wednesday assorted links


2. I don't know man. Volcano *and* hurricane risk. Of course if you're 78 ..

It's not bad, volcano and typhoon and earthquake describes the eastern Philippines where I'm posting now with a dialup speed modem connection. Not to mention cobras (we saw one as thick as your arm the other day), dengue and other tropical fevers, sea snakes (harmless but scary to me), rabid dogs (you must walk your dog with a stick, and be prepared to use it, at all times) and the worst creature of all: MAN. YOLO. You only live (and die) once, so you might as well enjoy. Though I bet the Caribbean has more scary crime than here, and, as a celebrity, Cleese will attract all kinds of con artists.

Southern California might be too crowded and too expensive, but at least we can say hello to all the dogs.

Cleese is on record as a racist who can't stand the sight of London with all the immigrants these days. As a dedicated Lefty, of course, he got a pass.

Yes, I'm sure he fled Britain because of "the newspapers." Let's run with that.

>Cleese is on record as a racist who can't stand the sight of London with all the immigrants these days.

According to wikipedia, "The majority of the approximately 12,000 citizens of Nevis are of primarily African descent".

Im sure you can easily provide a link to the record Cleese is on where he says that.

#1 - "The fossils range from blood red to deep purple in their concentrated form, and bright pink when diluted" - 1.1 billion years ago was the Phanerozoic Era (2.5 B - 541 M years ago). You should all be able, as I am, to recite from memory all Eons/Eras/Periods/Epochs with the ICS accepted dates (they change slightly every few years, which is annoying). Note this link is a non-story since cyanobacteria in the pre-Cambrian are well known (they have a blue-green color), and how organisms fossilize with inorganic material (though some organic material sometimes remains, amazingly) has nothing to do with how the organism was colored when alive.

Bonus trivia: some of the first life forms were blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria), which are some of the few organisms that photosynthesize oxygen. Keep in mind back in pre-Cambrian times oxygen was a poison (!) or waste material, like CO2 is now.

Bonus trivia (from memory): Devonian Period (416-359 Mya) was when ozone was formed, allowing harmful solar radiation to be filtered out, allowing the first air-breathing organisms, the Eurypterids (sea scorpion, extinct), as well as the millipedes, to invade land safely. Damn, I'm good.

Proterozoic Eon not Phanerozoic, I should have caught that, and it's 419-359 for the Devonian Period, a minor mistake. Anyway the boundaries change by a few million years every so often and are usually not sharply defined unless it's at the boundary of a major extinction event.

I admire your ability to associate names with data, because i can't, so I became a physicist, not biologist or geologist or chemist. But physicists have a great symbiotic relationship with them all because we need geologists, et al to figure out all the history of the universe for use to figure out the fundamental laws of nature. Contrary to the belief of economists, physicists can't run lab experiments to find and prove theory, but must do 99% based on history written by geologists and biologists who assign strange names, not numbers, because it took them so long to order them and assign numbers.

3. The Ramey paper is a roundup of fiscal multiplier research.

"On average, multipliers for tax changes involving tax rate changes are surprisingly large and surprisingly uniform across a number of countries. The bulk of the estimates vary between -2 and -3."

This strongly suggests the US won't be able to stabilize debt/GDP through tax increases.

Devaluation is the only way out!

Default is the only way out, and/or hyperinflation. Devaluation implies an open economy that has lots of tradeables as a component of the GDP (think Netherlands, Germany), which is not the USA's (or even Japan's or arguably even China's) economy: trade is only 15% of US GDP. Hyperinflation and/or default is the only way out! By 2050 should hit.

Devalue enough and you effectively default. Between 1966 and 1974, debt/GDP fell from 40% to 30%. Pretty sure this wasn't because of tax hikes or spending restraint. Or default.

"Default is the only way out, and/or hyperinflation."

You don't need hyperinflation. 4 years of 18% inflation would halve the value of the debt.

Experts like JWatts seem to have all the answers. Why don't you run for office?

Hey dude, if you're going to fake being me, can you at least include something on goats and cuckoldry. I like those posts.

Apart from its passive aggressive b!tchiness this could almost be me.

So, punishing not paying workers with high taxes will not increase paying workers and thus increase consumption raising tax revenue from wage income taxes and consumption taxes to pay for increased investment in human capital and knowledge capital and built capital, all by paying workers, and eliminating rents and monopoly profits?

From the end of WWII to 1981, debt grew much slower than aggregate wage incomes and the mirror aggregate consumption, due to government fiscal policy stamping down on job killing rent seeking and monopoly profits.

Milton Friedman attacked high business profit taxes specifically because too much was paid to workers resulting in too much consumer demand driving too much paid to workers driving even more consumer demand.

Oddly, he also attacked the guaranteed business profits for regulated utilities based on depreciated assets and only operating costs for good service, which meant utility managers were forced to deliver too much service, too reliable service, too much capacity, too much innovation, too many ways customers could benefits, all of which required paying too many workers too much money, and driving too much consumption of electricity and telephone, etc.

Friedman wants higher profits by paying less to workers to produce less output to create higher prices from scarcity.

4. Of interest to a Gnostic. Any Gnostics around here? The Gospel of Thomas, which contains 114 sayings (or logia) of Jesus transcribed by Didymus Judas Thomas, is the most interesting of the codices (which is a fancy term for books, as opposed to scrolls). Didymus means twin, and so does Thomas, so the man's name was Judas; thus, the Gospel of Judas (rather than Thomas). Didymus is also used as a term for testicles, presumably because there are two of them. Now you know.

I think Gnosticism is the perfect religion for 2018. Gives an excuse for depression/anomie, since it's the universe's fault for being imperfect, not yours. Plays right into the millennial entitlement issues while still letting them feel sorry for themselves. Gnostics would probably discourage sex, but if you're using birth control or even just getting an abortion afterwards it's probably ok. All we need is a charming demagogue.

It's not polite to ridicule a Gnostic on this blog.

Sorry. I did say "we".

That was news to me. I always assumed Thomas was from Hebrew "tham" =wholehearted which is a Biblical description of Jacob. The old English Bibles always add the "s" part at the end, cf. Judas, Esdras etc. Why would anyone name a child "twin"? What do they name the other one?

6. The author lumps GoT in with the boutique shows to try to make his point,as if it were the same as Treme. GoT is a good show, but the early draw was boobs and blood. If I were the head of HBO and I knew GoT was ending next year, I'd be worried too.

GoT is in fact a very, very excellent show, and if I were the head of HBO I'd be terrified. Talks of GoT prequels, and similar things, are pointless (see "The Hobbit" trilogy for details.)

I actually ended up getting HBO for free with my unlimited data plan from AT+T, after years of only signing-up/dropping HBO for GoT season.... and I can't believe how shitty it is. I expect to watch HBO for about 2-4 hours per month, tops, and not very enthusiastically. If it cost me a dollar, I'd cancel.

No surprise you are a GoT nerd. So many boobies!

I love Game of Thrones. When the Baratheon king gets cucked, it makes a cuck like me feel like a king.

1. Pretty much nonsense. There were no eyes to see anything at all 1.1 billion years ago, much less detect colors. Sadly, these scientists haven't described the sounds and smells of that era but no doubt they'll get to that soon.

+1 No eyes, no names, no "colors"

It seems too that there is a central confusion in the piece. If "the bright pink pigments are the molecular fossils of chlorophyll" then chlorophyll provided the color then, not the fossil we see today.

My chemistry is a bit out of date, but last I heard each and every macroscopic substance has a "color". It's interesting to watch some dimwit equate color with pigment, and then make asinine comments like "scientists have found the first". As if there was, 3.6 billion years ago, a clear line separating "pigments" from all other biological substances. If a pigment is a compound which has absorption of visible light as its primary function (however you'd determine that) then we'd need to understand the ecology of 1 billion years ago to determine what was and was not a pigment. I won't hold my breath.

That too.

Energy detects colors.

Color is critical to capturing the right, and available energy.

Of course, in some periods, modern eyes would see only black because the color comes from reflecting energy of the wrong color, energy that had been filtered out by the atmosphere.

#3: The financial crisis happened because a consensus developed that it had to happen. It's funny what an effect this has on analysis of the period. That premise, which existed before the crisis and was crucial in creating it, means that the crisis is treated, in hindsight, as if it was inevitable. All of the evidence is filtered through that premise, and so the premise creates its own conclusion, that the crisis was inevitable.
In the first set of slides at the link, this comment is a good representation of how this premise works. It is a comment on a scenario analysis at Lehman in 2005 that only assigns a 5% probability to the "meltdown" scenario:
"Analysts at Lehman Brothers understood the consequences of home price declines. However, they severely underestimated the probability and magnitude of these declines."

Really? Just because we experienced the meltdown scenario doesn't mean it had a higher a priori probability. Maybe they were right that it was 5%, and we just happened to experience a low-probability outcome. This is a basic point. You can't judge probabilities in hindsight this way. But this is not a controversial position they are taking. This is consensus. And, the reason the consensus has developed to accept this sort of errant hindsight view is, ironically, because the consensus about the inevitability of the crisis was and is so strong, so practically everyone reacts to this comment by thinking, "Oh, yes. Of course every reasonable person knows the odds of a meltdown were higher than 5%. Lehman's optimism is what caused the bubble and bust."

Furthermore, the Lehman forecast in 2005 wasn't too far off. Prices remained fairly level through 2006 and most of 2007. In 2006, when housing starts began to fall, the FOMC were giving themselves credit for it. By 2007, the FOMC was dragging its feet on rate cuts because it was important to make sure speculators suffered losses, for "discipline". By 2008, the Treasury took over Fannie and Freddy and largely stopped lending to the bottom half of the market. Most of the low tier price declines and defaults happened after that.

The consensus that a massive housing contraction was inevitable and that it was important to impose it on ourselves was the cause of the crisis. And the fact that that consensus existed and exists leads, inevitably, to a consensus conclusion that the crisis was inevitable. The irony would be delicious if it wasn't so horrible.

Speaking of discipline, can anyone explain why "Gorilla" Fuld was not tarred and feathered? And permanently barred?

You couldn't have proven my point any more vividly, kb. Thank you.

I think it's much more likely that human beings saw the low probability of a very bad outcome, and made the evolutionarily designed call that "those numbers don't apply to me!"

That's the same evolutionary design that gets you out looking for springbok, when the lion might be looking for you.

(And if the lion does get us we shouldn't say "ah, I knew it. I made it happen!")

You have a plausible sounding presumption which is leading to its own conclusion. This is so ingrained in the social commentary on this issue that it is difficult to imagine any other way. But even though your presumption is plausible, it turns out that it fails empirically.

I just watched a couple Rick and Mortys, and now I feel like I a haven't left.

Intellectuals persist in refusing to recognize the causes of the crisis.

Is it just me, or does the writer of the Gnostic Gospels link sort of seem like she was born yesterday? But that's not quite it, either, because even someone born yesterday would probably realize those manuscripts were never going to be forthcoming in the absence of her hated "Western scholars" (a tradition she stands outside of, apparently).

And so, once not so long ago, readers thrilled to the discovery of such things, and now, they thrill to the discovery that the knowledge-seekers of the past are tainted.

This is how you lose museums.

The manuscript of the Gospel of Thomas in the Nag Hammadi library has been dated to the 4th century, whereas the Gospel of Thomas has been dated as early as 40 CE (though likely much later). That's true of all new testament manuscripts: we don't have originals, only copies of copies of copies of copies of copies . . . . You get the idea. That's a problem. I find it amusing that evangelicals make the argument that what's in the New Testament (the Gospel of Thomas is not in the canon) must be accurate because we have so many copies of manuscripts.

I dunno - that the New Testament could easily have been more gnostic in character than it is, suggests the Deity did indeed put his thumb on the scale.

1. Gnosticism follows more easily from classical philosophy
2. Most of the writers of the NT were versed in classical philosophy (such as Saul/Paul I guess)

Then how come Catholicism is so DIFFERENT from the classics?

Is Catholicism all that different from the Classics? I would think that the Catholics kept Aristotle and threw away all the Jewish bits.

In one comment, you clearly demonstrate that you know little about Catholicism, Judaism, and even less about the classics.

Thank you. I try to be laconic and pack as much into a small a comment as possible.

But perhaps you might like to explain why that is wrong? The obvious parallel is that Catholicism, like Greek philosophy, is a universalist ideology. If murder is wrong then killing anyone is wrong. But Judaism, like Islam, is a tribal religion - killing someone outside the group is very different from killing someone inside it. Non-Jews only have to obey the Noachide laws. Catholics think Natural law is binding on everyone.

HBO seems to have been on a downward slope for a while. Game of Thrones is getting tired and is almost done, and the second season of Westworld was kind of a mess. The second season of True Detective was likewise a disappointment. Boardwalk Empire and The Wire are well in the past. We're finding great stuff much more often now on Netflix and Amazon.

The May Nobel symposium was much better. No comparison in fact.

“Would macroprudential regulation have prevented the last crisis?” Never, if that means our regulators continuing believing that what is perceived as risky is more dangerous to our bank systems than what is perceived safe.

Is Nevis well provided with American blondes with a penchant for gullible, wealthy men, and an eye on the divorce courts.?

I think Cleese is doing it deliberately. I mean, you would think a normal person would learn and at least get decent legal advice. But no, he doesn't.

So I think he wants to be taken to the cleaners in his next divorce. Because, and this may be a stretch, he wants to work and needs the excuse. Also the divorce will provide him with material which is important because he basically ceased to be funny when he went into therapy.

It is funny, dog walking services are becoming very sophisticated and a growing employment sector. I see one person with six or eight dogs on a hike. They have keys to people's houses, middle class to rich people who work but want their dogs have a good day. They pick up the dogs and drive them to a trail.

Usually dogs are sorted by size, but a couple days ago I saw five or six lab mixes, a couple full size poodles, and one chihuahua.

I guess that chihuahua literally ran with the big dogs.

(in response to another comment about chihuahuas)

Crypto fan boy / girl doesn't just claim to the moon, but with no downside risk...

"I was talking about all the asymmetrical upside (of bitcoin)"

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