Friday, June 27, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Matt Welch on Bowe Bergdahl

This piece by Reason editor Matt Welch does a nice job of covering some of the key issues. I agree with him that it really matters here that this is a volunteer army.

More generally, the bit that still astounds me is just how badly the Obama administration got the public relations aspects of the case wrong. I think this is a strong signal of politically and intellectually monochromatic backgrounds and perspectives within the administration.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Performance Network update

More on the financial travails of Performance Network from the Ann Arbor News.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summarizing communism via sculpture

The statue is in Poland. Daily Mail story here.

Hat tip: Charlie Brown

Monday, June 16, 2014

Movie: Chef

Chef is a food truck full of sugar.

The NYT critic correctly describes it as a "shallow, but enjoyable all-American morality play".

Recommended if you are into a bit of very light fun with a 40-minute long happy ending, lots of yummy food, and even some Scarlett.

UM construction boom

Two pieces from the Ann Arbor News on the construction boom on the Michigan campus: first one, second one.

There has been construction around Lorch Hall, home of the economics department, every year since I arrived nine years ago, including the policy school's new building, the law school's new building (and re-model of their old building) and the business school's first (they are about to get another) new building. Most recently, "our" lawn has been filled with temporary office (and classroom?) space for the business school during the next round of construction there.

Oh, and be sure to note the bit about spending 300K to move a tree. It is Ann Arbor after all.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Assorted links

1. Positive spillovers from the coup in Thailand.

2. Launch of Heckman's new center at the University of Chicago.

3. Good thing I shaved off my mustache.

4. Tracking residential decay in Detroit with Google street view.

Hat tip on #1 to Charlie Brown.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wise words for the red team ...

... from the folks at the Economist.

Columns interview with Washington football coach Chris Petersen

There are some worthwhile bits in this (relatively short) interview from Columns magazine, published by Washington's alumni association.

Soccer versus football: some revisionist history

My kinesiology colleague Stefan Symanski (co-author of soccernomics) offers a bit of quantitative linguistics regarding the debate about what to call soccer.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


The economist has virtually reprinted their lead article from the week of D-Day, just 70 years ago. It makes for interesting reading on several dimensions.

The line that struck me the most was: "the first advances have been secured with surprisingly little loss of life". According to wikipedia, allied dead on just the first day of the Normandy landings exceeded 4,400. That one-day total is just a bit less than the number of American soldiers killed in the entirety of the Iraq war.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Non-compete agreements

The NYT discovers agreements not to compete, about which the Massachusetts legislature is presently debating.

The article is not too bad as these things go, but is very short on evidence. Also, the notion that, whether good or bad, the effect of non-competes could be determined by comparing state level unemployment rates is ludicrous. They are just not that important relative to the other factors that push around unemployment rates. I was also entertained by the fellow who stayed on UI for a year rather than endure a long commute.

The most glaring omission from the article is of course the fine recent work by Michigan's newly minted Ph.D. Evan Starr, shortly departing for the exotic wilds of Urbana-Champaign. His (very fine) dissertation deals entirely with non-competes.

Hat tip: Charlie Brown, who chaired Evan's committee.

Life in the modern classroom

Hat tip: Charlie Brown

Tempest in the privilege pot

Columnist Dan Savage and his adventures at the University of Chicago, where, apparently, not only fun goes to die, but perspective as well.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Justin Wolfers puff piece from Oz

This is not bad as puff pieces go. I didn't know the bits about gambling.

Via Justin's facebook feed.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Campus sex trials

Megan McArdle has an excellent piece on why sex cases should not be investigated and tried by university administrations.

Reason columnist Cathy Young details an example from Northwestern.

And here is an example from Michigan

The penalties here are serious, as are the underlying behaviors. In my view, they deserve much better treatment than they currently seem to get from university administrations.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education does good work on this and other issues.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Few Goodmans

A humorous take on co-authors who share a last name.

Hat tip: The person I think of as "the other Erzo Luttmer", meaning the one I did not overlap with in graduate school at Chicago.

Assorted links

1. The truth about glasses.

2. Piketty and marmots.

3. Digitizing Timbuktu

4. Outsourcing homework in India.

5. Taste-testing at the Raven's Club in A2. I've been going there more often lately.

Hat tip on #2 to Stephen Hamilton and on #4 to Charlie Brown.