Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  The second-hand clothing market is collapsing. Partly because new clothes are so cheap. If you think that's a bad thing, you need to rethink.

2.  Florida Man!  Dude just wanted a burrito. Didn't want any trouble.  With thanks to MS for the assist...

3. On being a little more careful about "life span."

4.  Please watch the video, and then read the story. I think she may even be serious. Who says millennials aren't entitled? I mean, you heard her: She's an INFLUENCER. She shouldn't have to PAY. In a related vein, I'm not even sure what this woman actually wants.  But she definitely wants it.

5.  Megan McArdle is en fuego. Just read down the stream as she live-tweets events in DC during the shutdown.

6.  The. THING. Itself. Why would you expect anything different?

7.  Civil asset forfeiture is straightforwardly "for profit" policing. It doesn't have to be private to be a revenue-maximizing activity. I'm always surprised when people think anything public is NOT revenue-maximizing. Why wouldn't it be? Anyway, a ray of hope.

8.  King of Jordan pretty much says, "Pence, you ignorant slut..."  I'm paraphrasing, but only a little. (If you are too young for the reference....)

9.  I don't know about this. I'm willing to believe that California has the highest poverty rate, because if you subsidize something you get more of it. And CA has a great climate and is kind to panhandlers.  But is it really true that people would be better off if they were forced to work?  Isn't that just a different take on the paternalism the article decries in others?

10. Two words you may not know: Bideshedding versus Yak-shaving. The distinction may be important!

11.  If things like this can happen (and they CAN happen!) why do we even HAVE a government?

12.  Why it's so hard to figure out what college actually costs: Because it's more like medical services (highly protected and noncompetitive) than it is like a market (where you get information because competition forces providers to give out information).

13. How could you say that Argentinan "gradualism" is WORKING? Just because it's not Venezuela?   If only we knew something about the history....

14.  You can't make this stuff up. Folks: New Jersey and the (incomplete) I-95!

15. On dating Aziz Ansari. And another date with him.

16. James Buchanan, Public Choice, and the Political Economy of Desgregation.

17. Price elasticity and the opioid crisis.

The Grand Lagniappe:

If you see it, please call it in. The owner REALLY needs it!

Saturday, January 20, 2018


I'm afraid that, in spite of Prof. Grier's epic "po-mouthing" that he is clearly winning, not losing, the citations race. Consider the two screen shots:

I would say there are two primary ways of judging impact in academic political economy: (1) number of contributions with >= 1,000 cites, and (2) h-index.

Prof. Grier has a 1,000 cite piece; I do not.  And the h-indexes are essentially tied.  AND the "since 2013" h-index is not even close. The difference between 21 and 18 is NOT "3," in any linear sense. He is running away with this, if you take the thing seriously.  I have little prospect of breaking 1,000 with anything any time soon. And he has several papers that were published in very visible places and will likely soon hit the post-2013 h-index.

(If you don't know what an h-index is....)

I guess that I'd go a different way, though. Two knuckleheads who shared an office in a basement 1983-4, who both failed their econ prelims (and deserved to) EACH now have an h-index over 30.  In some larger sense, an h-index over 30 is at least moderately bad-ass. Jim may not have been completely astonished at how Angus turned out, but I know Herb was surprised I ever got a job at all. So, here's to Angus and me, for surprising everyone by not being in jail!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

We'll make Millions!!

Mungowitz doesn't know it, but he and I are locked in a brutal citations battle.

It's brutal because, on a lifetime basis, he's KILLING me (they don't call him Killer Grease Mungowitz for nothing, people).

As of today, he strides the earth like a colossus with 7315 citations while I slink around with 5872.

However, slowly but don't call me Shirley, I'm catching up! in the last 5 years it's 1772 for me and a mere 1766 for KGM. Even better, for 2017 its 314 for me and 284 for him (as of today).

Let's say in a best case scenario, I keep up the 30 cites per year lead. I'm in a 1433 cite hole, so it will take almost 50 years to catch him.


So without further ado, let me present my idea, the amazing Citation Counting Tombstone!

Front of the stone contains an electronic display of your cites, alone or in comparison to any rivals you desire. Inside the stone a device running a python script to scrape the relevant info from Google Scholar (oh and a cell / wifi connection).  Back of the stone is a solar panel to power the various gizmos.

Given my intimate knowledge of the arrogance and insecurity of academics, this will sell like the proverbial hotcakes. Looking for a couple angel investors to finance a first round.

Phone call for @PMARCA!!!!! We can even put the word "blockchain" in the prospectus to drive the crowd into a frenzy.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  Giant spider (it was nearly 5 inches across its legs) causes person to go nuts, try to kill it with a blowtorch. Successfully set spider on fire. But spider then set rest of apartment on fire. Could this happen in the Mungowitz house? Probably not, because the LMM is afraid of blowtorches. But there might very well be ax marks all over the place if a spider were to show up.  Just to close the loop here, the females sometimes carry their young around. This can happen.

2. Really, Huma? You just can't pull the trigger and divorce him?  D2B, I guess.

3. Like a tower defense video game come to life. Three professional soccer players against 100 children.  The children are playing a 30-30-30-10 formation. Um, don't bunch up, kids. Stay spread out.

4.  Florida man! Pardon, is that a full rack of ribs in your pants, or are you just glad to see me?

5. Academic big leagues? Does this advice ring true to you, old folk academics?

6. My parents (dad: upstate NY; mom: rural IN) grew up in places that at that time were not doing well economically. They could have stayed there and hoped that the government would make it possible for them to stay in those places, because...I'm not sure why it would do that, actually. Why not go somewhere else? They did. If you live in place with no economic opportunity, move.   The old Sam Kinison line ("You live in a DESERT! Move to where the food is!") is unfair in Africa, because it's not possible to move. But in the U.S.? Our choices are to help people move, or to provide artificial reasons to stay in places that suck.

7.  It is plausible to call Haiti a sh*thole.  But if it is, it may because the U.S. dug the hole, and then sh*t in it.  Further, it is plausible to call the poor parts of India a sh*thole. But by and large Indian immigrants come to the U.S., create wealth for themselves and value for everyone else.  May their legion increase.

8. If you add constraints--in this case, sappy and soggy leftist views required--you limit responsiveness, adaptability, and achievement of the objective.  Surprising how many people advocate diversity of hues, but not of views.

9. There are plenty of actual eugenicists in the U.S. They were called "Progressives."

10.  I predict that this Florida man will NOT have a life of joy. We all want to be the lottery winner, but it's not really that fun, I bet. That's what I'm telling myself: I would hate to get $282 million in cash when I was 20. That's what I'm telling myself. Hate it, I would.

11. Enacting rituals to improve self-control.

12.  You can't wear a p**syhat to protest Trump's comments, because it might offend people who don't have...well....p**sies? His comment was about women who DO have those things, and there are lots of those people. Not every protest has to be intersectional. WTF?

13. If California is so rich, why is it so poor?

14.  Canada has its limits....

15,  Of crudeness and truth....

16. If it's on Amazon, it must be real. Should ship in March!  

The Grand Lagniappe: I think they are taking this whole "shovel ready project" thing too far.... Or else they just wanted to take the "fork in the road" up a notch.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  Inflatable unicorn horn for cats.  The look on the cat's face pretty much tells you why I think all cats should have one...or several. But then I don't really like cats much.

2.  Economists "say" a lot of things. Many of those things are wrong.

3. The impact of divorce laws on the equilibrium in the marriage market.

4.  In which Tim Worstall comments. On this remarkable call for "new economics." We don't see calls for new physics based on ethical problems (gravity pulls fat people down more than skinny people; is that fair?) But people think when it comes to economics they can just make sh*t up.

5. In a world of Babel, price is the only language spoken by all.

6.  They may thaw out and attack.  That's some Florida, raht thair.

7.  Kenny Loggins, King of the Movie Soundtrack.

8.  Witches.

9.  This reminds the LMM of someone she knows. I have no idea of whom it reminds her.

10.  Woody Harrelson. I thought his performances in Zombieland and Three Billboards are among the best, in such different ways, I've ever seen by an actor. Very different genres, obviously, but that's the point.

11.  This...I had no idea. A whole world of gross foolishness, all contained just in Scotland. Irn-Bru at the center of a full-fledged kerfuffle.  Tim Worstall wonders, what in the world did you expect? Plus, two extra points because he said "bleatings." I like it when people say "bleatings."

12.  Econ(Slovak)Talk.

13. A "Jubilee" for email debts.  (And a note on "Jubilee.")

14. Cassette tapes? Really?

15.  That stupid chart "showing" that productivity gains have all been stolen by the rich.

16. On Al Roth's Presidential Address at AEA. And the importance (implicitly) of PPE! On the other hand, much of what economists say is not really right.

17.  The right has abandoned the coastal cities.

18. Banning the book "The New Jim Crow." And also "Walking While Black." The problem is that laws give discretion to police, because the laws are so stupid that no one could expect them to be uniformly enforced. Or so I claimed, long ago.

19.  It's easier just to assume that anyone who disagrees with you must be evil. Because the alternative is that you might be wrong, and that just CAN'T be true.  So you should feel free to punch folks who are wrong.

20.  I'm happy to help out with mocking Trump's claim that he is either a genius, or stable, or both. But medicalizing disagreement with "Progressive Truths" is not that different from medicalizing disagreements with "Socialist Orthodoxy."

21.  Maybe Persia could build a wall, and make the West pay for it?

The Grand Lagniappe:

(I had wondered about this: does the meme work better if it is flipped like this?) The usual way of presenting it:

Monday, January 01, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  An exam on asking questions at public events. Many students would benefit from taking and passing this class. But pretty much ALL faculty would benefit.

2.  This would be interesting, if it weren't such a misguided and misdirected critique of something that is actually NOT the problem at all.

3. It does seem that if Steven Spielberg thinks Ellsberg was a hero, then he has to admit Snowden was a hero. He could be wrong that Ellsberg was a hero, of course. But then he wouldn't have a very good movie.

4.  On how Taiwan made the switch to single-payer.  I'm not necessarily a fan of single-payer, but I do think it would be better than the current dog's breakfast of subsidies and regulations.

5. My good friend "Humean Being" on net neutrality.

6.  Obit of a great, great man: Nat Hentoff.  An original thinker utterly without a desire to please others by pretending to agree.

7.  New York is extremely safe. Even though there are people many different colors and religions there. So please, no fearmongering about guns or foreigners.

8.  Fragile, your younglings are.  Afraid, they will be.

9. In the 100 Acre Wood, things are bad. Very, very bad.

10. A very odd discussion, under #QuestionsForAProstitute hashtag.

11. Couple charged for gettin' busy at a Domino's. For the record, their pizza order? Yes, it was. Stuffed crust.

12.  How smart is your dog?

13. Mostly Weekly, from Reason.

14. The uninhabitable Earth?  In which we are told (1) climate change is caused by man; (2) climate change has always happened on Earth; and (3) climate change is happening on Venus.

15. Vin Scully doing the play-by-play of Koufax's perfect game, the 9th inning. "29,000 fans and a million butterflies." Koufax was 82 on Friday.... Seems like longer ago.

16. Florida Man! Dude (quite a handsome fellow, btw) got TOO MUCH cash from the ATM. So he beat up the ATM with his fists. There's nothing that makes any sense here, except that since it happened in Florida we just know that the rules are different.

17.  The myth of the male feminist.... (Gated)

18. The dogs of 2017.

19. Interesting example of LeBron's observation about homogeneity of markets. It's true that this "Irish Pub in a Box" creates similarity across "Irish Pubs," whether you are in Singapore or Buenos Aires. On the other hand, there are reasonably accurate versions of "Irish Pubs" in Singopore and Buenos Aires.  That's heterogeneity, not homogeneity.

20.  I had not heard of this part of the tax reform package, the "Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform" part. Me gusta.

21.  The "Lazy Millenial" on New Year's Resolutions....

22.  Golly. Heather Mac Donald has an explanation for why crime in NYC has fallen.  Simplifying only slightly: All the black folk moved out.  Yes, really. This response on Twitter shows that not all things on Twitter are useless or devoid of information.

23.  Mattress Woman, as a performance artist.

24.  The FIRE year in review.

25. The thing itself! In which an employee of the state, having been coached on how to testify, by attorneys being paid out of taxpayer funds, demonstrates the utter disdain in which the public is held.  Just so they could charge $2/page for...what? "Xeroxes."

26.  The David Collum Year in Review. Part One.  And Part Deux

Grand Lagniappe:  A Duke student on Jeopardy. Couldn't have done better myself....

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Women Smell Men, Drink More. What Could Go Wrong?

Exposure to male sexual scents (androstenone) influences women’s drinking 

Robin Tan & Mark Goldman
Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
December 2017, Pages 456-465

Abstract: In a demonstration of a heretofore unknown motivational pathway for alcohol consumption, we recently showed that exposure to scents emitted by human females during the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle could increase men’s drinking. The current study examined the reverse: whether exposure to male sexual scents (androstenone) would increase women’s drinking. One hundred three female participants were primed with either androstenone or a control prime (plain water) camouflaged as a men’s “cologne.” They then completed a laboratory assessment of beer consumption and related measures. (Nonalcoholic beer was used for methodological and safety reasons.) Results indicated that females exposed to the androstenone prime drank significantly more than those exposed to the control prime. Social and sexual expectancies taken subsequent to drinking (to avoid unwanted manipulation influences) were correlated with drinking in the primed group but not in the neutral group, supporting the idea that information-processing pathways related to alcohol use had been engaged in the primed group. Few females were ovulating, precluding assessment of the effects of fertility on this process. Because of the centrality of sexual signaling to fundamental evolutionary/biological forces, these results indicate a potentially powerful influence on alcohol consumption that calls for continued investigation.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  When women are infantilized, it is true that they are "protected," but it's not really a good solution. As is argued here: The Warlock Hunt.

2.  I was hoping that this was true, actually. A kind of economic "Darwin test," filtering out the idiots. But it was a hoax.

3. Might taxing tuition waivers actually help grad students?

4. Steve Saideman on the imaginary fauna that infest the minds and worlds of academics....

5.  Pitching for the Cardinals...forever #39.

6. Idiots welcome! You can write for the Guardian, about economics.  A response, in which what economists actually do is discussed.

7.  Democracy dies in banal assertions of administrative privilege.

8. CoHE piece on Koch Foundation.

9. A famous NC "yarn": Horace the Christmas mule. It has a sad ending, but shows that voters SOMETIMES get it right.

10.  Those Illinois bonds. It's not going well in the Spendy City. If it were a private firm, Illinois would be forced into bankruptcy by unpaid creditors. As it is, those creditors just have to learn not to loan anything to Illinois or sell anything to Illinois.

11. Our favorite headlines: "Loud orgies of Mexican fish could deafen dolphins, say scientists."

12. Clinton voters can't even stand the thought of talking to Trump voters.

13. Proof of time travel.

14. Old guy named Munger says "Avoid Bitcoin like the plague!"

15.  Peak Prosperity (David Collum) on the year that was. And some more.

16.  WTF? No, really, WTFingF?

17. Postal workers going "postal" is not that unusual, though it is sad. But since it was OHIO, the guy went the extra mile and did the whole thing...naked.

18.  Economics Detective on "Biker Gangs."

19.  This is very sweet. Nothing ironic, nothing hidden. Just sweet.

20.  This is your baby's brain on Dad.

21.  The REAL war on Christmas.

Grand Lagniappe: It's a shame to see how all the great child actors go to seed, worn down by drugs, sex, and hard living. Another example. Sad, really. Once hung out with Skywalker, now can't even a afford a handicapped walker.

Along those lines....some ageless icons are actually ageless. Or apparently so.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  Dude. You broke the law.  You don't like the law, get the law changed. Taunting the cop for enforcing the law is really not going to work out well.  Just another example of the Thing Itself. It's not the cop's fault.

2.  Trump's message to Arab oil barons:  Frack you.

3. Anthony de Jasay on France. And on the electoral systems, trade agreements, and Trump.

4.  If you pick a small niche of extreme leftist indoctrination, you need to be able to be very highly ranked to continue to attract applicants. The second tier (and below) of "Progressive Finishing Schools" are going to face enrollment problems.   The few schools that have focused on extreme rightist indoctrination face far less competition. Hillsdale still has an acceptance rate below 50%.

5. Why the net should be neutral, but ex post.

6.  This is amazingly messed up, even for France, which is always messed up.

7. The Intolerable commits the Unforgiveable: Trump defiles the sanctity of the Unicorn State.

8.  It's a trap!  Or so says Bret Stephens. Trump is driving the left mad, in a way that will cause the left to continue to lose.

9.  When they start posting lists of stuff designed to make our sons (in our case, 28 and 25) feel old, that makes me feel old.  I remember that listing for Nickelodeon, though. Those were some good shows.

10.  In which David Henderson owns his fanaticism.

11.  Here's a happy thought. Women are consistently less happy than men, until about age 80+. The life expectancy of husbands? 79. Nice.

12. Whatever "net neutrality" is, it isn't "neutral."

13.  This article kind of buries the lede.  The title given on the web site is, "College student arrested; tried to trade chicken Alfredo, Sprite for sex." Inviting hilarious comparisons to more typical dinner dates:  chicken Alfredo and Sprite? Man, you need to go to Ruth's Chris and buy champagne. But then if you read the article:  Ick. Not very funny.  Lots of people apparently got caught tweeting before they read. Then, on the other hand, what the hell were the police actually doing? Headline should have been: "Bored cops catfish lonely fat kid, eventually get him to proposition 15 year old in a way that never would have happened on its own."

14. An extremely interesting article on "Bitcoin arbitrage" and storage costs. Sent by the intrepid Chateau. Given the storage and use costs, Bitcoin is a speculative, not a transactional, play at this point.

15. This short movie was made in 1909. And it's interesting. Possibly useful for class discussion. Amazing.

16. My man D-Drez on Trump's trajectory on NK.

17.  10 questions women "should ask on the first date." Also known as "I never, ever want to get married. Ever." This article is likely just trolling clickbait, but it's still worth reading. A lot of people really do think this way. Not "I want a life partner" but "I want someone to validate my emotional attachments to nonsensical causes."  But then THAT prompted THIS. Goodness.

18.  Tear down those statues.

19. Oh, gosh. Child care is already very expensive. One solution would be to require a college degree for providers, thereby eliminating many poor women from being able to provide the service and dramatically increasing costs. Wait, what? Why is that a solution to anything? Except the giant surfeit of unemployable women with over-priced "______ Studies" degrees?

20. Those Aussies. Despicable Minion steals chunk of lawn. Then does taunting on Facebook. I have to admit, if someone were that obsessed about their lawn, I'd be tempted.  Chill, bruh. Weeds are your friends.

21. Los Angeles taxes new housing to promote the building of new housing. And for my next trick, I'll make ALL the roads run downhill, in BOTH directions! It's as if "Atlas Shrugged" was a documentary, not fiction at all.

22. The African Enlightenment: Interesting.

23. 10 reasons people fail in grad school.  Angus and I tried our best to fail, but we ended up failing even at that. Seriously, it was interesting to watch the way the people who were good at classes (not Angus and me) end up drifting away, while Angus and I emerged like phoenixes from our asses.

24.  Air travel cronyism fails in the U.S. Senate.

25. Game theory and dating apps

26. Poor, poor, pitiful millenials.

The Grand Lagniappe: Alabama voters, ignoring partisan affiliation, by age. (Note that the children under 18 that Moore has harassed recently were not allowed to vote, so there's a bias there)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  My unbelievably awesome Duke office neighbor Timur Kuran on preference falsification. How can it be that everyone knew that every knew and yet everyone acted like no one knew, until it came out and we all said, "Me, too!" On Weinstein, Franken, Moore (or maybe not?). Nicely interviewed by Virginia Postrel, by the way.

2.  Are you worried about the demand side?  Good, gooooood. I sense your anger. Use that feeling, and come over to....the supply side of health care policy.

3. Gig 'em. The 4 hour work week.

4. At least there is a bipartisan consensus among the elderly elected gents that female staffers want to see their little wrinkly "Congressional members." They're wrong of course, but the wrongness crosses the aisle.

5.  What is going on with Trump's hair?

6. Avocado's number! Zero! Zero pits, anyway. Better without that big stone.  And...voila! Capitalism delivers.  Better than the central planning solution: warning labels.

7. How is that middle class doing?

8.  Good news: It was just duct tape. Also, police conclude the woman probably was okay anyway, because she (1) is from Maine, (2) had a dog, and (3) had a roll of duct tape....

9.  I don't always agree with Andrew Sullivan. But I often do, and he has a way of getting to the real point of some hard questions. As, here.

10. Pharmaceutical flea markets in Venezuela.

11. Hey, bro! Where's my raise? A "Planet Money" segment.

12.  I was proud of this. There was no entry in "CEE" for "Division of Labor." So I did some digging. A while ago now, but still useful as background, I hope.

13. There's a pretty big difference between "I object to the 16th Amendment" and "Get rid of all the amendments after the 10th." My own view is that the 13th Amendment has proved itself worth preserving.

14. This guy definitely gets a lump of coal in his stocking. You can't troll IAWL, and you can't prefer Pottersville to Bedford Falls. You just....can't.

15. African and other black immigrants may not be welcomed by African-Americans. Or, they may be.

16. The "Top 10 'Brown Liquor' Christmas Songs"

17.  Daniel Ellsberg on stuff now.

18. Mapping ethnic patterns of urban housing.

19. The high cost of good intentions, on Econtalk. 

20. I'm willing to believe that quite a few academics really do fail to understand the public perception of universities as being wasps' nests of bizarre hatred of "normality." But reading this should solve that.

21. Chaining democracy looks like this. It's socialism.

22. KM-W and "The End of Free Speech."

Grand Lagniappe: The Pedant Revolt