Saturday, April 11, 2009

In the belly of the beast

This past Friday, me and Mrs. Angus stopped off on our way home from work to get haircuts (yes we have the same stylist!!). I went first, then waited for Mrs. A while playing a game on my phone. About halfway through Mrs. A's cut a woman with 4 young children came in. The kids starting running up and down the salon, the woman hugged our stylist and said she was here to commemorate the 8th anniversary of our stylist first cutting her hair. The other stylist in the shop (who was processing an impressive assembly line of elderly ladies from shampoo to cut to baking in curlers to getting their "up do") started erecting a barrier of japanese style screens between her work station and the family. As the kids kept running around the woman kept yakking to our stylist while Mrs. A sat bemusedly in the chair. The woman gave our stylist homemade anniversary cookies and seemed completely oblivious to the fact that the other stylist was barricading herself in like a French CEO. 

After what seemed like forever, the woman herded up the kids and left. And our stylist gave us the dish. She claimed she hadn't cut the woman's hair for over two years but that every good Friday the woman shows up with hugs and cookies and more kids and imagined stories about her time in the salon! The other stylist piped up from behind the wall of screens that "someone should get their tubes tied" (I'm pretty sure she didn't mean me).

So, after pencilling in good Friday 2010 as a firm haircut appointment with our stylist, we checked to see if the coast was clear and went home.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hey, Joker: Recycle Me THIS

In which I enter the cubicles of recycling worshippers, and do battle.

Not sure I'll be able to go back to Canada, now.

Just like I can't go back to Australia.

The original provocation, a while back now....

Be careful what you wish for

You know what I really miss and would like to have back? Two things: (1) a big-ass trade deficit and (2) hordes of illegal immigrants arriving. That would be great, wouldn't it?

This is a good 'un!

People, Abdala Bucaram is the gift that keeps on giving. Check out this separated at birth pair:

Freaky Friday

some news you might have missed.....

1. Isn't Grandma toasty?

2. Florida man goes all French on us, protests high prices...of crack!

3. It it's a hard test, I hope he doesn't advertise handguns....

4. This can't be equilibrium, right?

5. Upset with his fiance´'s meatball sandwich (the placement of the cheese, in particular, was all wrong), Lyndel Toppin allegedly attacked her with a kitchen knife. A law enforcement official tells, "Wait until he gets a load of the prison food."

Um...Lyndel, wait until you see where your new prison roomy, "Boomer," wants to place the cheese.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The wonders of Latin American Politics

As I was reflecting on how Alberto Fujimori went from hero to zero in Peru, I saw a news story that Evo Morales was going on a hunger strike to force the legislature to set a firm date for his next election. And I thought to myself, (a) that's crazy, but not unprecedented, and (b) it won't last for long. I then remembered Carlos Salinas going on a hunger strike after his brother's arrest. That one lasted around 45 minutes or so IIRC. Even Vladimir Montesinos went on a prison hunger strike. He allegedly made it 9 days before quitting, though our Peruvian friend and co-author Rodolfo said that the guards were sneaking him candy bars the whole time!

As I now reflected on crazy in Latin American politics, my mind flashed to Abdala Buraram who had a cup of coffee as president of Ecuador before being shown the door due to mental deficiency (I am not making this up).

Then people, I struck gold: photos of Bucaram and Fujimori (a Lebanese guy and an Japanese guy eating cuy together while wearing traditional Andean indigenous outfits. Feast your eyes:

and by cuy, I mean your children's pet hamsters!

Who doesn't?

In Colorado a tofu loving woman's vanity license plate has been banned. How can this be, you ask? Well, here is the exact text of the plate:



Hey, maybe we could all chip in and buy a similar plate for Tim Geithner! I hear he has a birthday coming up.

Love and Marriage

New Slants on the Slippery Slope: The Politics of Polygamy and Gay Family
Rights in South Africa and the United States

Judith Stacey & Tey Meadow, Politics & Society, forthcoming

This article investigates the often cited and dismissed, but rarely examined, relationship between legalizing same-sex marriage and polygamy. Employing a comparative historical analysis of U.S. and South African jurisprudence, ideology, and cultural politics, we examine efforts to expand, restrict, and regulate the gender and number of legally recognized conjugal bonds. South African family jurisprudence grants legal recognition to both same-sex marriage and polygyny, while the United States prohibits and resists both. However, social and material conditions make it easier to practice family diversity in the U.S. than in South Africa. Our analysis of the very different histories of polygamy and same-sex marriage in the two societies suggests the centrality of racial politics to marriage regimes, yielding paradoxical narratives about the implications of legal same-sex marriage for the future of polygamy and sexual democracy. If there is a slippery marital slope, we argue, it does not tilt in a singular or expected direction.


Anthropometry of Love: Height and Gender Asymmetries in Interethnic

Michèle Belot & Jan Fidrmuc, Oxford Working Paper, January 2009

Both in the UK and in the US, we observe puzzling gender asymmetries in the propensity to outmarry: Black men are substantially more likely to have white spouses than Black women, but the opposite is true for Chinese: Chinese men are half less likely to be married to a White person than Chinese women. We argue that differences in height distributions, combined with a simple preference for a taller husband, can explain a large proportion of these ethnic-specific gender asymmetries. Blacks are taller than Asians, and we argue that this significantly affects their marriage prospects with whites. We provide empirical support for this hypothesis using data from the Health Survey for England and the Millenium Cohort Study, which contains valuable and unique information on heights of married couples.


New Evidence of Genetic Factors Influencing Sexual Orientation in Men:
Female Fecundity Increase in the Maternal Line

Francesca Iemmola & Andrea Camperio Ciani, Archives of Sexual Behavior, June 2009, Pages 393-399

There is a long-standing debate on the role of genetic factors influencing homosexuality because the presence of these factors contradicts the Darwinian prediction according to which natural selection should progressively eliminate the factors that reduce individual fecundity and fitness. Recently, however, Camperio Ciani, Corna, and Capiluppi (Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 271, 2217–2221, 2004), comparing the family trees of homosexuals with heterosexuals, reported a significant increase in fecundity in the females related to the homosexual probands from the maternal line but not in those related from the paternal one. This suggested that genetic factors that are partly linked to the X-chromosome and that influence homosexual orientation in males are not selected against because they increase fecundity in female carriers, thus offering a solution to the Darwinian paradox and an explanation of why natural selection does not progressively eliminate homosexuals. Since then, new data have emerged suggesting not only an increase in maternal fecundity but also larger paternal family sizes for homosexuals. These results are partly conflicting and indicate the need for a replication on a wider sample with a larger geographic distribution. This study examined the family trees of 250 male probands, of which 152 were homosexuals. The results confirmed the study of Camperio Ciani et al. (2004). We observed a significant fecundity increase even in primiparous mothers, which was not evident in the previous study. No evidence of increased paternal fecundity was found; thus, our data confirmed a sexually antagonistic inheritance partly linked to the X-chromosome that promotes fecundity in females and a homosexual sexual orientation in males.


Automatic inattention to attractive alternatives: The evolved psychology of
relationship maintenance

Jon Maner, David Aaron Rouby & Gian Gonzaga, Evolution and Human Behavior, September 2008, Pages 343-349

There can be important reproductive benefits to maintaining a long-term romantic relationship. As a result, humans may possess evolved psychological mechanisms designed to help them maintain their commitment to a long-term mate, particularly when faced with attractive alternative relationship partners. The current study identifies a relationship maintenance process that involves being inattentive to alternative relationship partners. Experimentally eliciting thoughts and feelings of romantic love — an emotion thought to have evolved for the purpose of relationship maintenance — reduced attention to alternative partners at an early, automatic stage of visual perception. Consistent with evolutionary models of mate selection, this reduction in attention was observed only for opposite sex targets displaying high levels of physical attractiveness. This research illustrates the utility of integrating evolutionary models of mating with theory and method from cognitive science.

(Nod to Kevin L)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Flattery will get you Everywhere!

According to, we are a "top 50 economics blog". Here's what they say about us:

Kids Prefer Cheese: A wildly popular tongue-in-cheek yet deadly serious look at economics, politics and the underbelly of life in general. Brought to you by Professors Munger (Duke University) and Grier (University of Oklahoma).


when maps collide

This guy's maps say that Oklahomans are tops in "agreeableness" and "conscientiousness"

Ok, but...

This guy's map says Oklahoma will be the last State to approve gay marriage.


At the anecdotal level, I live in Oklahoma and I am not especially agreeable, only irregularly conscientious, and favor gay marriage.

double WTF???

Hey, maybe I live in the wrong place!!

Jump Around

Not all of you have seen Danny Green do the pregame Jump Around dance.

And you need to.

The ultimate counter-cyclical asset?

Jelly!! It says so right here!

a snippet:

"we've already seen some phenomenal growth from companies like Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (: gmc), which saw sales in its fiscal first quarter surge 56 percent to $197 million from year-ago levels, while J.M. Smuckers (NYSE: sjm) saw an 84 percent jump in its earnings in its fiscal third quarter.

Smuckers may truly be in the sweet spot of this trend. The company not only makes Smuckers jellies and Jif peanut butter, but it recently bought Folgers coffee, which Smuckers says, could double its annual sales."

If jelly is too expensive, one can always try this (which is probably an even better counter-cyclical asset).

Hat tip to LeBron for the meme!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Bob Lucas on the fiscal multiplier

"Question: On the one extreme, we have models by people like Mark Zandi at Moody's who say that the fiscal multiplier for the spending initiatives we're discussing are on the order of 1.5. On the other hand, we have people like Robert Barro at Harvard who say there's zero or negative. How would you go about applying the Lucas critique to these types of models to sort of educate us in how we should think about the validity of these models?

LUCAS: Do I need the Lucas critique for -- I'm with Barro is the short answer. (Laughter.) The Moody's model that Christina Romer -- here's what I think happened. It's her first day on the job and somebody says, you've got to come up with a solution to this -- in defense of this fiscal stimulus, which no one told her what it was going to be, and have it by Monday morning.

So she scrambled and came up with these multipliers and now they're kind of -- I don't know. So I don't think anyone really believes. These models have never been discussed or debated in a way that that say -- Ellen McGrattan was talking about the way economists use models this morning. These are kind of schlock economics.

Maybe there is some multiplier out there that we could measure well but that's not what that paper does. I think it's a very naked rationalization for policies that were already, you know, decided on for other reasons. I don't -- I'd like to talk about the Lucas critique but I don't -- I don't think we can -- (chuckles) -- deal with that issue. "

LOL, I wonder if Christy R. got the license plate of that bus as it ran over her. The whole transcript of Lucas' talk is here.

India fact of the day

"The basic marriage rule in Hindu society is that no individual is permitted to marry outside the sub-caste or jati. Social mobility will be severely restricted by this rule because individuals are forced to match within a very narrow pool. Social mobility, as measured by inter-caste marriage, continues to be low in rural India despite the economic changes within and across castes that have taken place over the past decades. Recent surveys in rural and urban India that the authors have conducted indicate that among 25-40 year olds, out-marriage was 7.6% in Mumbai in 2001, 6.2% in South Indian tea plantations in 2003, and 5.8% for the rural Indian population in 16 major states of India in 1999."

This from a fascinating new NBER working paper by Munshi & Rosenzweig.

Fujimori verdict due today

These folks have already made up their minds!

UPDATE!!!!! And they were right in as much as Fujimori was indeed convicted:

"A special tribunal convicted former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori of murder and kidnapping on Tuesday for death squad activities during his 10-year rule during the 1990s.

"This court declares that all four charges have been proven behind all reasonable doubt," presiding judge Cesar San Martin told a hushed courtroom.

There was no question, he said, that the 70-year-old Fujimori authorized the creation of a military death squad that killed some 50 people.

Fujimori apparently anticipated a guilty verdict. He sat alone taking notes as the verdict was read after a 15-month televised trial.

He faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and the court was expected to issue a sentence later Tuesday after a full reading of the sentence.

Fujimori is the first democratically elected former president to be tried for rights violations in his own country. His lawyers have said he would appeal the verdict."

Monday, April 06, 2009

Oh My God: They Killed Kuttner


The Epitome of Spurtability?


Clark Kellogg just said that UNC is the "Epitome of Spurtability."

What would Angus do?

He would sing this, I think, and make Pluto go out into the hallway.

A weak mind is easily confused

1. Virtually all press reports are calling BHO's visit to Turkey his "first trip to a Muslim country". Is that true? Isn't Turkey a secular democracy, at least in theory? Wouldn't Attaturk be spinning in his grave if he could hear this?

2. If the state of Oklahoma is so homophobic, why does OU have a "Gaylord College"? Heck we even have an organization called the "Gaylord Ambassadors"!

3. Why are grown men trying to play baseball when it's cold and snowy? It was 37 in Cincinnati, 42 in St. Louis and the White Sox home opener was postponed due to snow.

Dear Wacko:

So I got the following email spam, from an address in Zaire:

The saluation, "Dear Wacko", is probably accurate in my case. But I doubt that it is effective for the purpose the spammer has in mind.

Dear Wacko, From Mr. Williams Johnson,Consultant/Agen

Nettie Lee The Undersigned, Mr. Ernest Ansah, Managing Director of Doncan Gold Company Ltd, licensed small scale mining company, with head office in Accra, Ghana, licensed under company code 1963 (Act 179) of the Republic of Ghana. We confirm with full corporate responsibility and legal authority do hereby make this Full Corporate Offer attesting that we have 500 Kilograms of alluvial Gold particles, and we do have the legal authority to sell same as hereinafter reflected, under penalty of perjury our ability to supply the said product. (Alluvial Gold Dust and Bars).
PRODUCT:Gold Dust/Bars QUANTITY: 300/500kg
PURITY: 99.95% or better ASSAY: Final assay to be made by Buyer's choice of refinery,
LOCATION: Ghana West Africa INSPECTION: Ghana West Africa
PACKING: Export Package Boxes/Bars SELLING PRICE: USD$18,500.00/kg Negotiable
PAYMENT: EURO or USD by SWIFT Wire Transfer