"Why Do We Haggle For Cars?"

The article is skeptical, properly I think, of the "path dependence" explanation. (Across five generations of car buyers?) But this makes a lot of sense to me because I recently did a similar thing:

Desai speaks from experience. A few years ago, he decided to buy a Lexus. The process was short and sweet: he went online, found a price reference, called up a dealer and made an offer. Sure, with a little more time and cunning, the professor could have lowballed the salesperson and gotten himself a sweeter deal. But he says he opted for the simpler approach.


"Why you should care that the Diablo Canyon nuke plants are being shut down"

Jazz Shaw has yet another warning for the goofy people running California.

Unfortunately for Californians and their already stressed power grid, this is going to cause a lot of problems. Energy demand on the left coast varies wildly and the grid has to be carefully regulated. Operators can’t just scale back or ramp up wind and solar energy flowing onto the grid the same way they can with nuke plants or natural gas systems. It’s either on or it’s off. This has led to cases where the grid is actually flooded with more energy than is being demanded, leading to potential system damage and blackouts. At other times, there simply isn’t enough sun or wind and the deficit has to be made up by fossil fuel plants. That’s worked well enough so far, but the more you shrink the fossil fuel supply, the less flexibility you have to stabilize the grid during peaks and lows in the demand cycle. 

And what is being accomplished here for the eco-warriors who cooked up this idea? They supposedly want to reduce carbon in the atmosphere, right? Well . . . the nuke plants don’t produce any carbon.

See also "Thorny issues challenge California's commitment to renewable energy goals".


"I’ll need how much money for retirement?"

AEI's Andrew G. Biggs argues that rather than saving too little, as many media reports claim, many Americans may be saving too much.

But saving too much for retirement isn’t like having too healthy a diet or being too nice to other people. It comes with real downsides, the biggest of which is a lower standard of living during your working years. Already, many more retirees tell Gallup they have enough money to live comfortably than do working-age households. That’s not a sign of undersaving.

He extends the argument here: "Why Retirees Aren't Running Out Of Money".


"Does the U.S. Economy Lack Competition, And If So What To Do About It? "

Transcript of a remarkable recent speech by FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen.

It's remarkable for three reasons: 1) she's a Democratic--Obama--appointee, but 2) she briefly but quite deftly demolishes the recent revival by the CEA, Stiglitz, Krugman, et al. of IO doctrine that was reftued forty years ago, and 3) she vigorously supports an excellent idea for dealing with the monopolization--such as it is--that exists.


How the heck did I miss this?

Bloom County has been back for almost a year!!

Mr. Breathed has lost a few inches off his fast ball--in 25+ years almost everybody not named Nolan Ryan does--but Bloom County is still terrific. (And to continue the baseball analogy, given how much crazier the world has gotten, he's now not facing major-league hitters but high school ones.)


"How to fix the apathy problem in schools"

This seems correct:

But there is another problem, one that is plaguing many of America’s classrooms and jeopardizing the future of our children, yet it is rarely addressed – at least not as it should be. That problem is apathy. In classrooms all over the country, the teacher cares more about her students’ grades, learning and futures than they do.


"Vancouver’s real estate is ‘fuelled by a money laundering bubble’: Market analyst"

Sounds like San Francisco has serious competition:

Recent headlines of real estate deals in Vancouver include a 7,200-square-foot heritage mansion for sale in Vancouver’s Shaughnessy neighbourhood for $21 million and a a $2.398-million price tag for a ‘fixer-upper’ in the Point Grey neighbourhood.

The Greater Vancouver real estate board says the benchmark price of a detached home in Vancouver hit $1.56 million in June, which is up 38.7 per cent in one year.


"I Can't Believe It's Not Science"

Hear, hear!

There are ways that federal agencies can promote dietary advice that could benefit most of the population (such as recommendations to eat more fruit and vegetables). But, in general, nutrition is far too complex and personal an issue for a one-size-fits all, top-down approach. It’s time for the government to relinquish its influence over the scientific and medical communities and let individuals (and their doctors) determine their own optimal diets.