Thursday assorted links


Seems like the title is a typo? Unless you are writing from abroad, I guess.

I'm pretty sure that everywhere it's the 23rd it is still Wednesday. But perhaps it was the 24th where he was when posting....

#2 To avoid race-issues lynch mobs, they should probably stagger/tier the tool to avoid an extremely costly mistake. Humans don't need AI's help to create yet another controversy.

#5 Good for you Dyson, way to hoover that spot.

#6 Adorable. Would purchase burrito bowls from.

I move that Americans adopt the verb "to dyson" to describe vacuuming.

I'll agree on the condition that Europeans adopt the verb "to Oreck" in trade.

No way. "To Dyson" is taken. It's when you improve a solar systems property value by building a giant sphere around the star.

#2 Can the software differentiate between two brothers?

6. Um, forefront? 'The robots are also already in use at Intuit’s corporate campus in the Bay Area, as well as north of London in the town of Milton Keynes, where they now deliver groceries and packages to around 5,000 homes.'

No reason to be writing GMU's PR - let the professionals handle it. Though the video is hilarious when looking at those 'robots,' so maybe professionals is not quite the right word, even if they are full of Patriot pride.

(And really, those 'robots' could be easily imagined being built in 1998, where they follow markings along the sidewalk, using GPS to come within a meter or so of their destination, using simple collision avoidance technology. And the fact that nobody built them just might be a clue why this is not the 'forefront' of robot innovation.)

Your desperate obsession with GMU colors your thinking.

If you say so. Admittedly, the fact that I am a GMU alumni, who just happened to work at GMU for a couple of decades (for a private company, the Foundation, and the Commonwealth) before moving to Germany could not possibly be an explanation for being interested in an institution that involved a significant fraction of my life. Starting with my first job and the first college class I took, both at 15.

True, I don't read The Mason Spirit - had to actually search for the name, to be honest.

Actually, it is kind of amusing how nobody who actually went to Mason seems to comment here - or at least admit they graduated from there.

We all say so.

Don't they teach Latin at GMU? You're an alumnus, she's an alumna, you're all alumni (alumnae if plural and female).

1. From the link: “Why is our society inadequate at building functional futures markets for basically anything beyond equities, currencies and commodities, despite the massive benefits this would bring (see e.g. Arrow et al., 2008)?” Bankers, for one. Many bankers prosper from unstable markets. Futures markets add stability (to supply, prices, etc.). Sumner's proposed futures market in NGDP would reduce volatility of the economy. This may seem counter-intuitive, but there are lots of folks who would object. Why? The belief that a good cleansing is good for markets and the economy. Yes, there are flagellants among us, including more than a few economists.

Dyson is also a major supporter of Brexit. Yesterday he announced that he is moving his company headquarters from the UK to Singapore.

That is because Dyson is not an idiot. Singapore has a better trade treaty with the EU than what is ever increasingly likely to come out of the current British governmental morass - which is the UK crashing out of the UK on March 29.

After all, even billionaires can make mistakes, as seen in this Dyson quote - '“I think they are demanding billions and billions to leave is quite outrageous. And demanding it before we have negotiated anything is outrageous.

“I would walk away, I think that is the only way to deal with them.

“I have been dealing with the EU and the EU countries for the last 25 years, on IEC standards and energy labels and all that kind of thing, there’s no way to deal with them, you have to walk away.

“If you walk away they’ll come to us because they want to export all their products to us. They will come back to us.

“We are in a very very strong position, incredibly strong position. We shouldn’t give them any money, we should just walk away and they will come to us.”'

Guess he no longer believes the EU will come begging to make a deal with the UK. Well, apart from the deal that the EU offered, that is.

The hilarious irony is that Singapore will then likely be a better place to have a company HQ that sells to the EU. Almost as if the EU is actually the larger market in a very very strong position, an incredibly strong position.

Or, a lot more likely:"With a progressive tax rate of up to 22%, Singapore offers the lowest effective tax rates in the world. In the UK, income tax rates for higher brackets of taxable income go up to as high as 45%."

As noted here - 'Apparently, it has “nothing to do with Brexit”. What’s more, it’s barely a move at all, since it will see only two people, both top executives, actually moving to Singapore. Dyson will continue to employ 4,000 people in the UK, many of them in research and development, and the relocation is really just about wanting to keep a closer eye on the firm’s investments in Asia. That it chose to do that in Singapore, where companies pay a mere 17% in tax – rather than, say, India or South Korea – is surely pure coincidence.'

Though that author does seem the tiniest bit skeptical - 'Second, and for all its protestations to the contrary, Dyson’s decision is inevitably rolled in with all the others that suggest UK companies, and those based here, are now guarding themselves against Brexit, especially a Brexit of the no-deal, crash-out variety. How else are we to interpret Dyson’s admission that it’s moving to Singapore to be “future-proofed”? What future exactly does it wish to be proofed against?'

Though the author gives full credit to P&O being upfront about reflagging its Channel ferries - 'How apt it is that one of those P&O ferries soon to be flying under the proud colours of Cyprus is called the Spirit of Britain.'

"Almost as if the EU is actually the larger market in a very very strong position, an incredibly strong position."

Every time you write about the EU, it sounds like it comes directly from the Trump playbook.

Or Dyson's, since that 'very very strong position, an incredibly strong position' is essentially an exact quote of his, though reversed for the ironic commentary on Dyson's acuity. You did actually read what Dyson said, right?

And who knows, you might even be aware of the size of the EU market compared to the UK's - it's bigly bigger. Something that Dyson, another billionaire like Trump, actually seems to be aware of these days.

“Dyson’s decision to move his HQ to Singapore reflects his (Dyson's) narrow business interest,” said Sam Gyimah, a Conservative member of Parliament, on Twitter. “This is not just a transfer of two people (Dyson claims only two executives are moving to Singapore). When HQs move, so does the intellectual property. Betrayal of the public who put their faith in him as a British business advocating a No Deal Brexit.”

Here's a strange one: Dyson makes vacuum cleaners and hair dryers, as most readers likely know. But guess what Dyson is developing: an electric car. What? Maybe it will be propelled by a giant hair dryer. In the 1960s, there were experimental race cars powered by turbine engines. They even raced at Indianapolis and in several endurance races (including the 24 hours of Daytona where I saw the thing). So maybe there's more of a connection between vacuum cleaners and hair dryers and electric cars.

Was going to say the same thing. Dyson is a huge hypocrite.

5. Good deal! I'll tip my cap to him for that, even though my bagless vacuum cleaner isn't Dyson brand.

Could never figure out the appeal of bagless vacuums. The bag acts as both a filter and a nice, convenient way to get rid of all the dirt you've collected.

The bag causes it to lose suction as if gets filled. The filter gets clogged.

Sure, but the bagless vacuums also have filters which can clog and will need to be replaced.

The Dyson I have has a washable filter - you are supposed to do that once a year or so. Haven't need to buy a new filter yet, though the vacuum is only 10 years old or so at this point.

Maybe other Dyson models - or the competition's - are different?

And the bag is much more difficult to change out than emptying a bagless vacuum.

#4 I presume people who are interested in this topic are already aware of this, but there was a paper last year exploring the interaction of racket technology change and the age of successful players.

It basically boils down to players born in the 1980s and earlier saying "Oh, you think the composite racket is your ally? You merely adopted the composite racket. I was born in it, molded by it."

3. Governance

"The Center’s charter cities research program [conduct] foundational research [on] the basic economic, legal, and moral justifications for charter cities."

There is a kind of intellectual and moral bankruptcy in this. Forget established jurisdictions, move into the ultimate gated community -- a whole new city!

What is intellectually or morally bankrupt about that?

For me, it hinges on the question of whether economics encompasses governance. Is that something on which economists have an opinion? I would argue that it does, because governance involves incentives and the practical implementation of economic policy.

If it does, then the flight to escape the governance issues of, say, Mexico or Honduras appears to be an abandonment of one's post, a dereliction of duty. "Forget Mexico as a whole," it says, "That's hopeless. Let's instead carve a chunk out of the country where we can escape Latin governance."

But behind it is an implicit migration to a new objective function: Let's set up a polity where poor people can't vote, where retail socialist sensibilities are suppressed. Because that's what it's about.

But economists don't want to say that. Economics is about optimization of a given objective function, not the objective function itself. Economists do not feel comfortable talking in normative terms, by and large, and championing an explicit political view. But that's what's at stake here: a place where the underclass is implicitly disenfranchised.

This is not without some cause. Latin American political culture (indeed, Latin political culture more broadly) is about splitting up the pie, not about growing it. In many ways, democracy I have seen in Latin America is hardly distinguishable from theft. And in that context, governance itself becomes about theft. If I elect representatives to steal for me, they will also steal from me.

Thus, charter cities reflect a deep, deep pessimism about the potential for improvement in governance in what Trump would describe as 's--thole' countries. The are about escape, not engagement.

Engagement, though, requires an explicit treatment of the objective functions of government (of which there are materially three). It forces economics to talk about what is virtuous, not only the optimal path to a given interpretation of virtue. The reluctance to do so embodies both a conservativeness of the profession -- a worry about engaging directly in politics -- on the one hand, and a lack of courage, on the other.

We can fix governance in Latin America and in Eastern Europe and Italy and Greece. But to do that, economists first have to face their own fears. They have to deal with the objective functions of governance rather than running away to private cities in the jungle.

Dyson's vacuums don't blow, but his hand dryers absolutely suck.

#6...Is there really any reason to have a human faculty? You could have robot versions of Alex and Tyler teaching classes just like these robot tailors.

It would appear that tennis players are using anabolic steroids. The main effect in baseball was to extend the career of older players.

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