Wednesday, April 30, 2014

On vocational training

If only we could train deans to sit and do nothing ...

Hat tip: Charlie Brown

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Unlikely academics

The USC policy school hires a new faculty member who is ideally suited to dealing with student complaints about grades.

Hat tips: Mel Stephens and Charlie Brown

Monday, April 28, 2014

Rice economics on the move

They've hired Antonio Merlo and, I am told, others as well.

Hat tip: Mel Stephens

Sunday, April 27, 2014

FP on Putin

I thought the last paragraph was too kind to both Putin and the Obama administration, but overall the FP does a nice job of charting Putin's journey from pragmatist to nationalist church lady.

The building at 611.5 William Street

I have always wondered about the building on William between (what used to be) White Market and New York Pizza. Michigan Today provides the history, which involves Gerald Ford and black robes.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Assorted links

1. New Springfield subway map from the Simpson's. It's sweet that the innocent Atlantic Cities writer can't figure out what "Jerk Circle" might be about.

2. A cool video about an eccentric photographer in NYC.

3. A fine Expose from the Atlantic about how the NFL exploits the taxpayer.

4. Movie trailer for Chicago potholes. The sequel could feature Ann Arbor potholes.

5. The Economist on work, leisure and social class. I am surprised they did not reference this fine paper.

Hat tip on #4 to Dan Black.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Best of Ann Arbor 2014

From the Michigan Daily.

I like it that the winner and runner-up for best new business are World of Beer and Literati, respectively.

Perhaps next year someone clever will open a bookstore with a bar ...

Addendum: According to Ozy, I am not the only one who thinks combining books and beer is a good idea.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Government is just a word for the things we choose to do together

I really like the way the Honest Courtesan links to various government abuses by using that ridiculous phrase, so I have decided to do the same:

1. Traffic tickets in Florida for those speeding to the hospital.

2. Doubling down on out-of-control joggers in Austin.

As to the phrase itself, "choose" seems like an odd word for an institution is fundamental feature is a monopoly on the legal use of violence.

On consultants

From the New Yorker.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Jobs that sound like fun

This fellow called Jesse Schell is an "Assistant Professor of Entertainment Technology" at CMU. Why didn't anyone mention this career path when I was playing SimCity back in grad school?

Hat tip: Ophira Vishkin

Tree Campus USA

The University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus has been recognized by whomever does the recognizing of such things as a "Tree Campus USA" for the sixth year in a row.

In other news, yesterday the university sawed down several perfectly healthy trees outside of Lorch Hall, home of the economics department. Rumor has it that the trees were removed so that the ugly construction trailers that have been present outside our building for almost my entire career at Michigan, but which disappeared a few weeks ago, can be replaced by more spacious ugly construction trailers so as to facilitate the next round of construction at the busyness school next door.

Hat tip: Joel Slemrod.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Movie: The Grand Budapest Hotel

We saw Grand Budapest on Friday night at the State Theater. It is a complete delight: crazy, original, funny, at times sad, visually rich, and overall just an excellent way to spend a couple of hours. I completely concur with the glowing review by A.O. Scott in the NYT.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

On cheating

The Atlantic reports on the reaction of some college teachers to a student who advertised on Craig's List for someone to help them cheat on a placement exam and possibly also an on-line course.

People do cheat, even at Michigan. Of the three places I have been, I liked Maryland's process for dealing with cheaters best. It involved (in part) students judging other students, and the students were typically much tougher on cheaters than administrators. Michigan's process works reasonably well too, but is a bit more lenient than I would like.

Western Ontario, at least when I was there, was neither as organized as Maryland and Michigan in how it handled cheaters nor as tough. I had a student at Western who plagiarized on their honors thesis (!). I wanted to toss him out of the program but in the end was only able to give him a low grade. He had the temerity to come back a few days later and ask for more points. That day was the closest I ever came to physically harming a student.

Assorted links

1. Jerusalem Gardens moving into Seva space. Yum.

2. Mocking Rob Ford at the Atlantic.

3. Urban ruins: Rochester subway (and be sure to click through to the old promotional video). They should make lemonade from lemons and do something like the Underground Tour in Seattle.

4. Remodeling Morgan and York. More yum.

5. Hanna Rosin on affairs.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Obama comes to Ann Arbor

Whatever you think about raising the minimum wage, it is hard to see how it is a good use of tax dollars for the president to travel to Ann Arbor, disrupt traffic, and draw students away from their classes (including one from mine) just so he can have a Reuben at Zingerman's and give a speech that could equally well been given on the white house lawn (or not at all, given that it has already been given several times before).

This looks more like an indulgence of presidential vanity than a serious use of either public funds or the president's time to me (and I would note, of course, that such trips are a bipartisan affront to the taxpayer as all recent presidents have done this sort of thing).

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Great moments with Mr. Gelman

Funny, and sometimes pointed, quotes from Andrew Gelman.

I had a student write down a list of all of the crazy stuff I said in one semester of undergraduate econometrics and email it to me at the end of the semester. Pretty scary.

Hat tip: DVM