Sunday, January 25, 2015

Edgar Froese, RIP

I was into electronic music, and Froese / Tangerine Dream in particular, in high school and college.

The BBC obituary is here.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Assorted links

1. Starbucks versus Dunkin' Donuts

2. Ginger Ambition gets a massage.

3. Clearing the fish out of the shopping mall.

4. Bookshop porn. Shop now before they're all gone!

5. Disney attractions lost to history. For more, head to Yesterland.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On academic standards in university athletics

This piece both illustrates the tension between athletic success and academic standards as well as the challenges associated with operating courses online.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What a waste ...

Who knew that crime rates in Washington DC had gotten so low that it would be reasonable use of police resources to harass sportscasters who want a bit of paid fun?

Time for some police department budget cuts, I would say. And for some sense of perspective at CBS Sports.

And, more broadly, why are some people's completely voluntary sexual preferences illegal while others, not obviously superior (or inferior), merit legal protection? I'm confused.

Via: Honest Courtesan

TSA technology follies

Having external evaluation of TSA hardware and procedures seems like a very good idea in light of articles like this one.

And then there is this first-hand report from a former TSA agent.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Assorted links

1. Record-breaking parallel parking. Everyone is good at something, my parents used to say.

2. The joy of tax law. Joel et Jim always seem to be in pretty good moods; perhaps this finding extends to being tax economists as well.

3. If only Monica had one of these.

4. Toy sets you should not have sold at the garage sale. I wish I had not agreed to the selling of my three big tubs of Legos. They are proving expensive to replace.

5. Teaching life lessons through youth athletics.

#1 and #3 via instapundit. #5 merits a hat to Charlie Brown.

Bonus points if you get the film reference.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Movie: Wild

This entertaining review from the British Spectator is a bit more negative than I would be but does a nice job of capturing the gist of the thing.

Recommended only if you like Oprah's cable channel and/or Reese Witherspoon.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

On the rules governing the dating of students

An interesting discussion at a law prof blog.

My favorite comment is this one:
A colleague used to be a professor at UC Berkeley. A curmudgeon at heart. He once told me that many of his female students used to approach him and tell him "I'll do anything to pass this class. ANYTHING."
He bent over close and asked "Anything?", to which they would reply "Anything!"
He would then ask, in a very quiet voice, "Would you ... STUDY?"
My own view is that what really matters is having clear rules that are carefully written and precise. Lots of trouble can be avoided if everyone understands what the rules are and they are enforced as written.

If I were picking the rules, I would probably say no dating of undergrads at all until they graduate, mainly because I think this is the product that parents want to buy, and they are usually the ones paying. For graduate students, who are generally older and usually paying their own way, I would just forbid dating with faculty with a direct influence over the student (e.g. who teach them classes or are on their dissertation committee) until degree completion.

Regardless of the rules, in the current kangaroo court environment on most campuses, this is behavior to avoid.

Via instapundit.

Addendum: Harvard adopts a clear policy. We should do that at Michigan too, even if it is not the same policy as at Harvard.

Hat tip: ASAK

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Friday, January 16, 2015

U of Virginia apology?

When I first read this piece about people calling for the University of Virginia to apologize for collectively punishing the students in its fraternities and sororities based on unverified (and now apparently untrue) claims of misbehavior at one fraternity in Rolling Stone, I thought the university would be in full apology mode in order to avoid a lawsuit.

Thinking about it more, I think Virginia has decided that the probability of a lawsuit (or, more likely, many lawsuits) equals one, and so they already rehearsing the strategy they will take in the courtroom of framing the punishment as a "pause". Seems like a dubious strategy to me, but I am not a lawyer. Presumably they think it is the best one they've got, which suggests that they should be getting out their checkbook.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Book: Dear Committee Members

Schumacher, Julie. Dear Committee Members. Doubleday.

This book, an epistolary novel composed entirely of letters of recommendation written by a jaded but sincere English professor a good bit past his prime, is absolutely brilliant.

Not only (what would already be enough) did I laugh out loud more often than any book since reading Tom Sharpe's The Throwback over 20 years ago, but the book has a gently serious side as well, along with plenty of tasty verbal treats for those who enjoy puns and other wordplay.

The author, a professor of English at the University of Minnesota, clearly knows her topic.

Highly recommended.

A very enthusiastic hat tip to Helen Levy for recommending the book.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What is Becky up to?

People who have known me for a while sometimes ask me what is up with Becky Roselius (now Haney), my student (at the Harris School), co-author (on Heckman, Roselius and Smith, 1994) and good friend.

I just learned the other day that one thing she has been doing is writing a book, which is very cool indeed.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Women in economics

A fine column from my colleague Miles Kimball and a (necessarily) anonymous co-author on the challenges associated with being a woman in economics. My own estimate of the empirical importance of these issues for current cohorts has increased a lot over the past couple of years.

I do think the article omits one possible action item, which is that female economists in some cases could be a lot more supportive of each other than they are at present.

Finally, I would add that I have huge respect for the women who were early movers into economics, e.g. Judy Thornton, from whom I took courses as an undergraduate at Washington, and Marjorie McElroy at Duke, whom I have gotten to know at conferences and seminar visits over the years. To the extent that women in current cohorts have smaller, but not necessarily small, challenges to face, it is in good part due to the hard work of predecessors like these.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A restaurant I would like to visit ...

... is the Heart Attack Grill.

There is even spanking!

Via: Food Network

College football national championship

So the arch-rivals of my two schools - Oregon for Washington and Ohio State for Michigan - are playing in the national championship of college football.

I am not sure who to cheer for, but I am sure who is going to win: Oregon by 21 is my prediction.