Showing posts with label cool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cool. Show all posts

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Highly Linkable

Thank God they don't make 'em like they used to.

Watch this and be sure to watch the last "magic" point about a 52-card deck which starts at the 14:06 mark.

Tucker Max offers great advice on why he stopped (and you should stop or not start) angel investing.

This is not a top ten ranking for a university to aspire to.

Steve Landsburg brings his always valuable counter-conventional perspective to Serial: Season One. It is as hard for me to argue with his logic as it is to accept his conclusion. I believe he is right, but I also believe he has introduced an implied simplifying assumption(s) that ignores principles of justice and that may reduce or even reverse his conclusion. I think these principles could impact the model in both a practical sense (given the iterative and complex/diverse nature of the world of crime and punishment, including these principles might get us to better outcomes) and an ethical sense (it seems problematic to have low thresholds for high severity crimes). I might also quibble with his standard of proof and his philosophical position that a juror should be trying to reach a state of belief rather than my philosophical position that a juror should be trying to validate that the prosecution "undoubtedly" proved its case.

Let's look in on how the nation's first experiment with a $15 minimum wage is going--"Look Away . . . I'm Hideous!" Wonder how the guy who wants to take this model nationwide would react? And keep in mind Seattle's cost of living index is about +20% above the national average. How would this minimum wage sell in Peoria, Illinois, to name just one low-cost-of-living place?

Finally and while we're mentioning The Bern, don't miss Reason's take on Charles Koch's friendly letter to Bernie.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Highly Linkable

So Jay Bilas of ESPN and Oliver Luck of Cosa Nostra the NCAA debated paying college athletes at an event hosted by FIRE. Andy Schwartz imagined what it would be like with a toddler included. Andy's version is right on the money--so to speak. And here is the actual debate.

Been traveling on the road again; hence, been listening to make productive the time as I go down the highway. Here are a few that stood out for mentioning:

Russ Roberts (EconTalk) interviewed Michael Matheson Miller on his film Poverty, Inc. I love the line: "Poor people are not poor because they lack stuff. Poor people are poor because they lack the institutions of justice."

James Altucher (The James Altucher Show) interviewed Brett McKay, creator of the site The Art of Manliness. I knew of the site (and liked it a lot), but I didn't know McKay was from Oklahoma and graduated from OU--as did I. I loved the discussion on minimalism.

Trevor Burrus and Aaron Ross Powell (Free Thoughts) interviewed Berin Szoka on net neutrality vs. Internet freedom. Admittedly, this one gets a bit too wonky for some, but I found it insightful. I loved the line: "The fundamental problem here is the FCC is writing rules that have real harms because they ban practices that could be good for users or for a variety of other reasons in order to deal with largely phantom problems."

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Highly linkable

I'm back from the dead . . . been watching from the hollow moon, as they say.

Detroit is beautiful and mesmerizing. Chicago is pretty damn awesome. The whole series (Little Big World) is hypnotically good.

Angus Deaton won the economics Nobel. Alex Tabarrok sums up his work nicely.

It is (past) time to recycle our thinking on recycling.

Just like so many of us want to believe recycling works, many want to believe in alternative medicine. Too bad some of those believers were in government.

Closing out a trifecta of wishing that things were not as they are, Steve Landsburg shows more folly in minimum wage policy.

And here is something way too few know or believe.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Highly Linkable

A pre-New Year's Resolution I am setting is to blog A LOT more (and not just more links, but in all honesty how else would you know what to read).

I dubbed this "blog post of the year". Enjoy.

This TED talk was insightful. I really like the points she makes. And this TED talk is a great example of why we should be optimistic about the potential of medicine and technology . . . if we could only let the market do its thing . . . but I digress.

Watching this last night, I thought immediately what my heckle would be, "He's more King than you'll ever be, William!" I had read this by David Boaz the day before to give me strength.

I like Landsburg's three short essays on the Eric Garner tragedy. He brings up great points as well as giving a great economics lesson. I would like to know what happened in the missing 1:18 minutes of that video, but I doubt it would change my opinion that it was excessive, unreasonable force. Sadly, Eric Garner is but a statistic in a long line.

While I continue to be very critical of the Ferguson police and militarized police in general, this piece by Paul Cassell along with his other analysis convinced me that declining to bring charges was most likely judicially correct.

I've been waiting for this knowing it would be an epic takedown the likes of which we haven't seen since the Tri-Lams fought down the tyranny of Alpha Beta. Apparently, old grumpy was too.

I appreciate how Jerry Palm is thinking beyond the seen as he actually does some analysis regarding the Big 12's apparent "need" for a championship game in light of being passed over for a slot in the College Football Playoff. My own view is the 10-team Big 12 is much too unstable to look for quick fixes like adding a playoff game or two new (anyone will do) teams. I predict that more will change in college football than has changed already even though we have seen a lot of change. For universities strategic thinking is highly critical right now as is protecting what really matters--beware what loyalties you sacrifice for.

Lastly, glad to say I'm already doing quite a few of these backup strategies.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Highly Linkable - economics, et al. edition

The eagle has landed--at Jardins du Trocadéro?

We want to believe, Charles Murray included, that we can raise our children's IQ, but the case against it keeps growing.

BI has 9 more math facts people have a hard time accepting.

Speaking of mathematics, Steven Landsburg has two wonderful passages on the recent passing of math colossus Alexander Grothendieck (read here then here).

Speaking of passings, economics giant Gordon Tullock died earlier this month. Tyler Cowen had a nice, short tribute. Perhaps more than anyone, Tullock taught us that the correct comparison to market failure is government failure.

Leaving the somber topics, here is some good news. Be sure to check out the "Browse Data" tab at the top.

In more good news, the health/wealth benefits of self-driving cars have enormous promise. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but here is a predicted summary headline of the near future (the second sentence is the scary one) :
Family of four dies in fiery crash as self driving car refused to recognize and decelerate as it quickly approached a crowded intersection. Regulators question technology that saves over 30,000 lives per year. 
Continuing on a theme of counter-intuitive thinking (from one of my favorite counter-intuitive thinkers), the workers of Amazon (commendably) want foremen who push them hard.

I agree with Noah Smith that we need to rethink how economics is taught to MBAs (and so many others).

We could start with this simple, true, and so often misunderstood economic lesson from Scott Sumner.

This one on antidepressants is long, but interesting and thought provoking. (HT: Bryan Caplan)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Highly Linkable

My finger painting never looked quite this good.

I like this framework comparing networks to hierarchies. I find it captures something very true. I'll have more to say on it once I get around to starting a new meme on the blog which I will call Dimension Analysis. (HT: Arnold Kling)

Cliff Asness makes the case for HFT and indicates how some of the "facts" and "reasoning" about it might not be quite so factual or reasonable.

David Bernstein weighs in on an on-going discussion over at The Volokh Conspiracy about how legal extremist (and ridiculous) the Obama Administration has been.

Sumner argues that the American system is rigged to favor the rich. I think this is part of a natural evolution and hope to expand on this thought in an upcoming post.

The O'Bannon v. NCAA trial has ended. Michael McCann has a good summary of how the last day turned a bit in the NCAA's favor. Anyway you look at it, though, the NCAA is in a prolonged process much like a divorce where there is no winning--only degrees of losing. They have all but lost the moral/ethical argument. They have been forced to admit to being a cartel (but a good one, not like any of those other bad cartels). Like I tweeted to McCann,
They can't have it both ways in either an ethical or legal sense: the NCAA is either a consumer-harming monopolist or a labor-harming monopsonist (or both, they can fail to have it both ways).

In a different realm of sports meets law meets consumer demand, it only surprises me that this has taken until now to come about. I expect a lot more up and through a tipping point. Poor guy . . .

PS. I've made many promises in this post. I hope I can live up to them.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Partial Compilation of the Wisdom of Max

As originally posted to Facebook (most recent first) over the past year and a half with slight edits for clarity, I give you

The Wisdom of Max

Me: "Max, put on your jammies."
Max: "I don't want to wear jammies."
Me: "Look, I'm wearing jammies."
Max: "No you're not! Jammies have airplanes and stuff on them. You're just wearing regular clothes!"

Max: "Do you know why they call them black widows [pronounced 'weiddos']? Because they are so weird looking."

Max: "It's really easy to kill zombies. You just get a sword and hit them a bunch. It's pretty fun." Who says Minecraft doesn't teach you anything.

Max: "Birthday parties are gooder than everyphrang because ... Getting older ... sigh..."

Max: "Old people are lucky. They can't go to jail. Guess why. Because they forget so much."

[from April] "It's chalk and water. When I asked him what he was doing he said, 'MOM, I'm sciencing.' Well, I guess I can't argue with science."

Max referring to a friend at preschool: "Heston's not really a bully. He's just kinda the boss."

I'll be vague to protect the innocent, but Max's quote was good: "Mom, tell your friend next time to NOT put nuts in the chocolate chip cookies."

In this photo we see Max explaining that "the inside of a bean has seeds that are like bullets. If you break it open and put them in a straw, you can fire them like bullets." Thank you, Papa, for that helpful bit of knowledge.

Max thinks this bird poop on the car window is cool because it looks like a rocket ship.

Max is at a friends birthday party. A few of his observations:
     "I can never trust a hot dog."
     "My real name is Max, but in your gang my name is Zane."

He's been working in this all morning running around fretting, "I don't know if this will work..."
It is an "Opathenator". He told me what it does, but it is too complex for me to summarize in a Facebook post. (notice the use of a laser)

(At Victoria's The Pasta Shop) Max said, "Bring me all the lemons."

Max wants everyone to know he had three dreams last night (2 bad and 1 good): 
  1. We as a family were going on a train ride and he fell in the river. 
  2. He was being chased by dragons and one ate him. 
  3. A jet landed right by our garage (this was the good one. He said I would like it and maybe I'll have it sometime). 
     He then said, "Dreams are like listening to music with headphones only without headphones."

Max: "If you put honey all over [which he pronounces as 'O-er'] your yard, you'd have ants EVERYWHERE!"

Max: "I AM happy. I'm just not acting happy."

Max: "Guess what whiskers are for."
Me: "What?"
Max: "To shave."
Walked right into that one. But he continue, "They actually are just to give you something fun to shave."

Max: "If you tell somebody you went potty, but you didn't, and you don't tell them the truth, it's a lie. . . . 
I thought of that all by myself. That's what I do. I think of interesting things."

Laying down with Max while was going to sleep and me thinking from the long silence that he was, he raised up to say, "If I had some hot macaroni and there were ants nearby, I'd put it on the ants so they would die. Ice would work too."

Today Max and Elise went to the Myriad Botanical Gardens. Max said, "Mom, I have to ask you something. Can I pick these flowers? Can I take these flowers home?"
April replied, "No, you cannot."
Max said, "Okay, I just had to ask."

So Max was drawing with Eva today. He drew this guy in the middle and said, "that's a vampire." 
Eva asked, "How do you know what a vampire is?" He answered, "A vampire is just a naked zombie." And .... now I will have nightmares.

Max: "I wish I was three! Everything was easy when I was three. But in a while I'll be five, and that will be so cool!"

[from Nana]: While keeping Eva, Max and Elise this weekend, I gave Max and Elise both orange popsicles. Max quickly ate half of his then set it in his plate. Elise laid hers which was barely touched down immediately and grabbed his.
Max: "Hey! That's mine!"
Me: "That's okay just take hers she had barely touched it."
Max: "It might have germs, she licked it."
Me: "But Max she's your sister you don't care if you eat after your sister do you?"
Max: "No, not now that she is in our family."
Me: "Well she has always been in your family, she has the same Mommy and Daddy as you, remember when she was born?"
Max: "Yes, but when we first got her we didn't eat after her or anything for a while until we finally let her be in our family."
Guess it is one of those exclusive families that only accepts the best...

Max: "Papa, sometimes people think things that aren't true, but they don't know."

More from Max: "Some times things are funny, [shakes his head] but people don't laugh."
"You know bad words? You can learn good things from bad words."

Max: "Daddy, does it frustrate you that the house is taller than you."
Me: "no, not really."
Max: "But it's frustrating when things are taller than you."
Later . . .
Max: "My favorite thing to do today is to watch Eva while she plays. That bothers her. I like distracting her."

As I was grinding coffee this morning, Max said, "If you run out of concrete you can use coffee but it is really hard to do. REALLY HARD! You have to add boiling water and wait a long time."

Max: "David Graybill [his 6'4" cousin] couldn't take a bath. He is too tall. Do you know why David grew so tall? Let me tell you. Some people grow wide [he stands with his legs apart and arms lifted out to demonstrate]. But David grew long [he stands tightly together very straight like a pencil]. It happens at night. You don't notice because it is at night. But it happens."

Max: "If Superman was a real person, he'd be made of steel. But his cape wouldn't. His cape would be made of red cape stuff."

April: "I'm sending you kids to boarding school for the summer. I can't take the fighting."
Max: "I don't want to go to boring school. I don't want to ever go to boring school. I like my house."

[at Pi on the Plaza District] Max walked up to this sign and said, "What is my imagination saying?"

Elise is watching Sesame Street. Max can't figure out for the life of him what this is.

Max: "Dreams are important. They are good for you--even bad dreams."

Playing with Eva, Max said, "Remember what we did a long, long, long time ago, before today ..?" The rest isn't important. The specification that three long times ago is "before today" was the interesting part.

[from Nana]: Last night we gave our grandson Max (age 4 1/2 yrs.) a lava rock we found in the desert on our trip to Yuma. I said, "We picked up this lava rock for you in the desert. It is from a real volcano." His eyes got a look of excitement and alarm and he took it from me the way a person would take the surprise gift of a million dollars. "Wow" he said, "WHERE DID YOU GET THIS?" I told him we found it in the desert. He continued, "I mean, HOW DID YOU PICK IT UP? IT HAD TO BE BURNING HOT!"

Max today: "Robots were invented in the olden days to help people catch rabbits and chickens." I think he's watching too much Looney Tunes.

Max is focused in school work and focused in his Martial Arts.

Max from the shower: "Elise doesn't have boy parts! Where are her boy parts! She is like a cow. Milk comes out of there." How is he just noticing this?

Max explaining: "... And then a BIG giant ball of fire came down and there was fire everywhere and it killed all the dinosaurs. Then the scientists buried them, and then there were people who grew up, but first the scientists so they could bury the dinosaurs..." He drifted off as his non-sequitur became apparent.

Seems like he'd make a good pet owner.

So what do you do when you're playing hide-n-go seek, you are winning (not able to be found), and you have to go to the bathroom? Champions, like Max, apparently stay in place and pee their pants. ‪#‎commitment‬‪ #‎WhatChampionsDo‬

Eva has two friends over for a sleepover.
Me: "Max, let's get out of Eva's room and let the girls play."
Max: "No way! I wanna party with them!"

Max: "We talk about vinegar at school. You can drink it but it seems really bad but it is good for your bones."

Max relaxing in his new blanket-fort-house. There is a 20-foot "secret entrance" that runs behind the kitchen and around the side. It's really cool.

Max is showing Elise Minecraft. He is sad because in the zoo he built the piranha has jumped out of its pond and is going to die.

In another conversation, Me: "You need to get to sleep. It's a school night." Max's sharp reply: "I don't go to school at night!"

Max: "Your pants would be really stinky if you had cheese in them for a really long time." I am now checking all his clothing.

[from Nana]: Babysitting Max age 4 1/2 yesterday he told the dolls, "daddy has to go to work to buy food for your or else you will starve to death and Daddy will go to jail." then he looks up for a second and considers that thought, "well maybe I wont go to jail, then he continues, yes Daddy would go to jail."

April is taking Eva to the OKC Philharmonic tonight to see Sarah Chang play violin. I was telling her that a lot of people will be dressed very fancy tonight. Max said, "I don't like fancy." "What do you like?" I asked. "Cool," he replied.

At the end of her workout yesterday, April was out of breath and Max said, "Mom! When you are out of breath you have to go outside and eat some air or you might pass out!"

Max: "Flowers make nectar in their tummies like we make poop. And bees making honey. Lots of animals make things for us..." It went on from there for some time. Chickens are his favorite animal.

Max says: "You don't want the hedgehog to see his shadow - then there will be 1000 more days until fall comes."

So, Max pulled one of my books off the shelf and asked what it was about. It was Brian Greene's "The Elegant Universe", and it was opened to a diagram about relativity. He is now running through the house attempting to go fast enough to time travel. He didn't understand when I told him that if he does, I won't be able to tell.

Now this is a bubble bath.

Max: "Today at school I saw where you get Bible'd."
Me: "What?"
Max: "Bible'd!" [this actually went back and forth several times with him getting VERY insistent]
Me: "What do you mean?"
Max: "You know, with the big bathtub."
Me: "Oh, baptized."
Max: "Xactly! Daddy, have you ever been Bible'd?"
I didn't know how to answer.

Eva is at a birthday party next door that is "girls only". There is an age factor too, but that isn't something he could understand. Max: "Mom, for my birthday send a note to every girl in the whole wide world, 'No girls allowed!'"

Max: "Don't forget to set up the Montana Fire tonight in my room."
April: "What do you mean?"
Max: "You know, the thing that blows air in my face."
April: "Oh - the humidifier."

Max: "When we left on our trips, I worry about my toys and our house. What if somebody broke in and put a bomb in it. That would be crazy! I'd punch the bad guys in the tummy."

Max at Whole Foods whispering to April: "Mom, mom. I want to say that lady looks freaky, but that would hurt her feelings."

Max (in a Darth Vader voice): "Luke, I am your father . . . Son, and Holy Spirit." He might be confused.

Just after closing the door as the last of the cousins left from Christmas; Max: "Daddy, sometimes when I'm telling people goodbye, it makes me really sad."

Max: "Why did Nana make her Thanksgiving chicken on Christmas?"

He's loving his new swing set. Don't tell him it's too cold!

Max: "Did you know that you can see pictures of things in your brain? I'm looking at cool pictures right now. Can you see them?"

One of Max's rules seems to be to always stay in character.

One of his last thoughts before finally going to sleep brought Max rising straight up to ask, "What is faster a duck or a monster?" I knew immediately there is no correct answer I could give to this question as judged by him. Fortunately, he let me know, "I think a duck is faster running and flying."

Max is glad to be done practicing his Christmas program at preschool, "It was very disruptive to the day."

Max: "How did God create everything? Does he have a magic wand?"

"In Heaven can you fly? How? Do you say, 'I want to fly?' and you grow wings?" (With a concerned look.) "But I don't want to grow wings. I might just be saying, 'I want to fly'."

Max: "Elevators are pretty good places to pick your nose, but you shouldn't do it."

Upon learning what crab cakes really were Max said, "Crab cakes should be cupcakes shaped like little crabbies."

Max right now is jumping on the couch saying, "I love this night! It is like a birthday party!" Eva, watching MNF observed, "I just don't get some beer commercials. I like the one where he goes to the top of the mountain and pulls the beer out. I get that one."

Max: "Sometimes coaches look goofy."

Max: "Santa can't jump very high; he's a big dude."

Max is on a roll: "A giraffe could eat you." Me: "Well, no. Giraffes don't eat people." Max: "But if you had a leaf suit on they might."
Later: "Sometimes Santa comes into your house and looks around and if you have a bunch of toys he might only give you some and if you had a whole lot he'd leave you none."

Several from Max:
"Cows have to get the milk out of their skin or they will die."
"It is hard to pick your nose if it is sore but sometimes you have a big booger and if it is really big you need to wash your hands like ten times."
"If you didn't have a mouth you couldn't ask for candy if you were a little kid. That would be sad. "

Max: "Sometimes when you need to go pee-pee really bad someone talks to you and distracts you and you go pee-pee a little in your pants."

Max: "Papa, your neck looks like a turkey's."

Max: "It was easy for God to make aliens because they're so close to Heaven."

One of the byproducts of attending OU games is Max insisting we spend Sunday morning re-enacting the entire pregame in the backyard. I "get" to be the fans who have to stand up and clap and cheer at all the appropriate times. He is the players warming up, the announcer, the band, and the players running out of the locker room. The neighbors must love us.

[at the OU football game] Max: "What's a 'Hunnicutt'?" Me: "It means 'settling' and 'disappointment'."

At bath time.
Me: "I have to get your hair wet to wash your hair, Max."
Max: "NO! 'No' means no, daddy!"

Max: "Jesus has very good hearing."

Max's dream:
"A dinosaur was after me and 'Ah-Weece'. We hid under the table. He didn't kill us, but he zapped Mama."

Things I've learned this morning: Max, "In the world of donuts there are yeast donuts and cake donuts."

Max says, "Daddy doesn't wear a shirt when he mows - so neither am I"

Max gets Trick or Treat

Max was seriously concerned about his Sooners yesterday.

Wisdom from Max:
"A long time ago ghosts got into dinosaurs and thats why you don't see them any more."
"The beetles are the leaders of the bugs." Me: "Why?" Max: "Just because."

Max: "I'm a Wichita man. I'm from Wichita."
Homophone innocence.

"It's a glass of water." 100% his own idea and execution.

Max: "When you get old [elderly], you have to hear everything twice."

Max, "When I grow up, I want to be just like you, Daddy. Then I'll be able to go in the attic by myself." Apparently that is the measure of adulthood. He followed it with, "But I don't want to go into the attic." Quite the dilemma.

Max, "A magazine is a book you read when you go to the dentist."

[from Aunt Susie] A conversation between me and my 4yr old nephew:
Me: Max, I really like you
Max: I like me, too

Max reacts to eating a chocolate mouse

Max explained to me, "People call it a washcloth, but it's just a little towel."

April: "Max, please stop playing in the bathroom." Max, combing his hair: "I'm not playing, I'm being handsome."

April, "Max, is there anything you want from the store?"
Max, "Hmmm... Do they have gummies that look like bears?"
April, "When have you had Gummy Bears?"
With a confused look, Max, "Gummy Bears???"

Max just told me that Elmo was nice, but the dirty man was mean. I think he meant Oscar the Grouch.

Max's joke:
Max, "Mom, today at school I had a hand sandwich."
April, "No, you had a ham sandwich."
Max, "No, a hand sandwich. I ate it with my hand!"
"...I'm just kidding. It was peanut butter and jelly."

Max as the Flash (Flash wore an apron, right?)

Max was almost asleep when his eyes shot open with fear and regret as he worried, "I don't want Jesus to retire." Relax, he is not a prophet. Our priest, Father Boyer of St. Mark the Evangelist, is retiring tomorrow. Max is vague on what a priest is and completely unfamiliar with the concept of retirement.

Max plays Air Hockey

Mothers get accused of many things being their fault. This was a new one on April. Max: "Mommy! You broke my ideas."

Max says: "If God were not in the sky but was on the floor that would be cute because God is cool."

Not sure what this means. Max, "Let's pretend we don't have super powers."

Max to Elise: "I'm gonna squeeze the cutsy out of you." He said it in a sweet way, but it was still a little concerning.

Max's word of the day is 'sanitize': "Carrots are dirty. They have to be washed and sanitized."

Remember when finding a stick could make you happy?

Max sings Taylor Swift

Advice from Max: "It would be really hard to put lava in a water balloon, so don't even try it."

[at Easter] Max found an egg with money in it and said, "I'm gonna get all this money, then I can go to college, then I'll be rich forever!"

From the Wisdom of Max: Did you know that cheese makes you stop dying? Farmers put medicine in cheese.

Me from behind a closed door: "It's me, Baby Elise."
Max: "No it's not."
Me: "Oh yeah, it is."
Max: "You don't sound like Elise."
Me: "I changed my voice, I'm Elise."
Max: "If you Elise, pee your pants."
Checkmate Max.

April to me: "We need to start watching on Netflix 'Breaking Bad'."
Max with a distraught look on his face: "Oh no, can we fix it!?"

What I heard from the other room:
Max: "Eat this."
Max: "It's yucky.... Don't eat it."
I did not investigate. Some things are better left unknown.
From April: The first thing that Max said to me this morning was "I went to the grocery store by myself and I had cheese". I asked him if it was a dream. He said "yes and papa was there and there was a shark".

April: "This is the coolest morning ever - we saw a fire truck testing its ladder and we saw a hot air balloon."
Max: "And we saw beautiful trees and a beautiful baby and a beautiful you."

Some of Max's more interesting questions of the day (he has many everyday):
"How do things not break?"
"How is your head attached to your shoulders?"
"How long cents does a kite cost?" (Pretty sure he meant how 'many' cents).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Highly Linkable

Into the caves

Out on the shore

If you're looking for poetry, look elsemore.

Sumner illuminates the thing versus the thing that is done.

In Europe silver spoons aren't just a good idea, they're the law! Is a world of Ricky Stratton's really the progressive dream?

Insider trading as a parallel to prohibition.

It's Derby time; hence, it is julep time.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Highly Linkable

Kojak. Bang! Bang!

Virginia Postrel gives us four questions courtesy of FIRE to ask prospective universities regarding their attitudes on free speech.

Federal land ownership looks like an epidemic outbreak (HT: Mungowitz):

Scott Sumner gives two posts on taxes that are both important examples of thinking like an economist. He then follows it up with a lesson on why it is all about consumption--not income--when it comes to inequality.

Bryan Caplan recently participated in a debate hosted by Reason on immigration (hopefully it will be up in video form soon at ReasonTV). As such, he is on an immigration posting roll. Each one is worth reading.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Highly Linkable

Let me axe you a question. Have you seen this yet? Welcome to the world of tomorrow!

Remember, its self-proclaimed goal is to be the most transparent administration in history. Perhaps he meant transparently self serving.

Bryan Caplan on Michael Huemer making the moral case for civil disobedience of unjust laws including lying about intending to and acting to thwart their existence.

Perhaps civil disobedience is all the Bag Man is up to as he compensates college football players. Somebody needs to do more for them it seems as even the NCAA is making some desparate changes.

The pace of change is moving rapidly now as I believe the tide of popular opinion is reaching a tipping point. Our side has the true moral high ground. Most people have chosen to ignore the arguments up until now, but that is quickly changing. I can hear so many beginning to say, "Well, I have always thought college athletes deserved more [clumsily define 'more']. It is just that until now [clumsily offer a justification for past injustices] . . ."

Fortunately, there is plenty of money in college athletics (Alabama's football program has higher revenues than any NHL team and 26 of 30 NBA teams) just as there is plenty of profit in non-profit universities.

And just for good measure in closing this sports-heavy link post, Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald is in a battle with Kentucky's John Calipari to be the worst NCAA spokesman.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Highly Linkable

I want to go to there.

We are so amazingly wealthy. Not only can we afford to use resources towards the manufacturing of superfluous jewelry; we can do so to the extent of using this magnitude of technology, craftsmanship in high focus in this case. I am not being sarcastic about affording it. Many manufacturers such as the one showcased here are truly profitable proving they improve upon the status and use of the world's resources.

The French labor unions are working hard to make sure nobody works too hard in France (or perhaps at all eventually--be careful what you ask for).

Speaking of unions and government interference in free-market labor, Ohio Republicans would rather the state subsidize one kind of non-employed workers than have them earn a wage.

Once we as a society realize that environmentalism is economics not religion, we will have advanced significantly from where we stand today. I took this article as a small, positive step in that direction.

First they came for the large fountain drinks . . . a lesson in bad scientism.

This one might be labeled fast and loose statistics applied to television, but it is pretty cool just the same. (HT: BoxScoreGeeks)

I look forward to reading Michael Lewis' Flash Boys, and I expect he'll pull some of the mystery out of high-frequency trading. But as Noah Smith skillfully points out, we just don't know if HFT is on net bad or good--too much remains in the shadows. Perhaps The Shadow knows, but the rest of us are in the dark.

As if we needed another example, Obama is a demagogue and a hypocrite. Thankfully, we have Mark Perry and Andrew Biggs to set us straight on the myth of gender-pay inequality. Unfortunately, they may have goofed on a calculation of the profit opportunity the assumed gap implies. Thankfully, we have Steven Landsburg to shore up the gap and improve still upon the argument. And finally, Megan McArdle offers thorough insight and reasoning on the issue.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Highly Linkable

This is one of the greatest shots I've ever seen of the greatest city on Earth. It looks best perhaps on an HD tablet. Be sure to zoom in for the full effect.

If that puts you in the mood to get stuck between the moon and NYC, perhaps you'll need a place to stay.

If you're traveling to NYC by air, don't be afraid. It is a very safe way to travel. Just look at this stunning visualization of all the air travel in a single day in Europe.

Leaving NYC for now, here is a great story about inventor Alan Adler. Not only did he invent my favorite device for making phenomenal coffee (the AeroPress), but he invented my favorite flying disc (the Aerobie Flying Ring). I still have my Aerobie from the 80s. That sucker can fly and on a line. 

And you thought you'd make it through the link post without any economics homework--not so fast. John Cochrane is breaking down the case for cost-benefit analysis in financial regulation. Reading through this earns you $100 in MagnitudeMoney redeemable at the blog's gift shop (coming soonish). Alright, it's long, but it is worth it.

I'll be back soon with a WWCF and so much more. But in the mean time, catch up on your reading.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Highly linkable

We start with a cool invention: the invisible bicycle helmet.

James Altucher bundles some great life advice in this collection of lessons learned while day trading.

Grantland has two right down the middle: one on maximum overdrive coming to baseball and another on the coach who never punts (a theory after my own heart). While never is probably not the optimal strategy, as the authors mention, the current state is sub optimal from a winning perspective.

As long as we're bucking conventional wisdom, here is something to put in your pipe: popular hysteria about crack and meth is just that--hysteria. Mark Perry shows the way pointing towards an article in the NYT by friend of free thinking John Tierney.

But I thought we should just say no; that drugs = total life destruction was a fact. Well, facts aren't always so factual. Here is a completely different example from Russ Roberts where he shows Simpson's Paradox. One would think that if every sub group of a larger group saw a decline in a measured factor that the larger group itself must exhibit a decline as well. Doh! Not necessarily and importantly not in this case of supposed income inequality.

They're about to start paying you to live in Switzerland--and paying well: ~$2,000 per month just for calling the land of cheese and chocolate home. I like the idea of a negative income tax. I like the idea of largely replacing the social safety net with fixed cash transfers. I think it is a third or perhaps even second-best solution. But $2,000 per month? We've gone from supplement to substitution really fast. Sure it might spur entrepreneurship, but do we really want someone leading the life of Riley starting a business, using capital? Oh, we don't.

One thing all those Swiss might start doing is going to college. But what is the value of that anyway? Here is one version of the debate from the Bleeding Heart Libertarians. Here is the same but Muppetized.

Finally, in most situations where a dispute from within a fraternal order (and one that is not like the typical world) is made public, there is more there than what at first meets the eye. Such is the case with the Miami Dolphin's locker room hubbub suggests Russ Roberts.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Highly linkable

Google, the great disruptor, is at it again this time targeting TV.

All those beauty queens may finally get their wish.

This one from Megan McArdle is heavyweight great. Far too often the simplistic analysis of policy advocates fails miserably to fully appreciate the nuances and complexities of life and its tradeoffs.

Angus points to a paper showing that 401(k) plans can have hidden and unavoidable pitfalls.

More sharing is made possible through technology. This time it involves ad hoc tasks. The future isn't plastics as much as it is butlers and maids for the masses. (HT: Mark Perry at Carpe Diem)

Far be it from me to advocate more regulation, but the NCAA is a government sanctioned and subsidized monster that may need some babysitting. Here is a nice start.

John Cochrane raises some quibbles but largely agrees with Greg Mankiw's take on Au.

Steven Landsburg shows us one awesome version of the Game of Life. (Warning: the nerd indications are high on this one.)

Here at MM we love sports ticket intermediators (pejoratively also known as "scalpers"). Here is a great video arguing our point.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Vegas observations

I'm just back from Vegas, baby! and have a few observations to share:

  • They didn't give daddy the Rainman suite, but they treated me well. Stayed at the Venetian, which is a hard act to beat and maybe the best option in town for a family such as us.
  • Vegas has got to be the people watching capital of the world. Perhaps someday (hopefully) a cross section of the world will in fact be as wealthy and glamorous as the Vegas Strip population appears, but it will perhaps (unfortunately) also be just as shallow.
  • Speaking of watching the shallow-minded people, it is fun to hear how confident foolish people can be. Craps and Blackjack are the penultimate examples of this. This observation deserves its own breakdown:
    • It is amazing how many people have a long history of "always paying for their trips with their (Craps, Blackjack, et al.) winnings". I don't see how those casinos can afford to keep the lights on. Perhaps we should take up a collection.
    • The ability to add quickly does not make you "good at math". Knowledge of mathematical principals, ability to see things in algorithmic terms, and appreciation for underlying systems like probability are qualities of good mathematical minds. They don't give out many Fields Medals for counting. To conflate that you can add up an Ace, Seven, Queen, and Four quickly or pay out at 6:5 odds on $15 bet with $75 backing it up in a swift motion with being "good at math" is like saying spelling bee performance is highly correlated with great writing in literature.
    • The human mind is ridiculously susceptible to the lure of superstition. 
  • How much can you really make in tips standing on the Strip in a creepy, B-level children's entertainment character costume? Apparently enough as compared to about 20 people's next best option.
  • The variety of hotel casinos reminds me that it takes all kinds. I hear you say, "Is that what it takes? I always wondered what it took." But it is as true here as ever. A Las Vegas central planner would probably be a lot like Steve Wynn. His design would be remarkable, beautiful, distinctive, and exclusive while also being unappealing and unavailable to most. His monopoly status would promise unprofitability if without subsidy. Or the planner would be like the group that runs Caesars Entertainment Corporation (the owners of Caesar's, Harrah's, and a host of additional properties that appeal to a group much less sophisticated than the Encore set). The place would be tacky without perspective and a "big-box" version of a gaming destination. The monopoly status would again promise unprofitability if without subsidy. Fortunately, we have a mostly free-market approach, which allows for some, really a lot, of both styles with many degrees in between, above, and below. It is just important to realize that the right side of the distribution (almost no matter what distribution we consider: quality, variety, quantity, price, etc.) necessitates a left side. 
  • I'm glad I saw this excellent piece in the New Yorker after my trip. I would have been even more paranoid about street crime. Watch the video as well. (hat tip: Kottke)
PS. Don't be misled by my hypothetical on a Las Vegas central planner. I very much admire the entertainment products of both Steve Wynn and the Caesars group. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Two monkeys walk into the EEOC . . .

A friend sends me this link to a video of research done on Capuchin monkeys concerning payment for learned tasks. The essence of the video comes at the very humorous moment when one monkey discovers that the other monkey is being paid "unequally" for the same task. It is said that the first monkey is "rejecting" the "unequal" pay with the implication that you as a human should do the same. The caption/punchline below the video reads, "If monkeys reject unequal pay, shouldn't you?" We can't really assess from the brief video the meaningfulness of the research. This isn't about the Capuchin, Donnie. But we can comment on the implied call for pay equality and the rather pedestrian approach to the argument.

It would really be something if the second monkey rejected the "unequal" pay (actually getting a more desired grape instead of a less desired cucumber piece). Or if a third monkey went on a hunger strike in protest. The fact that the first monkey only realizes the visible grapes are actually available for payment after the second monkey attains one is impressive (or at least interesting--perhaps this says something about how little we expect of monkeys).  But it is only upon completing the task a second time and then not being awarded a grape that the protest begins. The first monkey didn't connect the "unequal" pay backward to the prior task--she didn't protest immediately upon seeing the second monkey get a grape. Maybe this is the truly remarkable part: The first monkey learned something about the market price for completing the task and appropriately raised her reservation raise.

Higher life forms (those who understand economics like this monkey) understand that the market is a discovery process. It isn't so simple to say what is or is not equal pay. The second monkey seems to get this too in that he doesn't feel ashamed for receiving "unequal" pay. In fact in the human world there are a number of reasons why two people apparently in the same situation presumably performing the same task would in fact receive different compensation. There is nothing inherently unjust or inefficient about it. To assume so is to beg the question about under what circumstances the difference arose.

It seems the first monkey not only understands economics but also understands property rights as well. By reserving her protest for higher wages until after completion of the task a second time, she makes clear that she doesn't believe she deserves the same deal the other monkey got. Rather she is just insisting and aggressively negotiating a new compensation package. She knows that a fair deal isn't "fair" simply and only because it is "equal" to another seemingly identical situation. It is fair if all parties to the deal agree to it freely without force, coercion, or fraud regardless of the comparable deal struck by other parties in another situation. While most monkeys have been diligently working themselves up from nothing into a state of extreme poverty, this one has been studying Locke not Marx.

Yes, I'm reading into this a little too deeply, but live by the exaggerated metaphor, die by the exaggerated metaphor.

If monkeys reject bad economics and faulty understanding of property rights, shouldn't you?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Mantis versus Moth

I was walking in the backyard and noticed a fluttering sound coming from the flower garden in the back corner. Upon inspection, I found an amazing sight right out of wild kingdom. A 4-inch-long preying mantis had captured a very large moth in its front legs. It was proceeding to basically eat the moth's face. Despite the moth's intense struggle, it could not free itself. The mantis was basically strong enough to hold down the moth's attempt to fly away. Below are some pictures and a link to a video I shot.