Sure, we’ve got dozens of astronauts, physicists, and demolitions experts. I’ll be damned if we didn’t try to train our best men for this mission. But just because they can fly a shuttle and understand higher-level astrophysics doesn’t mean they can execute a unique mission like this. Anyone can learn how to land a spacecraft on a rocky asteroid flying through space at twelve miles per second. I don’t need some pencilneck with four Ph.D’s, one-thousand hours of simulator time, and the ability to operate a robot crane in low-Earth orbit. I need someone with four years of broad-but-humanities-focused studies, three subsequent years in temp jobs, and the ability to reason across multiple areas of study. I need someone who can read The Bell Jar and make strong observations about its representations of mental health and the repression of women. Sure, you’ve never even flown a plane before, but with only ten days until the asteroid hits, there’s no one better to nuke an asteroid.
"Let’s take a look at six of these rationalizations that have been circulating on the left."
Both are NBER working papers.
Consumer auctions were very popular in the early days of internet commerce, but today online sellers mostly use posted prices. Data from eBay shows that compositional shifts in the items being sold, or the sellers offering these items, cannot account for this evolution. Instead, the returns to sellers using auctions have diminished. We develop a model to distinguish two hypotheses: a shift in buyer demand away from auctions, and general narrowing of seller margins that favors posted prices. Our estimates suggest that the former is more important. We also provide evidence on where auctions still are used, and on why some sellers may continue to use both auctions and posted prices.
We study the lags with which new technologies are adopted across countries, and their long-run penetration rates once they are adopted. Using data from the last two centuries, we document two new facts: there has been convergence in adoption lags between rich and poor countries, while there has been divergence in penetration rates. Using a model of adoption and growth, we show that these changes in the pattern of technology diffusion account for 80% of the Great Income Divergence between rich and poor countries since 1820.
Mexico’s biggest advantage in building cars is cost. Land and labor in Mexico are abundant and cheap (even cheaper than in China). Plants run with “practically no limits“—Nissan’s current plant runs 20+ hours a day—and workers are not only exceptionally productive but alsoincreasingly more skilled.
Mexico is also a sweet spot for exporters, thanks to its prime geographical location at the midpoint of the Americas, and its lengthy border with the world’s biggest economy. “For Audi, the fact that Mexico is so close to the US is key,” Jacuzzi said. Just as importantly, Mexico has 44 free trade agreements with the EU, Japan, Israel, and many other countries—more than double the number held by the US.
(I'll use this as an excuse to note that one of my formers colleagues told me about a popular cheer at Brown: "What's the color of shit? Brown, brown, brown!")
Professor Karlson brings us the story of what happened to a University of Illinois chancellor who resigned following a scandal.
(I would amend the professor's suggestion a little. If scandal-ridden administrators must be returned to the university to "teach," then let them teach three sections a semester of Freshman Comp. That would be a deterrent.)
Almost every week there is some new awful risk the media warn us of, awful because the sellers are "unregulated". Two examples;
"Wild, unregulated hacker currency bitcoin getting close to mainstream". (I'll admit "wild" is a nice touch.)
Unlike pharmaceuticals or pesticides, industrial chemicals do not have to be tested before they are put on the market. Under the law regulating chemicals, producers are only rarely required to provide the federal government with the information necessary to assess safety.
An answer--which needs to be taught more, and more forcefully--is nicely expressed in a column by George Mason economist Donald J. Boudreaux: "Competitive regulation".
See also Steven Greenhut's "Free Markets Are More Important Than Safety Regulations".
The demand for government regulation springs from the lack of understanding that markets are amazingly proficient at regulating themselves through the competitive process. This process involves firms' competition for customers, workers, financing and suppliers.
Scientific forecasters have a dismal record. One of my predecessors as Astronomer Royal said, as late as the Fifties, that space travel was “utter bilge”. Few in the mid-20th century envisaged the transformative impact of the silicon chip or the double helix. The iPhone would have seemed magical even 20 years ago. So, looking even a century ahead, we must keep our minds open, or at least ajar, to what may now seem science fiction. Some proponents of the “singularity” – the takeover of humanity by intelligent machines – claim this transition could happen within 50 years. . . .It is remarkable that our brains, which have changed little since our ancestors roamed the African savannah, have allowed us to understand the counterintuitive worlds of the quantum and the cosmos. But some of these insights may have to await post-human intelligence. There may be phenomena, crucial to our long-term destiny, that we are not aware of, any more than a monkey comprehends the nature of stars and galaxies.
I hadn't heard this before.
Clark Kerr, first chancellor of UC Berkeley, once said that the ideal university provided "sex for the students, sports for the alumni, and parking for the faculty."
If you have a strong stomach, I recommend Heather McDonald's look at rent-seeking par excellence at the Univ. of California: "Multiculti U."