Sunday, July 28, 2013

On Jason Richwine

This piece from thinkprogress goes into some depths on the Kennedy School dissertation that led Jason Richwine to get fired from the Heritage Foundation.

It includes quotes from several people I know. I can certainly repeat what they and some of the others quoted in the article have said about the quality and seriousness of Richwine's dissertation committee.

The author is a bit more surprised than he should be that some dissertations are better than others, even at Harvard, but otherwise does a pretty nice job as a non-specialist dealing with a complicated topic and the somewhat arcane process by which dissertations get produced.

Hat tip: ASAK, on a roll with interesting things to read

Buying a car

We had to buy a new car last week, something I had managed to avoid since my Western Ontario days. My main memory from that purchase, which was in 1999 (!) was the joy of having the salesperson at the Honda dealership in London, Ontario lie to my face. Fortunately, I had followed the then-current advice about getting other offers via fax, plus I had read Consumer Reports so, though the experience was quite unpleasant, I did not get taken to the cleaners too seriously.

It struck me at the time, and it still strikes me now. that making the experience so unpleasant probably leads people to buy cars less often, and so may, on net, make the car industry worse off, relative to an equilibrium of posted prices and honest dealing. I suspect though that it is not in the interest of any individual dealer, and perhaps any individual brand, to go it alone in that regard. Saturn did not persist, despite its posted prices. I am told that now Mini occupies the posted price niche, though there are many ways to take advantage other than via the base sales price for the car.

What struck me about this round of car-buying is that the information environment is much richer. The document above is something I got via American Express. I believe that the same underlying firm also provides information via Consumer Reports. Our salesperson also provided a similar, but less informative (just the mean, not the distribution) document from Edmunds. The document above shows the distribution of purchase prices for the particular model of CR-V that we ended up buying over some time period in my local area. We stopped going back and forth with the dealer when we got down to about the 20th percentile of that distribution. As you would expect, each additional reduction in the negotiated price became more time consuming and less pleasant to accomplish. The 20th percentile is about where MC = MB given our time costs and tolerance for aggressive interaction.

We had a relatively (and relatively is a very important modifier here) unobjectionable salesperson. What struck me in standing around the dealership and also in our one conversation with the manager is that most of the staff other than our salesperson almost seem to deliberately dress and act like carnival hucksters. Is this really profit maximizing?  Our guy had a different approach. He was a bit chubby and rumpled and not as slick as the others; for that reason, he came off as more honest and sincere. The night we went to pick up our car he had several other customers and no one else in the dealership had any, so apparently his approach is working.

In any case, we like the car. I hope it lasts at least as long as my sadly departed Civic so that I don't have to go through the buying process again any time soon.

Oh, and a free paper idea. It seems to me that the much richer informational environment should have led to a reduced variance in sale prices. If you write the paper, please send me a copy.

Assorted links

1. What Bill Gates reads (short answer: lots of pop social science).

2. Someone should tell this reporter at the Seattle Times, and the mayoral candidates she writes about, that treating unconditional earnings differences between subgroups as if they mean something serves only to demonstrate ignorance of the relevant literature.

3. Literacy test for voters (not all voters, of course) in Louisiana before the civil rights era. How did the people who wrote and administered such things sleep at night? Or sit through a church service?

4. Avoiding budget hotels in China.

5. Cool space shuttle booster video.

Hat tip on #2 to Ken Troske.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Movie: The Way, Way Back

The Way, Way Back is a mighty mountain of sugar, but it is charming and well-done sugar.

A.O. Scott has a fine review at the NYT; there is no politics in the movie to throw him off. I particularly like this bit: "the older actors provide a vivid omnibus of the varieties of adult awfulness."


The labor market for teachers in North Carolina

Consider this teacher in North Carolina, who seeks a raise via moral suasion.

If we suppose that her husband makes as much as she does, so that they have a household income of $62,000, that puts them in the 62nd percentile of the US household income distribution and the 96th percentile of the world income distribution, according to this calculator. Even if we suppose that her husband makes only $20,000 per year (2000 hours at $10 per hour), which seems unlikely given positive sorting in the marriage market on education and income, the percentiles are 57 and 95.

There are several issues here, more than one can address in a single post. But one important one often negotiated in discussions of teacher pay is compensating differences. Many people like to teach. That drives teaching wages down, as implicitly part of the compensation is doing a job that one wants to do, and receives praise for doing from others, rather than, say, selling used cars. Teachers should make less in dollar terms than other jobs that require the same skills / investments but lack the non-pecuniary payoff. Formally, the margin teacher should be indifferent not between the money wages of their two best labor market options, but the utility levels associated with their two best options. Also, teachers in government schools, once they have taught for a while, essentially face zero employment risk. The labor market should (and likely does) price this aspect of the job as well, and it too will lead to lower teacher money pay.

I hope she finds a teaching job she likes better in another state.

Hat tip: ASAK

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Economics moment of zen #9

"The estimates are tantalizing but the standard errors are annoying."

Sue Dynarski at the NBER summer institute

Craig Ferguson and the snake cup

In honor of the Craig Ferguson book review ...

Me on Larry Summers in the Boston Globe

I tried very hard to get the nice Boston Globe reporter to talk with my colleague Justin Wolfers instead of me but was ultimately unsuccessful. As a result, I am quoted in her piece on Larry Summer's Feldstein lecture at the NBER Summer Institute yesterday, saying things that were plainly obvious to everyone in the audience.

Hat tip: Steve Woodbury

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book: American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson

Ferguson, Craig. 2009. American On Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot. New York: HarperCollins.

Craig Ferguson is my favorite (by a fair distance) among the late night hosts. This book is his autobiography. It is pretty up front about his travails with drugs and alcohol and how he overcame them. It is pretty funny too. It also does a nice job of illustrating the combination of hard work, luck, and help from your friends that underlie career success. At the same time, my sense is that Craig understates both his ambition - the book portrays him sort of wandering from success to success, but my model says you can't get where he got without more drive and focus than he admits to - and the burdens he imposes on his romantic partners. Still, I found it well worth reading.

Recommended, if you like Craig's brand of humor and/or enjoy recovery narratives.

More on hookups

The NYT article on hookups that I blogged about the other day generated a lot of activity on the interwebs, including this piece from Slate, another piece from Slate, and this piece from the Atlantic.

Advice for the tenure track

This piece has some pretty good advice. Some comments on individual items:

1. Quotas. There are a good idea, especially for female faculty who often get showered with invitations for things because organizers want diversity (demographic diversity, that is; there are other kinds of diversity, though you might not know it if you spend all your time in academia) on whatever committee or panel or whatever they are organizing. It is important to adjust the quotas to reflect your likes and dislikes and strengths and weaknesses. Do more of what you like and less of what you don't like. For example, I could never get by on five trips a year. The one thing to avoid, though, is setting the quotas so low that you irritate your colleagues by not doing your "share" of the scut work. Of course, in a well-functioning department, assistant professors should be mostly shielded from this anyway.

2. The "feel good" email folder is a really great idea. I have two of these, one of which consists only of praise from my dissertation adviser.

3. I agree that it is important to have some fun now. Taking breaks and doing something different can improve morale and clear your mind. Both enhance productivity as well as raising overall utility.

4. I would add that it is important to work smart as well as working hard. Take a very hard look at your work process and be sure that the things you do and the way you do them all pass cost-benefit tests. I observe in myself and in others an occasional tendency to confuse doing something related to work with actually getting work done. These are not the same.

Hat tip: ASAK

Monday, July 22, 2013

Paper: Performance Gender Gap: Does Competition Matter

Performance Gender Gap: Does Competition Matter?
Evren Ors, Frédéric Palomino, and Eloïc Peyrache
Journal of Labor Economics
Vol. 31, No. 3 (July 2013) (pp. 443-499)

Using data for students undertaking a series of real-world academic examinations with high future payoffs, we examine whether the differences in these evaluations’ competitive nature generate a performance gender gap. In the univariate setting we find that women’s performance is first-order stochastically dominated by that of men when the competition is higher, whereas the reverse holds true in the less competitive or noncompetitive tests. These results are confirmed in the multivariate setting. Our findings, from a real-world setting with important payoffs at stake, are in line with the evidence from experimental research that finds that females tend to perform worse in more competitive contexts.

This is one of my favorites among the papers that I handled as an editor at JoLE. It is cooler than the abstract makes it sound because the abstract does not give a clear sense of the unusual but compelling institutions that provide the foundation for the findings.

Movie: Monsters University

Monsters University is what you get when put Monsters Inc and Revenge of the Nerds into a blender. The animation is gorgeous and Billy Crystal is always good fun. And it is always of interest to see how higher education is portrayed in popular culture. And, of course, lessons are learned and we all become better people.

The NYT reviewer agrees about the animation but wishes they had made a different movie by putting Brave into the blender instead of Revenge of the Nerds. Well, perhaps.

Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours with your kid. If you do not have a kid, then take a pass.

Assorted links

1. Only in Ann Arbor: the saga of the "violin monster" at Art Fair.

2. Markets in everything: transgender shoes in Ypsilanti.

3. Rotating skyscraper.

4. Prof. or hobo? Test your knowledge.

5. Will Wilkinson on DC and the living wage. I really like the phrase "moral outsourcing".

Hat tip #2 to Charlie Brown, on #3 to Jackie Smith and on #4 to Anne Fitzpatrick.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Book: The Simpsons

Ortved, John. 2009. The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History. New York: Faber and Faber.

I quite like the Simpsons, and this book is a pretty good introduction to various backstories about how the show got going, changes in the animation shop in the early years, the inevitable creative battles and so on. I particularly enjoyed the material about the mechanics of the process of how the show gets created each week.

The format consists of rearranged bits of interviews done by the author (or occasionally from published sources) interspersed with explanatory bits of authorial narrative. I suspect I would have preferred a book that was all narrative, but it is the author's book, not mine.

Recommended if you are into the Simpsons.

Nothing to cut: bikini barista edition


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Sptizer on Colbert

Champion hypocrite and persecutor of the innocent Eliot Spitzer wants that comptrollers office so badly, and wants those book sales so badly, that he is willing to endure a pretty serious hazing on the Colbert Report.

I am not usually a big Colbert fan but the writing on this one soars above his norm. The line about Charlie Rose is my favorite.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Assorted links

1. Drunken island monkeys.

2. Free speech versus occupational licensing in Kentucky.

3. Virginia Postrel on how to save Barnes and Noble. I agree with the diagnosis but am not sure that the cure is fully worked out yet ...

4. Expressing your views about the IRS via performance art.

5. Markets in everything: Portland's vegan strip club.

Hat tip on #1 to Jackie Smith. #4 via instapundit.

Another prize for Dan Hamermesh

Dan is this year's winner of the IZA Prize in labor economics.

Congratulations Dan!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Beta hat

Get it?

Modeled (another pun!) by recent UM doctorate Italo Gutierrez, now at Rand.

Something reasonable about Martin / Zimmerman

I did not follow this particular media circus very closely, but this Slate piece by William Saletan seems to me to provide a compelling summary of the enterprise.

Assorted links

1. The NYT on heterogeneous treatment effects and statistical treatment rules in medicine. The author's knowledge sort of runs out before the end of the article, but it is still pretty interesting.

2. Cool old cars in Minnesota. Ann Arbor had its (very) mini version of this last Friday.

3. Economics and video games.

4. What Amanda Knox reads.

5. Don't go driving in Russia.

Hat tip on #1 to Hat tip on #2 and #5 to Jackie Smith.

Requiring diversity at U-dub

The University of Washington, my undergraduate alma mater, has instituted a "diversity" course requirement on top of the regular "distribution" requirements designed to provide some breadth to undergraduate course-taking.

I think the key bit in the Seattle Times article is:
[Dean] Gregory, though, characterized the final policy as “a very modest curriculum requirement.”
“It doesn’t complicate the curriculum,” he said. “We were careful not to do that.”
Charlie Brown likes to talk about a mythical software package called "PC Deanspeak" whose function is to translate the language of deans (deanish? rubbish?) into ordinary English. Running this bit through my mental version of PC Deanspeak leads to "We made the requirement so small, and the number of courses that count so large, that it will not actually change anyone's course-taking behavior, but it will make those annoying activist kids go away."

Hat tip: (Dean) Ken Troske

Monday, July 15, 2013

College kids do the darndest things

The NYT has made the startling discovery that college students sometimes fool around, even when they are not in a relationship, and often after consuming alcohol.

Now that's news! Move over National Enquirer!

And I am sure that nothing like that ever happened back when I was in college. No sir. Not one bit.

Perhaps equally entertaining is the author's attempt to instill in parents an odd combination of fear for their innocent children and regret that their own college lives did not feature as many drunken late night booty calls as some students enjoy today.

The careful reader might also note that the universities covered in the story are elite schools where many students are unlikely to stick around in the local area after graduation. I bet the story is different at a school like Western Michigan, where most students will stick around or, at most, move to Chicago. Lack of expected geographic mobility changes the benefit-cost calculus on relationships started in college, as does less exclusively career-focused life ambitions.

And it almost goes without saying, as it is the Times, that there is no random sample to be found, so the results of the writer's survey cannot be generalized in any meaningful way beyond the individuals at hand. Of course, I am sure that students willing to have extended conversations with a reporter about their drunken hookups are pretty close to a random sample. Aren't you?

In fact, if you read along farther, you discover that a large fraction of college students are not leading wild lives at college at all.  Though who knows how good these numbers are either, for the author makes no effort to document whether they come from a scientific survey or not. Still, 40 percent having intercourse with zero or one person during college (that's five years at risk for many students, in a target rich environment) is hardly the orgy the first part of the article makes college life out to be.

The newspaper of record, indeed.

Note to younger readers: the subject of the post is a play on this book by Art Linkletter.

Via instapundit.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Book: The Book of Genesis: A Biography, by Ronald Hendel

Hendel, Ronald. 2013. The Book of Genesis: A Biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

This short (and small) but very rich book details the history of scholarly and popular interpretations of Genesis from pre-Christian times to the present. Broadly speaking, the story has three parts, starting with figural interpretations, both apocalyptic and Platonic, followed by more literal interpretations in the Protestant era, followed by critical literary readings in modern times. An initial chapter sets the context with a history of the text itself. The book is well informed by the relevant scholarship (and the author is himself a leading scholar) but is written for the intelligent non-specialist. I learned a great deal, especially in regard to the earlier figural readings.

Recommended for those into such things.

Assorted links

1. Elevation Burger comes to Ann Arbor, and comes recommended by UM alum Adam Cole.

2. How a Fed President spends his time. Narayana was a couple years ahead of me at Chicago, and married one of my friends from my year.

3. Cool old photos, some of Detroit.

4. Is wine tasting bunk? Your worst suspicions confirmed. I do think I could sort out the wretched stuff they serve in coach on Delta from all other wines.

5. RePEc ranks economists by cohort (i.e. by year of doctoral completion). Note that the ranking is only among those economists who have taken the time to enter their information into the RePEc database.

#2 and #5 via Matt Kahn's blog. #3 via instapundit.

Paul Courant, troublemaker

From Martian's Daughter, by Marina Whitman, daughter of John von Neumann.  Marina is on the faculty of the Ford School here at Michigan.

Hat tip: Sarah Turner

Causal follies: unintended consequences of the rise of Google?

Hat tip: Dan Black

The odd experience of watching one's culinary and employment past recreated in the present

Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour Restaurant, where I worked back in the days when I was in high school and it was a national chain, returns to Northern California later this month. Working at Farrell's was great fun, and I learned a ton of labor economics (maybe that should be personnel economics) as well, though I did not realize that's what it was at the time.

Can Seattle be far behind? There used to be a Farrell's in Ann Arbor too. Fingers crossed ....

Main Farrell's site here. More history here.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Friday, July 12, 2013

Assorted links

1. A success of Britain's National Health Service from the Sun (which source signals correctly that it is moderately NSFW)

2, The church of beer, in Denmark of course (and with a video including Canadian content!)

3, The American Statistical  Sociological (!) Association is taken over by women.

4. Substituting capital for labor: steel industry edition.

5. Seva moving to Westgate. They should have a downtown branch too - students will never find their way out to their new location.

Hat tip on #1 to Lars Skipper (and just how did Lars miss #2?). Hat tip on #3 to ASAK.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The University of Michigan is #1 ...

... in out of state tuition. Virginia is #2.

Jack Klugman, RIP

Jack Klugman played Oscar Madison in the television version of the Odd Couple, which was a favorite of mine back during my heavy television-viewing years.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Assorted links

1. Rob Mercer on tradition. Why does Canada produce so many good comedians? One suspects it has something to do with living next door to the US.

2. Singing anesthesiologists.

3. Oliver Sacks on turning 80. Nicely done.

4. The effect of too much rain on the Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

5. On facebook firings.

Hat tip on #1 to Lisa Gribowski, on #2 to Jackie Smith and on #5 to Charlie Brown. #3 is via MR.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Greg Mankiw, Jason Furman and economists' politics

Greg explains the bonds that link classical liberal and lefty economists on the occasion of his lefty student, Jason Furman, taking over as chair of the council of economic advisers. The piece is well done though I would have said more about how, at least in DC, economists can easily put aside their usually minor differences about where on the Pareto frontier they would like to end up in favor of the much more challenging task of trying to bring policy within a light-year or two of the Pareto frontier.

His piece also reminded me of a story that my undergraduate mentor Paul Heyne (who seems to be on my mind a lot lately) used to tell about going to interdisciplinary conferences that would include him, as the classical liberal economist, some sort of lefty economist to present a contrasting view, and a bunch of scholars from other disciplines. Invariably, according to Paul, the discussions would evolve into the two economists versus everyone else. How economists think about problems really is much more important than what in most contexts are minor differences about equity and efficiency on the frontier.

Movie: The East

This is a fun political thriller that takes place in an alternate universe in which the FDA, the EPA and the ambulance-chasing shyster lawyers looking to file class-action suits all do not exist, and so must be replaced with over-educated, painfully earnest and happily egalitarian performance artists. It is this alternate world that confuses A.O. Scott, who says something about the "contradictions of capitalism" in his review, which seems odd given that the movie is really all about government failure rather than market failure.

In any case, at the end of the day the movie's politics exist as a sort of NYT editorial page wet dream (i.e., and this is a spoiler, the misguided performance artists all misbehave because they had bad home lives and the way to deal with problems is for educated people to work through peaceful means), and can be more or less ignored in favor of the fine acting.

Recommended, with caveats

Monday, July 8, 2013

Who tweets about college football?

That the southern states dominate is not surprising. What is surprising is that Wisconsin and Ohio (or O-Lie-O as the local t-shirts in Ann Arbor have it these days) both end up in a higher category than Michigan.

Hat tip: ASAK

Assorted links

1. Managerial chaos at the (at least formerly) very cool Tabard Inn in DC. I stayed at the Tabard for my job talk at Maryland back in the day.

2. A strange story of missing identity from the Seattle Times. I like it that rich guys in Texas who are friends with their congressman can use the social security administration as a free private investigator.

3. The science of the slinky, in slow motion.

4. Photos of the renovation of the Chicago Theological Seminary as the new home of the economics department.

5. The pentametron. Cool.

Hat tip on #1 to Austin Kelly. Hat tip missing on #2. Hat tip on #3 to Dan Black. Hat tip on #5 to ASAK.

Economics and philosophy

I am reminded of Paul Heyne's emphasis on the point that moral energy is scarce like all other resources, with the implication that it is best to rely on incentives when possible, and to save the moral energy for contexts in which incentives perform poorly. One can think of "pure" communism / communitarianism as an attempt to rely entirely on moral energy for allocation. That moral energy is scarce is then why it fails.

Hat tip: Don Hacherl

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Movie: Kings of Summer

We saw Kings of Summer at the Michigan Theater last night.

I quite liked this movie and so was puzzled by the NYT review, which seems to completely miss the point. Complaining about the realism of the local police in a vaguely magical realist coming of age story is a bit like complaining about all the noisy space explosions in Star Wars or Star Trek. Yeah, sure, but so what?

In any case, the movie is a light-hearted bit of fun that does a nice job of capturing the angst of the teen years, particularly the way that even minor parental quirks become magnified into the equivalent of the gulag. It is also very much a movie about teen boys, and stands out for not implicitly or explicitly making them look like idiots. Oh, and the (not unrelated to the gender theme) biblical allusions are cool.


Assorted links

1. No free speech for Urban Outfitters. One wishes that Urban Outfitters would fight back, but it is easy to see why they do not, given the lack of institutional limits on the bad behavior of state attorney generals.

2. Institute for Social Research timeline.

3. Anti-GMO and science.

4. Real estate agents misbehaving.

5. Yet another (!) new bookstore for Ann Arbor.

Hat tip on #1 to Scott Wood and on #4 to Charlie Brown.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The magic of STEM?

The Miami Herald offers a nice report on the dubious employment magic of STEM degrees.

The bits at the end are pretty funny. First the president of Florida International University (FIU) says that people should gets liberal arts degrees because it is impossible to predict what sorts of jobs they hold when they finish college. Then the chancellor of the University of Florida system says that the problem is exactly the reverse, that there is not enough central planning and micro-management of degree choices.

And, of course, shortages are all about prices and restrictions on entry, at least in all but the shortest run.

Tentative bottom line: the folks in Florida are making it up as they go along and really have no idea what their students should major in.

Transplants in DC

Reason provides a sad tale of misguided "certificate of need" regulation of the transplant market in DC.

Even if you think this sort of regulation is a good idea, the regulators at least should read the latest (and I would say the most compelling) research on the subject.

Causal follies: sex when you're old edition

So let's see, does having lots of sex make you look younger or does looking younger than your age help you have lots of sex?

One is tempted to say that they need to find an instrument, but someone might interpret that as a bad pun, so I won't.

Hat tip: Charlie Brown

Assorted links

1. The third amendment (!) in Henderson Nevada.

2. Automated essay grading demystified and (sort of) defended.

3. Graduation advice from a small, non-random, but still interesting sample of economists

4. NRO on Hoxby and Turner. The interpretation of the Hoekstra paper could be a bit more subtle, but otherwise not too bad.

5. The FT on the changing industrial organization of English cricket.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Book: Digging Up the Dead by Michael Kammen

Kammen, Michael. 2010. Digging Up the Dead: A History of Notable American Reburials. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

This bit of academic fluff is great fun indeed. I picked it up at Shakespeare and Company in Paris and got through it pretty quickly. While the author goes to some effort to find commonalities and themes, and indeed there are some to be found, most of the pleasure here is just looking at the past through the unusual lens of exhumations and reburials. People in the distant past (and even some people in the not so distant past) have worried a great deal (and for a variety of reasons) about the locations of particular bones, and reading about their obsessions makes for entertaining and enlightening reading. Oh, and in spite of the title, some notable international reburials are covered as well.


CBT and crime

CBT = cognitive behavioral therapy. The paper discussed in this NPR story was one of the highlights of this year's Institute for Research on Poverty Summer Research Workshop. Plus you get to hear Jens Ludwig coin the word "Seinfeldian".

Logic humor

Think about it ... original link here.

Hat tip: ASAK

Assorted links

1. Dilbert does Krugman. Ouch!

2. How can police in a college town not be able to distinguish sparkling water from beer?

3. No heroes please. One could frame this as a Canada / US thing but I think it is really of a piece with the general zero tolerance / lawsuit avoidance bureaucratic paranoia and butt-covering that is common to schools in both countries.

4. Rest area photography from Atlantic Cities.

5. The Economist on the prostitution market in the UK (where it is mostly legal): demand is down (due to the recession) and supply is up (due to the recession). What happens to prices is left as an exercise for the reader.

Hat tip on #2 to Charlie Brown and on #3 to Scott Wood.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Movie: Star Trek Into Darkness

There is substance to the criticisms that A.O. Scott up offers in the NYT. It would indeed be enjoyable to see a movie Star Trek that was like the more thoughtful episodes of the original or second television series. Still, this movie, which no one would call particularly thoughtful, is a lot of fun, and surely ranks above the median among Star Trek movies.

More prosaically, my dad the engineer would be pleased that the Enterprise actually has seat belts in this particular universe. He used to complain every time the Enterprise would get hit by something and all the characters would fly around the bridge on the original series, all because they had no technology for strapping themselves in. And I really liked the line "We're vulcan, we embrace technicality." I have some friends like that.

Elizabeth's review: "That was intense".


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Assorted links

1. Advances in civil liberties in Cleveland.

2. Coney Island update. When I was there in the late 1980s, it was notable mainly as an urban ruin. Glad to see that things are looking up.

3. One more reason not to look at p*orn at work.

4. Benny Hill, Ernie, and the fastest milk cart in the west.

5. Slate on what place names mean.

Hat tip on #1 to Charlie Brown and on #4 to Peter Dolton.

Bad news for Greg Mankiw

Cengage has gone bankrupt, and owes Greg $1.6 million.

Thought question: what does the negative income shock do to his labor supply?

This is likely bad news for Jeff Wooldridge too. His excellent undergraduate text, which I use in my ECON 406 class every fall, is also published by Cengage.

Addendum: apparently the bankruptcy is not a problem for Greg.

Hat tip: Ken Troske and others

Statement from Edward Snowden

Here is what he has to say.

It will be interesting to see where he ends up. I hope it is not in a US prison.

Time use in a picture

From the WSJ (where you can read a whole article about it), via (!)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Behavior that I have trouble explaining ...

... or, when bad things happen to good people, at Madison and at Princeton.

Assorted links

1. Nick Gillespie at reason on Alec Baldwin's latest scandal.

2. P.J. O'Rourke on space.

3. The story of one of Hitler's food tasters.

4. David Warsh on Charles Manski's new book (among other things).

5. Kaleidescope

Monday, July 1, 2013

Canada Day

In honor of Canada Day, which is today for those readers who do not attend to such important matters, a bit of fun from the Onion.