Saturday assorted links


4. Trade it for something. Or set up a northern Guantanamo. Either way.

#3 Brought to you by Stephanie Rawlings-Blake & Marilyn J. Mosby.

Give them back Point Roberts, too.

On the other hand: Is the nearest grocery store or significant town in Canada? Why don't they shop there? If there is no closer grocery store in Canada, how will it help them to become Canadians?

Trade them both for undisputed control of Machias Seal Island and surrounding waters.

6. What would be the best national policy to reinvigorate small town growth? Cheap national satellite internet? Government funded MOOCs?

I assume facial recognition will shortly cure the cheating problem, and certification will be legit.

First, identify the "national policies" that stifle small town growth, if any, and stop doing those. If no such policies exist, then consider the possibility that no policy is needed to solve a "problem" that may not even exist. If young people move to cities to get educated, stay for a while, move to suburbs to raise kids, and possibly retire in rural areas, is that such a "problem" that needs fixing?

Also, tautologically, rural areas are places with low population density. If too many people move to or stay in those areas, then they will cease to be rural. We need some places where people and housing do not crowd out farmland and other open space.

I'd tend to think all this is probably driven by where schools are. That is "Good jobs" are where they are because that's where education is based and that's how businesses recruit, rather than increasing returns to density.

If that's the only way to deliver education and that's useful, then I'd consider not changing it. But consider at least testing whether this is the only way. If possible to distribute education more widely without compromising quality, do so, and that will have feeder effects on these migration patterns.

From 1940 to 1990 or even later, there were a ton of government projects and programs that, while they didn't explicitly target the cities, really worked to the detriment of cities and for the development of suburban and exurban areas (the buildup of Maryland and Northern Virginia from the late 60s through the 80s and 90s is a prime example of this, when D.C. itself was a horrible den of crime and drugs; same thing happened in Atlanta). Corporations moved their HQs to suburban office parks, in part since that's where the employees were, and in part due to government incentives. The cities have managed to turn things around since then due to the infusion of public and private capital after the government began to recognize the disasters in the city (ironically, Trump himself did some of this in NYC back in the 80s and early 90s), and when private businesses saw development opportunities. At the end of the day, whatever policy the government chooses will not be neutral and have winners and losers; rural areas, which haven't really had any wins since the New Deal, might like to win for a change.

Why would that be a good thing? Maybe the best thing is if people who like living in big cities are allowed to do so.

Then change rules for the Senate.

Which rules?

We are just playing with a funny combination of ideas now. Rural areas are less productive. They are less a source of innovation. They are losing population. Shrinking. We should not try to improve that - but these areas should have higher representation per capita in the Senate?

Why? If you think so it is probably because you share backwards and low-growth ideas with them.

"low-growth" is limited only by population density, simply less opportunity for communication-spread. Great ideas and industrial initiative happen in rural areas everyday; people only mobilize communication and facilitate the initiative through an increased labor market.

Some cute graphics here:

Look, I am actually not asking that the most innovative have more representation than anyone else. I am asking why they have less.

Our system gives the most populous and productive States less representation in government.

Equal would be fine, why can't I have it?

Fortunately, the Constitution prohibits stupid ideas like messing around with the Senate.

But if wealth production is the metric, let's bring back property requirements and poll taxes for suffrage.

"But if wealth production is the metric, let's bring back property requirements and poll taxes for suffrage."

Ha. I was thinking of this as the irony. These policies would reduce the same votes.

Just goes to show that you don't really have a moral foundation, just tactics.

Also note that Stubborn Attachments, and the recent post on call options for the future universe, point the other way here.

If you want to make the country, or the universe, better, you have to try. You can't just say "whatever happens must be the best" and "empower the complacent."

Do you never want to a pick a handle? Then people who wanted to reel off a list of benefits to territoral, not population, equality in representation, which anyone could google, with at least good faith that you're either the left wing troll or the bitter "centre rightist" that also uses 'anonymous'.

These ideas should be abstract, and truth should not depend on who your "opponent" is.

And if it sneaks up on you that the current regime is not doing that well for their voters, that's on you.

When someone declares that a random group have "backwards ideas", or other such vague terms, it's always good for the purposes of discussion to have some form of reputational or other background information on them in order to infer what they may actually mean without saying, what level of concepts they are able to understand and whether they are actually in engaging in good faith.

Otherwise you'll find that the people who can most valuable to engage in discussions may find that there's too high a cost in their time.

I may have laid it on a bit thick, but I think there is a real concern here. If high growth and high productivity areas lose relative representation over time that is bad, both from the standpoint of democracy and from the standpoint of efficiency.

And while you can window dress "geographic representation" it is that. Window dressing. Delaware and Texas with the same number of Senators is not anyone's rational design. It is just a path dependent outcome, with significant disadvantages.

Stop building commuter highways?

That was @ anonymous, line 2

2. Many dogs were bred to look scarier than necessary, after all.

5. From the link: "Our results imply that the greater concentration has decreased the annual value of new housing production by $106 billion. Because housing is a determinant of the business cycle these findings provide further evidence that the secular decline in competitive intensity in the American economy is altering macroeconomic dynamics." Those who don't object to market concentration may not like the answer to Cowen's question.

3. Non-survivor bias. Recommend helmets:

"The military came to the SRG with some data they thought might be useful. When American planes came back from engagements over Europe, they were covered in bullet holes. But the damage wasn’t uniformly distributed across the aircraft. There were more bullet holes in the fuselage, not so many in the engines.

"The officers saw an opportunity for efficiency; you can get the same protection with less armor if you concentrate the armor on the places with the greatest need, where the planes are getting hit the most. But exactly how much more armor belonged on those parts of the plane? That was the answer they came to Wald for. It wasn’t the answer they got.

"'The armor,' said Wald, 'doesn’t go where the bullet holes are. It goes where the bullet holes aren’t: on the engines.'"

Excellent point, citing Wald's insight.

We presumably have statistics on gunshot victims including survivors so we could eliminate the problem of non-survivor bias.

Or maybe the result is real? Maybe homicide victims in Baltimore are more likely to be victims of deliberate execution via a shot to the head?
OTOH I think the research also found that most of the victims were shot in the street or sidewalk.

It is almost certainly both skew in the stat mixed with simply a horrifically large number of headshots.

Taking a step back, it's painfully obvious what's going on in Baltimore. There are only two policing strategies proven to reduce homicides: 1) increase patrols and 2) stop & frisk. Baltimore's patrol numbers are not what they should be, but the recent change that mattered was the end of Baltimore's plainclothes "jump out boys," combined with a general slowdown in stops & searches.

For a long time in Baltimore, criminals didn't carry guns out of fear for being prosecuted as a felon in possession. In that era, if you wanted to kill someone, you had to go get your gun, find the person (pre social media), and dispose of the gun. With increased logistical costs and time to cool off, murders dropped. Now those effects are reversed. (Sidenote: what a sad testament to humanity to think that a few hours cooling off stops someone from being murdered.)

Now, officers don't feel that they have the air cover necessary to get guns off the street by any means necessary. The State's Attorney's Office is openly antagonistic, the DOJ is enforcing the consent decree, and GTTF brought the second era of plainclothese policing to an end (remember "flex squads"?

#4) According to some views on migration, if Canada wants "to have a country", they must build a wall between the Angle and Manitoba.

#4 I'm guessing Canada has a more populist attitude towards land granting and designation that such things can be petitioned by the citizens, rather than government-centralized, top-down, geo-political surveying. Green grasses and wavy road-signs can only stimulate Canada's GDP. I think the more important question is: Minnetoba versus Manisota?

4: what do the residents want, could we have a referendum?

Or would that lead to a Bleeding Kansas situation where Americans and Canadians rush to move to the area so they can pack the ballot box? That might invigorate the local economy.

Post of the day.

2: I'm reminded of how Russian researchers successfully domesticated wild foxes by selectively breeding ones that are friendly to humans.

And as a side-effect, the foxes had piebald coats -- and floppy ears.

The genes are presumably associated with maintaining juvenile characteristics -- willingness to follow the lead of an adult instead of being aloof. And floppy ears as with these German Shepherd puppies:

barf. just another reminder of how Russians are totally crazy and obsessed with injecting their paternalistic boohockey into innocent foxes

sorry I should say "injecting innocent foxed with their paternalistic boohockey". those Russians.

#4: There's a similar situation on the Washington Coast. Port Roberts is isolated by following the 49th parallel as the border:
"Point Roberts is a pene-exclave of the United States on the southernmost tip of the Tsawwassen Peninsula, south of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The area, which had a population of 1,314 at the 2010 census, is reached by land by traveling 25 mi (40 km) through Canada." (Wikipedia).

Yes, but was it also the result of a cartography screwup?

There's a similar situation in Toledo, Ohio where a couple of peninsulas with isolated bits of Michigan stick out. This was a result of the Michigan-Ohio border war that ended up with Michigan losing Toledo (and Wisconsin losing the UP).

Perhaps we'll return to the not-so-long-gone days when crossing the U.S./Canadian border was not much more of a deal than crossing from Michigan to Ohio and none of this will much matter.

That's an interesting bit of regional history, that I was unaware of. And the same for the comment about Marble Hill being a part of the borough of Manhattan but not being on an island (now). And Pt. Roberts too, but I already knew about that one.

The interstate border comment reminds me of what it used to be like driving into California: for decades the state has been on constant alert against travelers inadvertently bringing insects and other pests into the state where they might infest the local agriculture. So after you drove into Calif, there'd be a checkpoint where an inspector would interrogate you about what you had in your car and did you have any fresh produce (a lot of people might have an orange or apple that they brought from home; those were prohibited to bring into the state).

For some reason those checkpoints seem a lot rarer now, maybe they've been replaced by the network of insect traps that are regularly inspected for injurious pests.

Part of Manhattan is on the mainland (land border with the Bronx):,_Manhattan

3: Wow, so people who get shot in the head are more likely to die than those shot elsewhere?

Thanks so much, Ty. This is Pulitzer material right here. You're doing God's work, son.

I got shot in a very uncomfortable place.

You got shot in the back of a Volkswagen?

7. No way I'm signing that. Unfortunately, no one has asked me to.

Commenters often remark on how immigrants cannot be real Americans due to other loyalties, but see that same perspective from Prof. Cowen is a bit surprising.

Almost as if he thinks a fellow American like Prof. Tabarrok is not actually American, however jokingly framed.

You'd think someone who made a choice to become an American citizen would be more of a "real" American than a person who obtained their citizenship through an accident of birth.

I'll bookmark this in case anyone accuses you of having a sense of humor.

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