Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  Fascism is not an easy concept to define precisely. But "says things about feminism that make me sad" is NOT "fascism," I'm pretty sure.

2. Darn that fine print. Turns out convicted felons can't serve as county sheriffs. Interesting side note: Buncombe County is the origin of the "that's bunkum!" insult.  If you try to prevent bunkum, you are "debunking."

3.  Too many Legos.

4.  Kim Kardashian has transcended corporeal form and has evolved into pure irony with no trace of self-awareness. Unless it is ironic on purpose, in which case well played, ma'am. "Swipe to download the 'Women's Empowerment Pack'" of "Kimojis" for $2.50.  The Onion should just close down. There is nothing left to say, nothing left to do.

5.  This CLAIMS to be satire. I'm actually not sure.

6. On the national security argument for protectionism.

7. Megan McCardle on what we know, and don't know, about minimum wages.

8. Katherine Mangu-Ward, on the case of "Smug v. Troll".

9.  Reason video: I like it, I love it!  Remy is awesome.

10. American farmers know more about foreign trade than American president, part 2,493.

11.  The conscience of capitalism. And the success of China being due to markets. And the dramatic worldwide decline in extreme poverty.

12.  California is losing population, mostly families with children. You can't afford to live in California, and the amenities of living there are no longer all that nice.

13. Fusion energy.

14.  Is this how China is thinking of Africa, or how China wants Africa to think of China? (And of course it is a gross generalization, because lots of variation within Africa, culturally, separate nations, and otherwise. But still...)

15. Immigration today and the Fugitive Slave Act then....

16.  How capicola became gabagool.  A video on this subject, with Kelly Ripa.  

17.  Libertarian perspectives on voting.

18 Math, math, the crooked data science.

19. Whisky and deep time.

20. 10 things to know about tariffs....

Grand Lagniappe:From @academiaobscura:  Never ever let your publisher write the captions on your illustrations...

Monday, March 05, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  This x-ray is not the kind that you would use at the doctor. It's much more powerful. But this lady didn't want to be separated from her handbag.

2. You know that thing where a cat is asleep, or just sitting, and then apparently gets a message from the space-alien-cat mother ship: "YOU ARE IN THE WRONG ROOM! RUN!" Well, that seems to have happened to this guy, in the Newark airport. When a cat does it, people say "How cute!" That's not how it work out for our human.

3. On not apologising....(note UK spelling)

4.  Why the poor don't vote to soak the rich.

5. For the people upset about the sheriff's deputies who may have stayed outside of Parkland: First, it could have been a hostage situation. It's hard to get info. Police are not obliged to commit suicide, pistol against AR-15. Second, and more importantly, police have no legal obligation to protect. Warren vs. DC, 1981 settled that. You might want to read this.

6.  Walls.

7.  Meatball thief caught red-handed.

8. The Times fired her doppelganger.

9.  Harvard is a really terrible place. Unless you are one of the Dons, you are just hired help. Or worse. Which is news to pretty much no one.

10. Don't touch the snow.

11.  A few years ago I wrote this for the Chronicle of Higher Ed.  Recently Ed Lopez adds this about EconTalk. And he's quite right. Very useful.

12. Crypto-Scammers.

13. Zoning. And von Thunen. By and large, zoning is a bad thing. Not always. But usually.

14. Clarence Thomas may be wrong. But if he is, the Court needs to say so. Say SOMETHING.

15.  Boy...well, see for yourself what the boy did. WHY do boys do things like this? Why did that seem like a good idea?

16. Tommy Pham's career-saving eye surgery.

17. Ecology of parasites is VERY cool. And so is Kelly Wienersmith.

18.  She relentlessly pursued him. Are adult women such mental and moral infants that they can't be held responsible for ANYTHING? Harvey Weinstein is not the same as Bill Clinton, at least regarding l'affaire Lewinsky.

19. Owner: "Who's a good boy? WHO's a good BOY?" Dog: "I'm sorry. No one is a good boy. We are all tainted by original sin. Some of us are good by grace, but only the elect.  Many dogs are called, but few come running."

20. Generations.

21.  Dashboard Confessional and Taylor Swift and other things.

22. Change definition of "adolescent" to 24 and under?  Angus and I are nearly 60. I think that's a better bet....

Grand Lagniappe: Scott Lincicome's own conception of how he looked, before Trump's "tariff twitter" barrage, and after.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  If Germany had Floridians....A knight's costume? Still, "more than rude" gets that Florida element in pretty well...

2.  Pro-tip: if you have skunks in your basement, a smoke bomb should NOT be on your list of solutions. It's not a solution at all, in fact.

3. IVF: Capitalism's final frontier?

4. Streetlights? We don't need no stinkin' streetlights. 'Cause the trees glow.

5.  If you want to debate whether the "get your flu shot!" argument doesn't really serve public health, that's fair enough. But random fabricated stories are subversive not only to public health but to public trust in institutions. Our institutions do quite a bit to destroy our trust on their own, without help from trolls and link-whoring.

6.  A year ago, my friend John Hasnas wrote this. He has gotten righter and righter over time.  Trump is NOT antidemocratic, but is rather the apotheosis of the democratic, populist ideal. No elites, no experts, no truth, except what the majority decides.

7.  This would be ridiculous if it weren't really, really bad. Turkey needs to be a stabilizing force, not a bunch of nut-jobs with a huge, modern army.  And this is even worse. Golly.

8. Figure 4 is amazing. Not sure it's replicable. But....gosh.

9. Our Favorite Headlines:  Former Freemason, 51, found drunk and naked inside a huge pipe organ with a toy gun and remote-controlled police car says he got lost while trying to hand out cheeseburgers to the homeless (or, another reason to love Australia).

10. Drink beer, throw axes.

11. Kevin Williamson is not always right. But when he's right, he's right.

12. Did you know this? Twitter ditched the egg.  Dang. One of the things I loved about Twitter was watching Matt Iglesias mansplain something to an egg with three followers.

13. Wow. The New Yorker made a mistake and published an actual piece of objective journalism. I assume heads will roll....Still, well done.

14.  The town tweeter?

15.  Tribes.

16.  Banks and credit cards have to be neutral, at least on legal products. Ending a "branded" card, which is an endorsement, makes sense. But barring transactions on legal products is just a way of encouraging discrimination on other margins.

17.  It's against the law for guns to go to jihadists. And yet they go. A lot of them. We should be optimistic, though, about our ability to keep guns from going to depressed and angry young men. Because....wait, why?

18. Social media and democracy

19. There are certain facts everyone should know. One is that there has been a DRAMATIC decline in poverty, almost everywhere. Further, it actually IS TRUE EVERYWHERE in countries that use market systems. All remaining poverty is in places where markets are suppressed.

20.  Doomed to repeat it....

21. Florida or Ohio? "Man injured in chainsaw fight..." Nope, you're wrong. Ohio.

Grand Lagniappe! A cultural map of individualism, with considerations of innovation.  From this paper. (Click for an even more selfish view)

Monday, February 19, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  P.F. Chang, Pyeongchang, all those Asian words look alike, right?  I had thought it was a spell-check error, but it was actually a spoof, and they didn't notice when it was time to do a serious story.  Could totally have happened to me, so I'll just shut up and laugh.

2.  There are probably no security cameras in the security area, right? Plus, the dude is a lawyer. He can steal tens of thousands of $ with his pen. Why go for cash?

3. NOT the "Onion." Passenger who passed gas continuously on flight forces emergency landing. Others on same row also forced to deplane.  And there's a thing called "Transavia Airlines."  They probably have a direct slingshot flight to Elbonia.

4.  We're not very good at handling problems of waste generated by electronics.

5.  It costs nothing to tweet, and someone might believe you. So you don't even need to send spam, you can get others to do it for you.

6. As tempting as a "Scooby Doo" ending would be....
It's unlikely.  But wouldn't it be great if, as Trump
 is being led away, the police pull off the mask. It's
 Bill Clinton! He had thought Hillary would still win,
 and he could date porn stars in the meantime.  After
 he won, he cooked up the Russia collusion thing as
 a distraction, so he could date MORE porn stars,
and serve again as President.  He shouts back, "And
 I'd have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for
 those meddling kids and their FBI!"
(WIth thanks to Brendan Nyhan)

7.  Facebookenstein.

8.  Top5-itis.

9.  Bowling for Fascism.

10.  The wrestler, in real life.

11. Brewing Up Entrepreneurship.

12.  Prison just makes bad people worse, and it's expensive.  We can make bad people worse just by letting them use Twitter, and Twitter is free!

13. Basic Income Guarantee and bad behavior....maybe not so bad?

Grand Lagniappe! Murphy sound asleep, curled in a ball, with his little tongue sticking out. Because....Monday.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  In which "Doritos But For Women" is introduced.

2.  Making the world safe for moonshots.

3.  Jonathan Chait is an idiot. Yes, my friend Will Wilkinson can be hard to figure out. But mostly, Jonathan Chait is an idiot.

4.  I do love a smart young entrepreneur.

5. Canadians are so bored they are starting a trade war. With Canada.

6. On "regulation." I wrote.

7. Can you date a co-worker? Facebook status: "It's complicated."

8. Losing interest....

9. Regulation has become a silly concept, as if just "more" or "less" is the goal. As Jimmy Carter and Jerry Brown knew, the real goal is better.

10. California judge does sensible thing.

11. We all live on campus now...

12.  Wow. The fact is that "reduce the deficit" is ONLY a "Republican goal" when they are out of power. When Republicans are IN power, their primary goal seems to be "spend money as if you won the lottery." This is a remarkably empirically out-of-touch argument, here

The Grand Lagniappe:  Even Politico says, "HRC Needs to Move On..."  If Hillary Clinton were reincarnated as a dog....

Monday, February 05, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

(Sorry to miss last week.... I was hanging out with Marie Newhouse at Surrey U

1.  Can competition stem corruption?  Seems a little simplistic. In some ways corruption is a way of reducing competition, by buying favors.  I have argued that corruption can make the system more efficient....Tullock was first to argue that from an economic perspective.

2.  Self-check out is not in equilibrium. Something is going to change. Perhaps like this.

3.  This was a great EconTalk, I thought. As was this, though for different reasons.

4.  Check Figure 4 on p 32. Seriously: Check Figure 4 on p. 32.

5.  All the agricultural land in the world.

6.  Two things can both be true: (1) some students manipulate "accommodations" and (2) there are real problems some students face that can be debilitating and can be accommodated pretty easily. We haven't figured out the answer yet.

7.  Carter Page is a bona fide idiot. Remarkable.

8.  4 ways to communicate in an on-line course. I wonder if students WANT to be in direct contact. Of course, some do. Do these work well enough?

9.  I don't usually credit the "what if this were used for affordable housing instead?" kind of counterfactual. And this is largely devoid of any real economic understanding. Still: why are public funds being spent on such a ridiculous endeavor?

10.  So...this.  And then this.  And, then, THIS.  I frankly found the similarities between the second and third things a bit disturbing.

11.  A not very informative but still interesting piece about my friend (and Duke parent) William Kristol.

12.  And while we're reading the NYer, a very informative and even more interesting piece on what it means to die....or live.

13.  Will Wilkinson on taxes, and colors on maps.

14.  Armenian Rhapsody....

15.  I have long worried about the tendency of libertarians to blame enforcement agencies, rather than policy-makers, for dumb laws.  If you approve of what is being done to the FBI, then...well, you and I disagree.

16. Well, so THAT's good! No, it's bad.

17. More power is not always better....

18. Free markets fail the poor, as shown by that famously unregulated "market," public housing.

19. Did they really think that this would be a successful, admired commercial?

20.  On the other hand, well done, Very well done,

Grand Lagniappe:  Wedu Nagivafaka. From Hawaii. Enjoy!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  The second-hand clothing market is collapsing. Partly because new clothes are so cheap. If you think that's a bad thing, you need to rethink.

2.  Florida Man!  Dude just wanted a burrito. Didn't want any trouble.  With thanks to MS for the assist...

3. On being a little more careful about "life span."

4.  Please watch the video, and then read the story. I think she may even be serious. Who says millennials aren't entitled? I mean, you heard her: She's an INFLUENCER. She shouldn't have to PAY. In a related vein, I'm not even sure what this woman actually wants.  But she definitely wants it.

5.  Megan McArdle is en fuego. Just read down the stream as she live-tweets events in DC during the shutdown.

6.  The. THING. Itself. Why would you expect anything different?

7.  Civil asset forfeiture is straightforwardly "for profit" policing. It doesn't have to be private to be a revenue-maximizing activity. I'm always surprised when people think anything public is NOT revenue-maximizing. Why wouldn't it be? Anyway, a ray of hope.

8.  King of Jordan pretty much says, "Pence, you ignorant slut..."  I'm paraphrasing, but only a little. (If you are too young for the reference....)

9.  I don't know about this. I'm willing to believe that California has the highest poverty rate, because if you subsidize something you get more of it. And CA has a great climate and is kind to panhandlers.  But is it really true that people would be better off if they were forced to work?  Isn't that just a different take on the paternalism the article decries in others?

10. Two words you may not know: Bideshedding versus Yak-shaving. The distinction may be important!

11.  If things like this can happen (and they CAN happen!) why do we even HAVE a government?

12.  Why it's so hard to figure out what college actually costs: Because it's more like medical services (highly protected and noncompetitive) than it is like a market (where you get information because competition forces providers to give out information).

13. How could you say that Argentinan "gradualism" is WORKING? Just because it's not Venezuela?   If only we knew something about the history....

14.  You can't make this stuff up. Folks: New Jersey and the (incomplete) I-95!

15. On dating Aziz Ansari. And another date with him.

16. James Buchanan, Public Choice, and the Political Economy of Desgregation.

17. Price elasticity and the opioid crisis.

The Grand Lagniappe:

If you see it, please call it in. The owner REALLY needs it!

Saturday, January 20, 2018


I'm afraid that, in spite of Prof. Grier's epic "po-mouthing" that he is clearly winning, not losing, the citations race. Consider the two screen shots:

I would say there are two primary ways of judging impact in academic political economy: (1) number of contributions with >= 1,000 cites, and (2) h-index.

Prof. Grier has a 1,000 cite piece; I do not.  And the h-indexes are essentially tied.  AND the "since 2013" h-index is not even close. The difference between 21 and 18 is NOT "3," in any linear sense. He is running away with this, if you take the thing seriously.  I have little prospect of breaking 1,000 with anything any time soon. And he has several papers that were published in very visible places and will likely soon hit the post-2013 h-index.

(If you don't know what an h-index is....)

I guess that I'd go a different way, though. Two knuckleheads who shared an office in a basement 1983-4, who both failed their econ prelims (and deserved to) EACH now have an h-index over 30.  In some larger sense, an h-index over 30 is at least moderately bad-ass. Jim may not have been completely astonished at how Angus turned out, but I know Herb was surprised I ever got a job at all. So, here's to Angus and me, for surprising everyone by not being in jail!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

We'll make Millions!!

Mungowitz doesn't know it, but he and I are locked in a brutal citations battle.

It's brutal because, on a lifetime basis, he's KILLING me (they don't call him Killer Grease Mungowitz for nothing, people).

As of today, he strides the earth like a colossus with 7315 citations while I slink around with 5872.

However, slowly but don't call me Shirley, I'm catching up! in the last 5 years it's 1772 for me and a mere 1766 for KGM. Even better, for 2017 its 314 for me and 284 for him (as of today).

Let's say in a best case scenario, I keep up the 30 cites per year lead. I'm in a 1433 cite hole, so it will take almost 50 years to catch him.


So without further ado, let me present my idea, the amazing Citation Counting Tombstone!

Front of the stone contains an electronic display of your cites, alone or in comparison to any rivals you desire. Inside the stone a device running a python script to scrape the relevant info from Google Scholar (oh and a cell / wifi connection).  Back of the stone is a solar panel to power the various gizmos.

Given my intimate knowledge of the arrogance and insecurity of academics, this will sell like the proverbial hotcakes. Looking for a couple angel investors to finance a first round.

Phone call for @PMARCA!!!!! We can even put the word "blockchain" in the prospectus to drive the crowd into a frenzy.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  Giant spider (it was nearly 5 inches across its legs) causes person to go nuts, try to kill it with a blowtorch. Successfully set spider on fire. But spider then set rest of apartment on fire. Could this happen in the Mungowitz house? Probably not, because the LMM is afraid of blowtorches. But there might very well be ax marks all over the place if a spider were to show up.  Just to close the loop here, the females sometimes carry their young around. This can happen.

2. Really, Huma? You just can't pull the trigger and divorce him?  D2B, I guess.

3. Like a tower defense video game come to life. Three professional soccer players against 100 children.  The children are playing a 30-30-30-10 formation. Um, don't bunch up, kids. Stay spread out.

4.  Florida man! Pardon, is that a full rack of ribs in your pants, or are you just glad to see me?

5. Academic big leagues? Does this advice ring true to you, old folk academics?

6. My parents (dad: upstate NY; mom: rural IN) grew up in places that at that time were not doing well economically. They could have stayed there and hoped that the government would make it possible for them to stay in those places, because...I'm not sure why it would do that, actually. Why not go somewhere else? They did. If you live in place with no economic opportunity, move.   The old Sam Kinison line ("You live in a DESERT! Move to where the food is!") is unfair in Africa, because it's not possible to move. But in the U.S.? Our choices are to help people move, or to provide artificial reasons to stay in places that suck.

7.  It is plausible to call Haiti a sh*thole.  But if it is, it may because the U.S. dug the hole, and then sh*t in it.  Further, it is plausible to call the poor parts of India a sh*thole. But by and large Indian immigrants come to the U.S., create wealth for themselves and value for everyone else.  May their legion increase.

8. If you add constraints--in this case, sappy and soggy leftist views required--you limit responsiveness, adaptability, and achievement of the objective.  Surprising how many people advocate diversity of hues, but not of views.

9. There are plenty of actual eugenicists in the U.S. They were called "Progressives."

10.  I predict that this Florida man will NOT have a life of joy. We all want to be the lottery winner, but it's not really that fun, I bet. That's what I'm telling myself: I would hate to get $282 million in cash when I was 20. That's what I'm telling myself. Hate it, I would.

11. Enacting rituals to improve self-control.

12.  You can't wear a p**syhat to protest Trump's comments, because it might offend people who don't have...well....p**sies? His comment was about women who DO have those things, and there are lots of those people. Not every protest has to be intersectional. WTF?

13. If California is so rich, why is it so poor?

14.  Canada has its limits....

15,  Of crudeness and truth....

16. If it's on Amazon, it must be real. Should ship in March!  

The Grand Lagniappe: I think they are taking this whole "shovel ready project" thing too far.... Or else they just wanted to take the "fork in the road" up a notch.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  Inflatable unicorn horn for cats.  The look on the cat's face pretty much tells you why I think all cats should have one...or several. But then I don't really like cats much.

2.  Economists "say" a lot of things. Many of those things are wrong.

3. The impact of divorce laws on the equilibrium in the marriage market.

4.  In which Tim Worstall comments. On this remarkable call for "new economics." We don't see calls for new physics based on ethical problems (gravity pulls fat people down more than skinny people; is that fair?) But people think when it comes to economics they can just make sh*t up.

5. In a world of Babel, price is the only language spoken by all.

6.  They may thaw out and attack.  That's some Florida, raht thair.

7.  Kenny Loggins, King of the Movie Soundtrack.

8.  Witches.

9.  This reminds the LMM of someone she knows. I have no idea of whom it reminds her.

10.  Woody Harrelson. I thought his performances in Zombieland and Three Billboards are among the best, in such different ways, I've ever seen by an actor. Very different genres, obviously, but that's the point.

11.  This...I had no idea. A whole world of gross foolishness, all contained just in Scotland. Irn-Bru at the center of a full-fledged kerfuffle.  Tim Worstall wonders, what in the world did you expect? Plus, two extra points because he said "bleatings." I like it when people say "bleatings."

12.  Econ(Slovak)Talk.

13. A "Jubilee" for email debts.  (And a note on "Jubilee.")

14. Cassette tapes? Really?

15.  That stupid chart "showing" that productivity gains have all been stolen by the rich.

16. On Al Roth's Presidential Address at AEA. And the importance (implicitly) of PPE! On the other hand, much of what economists say is not really right.

17.  The right has abandoned the coastal cities.

18. Banning the book "The New Jim Crow." And also "Walking While Black." The problem is that laws give discretion to police, because the laws are so stupid that no one could expect them to be uniformly enforced. Or so I claimed, long ago.

19.  It's easier just to assume that anyone who disagrees with you must be evil. Because the alternative is that you might be wrong, and that just CAN'T be true.  So you should feel free to punch folks who are wrong.

20.  I'm happy to help out with mocking Trump's claim that he is either a genius, or stable, or both. But medicalizing disagreement with "Progressive Truths" is not that different from medicalizing disagreements with "Socialist Orthodoxy."

21.  Maybe Persia could build a wall, and make the West pay for it?

The Grand Lagniappe:

(I had wondered about this: does the meme work better if it is flipped like this?) The usual way of presenting it:

Monday, January 01, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  An exam on asking questions at public events. Many students would benefit from taking and passing this class. But pretty much ALL faculty would benefit.

2.  This would be interesting, if it weren't such a misguided and misdirected critique of something that is actually NOT the problem at all.

3. It does seem that if Steven Spielberg thinks Ellsberg was a hero, then he has to admit Snowden was a hero. He could be wrong that Ellsberg was a hero, of course. But then he wouldn't have a very good movie.

4.  On how Taiwan made the switch to single-payer.  I'm not necessarily a fan of single-payer, but I do think it would be better than the current dog's breakfast of subsidies and regulations.

5. My good friend "Humean Being" on net neutrality.

6.  Obit of a great, great man: Nat Hentoff.  An original thinker utterly without a desire to please others by pretending to agree.

7.  New York is extremely safe. Even though there are people many different colors and religions there. So please, no fearmongering about guns or foreigners.

8.  Fragile, your younglings are.  Afraid, they will be.

9. In the 100 Acre Wood, things are bad. Very, very bad.

10. A very odd discussion, under #QuestionsForAProstitute hashtag.

11. Couple charged for gettin' busy at a Domino's. For the record, their pizza order? Yes, it was. Stuffed crust.

12.  How smart is your dog?

13. Mostly Weekly, from Reason.

14. The uninhabitable Earth?  In which we are told (1) climate change is caused by man; (2) climate change has always happened on Earth; and (3) climate change is happening on Venus.

15. Vin Scully doing the play-by-play of Koufax's perfect game, the 9th inning. "29,000 fans and a million butterflies." Koufax was 82 on Friday.... Seems like longer ago.

16. Florida Man! Dude (quite a handsome fellow, btw) got TOO MUCH cash from the ATM. So he beat up the ATM with his fists. There's nothing that makes any sense here, except that since it happened in Florida we just know that the rules are different.

17.  The myth of the male feminist.... (Gated)

18. The dogs of 2017.

19. Interesting example of LeBron's observation about homogeneity of markets. It's true that this "Irish Pub in a Box" creates similarity across "Irish Pubs," whether you are in Singapore or Buenos Aires. On the other hand, there are reasonably accurate versions of "Irish Pubs" in Singopore and Buenos Aires.  That's heterogeneity, not homogeneity.

20.  I had not heard of this part of the tax reform package, the "Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform" part. Me gusta.

21.  The "Lazy Millenial" on New Year's Resolutions....

22.  Golly. Heather Mac Donald has an explanation for why crime in NYC has fallen.  Simplifying only slightly: All the black folk moved out.  Yes, really. This response on Twitter shows that not all things on Twitter are useless or devoid of information.

23.  Mattress Woman, as a performance artist.

24.  The FIRE year in review.

25. The thing itself! In which an employee of the state, having been coached on how to testify, by attorneys being paid out of taxpayer funds, demonstrates the utter disdain in which the public is held.  Just so they could charge $2/page for...what? "Xeroxes."

26.  The David Collum Year in Review. Part One.  And Part Deux

Grand Lagniappe:  A Duke student on Jeopardy. Couldn't have done better myself....