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December 18, 2014

"What The Next Generation Of Economists Is Working On"

Some information on the characteristics of job candidates in econ from the top schools

FYI: Arizone State is looking for an Assistant Professor of Future Thinking and Sustainability.

"Autonomics: Americans Are Paying More for Cars"

Why? Mostly because they're so freakin' better than they used to be.

"How Muhammad Ali's Rope-A-Dope Myth Suckered America"

News to me, but it sounds right.

The rope-a-dope myth has played an important role in Ali's apotheosis, filling in holes in his resume as a boxer and cultural figure. His career in general is now seen through the prism of his victory over Foreman. Among other things the knockout ratified and deodorized the victories over Liston, though the stink on those fights had always been richly deserved. But the myth itself accomplished the unlikelier feat of reframing Ali's past, which to that point had been unpalatably controversial for many Americans. Skeptics now had to reckon with the saga of a man who'd courageously absorbed the unstinting assault of boxing's most fearsome puncher and come back for a dramatic win. These were the people who'd seen Ali's draft resistance as an act of cowardice instead of a principled stand, who'd looked at Ali—with his hairless body, his self-professed prettiness, his flamboyant personality, his high voice, his lack of interest in anything besides boxing, his less-than-rugged boxing style—and whispered about his sexual orientation, who'd believed that Ali hadn't served his duty to his country or to the ring, having failed to engage in bloody, to-the-death combat on either front. The Foreman fight satisfied those requirements for many, and thus opened the floodgates for the mainstream political acceptance and corporate sponsorship that has for at least 25 years defined Ali's legacy—first President Ford, then the Olympic torch, then the Ali Center, which was made possible by a government land grant. If rope-a-dope was a lie, it at least disabused many Americans of far bigger illusions.

"What are some stories from the good old days of Microsoft and young Bill Gates that may not have been written in the popular press?"

Including an excellent one about billg's mom.

"You should move to Minneapolis"

Not for me--too cold. Your mileage may vary.

December 17, 2014

"Giant blow to Millennial college student entitlement dealt by . . . Oberlin professor?"

Well, a visiting professor, but these days we should be grateful for what we can get.

"32 Moments That Prove the World is Not Such a Bad Place"

Some sorely needed encouragement.

And in case you missed it, there's this: "5-Year-Old Cancer Patient Signs 1-Day NBA Contract, Dunks In Preseason Game".

"The 10 Funniest Dilbert Comic Strips About Idiot Bosses"

Scott Adams is a genius

California Faces Death by Pension

"Here's what happens when unions control everything."

Remember this when California comes to the federal government begging for a bailout.

"Pace University's National Champion Monetary Policy Team Predicts The Fed's Next Move"

We'll know later today whether they're right.

"The 10 Most Inspirational Teachers in Film"

If only the real world were like the movies


"Why I Left A Top University And Might Never Go Back"

Good reasons why college is not right for at least some people. But I don't think I believe this:

What’s even more striking is a conversation I recently had with a marketing team lead at Apple who also routinely takes part in their hiring process. She explained to me how in recent years, Apple has had more success with interns who are either college dropouts or in their first two years of higher education. She explained a trend the company had become very familiar with recently: when a college grad is hired, he or she tends to come in with a “textbook based mindset,” and is incapable of learning the unique ways in which things work in their marketing department. A company with a market cap of $619 billion as of today is preferring to hire non-college grads for their marketing department.

December 16, 2014

I score it Michael Fumento 1, a lot of "smart" government and NGO folks, 0

"The great Ebola lie — Outbreak hyped for funding & media attention".

But the media weren’t asking skeptical questions. The next day, reporting on a separate WHO conference, a New York Times headline blared: “New Ebola Cases May Soon Reach 10,000 a Week, Officials Predict.”

The “soon” in that warning from the WHO’s Bruce Aylward was “by the first week in December.”

Well, the WHO has now reported cases for that period. Total: 529. It was no fluke; the average over the last three weeks was 440.

"This Physicist Has A Groundbreaking Idea About Why Life Exists"

This is amusing:

His idea, detailed in a paper and further elaborated in a talk he is delivering at universities around the world, has sparked controversy among his colleagues, who see it as either tenuous or a potential breakthrough, or both.

Genius, or crazy, or both! But, fortunately, science exists to sort these things out.

"Approach Race One Person at a Time"

Absolutely true.

And I'd say it generalizes to welfare and charity: assist someone whose name and a bit of whose story you know. Improve the world one person, one day at a time.

"Houston Issues as Many Single-Family Housing Permits as All of California"

From Business Week:

“If you don’t have housing, you can’t do labor,” Chris Thornberg, principal at Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles-based research and consulting firm, told Bloomberg News. “If you can’t do labor, you are missing a major ingredient for economic growth.”

"10 Hilarious Job Openings"

#1 is for Taco Bell:

Need a job? Let's taco about it.

Two for teachers

"8 Heartwarming Stories Of Teachers Changing People’s Lives".

"17 Insanely Clever Hacks For Teachers, By Teachers".

December 15, 2014

"Grievance Deficit Disorder"

I like the coinage very much.

But the endurance of the hoax hate crime as a genre says quite a bit about the times we live in, and how much less threatening they are than ages past. America has become a better place over time, where people are less petty and ignore differences of race and class. But this very improvement has created a “grievance deficit” that produces perverse results in our culture and politics.

Related: "Feminism Can Handle the Truth".

But an identity founded in injury cannot admit success.

"Blood, Simpler: One woman’s drive to upend medical testing"

From Ken Auletta in The New Yorker, an extraordinary story in several ways. For one, it's a powerful anecdote against the claim that The Man keeps women down. 

I hope it works well, and if so, it comes to someplace near me real quick.

"LARRY SUMMERS: It Shouldn't Take This Long To Fix An Escalator"

Damn right.

But Larry is late to the party. See, for example, "D.C. Escalator Nightmare".

"Harvard Professors Read Mean [Student] Comments"

Funny or sad, you decide.

"Household Response to Government Debt: Evidence from Life Insurance Holdings"

Forthcoming in JMCB. Abstract:

We use state-level panel data on life insurance in force in the United States and find that a one dollar increase in government debt, at either the state or federal level, is associated with a $0.96 increase in the face value of the average life insurance holdings per capita for a household in the average state. This increase represents an intention to save that would almost completely off set the government debt in specifi c states of the world (i.e. if the insured dies). Because this state of the world is rare, the immediate increase in actual savings is only about $0.03, the cost of the additional insurance. We find, in addition, that this response occurs mainly on the intensive margin, meaning that the size of the average life insurance policy increases when government debt increases. Along the extensive margin, we find the number of policies in force falls slightly with federal debt, and rises slightly with state debt increases. The results show altruistic planning in response to changes in government debt that are consistent with Ricardian Equivalence and the long-run neutrality of government debt.

"How Hot Does It Have to Be to Break a Record?"

.01 degree F is not a big deal.

"Minneapolis Is Micromanaging the Food Supply"

What a surprise: "The city is finding out that more rules don't equal healthier eating."

But enacting rules and regulations are so much easier than trying to, you know, persuade people.

December 14, 2014

"It’s 1963 Again"

What do Liberals want? A huge part of it is in this short piece. They want--profoundly, desperately--for it to be 50 years ago. The Birmingham church bombing. The March on Washington. The 1964 Civil Rights Act. When they were young--so young--and so noble and fighting that really, really good fight. 

Go ahead and tell me again that conservatives are the ones who are living in the past.

"Finding Racism Where It Isn’t"

Holman Jenkins, Jr. details the government's attempt to find racial discrimination in the loan market. Well-done, but especially good is the final sentence:

Unfortunately, the truth may be that our government has simply fallen into the hands of liars and chiselers who have identified a shakedown that the current legal and political culture will let them get away with.

"Tea or coffee - which do YOU prefer? From weight loss to cancer prevention, we reveal the health benefits of both"

Conclusion: in moderate quantities both are pretty good for most people.

"‘The Mail Never Stops!': Everything Newman From ‘Seinfeld’ Taught Us About The Postal Service"


December 13, 2014

It's that time of year again . . .

Time for "The 2014 Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog".

The last two alone--Breville Oracle Espresso Machine and Hurom HG Elite Slow Juicer--are guaranteed to make you smile.

"The secret of New York City’s mythic bagel-making water"

Apparently, it's all about the calcium and magnesium.

December 12, 2014

"Kelly Slater, Ageless Wonder"

"Watch the 11-time world champion pull off a near-impossible surfing move."

"Good Girl" with Carrie Underwood and featuring the PS22 chorus

The kids seem to be having a really good time.

"Research shows dogs are much smarter than we think"

I don't know who "we" is. Most dog-owners I know think dogs are plenty smart.

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