Friday assorted links

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#4: Characteristic of the Crooked Timber clowns to fancy there's something sinister about people they don't care for organizing and lobbying to promote things in their interest and things they believe in. Keep in mind, there is remarkably little variation in public policy from state to state and only a modest amount in the propensity of states to capture resources to allocate. Republican state legislators have been remarkably otiose about attacking redoubts of the opposition. The Crooked Timber clowns are complaining about a tile in the mosaic being changed here and there, or about state governments declining to implement some program the Crooked Timber clowns fancy should be enacted. The mentality of these people is quite alien to that of ordinary adults, who understand they live in a world where other people have their objects and opinions. Democratic institutions and the political culture would be better off if we had fewer professors, if such professors were more circumspect in their opinions, and if said professors had less influence and were more insecure in their jobs.

Yeah, I did notice that the moderators always speak respectfully of the Crooked Timber clowns.

Interesting how Tyler chose this post from CT. Just recently they had a more interesting discussion on how spending 1.6 trillion in college loan debt is insane even from a leftist perspective.

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"They found approximately 10,000 bills, and 1,500 pieces of enacted legislation that visibly included text from ALEC models. Much of this legislation is on important topics – e.g. efforts to privatize [scary word...shouldn't there be a trigger warning for lefties?] government functions, and to make voting more difficult[sic] and gun ownership easier[consistent with the 2A] – and has had important consequences in pushing a conservative anti-government agenda."

So ALEC (evil Koch conspiracy) supported policies and helped to supply some legislative language that conservative Republicans have traditionally supported. Big deal. Interest groups are just as likely to seek out politicians/parties who already support their views as they are to try to influence them.

'Big deal.'

Well sure, considering that undoubtedly some of that ALEC text was lifted, without credit, from the fine work done at the Mercatus Center. Plagiarism is never a good thing.

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And somehow the point that various leftist groups, including some funded directly by Bloomberg, have also pushed hard for sometimes looney legislation.
Does any sane person think the left isn't every bit as active in such manipulations?
You think billionares are only on the right, note the behavoir of bloomberg.

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5. I read the article yesterday. We don't have Dean & DeLuca down here, but the way it was described reminds me of a store that opened (and soon shut) in my low country community. The problem with the store is that it wasn't a grocery store, and it wasn't a restaurant. It tried to be both. In affluent communities, affluent people don't cook (or shop), they only pretend to cook, the latest being Blue Apron and similar delivery to home of almost completed meals. It doesn't work down here. Up there I suppose it works because pretending to be a cook (or pretending to be whatever) works. It doesn't down down here, because pretension is obvious in small towns. I enjoy cooking, which means I enjoy shopping. There's really not much talent to eating. It comes naturally, just like . . . .

“A film.” She sighed uneasily. “A film has to be untranslatable.”
Ben was a bank teller for twenty years in Fullerton until her and her husband leased a two-hundred-and-fifteen acre alfalfa farm close to a local airport as part of an Ohio State University grant. She figured that global warming in California and water policy in the Mideast and China would create a niche, and they’d been pleased with the yield for the last five years. She sat hunched on both elbows and used either hand when she added chips to the pot.
“Excuse me?” I said.
“She thinks True Romance was better than Pulp Fiction,” Lyle said.
“Raise twenty dollars,” she said, opening one of the three fortune cookies behind a bag of Cheetos.
“Call,” I said, with my pair of threes.
“Twenty on top,” Lyle said.
Ben looked flummoxed. She had been unable to squash Lyle. That was her specialty, Lyle’s was calling. He’d call and call until you got on tilt and he’d divorce you on the river. Earlier, he lost five hands in a row calling a group of construction workers that had come in on their lunch break, their chips in their helmets. Finally, one went all in on for five hundred dollars with a pair of aces before the flop after Ben made a fifty-dollar bet. Lyle called with a nine and ten of spades and hit a king of spades on the turn.

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In affluent communities, affluent people don't cook (or shop), they only pretend to cook, the latest being Blue Apron and similar delivery to home of almost completed meals. It doesn't work down here.

As ever, you can hardly post without uttering one howler.

Or: we can see that "affluent communities" (following their bouts of conspicuous consumption) are little more or nothing other than effluent communities . . .

As opposed to the rest of America, where we routinely buy a live chicken at the market and kill it, pluck it, and cut it into pieces for frying ourselves....

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#4 so that's why rents are so high on the west coast, DC, Boston and NYC!

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A Quisling amidst us? You know, as a patriot and life-long Republican voter, I am shocked and outraged by Mr. Mark Milley declarations supporting Red China. I think he should impeached as soon as possible. What will our allies think if such a man is allowed tomrepresent America? We would be the laughingstock of the world.

There are life-long Brazilian Republican voters?

There must be people who hold dual citizenship, but I am American, from an old Southern family. I am just worried about our country.

Josiah became a Sullivan.

Sullivan is my last name. Kosiah is my first name. My oarents, like so many parents, liked Biblical names.

My first name is Apri. My last name is Rogecen-Offro. My parents were mature. Yummy is one conclusion.

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#1 In about a week's time there will be shrill article in The Guardian decrying how Capitalism is destroying our precious sand resources. The title of the article will include the phrase "we must..." However this phrase will not be followed by any other phrase such as "use more crushed rock" or "learn how to modify desert sand". The article absolutely will not conclude that we ought to let market forces solve the problem. Depending on the news cycle we might even get a follow-up article by George Monbiot saying that the only solution is to nationalize the (strategic) sand industry immediately: we can't allow the ruthless capitalists to monopolize sand!

At least the Nature article mentioned price increases.

50 billion tons? 50 billion? 100 trillion pounds? Of sand?

That seems like an impossibly large number.

That's what, 6-7 tons per person per year? It does feel unlikely.

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Nobody has mentioned the increasing income of the Indiana Amish. It's because of the hydro-fracking in the Williston Basin of North Dakota. Drillers there need a kind of sand available in southwestern Wisconto use in the fracking process. Some of the men who own the property where that sand is mined are enthusiastic teamsters in draft horse pulling contests. The best Belgian draft horses are raised by the Indiana Amish and demand for them in Wisconsin has raised the value of these animals and increased prosperity for the Amish folk. Funny how things work.

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2. Sad. I mean the article. Fryer has been accused of sexual harassment by at least five women at Harvard. Yet, a Harvard graduate student said she was “stunned and disappointed” by the punishment, which she called a “disproportionate result compared to the allegations.” “We devoted our lives passionately to the cause of racial differences and now that has forcefully been ceased by Harvard administrators,” she wrote in an email on Wednesday. “My research with Prof. Fryer on criminal justice in America is halted for 4 years. I am trying hard to understand how Harvard deems this to be ‘just.'" We are all self-centered, aren't we? To economists, that is a good thing.

"...devoted...to the cause of racial differences..."?? "...has been forcefully ceased..." ? You say a graduate student wrote that? Then perhaps she can spend the next 4 yrs learning how to speak English.

At a guess, this is a grad student whose research project was collateral damage from his suspension, and who would presumably like to eventually graduate.

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Harvard is a cesspit of racism. First it was the Jews, then the Asians, and now blacks.

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I wonder how this will impact Fryer's work going forward. It seems he has been willing to be politically incorrect in the past. Wonder if this will change his perspective one way or the other.

I'm actually surprised he pulled the race card. Didn't expect that from him.

In defending himself, Fryer at one point asked investigators if he was being singled out for the color of his skin, according to the New York Times. He said the message was a “same race thing” because the assistant was also black. The woman said that “tackle, bite u or both” is “not a thing that black people say to one another.”

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3. No mention of the fact that Netflix is about to lose its two most popular shows. Also, the two-seasons policy only applies to non-Netflix shows, from what I understand.

The article doesn't have much of a logical basis. The idea that Netflix cancels all of its produced material after two seasons is obviously wrong, nor is it even a majority of shows. Indeed, the article didn't even list examples, let alone any kind of statistics.

Yes, Netflix wants to save money and prioritize shows that attract new customers. And it's foregoing profit to increase market share. However, none of those are as remarkable or as immoral as the article tries to proclaim.

Also, Netflix currently operates with negative profits, as they are investing heavily in content, hoping to build up its customer base in the future. In other words, right now, Netflix is pricing its product below its cost, which is not remotely what one would expect to occur in a monopolistic market.

It also does not try nearly hard enough to price discriminate.

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"Pricing product below cost" and "pricing product below what you need to pay for the development of future products" is not the same thing. Both give negative profit, but the first is a lot scarier than the second, for an investor anyway.

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Actually this is what monopolies do to become monopolies: price below cost to gain a complete share of the market

Sure, in theory. But in practice? Has it ever happened?

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Yeah, that article and blog in general seemed like garbage. Basically the guy thinks randoms like himself can just step in and restructure any industry by government fiat and magically improve it.

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Neat.

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#2: Paper beats rock, women beat black. I had thought it was a tossup, but my husband has never had any doubt which way it must go.

Not at all true:

Obama, not Ms. Clinton, Black men got the vote 50 years before white (and black) ladies.

Protected race trumps protected sex.

Black men got the vote 50 years before white (and black) ladies.

"Protected race trumps protected sex."

I think lots of Blacks would have been surprised to hear that back in the day.

Oh, God.

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Oh that. Hard for a girl to win a popularity contest with other girls. (The boy was cute.) Lady president: possibly more likely if women hadn't gotten the franchise.

Seriously though.

It's the triviality of voting that would render its restriction to men so absurd. An action of the purest vanity and self-aggrandizement. Much like ...

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6. > “If someone could randomly open a subway line for us, that would be fantastic, and we could answer that question,” says Kuchler.

Try researching Chinese social media, if you can get permission.

Beijing has created 18 new subway lines, and about 300 new stations, in the past decade. Other Chinese cities have subways which will add new lines in the coming years.

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#4) Interesting what leftists will voluntarily concede when they're not trying to defend themselves from accusations of same.

One caricature of Democrats is that they are the Party of Government, seeking to impose the will of the national political class on everyone else. Why does the author think "ALEC had such influence on state legislators?" It's because, "These legislators are very often amateur politicians." Another name for "amateur politicians", of course, is ordinary citizens. The author concedes that local citizen-legislators are more likely than national, career politicians to favor conservative policies. What does the author want to do? He suggests "one plausible way to counter [ALEC's] influence would be to *professionalize* state legislatures (emphasis added)", i.e., shift power away from ordinary citizens to professional politicians!

Another caricature is that unions are just tools of the political left. Usually, the left would challenge that characterization, insisting that unions represent all workers. The author, however, is alarmed that ALEC seeks to "reshape power relations" in favor of conservatives. He says it would be "impossible to imagine Democratic linked organizations seeking to destroy conservative powerhouses such as ALEC or the Federalist Society in the ways that ALEC and the Federalist Society have worked to destroy unions." So, the author himself views unions as progressive "powerhouses", the analogous counterpart to ALEC and the Federalist Society! In the author's view, apparently, unions can no more be said to advance the interests of workers than the Federalist Society can be said to advance the interests of lawyers and legal scholars. If not all lawyers are required to pay dues to the Federalist Society, then why should all workers be required to pay dues to a union whose politics those workers don't support?

At the very end, the author calls for "disrupting" and "rebuilding" the "economies of money and attention" to better fit the "purpose of representing ordinary citizens' democratic choices". We now know his Orwellian definition of "ordinary citizens" is actually professional politicians and politicized unions.

Who's counting? More or fewer than 23 other caricatures of the democrat party say they're running for president.

Suppose they televised a debate and nobody watched. Would everything each one said be a lie?

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#3
> Despite its claims of accounting profits, Netflix is a massive money-loser, projecting it will burn through $3.5 billion in cash just this year.

I checked their financials. The difference between the income and the cash flow is billions in purchases of content assets (which are also depreciated very rapidly, maybe short-term deals?). The revenue growth is also very rapid (many billions added each year).

If you have a business where you buy huge assets up front and burn them over a few years to generate revenue, then you're probably going to have negative cash flows when you're growing that fast, even if you operate at a (likely very real) profit.

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#2. Does he prove the rule? From the news I conclude that sexual harassment charges are much more likely directed towards a 50+ year old than a 35 yo. Is this because younger men's transgressions are much less newsworthy, because they haven't 'established a pattern', because they're more "woke", or because the same behavior is less likely to be unwelcome coming from a 'prime age' male? I suspect the latter...Does anyone really believe that 25-35 year old men are less (sexually) aggressive?

What difference 14 years less age and a better trajectory make!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Packwood

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Clinton

50 year olds are usually in more powerful positions in the organization, and also came up during a time when the boss could get away with a lot more than he can today. It wouldn't be shocking if that were the explanation to the pattern you've observed.

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Actually, there have been studies that testosterone levels have been dropping ("soy boys"). So yes, 25 - 35-year-old men may be less aggressive (on the whole).

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You left out the option entirely that they are more rewarding targets having had time to rise farther.

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2. So, do women want to be treated like men or not? Those jokes wouldn't get a second thought in a group of nothing but men. Ridiculous.

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States with lower pay for legislators, shorter sessions and less research assistance are substantially more likely to introduce and pass ALEC-drafted bills

There are ten states with full-time legislatures (Alaska, California, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin); in the last eight presidential elections, those states were carried by the Democrat candidate a cumulative 62:18 ratio, with never more than half voting Republican.

So, what's actually demonstrated by looking at those variables is that states with unusually-liberal electorates (compared to the median state) are less receptive to conservative-drafted legislation than the median state, rather than demonstrating that professionalized state legislatures are less vulnerable to organizations proposing draft legislation.

So, given every dime spent on state legislatures has to come out of something else in a balanced state budget (infrastructure, education, social spending, etc.), perhaps pushing Texas to give its Republican-dominated legislature more money and more time in-session to pass laws is not really a sensible way to support progressive priorities.

Shorter post: Dems are the party of Government. Thanks!

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6: Outside of certain circles -- that is, the ones Tyler never leaves -- no one cares about NYC.

Sorry, kids. The world doesn't need you.

This comment section though.

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1. Australia could export a sustainable quantity of broken seashell each year, which can be added to low grade sand to make it suitable for concrete, but both increasing water temperatures and increasing amounts of CO2 dissolved in seawater put supply at risk.

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3. While improvements are still being made, sound mixing is now something individuals can do in their bedrooms. The same is happening with visuals. Photorealistic computer graphics are now something tiny indie movie producers are starting to be able to afford. Science fiction TV shows can now have better special effects than big budget movies from 15 years ago. The sets might look cheap, but in a few years they'll look great as they'll be digital too. The actual filming of actors will look like an off-set rehearsal. But actors aren't safe either and once we have enough video of Andy Serkis even he can be done away with. So in 15 more years Hollywood as we know it might be gone anyway. Sure, big corporations will own plenty of properties, but it's India, Nigeria, and Indonesia that will be producing the creative product that people will be excited about. As the cost of visuals will be insignificant, it is numbers, youth, and creativity that will count.

Thought provoking argument; still, to push back:

CG hasn't thus far proved to be an equaliser. Why is that suddenly going to happen? You could make Toy Story from the 1990s fairly cheaply today, but I'm not sure that would sell. As the low cost tech catches up, the high cost tech moves away. Is there really a diminishing return to money here?

India, Nigeria, and Indonesia

Will youth be enough to offset relatively poor economies, limited historical settings, a likelihood of continuing poor writing, high religion repression (the dour dullness of Islam), etc? Those countries export media today, but only really to those with a shared cultural background. I don't think limited CG is the problem there.

Plus, will older populations across the world really get excited by the "kids stuff" these economies will produce?

There's a diminishing return to money because eventually $100,000 will buy you visual effects as good as in the latest Marvel comic book movie. Sure, it will take time to reach that point. Many movies are still 2K to cut down on the cost of rendering but soon 4K will become the standard. From there you can go to 16K but that's well into diminishing returns. At the same time resolution will be maxing out for all but the keenest eyed people the cost of creating computer generated visuals will be dropping and there will come a point where more money won't buy better visuals. Nowadays maybe $200 million will let you show whatever you want on screen. That's going to drop to $100 million, then $50 million, then $25 million and so on. How fast it will happen depends on how fast the cost of flops drops and software improves.

No doubt 99.9% of what India, Nigeria, etc. will produce will be crap, but there will be so much of it the 0.1% that's good will be enough and as visuals will be cheap it will also be cheap to remake or localize it.

But who knows? Maybe in 15 years entertainment will consist of directly stimulating the brain without bothering with plots and characters and visuals. And if you don't like the thought of that you can stimulate the part of your brain that will make you like it.

Going that far down the CG / neural net generated content proliferation pike, I wonder if you'll even have "big" content in the same way, or thousands of differentiated niches. Would Chinese kids really be into the 1% of Indonesian content, when it has no visual advantage over the local Chinese stuff they make for themselves?

I guess your comment seems kind of predicated on more youthful populations having more power to create what's hot and larger populations being more likely to generate good stuff (assume rates of good idea equal per capita for all pops, larger pops will have more). And few cultural barriers to export and production. Hence the idea seems that when the cash+tech advantage of big Hollywood goes, the advantage will just go to the largest and youngest pops. That seems pretty doubtful to me!

Massive onshoring and re-localization of content seems like a more likely outcome.

Well, the last movie made in my country I watched that was technically an Australian production may have been Happy Feet. That came out in 2006. Say I watched it the year after, then it has been around 12 years since I have seen any locally made content. I've seen Australian work in other films, just not an actual Australian made movie or TV show. The exclusively US portion of what I do watch has been shrinking with lots of shows set in the US actually made in Canada and, on rare occasions, in Australia. So I don't find it hard to believe the multinational and international component of what we watch here will continue to grow while the US content will decrease.

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#3. lolwut?

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4. Henry on the states and lavatories of democracy.
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Worse. Our state legislatures, already dumb, are getting dumber.

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#1. "hundreds of people have reportedly been killed in battles over sand in the past decade."

Sounds slightly better than tens of people a year, right? How many people die in battles over Meth every year? Should we write an alarmist Nature article about conserving this most precious resource?

The article even had a "peak sand" looking graph, though they wisely avoided making crazy predictions in that ever. As supply goes down, prices will go up, and we'll figure out how to get more sand. Maybe sometime will figure out how to roughen up that Saharan sand, or extract butt crack and toe sand from vacationers.

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2. "Roland G. Fryer in 2016. He is one of the most prominent African-Americans in economics, a field that has long struggled with racial diversity."

How does the author or editor know that economics has struggled with racial diversity rather than different races have struggled with economics?

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#1: geologist speaking. This paper is wildly misleading and should be retracted.

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