Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Angus' 2014 Music Picks

I have to kind of / sort of agree with Tyler that 2014 didn't smack me like 2013 did. Getting an incredible record from MBV after all those years and discovering Waxahatchee and Unknown Mortal Orchestra is not the kind of year one can have every year.

But there was a lot of great stuff this year as well.

I have to start with a confession though. I started out high on The War on Drugs' record, but Mark Kozelek made me face facts and realize that, dammit, it really was beer commercial guitar solos! I really have to ding it for that. I almost can't stand to listen to the thing now.

Parquet Courts (or Parkay Quarts) really solidified their claim on "next great American band" for me with two great releases: Sunbathing Animal and Content Nausea. Sure they're from New York. Sure they sound a bit like the Velvets, but people, Lou Reed ain't walking' through that door, so jump on this!!

Spoon arose from the somewhat ho-hum nature of Transference to produce a stunningly good album, "They Want My Soul". To me it just keeps getting better and better the more I listen. Me and Mrs. A saw them play up in Tulsa this year and the show was incredible. Mrs. A stayed through two encores and never gave me the "ok it's late so let's get out of here" look.  Kudos to Brit Daniels.

Tijuana Panthers are a new discovery for me this year. Their 2014 release "Wayne Interest" is quite good but I also really like their older album "Semi-Sweet".  By the way, they are not from Tijuana. If you like Harlem or King Tuff or Tav Falco's Pantherburns.....

Another top new discovery and top new band is Happyness. Their debut is called "Weird little birthday" and I really like it. Here's a link to one of the songs. OK, maybe it sounds a little like Sparklehorse, but then again Mark Linkous ain't walking' through the door either so............

Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band. This is not old, this is brand new music from Thailand. Pretty awesome.

White Fence, For the Recently found Innocent. Guided by Voice + Rain Parade + Soft Boys. I am a sucker for exactly this kind of music.

White Fence and Parquet Courts were on my list last year. This year's entries by them are even stronger than 2013's. I'd say they were both still on the rise.  Spoon just stubbornly refuses to start sucking. It's really quite amazing. I am really looking forward to more stuff from the others on my list.

When I look at say, Pitchfork's list, I just can't relate. A Sunny Day in Glasgow was aiight, and they got Spoon and Parquet Courts on there (along with the beer commercial guys), but most of it is weak sauce. Though to be fair, Mrs. A won't let me listen to Run the Jewels enough to come to an informed opinion.

Depressing Jobs

Providing aggressively bad service and being rude to everyone results in low job satisfaction.  The only thing that's surprising about that is that anyone is surprised.  You have to sympathize, I admit:  knowing that every day you are going to waste a huge amount of money and provide terrible service would make it hard to have much job satisfaction...

Jobs and depression

The Atlantic story

The actual study

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pirates! Or is it just a matter of moral intuition?

The short- and long-term effectiveness of anti-piracy laws and enforcement actions 

 Tylor Orme 
Journal of Cultural Economics, November 2014, Pages 351-368 

Abstract: Film studios have spent the past two decades lobbying extensively to establish new legislation restricting access to copyrighted materials online. While there is growing evidence of the effect film piracy has on studio profits, the evidence on the impact of anti-piracy legislation is limited. If anti-piracy legislation is having the film industry’s desired impact, we would expect film revenues to be consistently higher following the passage of major laws that restrict access to pirated content, or major enforcement actions, such as the shutdown of Web sites that provide illegal content for download. This paper applies an intervention analysis approach to weekly data on movie box-office revenues in the USA to determine whether the passage of new anti-piracy policy has generated significant changes in box-office revenues during the period from 1997 to the present. These effects are evaluated in both the short and long term, which allows an assessment of the duration of effectiveness of government actions. The results show that four of the six included policies are ineffective in the long term and those policies that do impact revenues in the short term often harm film studios, rather than help them. 

“Piracy is not theft!” Is it just students who think so? 

Michał Krawczyk et al.
 Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, February 2015, Pages 32–39 

Abstract: A fair share of studies analyzing “online piracy” are based on easily accessible student samples. However, it has been argued that the youth tend to have more lax social and ethical norms concerning both property rights and online behavior. In this study we present the results of a vignette experiment, i.e. a scenario survey where responders are asked to provide an ethical judgment on different forms of unauthorized acquisition of a full season of a popular TV series described in a number of hypothetical stories. The survey is conducted both on a student sample and on a sample of individuals who openly endorse protection of intellectual property rights for cultural goods. In this way we can investigate the possibly limited external validity of studies relying solely on the student samples. The vignette experiment concerned ethical evaluation of unauthorized acquisition of cultural content in both virtual and real context and was focused on six dimensions previously identified as relevant to the ethical judgment. Surprisingly, we found that the rules for the ethical judgment do not differ between our samples, suggesting that the social norms on “online piracy” follow similar patterns in student and in other populations. Findings from studies relying on ethical or moral judgments of students may thus be valid in a much broader population. 

With a nod to Kevin Lewis for finding these...

She Shot Him....

...but they still live together.

I think he should move out.  Still, she has a point:  It would have been much easier than a divorce.  Sort of a one-shot solution.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Minimum Wage Hurts Poor People?

How Effective Is the Minimum Wage at Supporting the Poor? 

 Thomas MaCurdy
Journal of Political Economy, forthcoming

Abstract: The efficacy of minimum wage policies as an antipoverty initiative depends on which families benefit from the increased earnings attributable to minimum wages and which families pay for these higher earnings. Proponents of these policies contend that employment impacts experienced by low-wage workers are negligible and, therefore, these workers do not pay. Instead proponents typically suggest that consumers pay for the higher labor costs through imperceptible increases in the prices of goods and services produced by low-wage labor. Adopting this "best-case" scenario from minimum-wage advocates, this study projects the consequences of the increase in the national minimum wage instituted in 1996 on the redistribution of resources among rich and poor families. Under this scenario, the minimum wage increase acts like a value-added or sales tax in its effect on consumer prices, a tax that is even more regressive than a typical state sales tax. With the proceeds of this national value-added tax collected to fund benefits, the 1996 increase in the minimum wage distributed the bulk of these benefits to one in four families nearly evenly across the income distribution. Far more poor families suffered reductions in resources than those who gained. As many rich families gained as poor families. These income transfer properties of the minimum wage document its considerable inefficiency as an antipoverty policy.

Make Room

So, men were once supposed to give their seat to a woman.

But that was condescending and infantilizing.  So now men are jerks for not making room for women.

Of course, men are perfectly happy to say "Excuse me" and just sit down.  The guy will scoot over.  But women think they shouldn't have to ask, and should be treated special without asking.

Maybe we should have a norm that men should be more considerate of women.  But of course THAT would be creepy, if a guy makes room for a woman but doesn't make room for a guy.

This was interesting, I thought.  A woman who had spread her stuff out on the seat got mad when a guy sat down.  Because he should ask first.  Though he did ask first, and her headphones were too loud to hear.  She injected race into it.  Or was race really the deciding factor? (She does make a good point:  if a black man touched a white woman's purse, cops would be called.  I had not considered that, and that's why you have to read stuff...) 

The narrower point is that guys generally ask people to make room, and it is more like a command.  Make. Room.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Controlling For Cause, Variance of Lifespan Still Higher for American Blacks

Why Lifespans Are More Variable Among Blacks Than Among Whites in the United States 

 Glenn Firebaugh et al.
Demography, December 2014, Pages 2025-2045

Abstract: Lifespans are both shorter and more variable for blacks than for whites in the United States. Because their lifespans are more variable, there is greater inequality in length of life — and thus greater uncertainty about the future — among blacks. This study is the first to decompose the black-white difference in lifespan variability in America. Are lifespans more variable for blacks because they are more likely to die of causes that disproportionately strike the young and middle-aged, or because age at death varies more for blacks than for whites among those who succumb to the same cause? We find that it is primarily the latter. For almost all causes of death, age at death is more variable for blacks than it is for whites, especially among women. Although some youthful causes of death, such as homicide and HIV/AIDS, contribute to the black-white disparity in variance, those contributions are largely offset by the higher rates of suicide and drug poisoning deaths for whites. As a result, differences in the causes of death for blacks and whites account, on net, for only about one-eighth of the difference in lifespan variance.

Wow. A Decisive Refutation

Spiderwoman is sexualized on a comic book cover?  I had missed the controversy.  But you don't have to!

The rant.

The video....NSFW, for language, mostly.

LAGNIAPPE:9 other "Feminist fails."  I'm not sure it is fair to single out "Feminist fails" this way, when there are so many other cases of indignation overload over the past year.  Still, these are some good ones. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Woodhouse Holiday Show: "Oh, God. It's Mom."

So, there's a documentary, one that has gotten some attention, about the Woodhouse brothers.  It's "A Woodhouse Divided."

Now, we have known the Woodhouses (Woodhi?) for some time.  Dallas, especially, is a regular at events I have attended for years.  Dallas was NC Director for AFP, as noted in this NYTimes article from 2009 on the brothers.

Anyway, last night we were heading to the annual Christmas party (it's a private party, not paid for with public funds, and it is rather emphatically a CHRISTMAS party, rather than a "Holiday Party" or "Winter Solstice Celebration," if that matters) of our friends Art and Kathy Pope.  (If you don't know who Art Pope is, then here

They arrange for off-site parking, because it's a big shindig.  Very nice, terrific food, lots of interesting people.  Including, as it turns out, on the bus on the way over, the clan Woodhouse.  We got to meet Joyce, matriarch of the clan.  And heard about an incident this week we had missed.

Here is the story.  Here is the video.  Millions of views.  Better than anything you could have contrived.

Dallas put it well:  "Oh, God.  It's mom."

It was a pleasure to get to talk to Joyce.  She is a pistol.  And she's fed up with all this bickering.  You go, Mom!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Is Porn Ruining Marriage?

So, is porn ruining marriage, and "economic society" to boot?

E.L. Brown thinks "no," and gives some reasons.  Her reasons are pretty convincing.

1  Reverse causation.  Unmarried men have more time,"need" for porn.
2. Selection.  The sort of people who hole up* in their mom's basement and watch porn all the time are not really likely to get married anyway.
3. Biased response.  Even anonymous surveys might be traced, so married men are more likely to lie.

There is, however, a more sinister explanation.  Women are insisting on being on their own.  Men are saying, "Okee dokie!"

UPDATE: On confirmation bias,  Patrick from Popehat sends this gem of a tweet-stream.  Nicely done.  As Simon and Garfunkel said, "We all hear what we want to hear, and disregard the rest."

All of which reminds me of (unsurprisingly) my article on "Truthiness."  If it's too good to be true, it's probably the lead story on CBS.  Or in the case of Prof. Van Susteren, FOX.

*Sorry.  I've probably destroyed marriage.

Year In Review

A "Year in Review" column, from my friend David Collum.

Piling up Risk Like Tetris

Odious debt.  He said "odious."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The script for True Detectives season two seems *Amazing*

Documentary: Angus and Mungowitz in Grad School

Okay, it's metaphorical.  I was not actually on my back.  But I did keep deleting the data for our paper, even though we had a deadline.  So, pretty much the same thing.

There's even Michael Bolton on the stereo, which was pretty much my musical taste before I met Angus.

Lagniappe:  Apropos of nothing, a compilation of dogs getting baths.  Skippy Squirrelbane is the bane of squirrels, but baths are the bane of Skippy Squirrelbane.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lasts Longer...

This is the sort of gem you come to KPC to see folks.  Data in the service of social science.  And that's why Mr. Overwater invented the internet.  (Data, I mean, not what follows here.  Mr. Overwater has standards, and I do not mean to besmirch him in any way...)

Overall, and as a general matter...the internet is for porn (NSFW, and juvenile, but still).

And since it is, that raises a question you didn't even know you didn't know the answer to (at least, I didn't know):  What is the average time spent a porn site?  An "interval of viewing," if you will?

Well, now you know.

Go, China! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Decorate My Beard

Loren Lomasky decorates his beard this way.  If you've ever seen him after lunch, I mean.

But this is particularly appalling:


Some Awesome/Creepy/Unintentionally Funny Pol Ads

I have a student (I'll call her "Brigitte," because that's her name) who is working on the relative influence of TV vs Youtube as an effective medium for political campaigns.  An interesting topic, though a hard thing to measure accurately.

But the great thing (for the present) is all the truly strange and/or wonderful ads she has come across.
Here's a sampling:

Chuck Grassley's twitter

Beware the Insider-asuarus



Big Bad John

Economics for Five Year Olds

But then I can't resist adding my own effort, from 2008.

Jump in the Ocean  (notice the campaign sign.  That kind of production value is what really makes a video.  Okay, not.  Thanks to Barbara H for all that driving, and filming.)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Costly Signals...

This young lady just figured a taxi would get her there.

And this guy figured...I'm not sure what he figured, but it worked.

Love:  It's all about costly signals. 


The Sound of Power: Conveying and Detecting Hierarchical Rank Through Voice 

Sei Jin Ko, Melody Sadler & Adam Galinsky
Psychological Science, forthcoming

Abstract: The current research examined the relationship between hierarchy and vocal acoustic cues. Using Brunswik’s lens model as a framework, we explored how hierarchical rank influences the acoustic properties of a speaker’s voice and how these hierarchy-based acoustic cues affect perceivers’ inferences of a speaker’s rank. By using objective measurements of speakers’ acoustic cues and controlling for baseline cue levels, we were able to precisely capture the relationship between acoustic cues and hierarchical rank, as well as the covariation among the cues. In Experiment 1, analyses controlling for speakers’ baseline cue levels found that the voices of individuals in the high-rank condition were higher in pitch and loudness variability but lower in pitch variability, compared with the voices of individuals in the low-rank condition. In Experiment 2, perceivers used higher pitch, greater loudness, and greater loudness variability to make accurate inferences of speakers’ hierarchical rank. These experiments demonstrate that acoustic cues are systematically used to reflect and detect hierarchy.

(Nod to Kevin Lewis)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Trust, But Terrify

Published this over at Freeman.

Have been getting a lot of pushback, questions like, "Can you be specific about what aspects of being poor and black are against the law?"  (And then, presumably, person mentally drops the mic and walks off stage....)

My question is, "Did you even read the article?"

I never claimed that the LAWS oppress the poor.  The POLICE do.  But it's not really the fault of the police, at least not primarily.

We all have a lot of normal, nonviolent daily activity. And a LOT of it is illegal, because we have criminalized everything.

The police, in their defense (and I mean that, sincerely), can't possibly arrest everyone who commits a crime. So they focus, quite sensibly, on people who (1) for reasons of simple prejudice we "all know" commit more crimes and (2) are less likely to be able to defend themselves or make trouble for the police.

Now, it's also likely that there is more actual criminal behavior in poor neighborhoods.

But even if there weren't, overcriminalization forces the police to ration their attention. The difference in "arrest and hassle" rates across race is greater than the difference in criminal proclivity due to poverty.

Race matters because of overcriminalization. It's not just a proxy for poverty.

(A somewhat different, but related, view from Sheldon Richman...)

Monday, December 08, 2014

Implausible setup

So, a drunk guy in a zebra costume walks into the wrong duplex...

No, really.

Nod to Angry Alex....

UPDATE:  Could have been worse.  Could have been a real deer, I suppose.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Interesting Split

There has been developing an interesting split in the reactions to Ferguson and the Staten Island chokehold.

The left is outraged that the state is not doing exactly what the left expects from an idealized, unicorn state.  In fact, the state is actually made up of actual human-style people, and people are flawed.  The left wants to rely on abstract systems, and then be perpetually astonished when things go really wrong.  It's not bad people that are the problem.  The THING, the thing itself is the abuse, folks.

The right is just denying that there is a problem, the system is working, the jury has spoken, etc.  The only problem is the protests, who are law-breakers.  No surprise there.

The libertarian splinter accepts parts of the both arguments.  The system is in fact working exactly as designed, so the right is correct.  But this is a really bad outcome, and so the left is correct.

The answer is that we need much less of the system.  Of course police officers are going to use excessive force, of course police officers are going to have and act on racial and class-based preferences.  And then the system, in the courts, the prosecutor's office, and the grand jury, is going to protect itself.  That's the system, unless you believe in unicorns.

The solution?  Fewer laws.  We have criminalized so many behaviors (in the Staten Island case, selling packs of cigaretttes!) that we have given the police enormous pressure to perform, and gigantic latitude to act on prejudice, bigotry, and simple anger.

As long as the left (with the active complicity of the non-libertarian right) continues to criminalize being black, it's not surprising that the police will continue to treat black people as criminals.

White people are largely unaffected, because the system is designed to protect white people.  #crimingwhilewhite shows the truth:  rich white people can break the law, but they won't get charged.

This kind of race-based law enforcement is given the stink-eye by our friends on the left, but they can't seem to draw the obvious inference:  the answer is not better police.  The answer is fewer laws.  Decriminalize normal nonviolent daily activity, and the police will have a lot fewer excuses to harass people they don't like and who can't fight back.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Sharing Economy: Luggage?

The example I have been using is a drill.  Like here.  We all have drills, and never use them.  Why?  We'd rent them if it were cheap in terms of money and bother.  Instead, we own them and they take up space and we never use them.

But that's not the best example. The best example, I now realize, is ....luggage!  Think how much space luggage takes up.  And it gets all dusty and torn up, and you buy cheap luggage because you don't use it much.  Some people may only use luggage two or three weekends a year.


Because it's a hassle to get it delivered, it's expensive and...wait, what if it weren't those things? 

Some folks are giving it a shot.  Here, at RentLuggage.Com .  You get a nice piece of luggage delivered to you, and you send it back when you are done.  You don't have to store it, and the luggage is nicer.  Instead of sitting unused 350 days a year, your $1,000 (we have at least $2,000 worth of luggage, in the attic, but I'm assuming you people are less insane than we are) can be doing something else.

If I wanted to rent a Lipault bag like this,  It would cost $150 or so to buy.  You can rent it for a  a week for $22.  Of course, then you have to return it.  What if you want to travel again?  You can optimize, because this time you are going to Europe and you want to rent a backpack, like this.  That's $38 for two weeks.  To own both bags would cost more than $400, whereas you rented both for $60, at different times of your choosing, and now you don't have to store them.  It would take at least five years for the "own it" gig to work out, and lots of stuff doesn't last much longer than that, getting bumped around in the back of your closet which you don't have room for anyway. new example is luggage.  Don't you have some bags that you never use?  Why do you own them?

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

By Two of My Main Men...

The Effect of Fact-Checking on Elites: A Field Experiment on U.S. State Legislators 

Brendan Nyhan & Jason Reifler
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Abstract: Does external monitoring improve democratic performance? Fact-checking has come to play an increasingly important role in political coverage in the United States, but some research suggests it may be ineffective at reducing public misperceptions about controversial issues. However, fact-checking might instead help improve political discourse by increasing the reputational costs or risks of spreading misinformation for political elites. To evaluate this deterrent hypothesis, we conducted a field experiment on a diverse group of state legislators from nine U.S. states in the months before the November 2012 election. In the experiment, a randomly assigned subset of state legislators was sent a series of letters about the risks to their reputation and electoral security if they were caught making questionable statements. The legislators who were sent these letters were substantially less likely to receive a negative fact-checking rating or to have their accuracy questioned publicly, suggesting that fact-checking can reduce inaccuracy when it poses a salient threat.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

These folks need to read Adam Smith...

The topography of generosity: Asymmetric evaluations of prosocial actions 

Nadav Klein & Nicholas Epley 
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
December 2014, Pages 2366-2379 

Abstract: Prosociality is considered a virtue. Those who care for others are admired, whereas those who care only for themselves are despised. For one’s reputation, it pays to be nice. Does it pay to be even nicer? Four experiments assess reputational inferences across the entire range of prosocial outcomes in zero-sum interactions, from completely selfish to completely selfless actions. We observed consistent nonlinear evaluations: Participants evaluated selfish actions more negatively than equitable actions, but they did not evaluate selfless actions markedly more favorably than equitable actions. This asymptotic pattern reflected monotonic evaluations for increasingly selfish actions and insensitivity to increasingly selfless actions. It pays to be nice but not to be really nice. Additional experiments suggest that this pattern stems partly from failing to make spontaneous comparisons between varying degrees of selflessness. We suggest that these reputational incentives could guide social norms, encouraging equitable actions but discouraging extremely selfless actions. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Monday, December 01, 2014

Well Hung Christmas Lights

People, if folks can have Christmas lights like this, why do we have a government at all?

(Nod to WH)

UPDATE:  As a commenter notes, it is a municipal government that deserves the CREDIT. "In this particular case, the local municipality of Plovdiv, Bulgaria."  

Friday, November 28, 2014

Skippy Love

Skippy Squirrelbane is a very affectionate pup.  He's also a muscular 70 pound pup.  So when he wants a hug, it's pretty much going to happen.  Here he surprises the EYM, after warming up at the fire.  Hello!  HELLO!

Managerial Empathy

Managerial Empathy Facilitates Egocentric Predictions of Consumer Preferences 

Johannes Hattula et al. Journal of Marketing Research, forthcoming 

Abstract: Common wisdom suggests that managerial empathy (i.e., the mental process of taking a consumer perspective) helps executives to separate their personal consumption preferences from those of consumers, thereby preventing egocentric preference predictions. The results of the present investigation, however, show exactly the opposite. First, the authors find that managerial empathy ironically accelerates self-reference in predictions of consumer preferences. Second, managers' self-referential tendencies increase with empathy because taking a consumer perspective activates managers' private consumer identity and thus their personal consumption preferences. Third, empathic managers are less likely to use market research results as a consequence of their self-referential preference predictions. Finally, the findings imply that when explicitly instructed to do so, managers are capable of suppressing their private consumer identity in the process of perspective taking which helps them to reduce self-referential preference predictions. To support their conclusions, the authors present four empirical studies with 480 experienced marketing managers and show that incautiously taking the perspective of consumers causes self-referential decisions in four contexts: product development, communication management, pricing, and celebrity endorsement. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Driving Lessons

So the LMM has been learning to drive the BMW.  It's a 330i, with a six speed manual transmission.  Pretty muscular car, and fun to drive.

But she has had some trouble with the whole "starting on a hill" thing.  So she was practicing, down on the hill at the Wood Valley Racquet Club in our neighborhood.

She got flustered, and couldn't get the thing to go.  Panicked a little bit, and for reasons I'm not really clear about decided she would coast backward to flat ground, and then try again.  The thing that I'm not understanding is that she pretty much just put in the clutch, let go of the brake, and coasted backward off a small embankment and into a culvert.  Why not, if I may ask, look behind you using the mirror thingies thoughtfully provided by the manufacturer.  As you can see, she didn't miss the actual paved part of the road by a little.  She missed it completely.

You can't really tell, but the right rear wheel is a good foot off the ground.  And the left front wheel was six inches off the ground.  So the car was teetering back and forth quite a bit, about to fall into the culvert.  There's a pretty deep hole hidden in the shadow under the car.

I asked her to set the parking brake and GET OUT OF THE CAR.  NOW.

We called AAA to come give us a tow.  LMM went home, and I stayed with the car.  Tow truck guy was some fine old redneck, who actually had no visible neck at all, and a classic combo bald-crewcut look.  He pulled up, took a walk-around, and looked at me.  "What?"

I said, "Wife."  He nodded gravely, and pulled the car out.  We didn't really say much more.


This is how I imagine thanksgiving at Chez Mungo!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

AirBnB in INC Mag

Had a great time talking to Burt Helm of INC about AirBnB.  He did a very informative article, for which I provided a small and largely uninformative set of thoughts.  But the article is worth reading in full.

The best background I know of on AirBnB is--unsurprisingly--from Russ Roberts.  At this point, Russ no longer has corporeal form, and has evolved into pure energy.

Lagniappe:  Zach Weiner sends this link.  Hmmmm...... Raising the question:  is it just opportunism?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Interesting initiative from CATO: is a comprehensive database that aims at spreading rational optimism to people around the world. We cautiously collect data from many reliable sources, and show our findings in a new viewer-friendly webpage. Since it includes very comprehensive data on various research topics, it might be able to provide scholars with very useful and reliable evidence for their arguments.

SNL: Just a Bill

Pretty well done.  

I don't really have an opinion on the "executive order" thing.  The number of them is not that important, but rather their scope.

President Bush asserted nearly unlimited authority.  And now when Obama does the same thing, the Republicans squeal, and the Democrats who squealed about Bush come up with transparently self-serving and absurdly false justifications.

A pox on both their House, and the Senate.

Had a Bad Day

This guy had a bad day.

Making me think of the song.

In turn, making me think of this set piece from the past.  Or this guy.

Still, I think the "falling naked out of the ceiling of the ladies' loo and then running naked and bleeding down the concourse, then being charged with attempted murder in an airport" may be worse.

Friday, November 21, 2014

State of the Union Address

An apt summary, and nicely brief, of all of Pres. Obama's SOTUs to date.

He notes that it has been fun, and that the women (at least) in the audience should be very happy.  When it turns out that even this limited claim is not true, and the audience screams, the President makes gestures with his hand that are out of time with his words (teleprompter problem, perhaps?).

Then Joe Biden (wearing a fake beard, I think; it's hard to tell) howls in glee.

And then some Republican shouts "You lie!" or something like that.

And the President goes into attack mode, saying "You won't be here much longer..."

Finishing with the immortal words, "No one enjoys seeing a man dance."  How very insightful.

With thanks to Ed Wood for the score, and to M.K. for a terrific assist in finding this gem.

Ping Pong Balls

On "Ellen," it's raining ping pong balls.

Why, oh why, do we even have an FCC if stuff like this can happen?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

We Get Letters: The Seen and the Unseen

From a avid aviation reader:

Article in Vanity Fair on airlines and safety...

On page 2 there a superb section expanding on "Cockpit Resource Management." Studying economics has given me a deeper appreciation of this revolution in aviation. 

Preventing arrogance from disrupting complex systems appears to be a central challenge of economics/political science. The fact that the aviation community did this in an institution famous for attracting arrogant [people, especially pilots] seems like a remarkable achievement. I think it is fair to say this feat was a key contributor to plummeting accident rates the past three decades.  The author does a superb job walking the reader through a very complex/technical mishap. 

Flops at the end, though. "It seems that we are locked into a spiral in which poor human performance begets automation, which worsens human performance, which begets increasing automation. The pattern is common to our time but is acute in aviation." 

So much pessimism. In 2013, there were 224 worldwide commercial aviation fatalities out of 3.1 billion passengers served. We're "locked into a spiral" of safety advancements so spectacular that we've reduced the odds of death down to one in 45 million. 

Hard to imagine a human activity that is more safe. It would make more sense for Vanity Fair to lament the progress of eliminating bathtub hazards. Aviation has something in common with the free society and market economies. Three pure miracles of human achievement, and people obsess on the negatives and totally ignore the miracle. 

An interesting perspective:  Are we done with this safety thing?  Mission accomplished and all that?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Everyone should enjoy your work

This is an actual email that I received this week:

Dear Author,

I’m Simona Vinerean (editor at Expert Journals) and it's a great pleasure to invite you to contribute your best knowledge to Expert Journals! I thought you might be interested in a new publishing opportunity, with extra benefits for you!

As authors, we are all too familiar with the traditional (and expensive) way of publishing our articles. But, what if you could get more benefits out of this process?

Luckily, at Expert Journals, you can benefit of a fast peer-review process of your theoretical or empirical article and you will get published in an open-access system (because everyone should enjoy your work), at a low fee of only 150 Euro.


Thank you so much for reading this email!

We look forward to receiving and publishing your paper!

Have a fantastic week!

Warm regards,

Simona Vinerean

I am pretty confused about exactly what the "extra benefits" are for me here. I am also confused about how the "traditional" way of publishing (i.e. peer review) is expensive.

Maybe someone can straighten me out in the comments? In the meantime, I just add the "Expert Journal of Economics" to my list of crap that doesn't count when you see it on someone's vita. Sadly that list gets longer almost every month.


The Donkey Diaspora is beginning.  Apparently this truck pulled up to the Russell Senate Office Building, and then just hauled ass.

Click for an even more departing image.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Atila Takes His Shot

A guest post from my friend Atila A (Duke Econ prof.).  He has been saying for years that he was going to get his hunting license and go out to get some deer meat.  But, this year, he actually did.  And got a deer on his first day out.  The story... (I should note that Atila was VERY excited about this, and in reading it's hard not to share his excitement.  Unless you are a vegetarian, and even then deer hunting is way better than industrial meat farming.  Or unless you are just squeamish, in which case it's time you OWNED your carnivorism.  Meat doesn't come in paper packages with shrink-wrap; it's an animal.)

Story of My Shot… 
It was the first of many things in a human life. The first day of the deer season in NC, a breezy morning, probably the first winter we had ever felt in our guts this year in NC, my first hunt with a gun, my first shot and a clean kill… Not everything was perfect though, which made the whole experience more worth to hear about. The tree stand I was on was looking over a bushy area to my right. Not an easy position to shoot for a right hander, and definitely not for a first-time shooter. In addition, some young pine trees were obstructing my view. Here comes the deer from my very right, I have to tilt heavily to the right, I sight-in, pull the trigger, and Joel, the well-seasoned hunter that I was fortunate to hunt with, and I were harvesting our game next. 

A very clean kill. That was my first shot and the only shot we made that day. Joel was very impressed. He said, “you were in the military in Turkey, right?” Yes, I was indeed… He also asked if I felt the adrenalin rush. “Not really” I said. Pretty cool and mature response for a first time hunter who shoots a deer at his first shot. Yes, I am a cool guy… That is a true story, hundred percent… yet it is the rosy, brave side of it. There is another hundred percent true, yet more real and fun side to it. Here it is: I was looking for an orange hunter vest and cap at Walmart when I got the call from Joel around 9am. I heard it is easier to find hunter stuff at Walmart, otherwise I would never stop by a Walmart. Anyway, he picked me up from home at 9:40am. I stuffed my pockets with two slices of some sourdough bread and cheese for lunch, a bottle of tap water, oh and two small milky way bars, leftovers from Halloween. We had not got too many kids at our door, so I thought I should offer one to Joel. And yes, my orange vest and cap. 


Sunday, November 16, 2014

PSR: A Gem

Sometimes, there is a thread on PSR that amuses me.  Here's one:

Theory Presenter: [Snipping 75 minutes of reading without eye contact.] " as you can see, I have reconceptualized and reconsidered and -icized and -atized until this problem I talk about is clearly both like and unlike what Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Plato, and Arendt implied by choosing one word instead of a universe of other words in these few sentences no one else has really talked much about." 

Theory Search Committee Member: "Well, certainly, but since we have clear answers about this philosophical problem deriving from Augustine's flirtation with manichaeism [snipping 15 minutes of bibliographic citations] ... what could we turn to in order to understand why what you have presented improves our understanding of the problem at hand?" 

Audience Member In the Back: "Data."* 

*This totally happened.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Glass Test Dummy...

This is pretty rough.

I wonder if

1.  Those are full 7.62 x 39 mm, 123 gr AK shells.  That's a pretty high energy round to "test" with a live human
2.  The fact that the windshield is at quite an angle helps.  I know it helps, but I wonder if those same shells would still bounce off if their direction of travel were 90 degrees compared to the windshield surface.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Then When They Came for the Metro, There WERE No Buses...

So, Santiago de Chile once had a mass transit system with substantial redundancies, parallel routes on private buses.  If the Metro went down there was some other way of getting around.

Redundancy is a good thing, for engineers (in other words, smart people), but to planners (i.e., morons) seems ...well, redundant.

So they outlawed the redundancy and built a hub-and-spoke system.  You had to take a bus, take the Metro, and then take a bus.  Using public buses.  I told the story here.

Things had been getting a bit better.  (Although....)

But now (segun La Tercera) there is a pretty big Metro breakdown.  And that means folks are pretty much foo-ked.

Of course, the city will say that such breakdowns are bound to happen.  And that's right.  But the consequences of the breakdown are magnified dramatically by the hubris of shutting down redundant private lines to "maximize the efficiency" of the public transit system.  Public monopolies leave citizens with no alternatives when the public monopolies--inevitably--fail.  It's happening pretty often now.... People think, "Oh, there's nothing you can do."  But there IS something you can do:  don't create public monopolies on services that are actually private goods, like urban surface transport.

We see the problem, but the solution--private provision of redundant services, which before 2007 were legal--is unseen.  And the state's best answer is "It's hard" instead of "We're stupid."

It's like Atlas Shrugged, but right on your TV in your little apartment on Avenida Apoquindo.

With thanks to Fundman.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

This week's backdated sign of the apocalypse

Awesome archival photo from TexasinAfrica:

Yes, that is the last King of Scotland at Brandenburg Gate!

I hope I can be permitted a few observations.

If they'd only put Idi in charge, that wall never would have fallen.

Love the fur bathrobe on the Idi-ette

U2 is a shitty band

and finally.....

People, if crap like this can happen why did JFK even bother to fly to Berlin and claim to be a "Berliner"

Monday, November 10, 2014

A chicken in every pot and a flat-screen in every precinct house

Assest Forfeiture must have really arrived. There are now "how to" seminars springing up. It's like house flipping for coppers.

Police are advised to focus on flat-screen TVs and cars. Jewelry and computers just aren't worth it.


Since the cops haven't figured out how to directly use jewelry and computers (really, I am not making this up) like they have cars and TVs, the former are sold at auction and are thus not very remunerative!

Other advice is for police to tell the city attorney what items they really want so the city can make sure the owners don't get those particular pieces back.

Monday's Child tired.

No more links on Monday until...well, I doubt there will be any more links on Monday.  I just don't have time.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 09, 2014

I assume this means that the Scottish are RIGHT out...

Woman applies for job in South Korea, which is a notorious nation of drunks and boozers.

Turned down because she is Irish.  And therefore (?) drinks

I wonder if they checked to see if she had any uncles who were poets.  THAT is a dead giveaway.  Or so I understand.

Or, As Charlie Sheen Would Call It: "Thursday"

A heartwarming story.

Young man decides to commit suicide, goes to Mexico.  Spends his money on drugs and hookers.

Wakes up and thinks, "Wow, that was fun!  Now  I have a reason for living!  I want to make enough money so I can do this again soon!"

Or something like that.

Nod to Angry Alex.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Can you advocate for both a universal basic income AND increased immigration?

SG, a loyal KPC reader writes to me, "How is it possible to provide a basic income and universal healthcare and at the same time increase immigration? To me it appears unsustainable. Too many people would want to immigrate to the US under those conditions. Furthermore single-payer universal healthcare would appear to me to increase government interference in our lives, not lessen it. I'd appreciate your thoughts on this"

I actually think single-payer would result in less overall interference as it would just be one layer instead of the system we have now where the Government is regulating/paying off insurance companies, doctors, hospitals, medical device manufacturers and us.

I would prefer to bust up the AMA cartel, somewhat deregulate the practice of health care, increase the supply of doctors (through immigration), and have a free market in health care, but I still prefer single payer over the ACA.

Turning to immigration, we can always place some limits on entry if mooching is thought to be / turns out to be a big problem. There is a very large area in between where we are now and an open border "free for all".

For example, if we gave green cards to all foreigners who earned graduate degrees here in the US, they would probably not increase use of the welfare state. Or we could limit UBI to citizens if there were strains on the system.

We are just shooting ourselves in the foot by turning away hundreds of thousands of talented people each year.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Middleman Economy

Article by Kristen Brown in SF Chronicle.  She was kind to let me think out loud a bit, but the story is generally well done.  She came up with some pretty cool insights...

Kozmo, the dot-com era darling that promised one-hour delivery of everything from DVDs to Starbucks coffee, famously went bust after raising $250 million in funding, expanding to 11 cities and filing for an IPO. 

But technology introduced since then, such as smartphones with GPS, has made the prospect of on-demand delivery much more simple — and therefore with more opportunity for profit. “As transactions costs shrink, more and more transactions become 'profitable,’” said Munger. “And there are more and more ways to 'sell’ reduced transactions costs.” 

Companies like Instacart and Curbside, then, are not so much “disruptive” as they are part of a natural evolution of a market economy. Munger imagines that this kind of logic will continue “way down the chain,” with profitable companies emerging that perform even more niche tasks than picking up an order from Target and delivering it to the store’s curbside. 

"A power drill only gets used 10 minutes in its life, for most people,” he said. He can see a day when Uber will carry more than just people. “I don’t need to buy a power drill, I can get one on Uber. Value of the transaction: maybe only $3. But if we can reduce transactions costs enough, that transaction comes in as a money-maker.” The idea that we might not physically visit the grocery store or own the drill is what Munger says could create such a huge shakeup in the economy.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Today I am not voting.

Of course I am a devotee of Gordon Tullock and have fully taken on the insight that in any conceivable election my vote is extremely unlikely to make a difference, but let's grab this elephant by the other end here this morning.

People, I am in favor of legalizing drugs, same sex marriage, LBGT rights, and a vastly smaller military. I am also in favor of increased immigration, increased trade, and drastically less regulation on economic activity. I favor increased funding for research into alternative energy, but I do not favor specific investments in specific companies. I favor abolishing the TSA, the BATF, and the Department of Agriculture. I am against the militarization of local police forces. I am ashamed of the size and racial makeup of our prison system. I despise constant government led erosion of our privacy. I would like to replace our weird, patchy safety net with a guaranteed basic income. I favor a single payer approach to providing universal health care. I would love to see substantial, revenue neutral, carbon tax.

Oh, and did I mention I live in Oklahoma?

Exactly who am I supposed to vote for?

Monday, November 03, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  Plants know when they are being eaten, and they do NOT like it.

2.  Markets do not create jobs, governments do.  Poor Hil, having to deal with E. Warren.  But she is just making campaign ads for the Republican candidate in '16.  Of course, the Repubs will likely choose such a horrible that she'll still win, in spite of this.

3.  Heroic American officials manage to stave off cheap sugar from Mexico.  Or, more accurately, the U.S. is now the OPEC of sugar.

4.  On GamerGate.  It's a long story.... one entry point. A different, rather breathless, view. Here's an origin.  Not "the" origin, but an origin.

5.  Halloween candy causes global warming.  Something else scary about Oct 31.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

The FInal Countdown

In what is becoming a KPC tradtition, we post a link to one of the most self-important, grandiose music videos from a self-important, gandiose decade, the 1980s.

Because this is the "Final Countdown" to what remains the biggest monument to self-importance:  the American election.

There is not much more pompous than the phrase "Swedish Supergroup, Europe!"  But "American election coverage" beats it, hands down.

(I do like the Dragonforce precursor guitar solo about 3:25)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! From KPC...

May your troubles be less. 
Your blessings be more.
And may nothing but pumpkins

Come through your back door!

Freedom of Sale

You can have stickers on your car.  Bumper stickers, etc.

In Alexandria, VA (and elsewhere), you can NOT have a "For Sale" sign sticker, though.

Or, can you?  One case.

Another case.

Cool quote: “I can put a bumper sticker on my vehicle about my religious views and moral views,” said McLean, 35 and a lawyer. “Those pocketbook issues are just as important. For me, free speech doesn’t have any qualifiers.” 

Last week, McLean and the foundation filed a lawsuit against the Alexandria government, calling the city’s decades-old no-sale-sign statute an arbitrary ban on commercial speech that violates the First Amendment. “We need the court to formally recognize the importance of the right to advertise and the ability to earn a living,” attorney Christina Martin said. “Free speech is essential to free enterprise.” 

The foundation made a video about the case and also produced a podcast, noting that the streets of Alexandria — and elsewhere — are full of commercial vehicles that offer goods and services for sale. 

With thanks to Chug.  His own letter of response, to Alan Gura:

Too bad we can't make the City refund all the charges (fines and other costs) paid by all the people who received those unconstitutional tickets over the last half century. 

And I have my doubts that the City would eventually get around to repealing the ordinance unless they had gotten some push back. It's depressing to think how many allegedly educated people, not to mention lawyers, dealt with that ordinance over the last 50-plus years and no one questioned it. 

 It is the multitude of idiotic things like this that gradually turned me in to a libertarian.   

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lyndon Johnson is still not popular in Vietnam!

From the redoubtable Jason Brennan comes this amazing research paper on the structural grammatical differences between "close the door" and "f**k you".

While the whole piece is a tour-de-force, I recommend page 4 (which, de facto is page 2) in particular to your attention.

This article is definitely NSFW!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Corruption: "Based on my training and experience, I'm going to steal your money"

The real problem with corruption in the U.S. is not at the margins, with bad cops taking bribes outside the law..

It's right at the center of government itself, with agencies using bad rules to take property overtly and using the court system for cover.

This CAF ("civil asset forfeiture") story is remarkable precisely because something like it happens every day.  Or, almost twice a day, because as the story notes there more than 600 CAFs in 2012.


ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa — For almost 40 years, Carole Hinders has dished out Mexican specialties at her modest cash-only restaurant. For just as long, she deposited the earnings at a small bank branch a block away — until last year, when two tax agents knocked on her door and informed her that they had seized her checking account, almost $33,000.

The Internal Revenue Service agents did not accuse Ms. Hinders of money laundering or cheating on her taxes — in fact, she has not been charged with any crime. Instead, the money was seized solely because she had deposited less than $10,000 at a time, which they viewed as an attempt to avoid triggering a required government report. “How can this happen?” Ms. Hinders said in a recent interview. “Who takes your money before they prove that you’ve done anything wrong with it?”

The federal government does.

Using a law designed to catch drug traffickers, racketeers and terrorists by tracking their cash, the government has gone after run-of-the-mill business owners and wage earners without so much as an allegation that they have committed serious crimes. The government can take the money without ever filing a criminal complaint, and the owners are left to prove they are innocent. Many give up....

There is nothing illegal about depositing less than $10,000 cash unless it is done specifically to evade the reporting requirement. But often a mere bank statement is enough for investigators to obtain a seizure warrant. In one Long Island case, the police submitted almost a year’s worth of daily deposits by a business, ranging from $5,550 to $9,910. The officer wrote in his warrant affidavit that based on his training and experience, the pattern “is consistent with structuring.” The government seized $447,000 from the business, a cash-intensive candy and cigarette distributor that has been run by one family for 27 years.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  In today's Scott de Marchi corner....a spider the size of a puppy.

2.  NC has really high gas taxes, and yet claims to need tolls to build new roads.  Why?  Because it raids the highway fund for other purposes.  And remember that the NC has a Republican legislature.  It's not a partisan point.  It's just that politics is theft.

3.  Stay-at-home parents have my great respect.  Stay-at-home kids, much less so.  Todd Rundgren had a song for those kids. It does sound fun, I admit.

4.  Speaking of staying home, Latinos may be stay-at-home voters.  Nobody likes being taken for granted.

5.  If some drunk guy tried this ("What's that lipstick on your neck?"  "Honey, I'd love to tell you, but it's a matter of national security...") it would be laughable.  But if the U.S. government tries it...well, it's still laughable.


Friday, October 24, 2014


Government joke.  Though to be fair, it's really a Congress joke.  So I changed it a little, from the source.

Overheard at the Charles River race:

“Did you hear that one of the teams in the Eights is all members of Congress?”

“No. How are they doing?”

“Much better this year. They kept coming in last in previous races, so they sent someone to spy on the Harvard and Yale teams to try to find out the secret of their high performance.”

“Really?  A rowing spy?  What did the spy tell them?”

“The spy said, 'Look, guys:  The Harvard and Yale crew teams just have one guy yelling.  The rest of you should row!  And in the same direction!'


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

This week's sign of the Apocalypse

Here's what the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism recommends for your next trip to the Bullshit State:

Never mind the Angusian level of exclamation point use, consider how low the great state of Massachusetts has fallen.

I'm not sure what's worse, the recommendations or the fact that the recommendations are so borderline untrue.

I checked Wikipedia and it turns out that Lemurs are NOT endemic to MA (who knew?). So they are suggesting traveling to MA just to go to the zoo. And "indoor water slides"? Do the good people of the Tourism office want you to take a time machine back to the 80s and stay at a Holidome? Finally corn mazes (a) are dangerous and terrifying, and (b) require more space than the entire state of MA to construct properly.

What do you think is the over/under on the percent of MA visitors this fall who participate in all three of these activities?

I'll set the number at 2.5%. Tell me in the comments which side you want.

People, if crap like this can happen, why did we even have the American Revolution at all?

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Oklahoma gettin' smarter, North Carolina gettin' dumber

Cool graph from a group called City Report showing how young educated people are flowing into selected urban areas.

Here the increase in young people with BAs or better in on the vertical axis and the increase in total population is on the horizontal:

As you can see OKC has the second largest increase in young educated people and that increase is large given its overall population growth. Charlotte NC and Raleigh NC are getting relatively dumber as their overall population is growing faster than their young and educated population (Atlanta and Dallas too!).

Interestingly New Orleans, Buffalo and Pittsburgh are losing overall population while gaining a decent amount of young and educated people, while Detroit and Cleveland are stinking in both dimensions.

I guess all those Mungowitz-educated  Duke students are not staying in NC!

Hat-tip to The Upshot!

That Thing....

Ya know that thing where the woman you have been dating online becomes obsessed with you and tries to get into your house by sliding down the chimney?

Nope, me neither.  But it happened to this guy.

As the article notes....there is MORE to this story, somewhere.

Strangely, this is apparently a thing that you women do....

Monday, October 20, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  I'm not sure anyone could blame him.  "Sure, yes, I was on heroin, but you gotta understand:  I'm teaching 8th Graders.  YOU try doing that without narcotics."

2.  You CAN hide--anonymize.  (with apologies to the Eagles)

3.  John Oliver on civil forfeiture...

4.  NO!!! Not. the. chocolate...

5.  Elder Gus brings it.  At first, I thought perhaps The Bishop had taught Elder Gus to dance.  But that can't be right.  Because Elder Gus can dance.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Emails: Hoe Ramming

Emails I actually get:


MIS is lining up to hoe ram the existing tunnel footing this weekend, beginning Saturday. This work is required in order to clear a path for the new steam/condensate lines from the manhole to the areaway. 

We will have this work done prior to 7:00 AM Monday, October 20th. 

First of all, any email addressed to "Myron" is a win.

And then..."Hoe ramming"?  That sound like something Ludacris sang about:  "You doin' Ho activities, with Ho tendencies..."

Reach up in the sky fo' the Ho-zone layah!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I don't know.  This seems a little facile.

On the other is surely true that at least some, and perhaps most, of our expectations about gender roles really are socially constructed.  And if someone wants to "identify" differently, that's okay with me.

I'm not so sure this is okay, with me.  That's a lot to keep track of.  And it's all made up.  I understand, that's the point, that ALL genders and roles are made up, or "socially constructed," and so why not make up better ones.  But I really think that any parent who has been around little boys and little girls will have some doubts about the claim that gender roles are 100% socially constructed.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  Vasalgel.

2.  If this can happen, why do we even have elitest leftist enclaves in the first place?  (nod to CN)

3.  Caring, or not caring, about inequality.

4.  Excellent robots.

5.  Biden.  Oh, Biden, Biden, Biden.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Jimmy Kimmel Awesomeness

Our friends on the left often make fun of the anti-science bias of right.  Fair enough.

But the left has its own tinfoil-hatted goofballs.  The best most obvious examples are the opposition to vaccines, and opposition to genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

Jimmy Kimmel, bless his heart, has a little fun.

Of course, we eat GMOs all the time.  Things like corn, pork, etc.  Any domesticated species is the result of genetic modification.

But that was through selective breeding, over generations.  Isn't it dangerous to use ....well, whatever it is that scientists use?

That's what these folks want to say.  If you are looking for a blue print for your own tinfoil hat, here's a good one

The odd thing is that the truth is pretty clear.  So why are you "scientific" lefties getting your organic free-range rough cotton shorts all knotted-up?  Could it be that your views are ideological, and not scientific, after all?

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Papa's Got a Brand New Bag

The LMM's account of the morning I had my eye surgery.

Had not eaten for quite a while, was pretty nervous.  The nurse tried to put the needle into the large (but highly wiggly) veins on the back of my hand.  She missed, missed, missed again, and then just tried to pursue the vein around, digging the needle into my hand and wrist.

I could feel myself getting dizzy.  Then really dizzy.  So I said, "I'm getting dizzy."  And then a few minutes later I woke up, with several doctors standing around me.  And with an oxygen tube in my nose.  Apparently I had taken a short vacation away from consciousness.


Nurse, Mary, commented we didn't have a "chair" (which was actually a bed) in our holding pen (my description of waiting area). She said she'd start the IV with you sitting up in a real chair. She asked if I was ok watching her put in the IV. I said no and turned around. You said you were fine. Mary started slapping your hand to get a vein in your lower left wrist. Think she said darn or something like that, said the vein had rolled, that is sometimes does. Said she was sorry, asked if you were ok. At first you said yes. She kept saying she had it in there but it rolled. By this time another nurse had brought in the "chair." Mary nurse started to try to get the vein again.

You said you were starting to feel dizzy and perhaps she should try while you were laying down. Even as you said you were dizzy, I could see your eyes rolling back in your head. The nurse had turned her away from you. Your head went back and I yelled, "he's fainting." She turned around and yelled for a doctor. Dr. Ramos, the anthesiologist, came in and muttered something in doctor language to Mary about what was happening to you.

He walked up to you and slapped both side of your face, yelling Mr. Munger, wake up or are you in there, something like that. He then yelled for another doctor, Dave. With your head back and your face absolutely placid, you then started snorted as if you couldn't breath. Dave hadn't come yet and I yelled for him to come.

Dr. Ramos said to bag you and he and Mary gave you oxygen. Then you started to come to and didn't remember a thing, vaguely remembering you had said you felt a little dizzy. Mary then put you in the bed and had another nurse, Melissa, come in to put in the IV. Mary said she learned her lesson not to start an IV in a chair again. When you passed out you looked just like you did in Chile when you had fainted back on the floor of a restaurant while standing straight up.

LMM's Postscript:  When they said "bag 'em," I thought for half a second that he must be dead.  But then I realized they just meant to give him oxygen.  Still....the life insurance would have been nice.

Nobel Predictions

When it comes to the literature Nobel, nobody knows nothing.

And that's a good thing.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Man bites Iceberg

This is an actual headline from an actual story from the actual internet:

Antarctic sea ice hits an all-time high, NASA blames global warming

 No there is not a typo. That is what the story actually claims.

 People, I'm not gonna read it, I'm just gonna  mock it. Let me know in the comments if I'm being a jerk. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

A Petition against the Young

Man, Mungowitz knows me so well and trolls me so hard!

He pointed me to this Onionesque piece from the mighty Chronicle of Higher Education, requesting that journals please refrain from publishing papers written by grad students for (wait for it), THE GOOD OF THE GRAD STUDENTS!

I am not making this up. You gotta go read this piece.

Here's how I responded to Mungo when he befouled my Facebook feed with this drivel:

"LOL, sure let's ban the one thing grad students can do to empower themselves and keep them dependent on our recommendations and the rank of the school they attend. It has the side benefit of reducing competition in the publishing market too. Genius!!!!"

The argument, if you can call it that, is that students spend too much time trying to publish and not enough on their dissertation so they end up staying in grad school "too long".

And the only solution that occurs to the petitioner is to ban student publications.

I expect my students to publish AND finish their dissertations in 5 years. Many do. I work with them to make journal articles and the dissertation be complements, not substitutes. This is a common practice in economics and a fairly obvious solution to the alleged problem haunting the author of the Chronicle piece.

I've had some late blooming students who could benefit from a 6th year in terms of bettering their job placement, but since they will get some type of job anyway, I leave that decision up to them. It's a pretty tough call and I try to respect their decisions whatever my own personal take may be.