Saturday, October 01, 2011

The Onion as Truth

This is uncomfortably true, though from the Onion.

What Man Thinks Is Recycling Takes City Workers 2 Hours A Day To Sort
October 1, 2011 | ISSUE 47•40

NEW YORK—City sanitation experts confirmed yesterday that the supposed “recycling” of Manhattan resident Ron Klauff was in fact a conglomeration of various recyclable and nonrecyclable refuse that takes city workers an average of two hours and 288 gallons of water to sort and clean each week. “These days, being eco-aware is more important than ever,” said Klauff, filling a plastic shopping bag with a mixture of yogurt containers, wire hangers, and broken electronics that a civil servant will later have to sift through in the middle of the night. “You have to do your part, even if that means gathering all of your soda cans and stacking them neatly inside your pizza boxes.” Because Klauff is the only New York resident who does not carefully sort and separate his recyclables, officials are considering just tossing everything he throws out into a landfill

Yup, the "only one."

Throw Like A Girl

This young woman has obviously been practicing in that corner. Still...not bad. And it is great the way she shows up the left fielder: "Here ya go, bud, is this what you were after? (A fake video, according to our commenter, but well played)

And have likely already seen it. But that look from the wife, the "why didn't I marry Chen Li instead of this idiot?" look. We have all gotten that look, husbands. And deserved it.

Of course, women aren't perfect. This woman totally steals a ball from a little girl .

Friday, September 30, 2011

der Dukatenscheisser, and other things

We often comment, here at KPC, about two things:

1. The strangeness that is Deutschland
2. Poop

It turns out that one of the strange things about Germany is the many linguistic uses Germans have for poop.

And if you don't believe, here's the straight poop on it.

Published in 1984 by a distinguished anthropologist named Alan Dundes, Life Is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder set out to describe the German character through the stories that ordinary Germans liked to tell one another. Dundes specialized in folklore, and in German folklore, as he put it, “one finds an inordinate number of texts concerned with anality. Scheisse (shit), Dreck (dirt), Mist (manure), Arsch (ass).… Folksongs, folktales, proverbs, riddles, folk speech—all attest to the Germans’ longstanding special interest in this area of human activity.”

He then proceeded to pile up a shockingly high stack of evidence to support his theory. There’s a popular German folk character called der Dukatenscheisser (“The Money Shitter”), who is commonly depicted crapping coins from his rear end. Europe’s only museum devoted exclusively to toilets was built in Munich. The German word for “shit” performs a vast number of bizarre linguistic duties—for instance, a common German term of endearment was once “my little shit bag.” The first thing Gutenberg sought to publish, after the Bible, was a laxative timetable he called a “Purgation-Calendar.” Then there are the astonishing number of anal German folk sayings: “As the fish lives in water, so does the shit stick to the asshole!,” to select but one of the seemingly endless examples.

That one about the fish is my new favorite saying. Anytime somebody complains about anything in a faculty meeting, they are going to hear that one. Inspired.

Nod to Anonyman; I bet you knew that, without looking. Anonyman has his sh*t together.

A Short Quiz: Does Plagiarism Pay?

What do you do with someone who clearly, and unquestionably, plagiarized large portions of his thesis?

Well, if you are the CSIS, you make a "Distinguished Statesman" position for Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg.

To be fair, the ability to say "I stole a bunch of stuff and pretended it was mine" is a reasonable prerequisite for being a statesman, distinguished or otherwise.

Lagniappe: Germany's Foreign Minister is Guido Westerwelle. Yes, Guido. And he is openly gay, a brave man to come out and still serve in public office. I do admire him for that.

Now, you might think that being Foreign Minister for Deutschland would be pretty easy. All you have to do is say "no" whenever someone suggests that you should have a military, or any role in any foreign country. After all, having the Foreign Minister of Germany start muttering about "lebensraum" makes everybody jittery. So Herr Westerwelle should be able just to take naps and have a nice Kaffee mit Sahne at the Balzac on Friedrichstrasse, just a short walk from Ministry building.

But when Weserwelle supported the government decision to stay out of Libya (a decision the US should have taken also, btw!) he actually gets in trouble.

The moral of this story is: if you want to be promoted and revered as a statesman, steal stuff. If you want to be abused and criticized, do the right thing.

Punctuation is everything

(clic the pic for a more glorious image)

In-bred Cat

From the LMM

By Jove, I Think She's GOT it!

A friend who has been teaching about "euvoluntary exchange" got this from a student.

When he first explained the concept of BATNA and the situations in which BATNA is too low, I was all for changing those situations. However, we need to remember that if we're going to take away somebody's best option (even if it is a crappy one) then we're also going to have to give them a better alternative.

That is as good a concise summary as I could possibly imagine. Telling a poor guy in India who needs medicine for his daughter that he cannot sell his kidney is a rotten thing to do, unless you can also help him somehow. If you aren't going to help, give him access to the market!

And, we can't help everyone. But the market can.

Why Economists are Paid a LOT more than Philosophers

David Deerson sends this link. I laughed. An excerpt, though you need to look at the whole thing. Heh.

It's funny 'cause it's true.

UPDATE: Wow! My philosopher friend Kevin Vallier thinks that this cartoon, above, is making fun of ECONOMISTS! And I have to admit he may be right! To me, this cartoon illustrates why philosophers are useless low-paid parasites, and economists are collossi, bestride the world of academics! Okay, THAT's not right. But seriously, who is this cartoon mocking? To me, it is clearly mocking the philosopher. Since economists can actually answer the ridiculous koans that philosophers think are impossibly deep and unanswerable, the economists don't get to play!

Kevin's response: I think the critique of the economist is that he [the economist] is exceedingly perverse because his model of moral decision-making ignores a whole host of important considerations that any normally functioning human being recognizes. Now, I think the normally functioning human needs a good dose of economic thinking, but I do think that the sort of instrumental, consequentialist reasoning of most economists is woefully inadequate as a complete model of moral reasoning. I *think* lots of economists believe this too, even if they often ignore it, at least stereotypically.

Wow! that is 100% different from my reading of that cartoon. The fact is that an old woman is worth only a small fraction of the Mona Lisa. And I can prove it: the society spends a LOT of money to protect the Mona Lisa, with security and climate control. The old woman has to pay for her own locks on her door, and her own HVAC.

Jobs: The Good, the Bad, and the Texas

The Blonde sends a very interesting map of job changes in the U.S. Here is my county, Wake County, NC. (Do click for a more glorious image; this is a screen shot, so no interactivity. To get the interactive map, go back to here)

Notice that we are back where we were in 2007, for total jobs. (Unemp rate is up, though, becuase we have had in-migration and growth from births)

The big hammer down was construction jobs. Biggest employment sector, professional services, has just about tread water, though it is moving up slowly.

You can do it by state, also. Here is Oklahoma.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

If we only had that ram, John, we could mate and have fun.

So, yes, I defended Bev "Governor Dumplin'" Perdue.

Because at another appearance, she saw some sheep and told the co-founder of SAS, "If we only had that ram, John, we could mate and have fun." How can you not enjoy that?

Look, folks: she is not quick and witty. You don't have to be smart to be an elected official.

But she was clearly joking.

Maybe I'm just defensive because I often say things like that, and people can never tell if I am joking. They can tell it's not funny, of course. But they can't tell if it was supposed to be funny.

UPDATE: From the Blonde, who is not entirely convinced Bev was joking, comes this "separated at birth" photo...

Toilets exploding in DC

Perhaps we should just start over and build a new capital.

Because even the toilets are blowing up in Washington.

(Nod to Anonyman)

I'm Sure I Think I'm Sure This is a Joke

Dutch Boy sends this, from the Kinston paper.

Not sure how to describe it. I'm sure I think it is a joke, I think.

But this may be the first time an article has engaged in self-grandgame. Impressive. I think.

“I’m no prude,” says Paulette Burroughs, 39, of La Grange. “But something I saw in that store was way over the line.”

Burroughs said she made the discovery Monday afternoon while planning a “Dancing with the Stars” viewing party at her home.

“We had a real good time, except for when old Nancy Grace decided to turn one of her sweater puppies loose,” Burroughs said. “That thing looked like it’d been eatin’ lemons all day.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Martin comes to class!

Uber-reader Martin came to class and gave a very nice lecture on democracy. Worked well, and I appreciate the good lecture.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Separated at birth

People if you put a porn 'stache and a $200 haircut on Tyler Cowen, HE'D BE MOHAMED EL-ERIAN!

See for your selves:

Don't cry for me Argentina

In my international econ class, we just finished reading and discussing Bluestein's excellent book: "And the Money kept rolling in" about the Argentine financial crisis.

It's distressing to see Greece following the same path and the international community making the same mistakes today.

In class today, we are going to act out the crisis, PTI roleplay style, with heads on sticks! From Rogoff to Cavallo to Mulford to Menem to O'Neil to El-Erian.

Here are some of the heads waiting to receive their sticks:

Monday, September 26, 2011


Here's Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, one of the leading hardline owners in the current NBA lockout singing a very different tune in 2005:

"To me, NBA franchises are like pieces of art. There are only 30 of them. They aren't always on the market, especially a franchise that would have been such a natural fit ... If you just looked at the Cavaliers in terms of revenues, profits and balance sheets -- and you paid this amount for it -- people would say "You're insane! You're nuts." But if you look at all the tentacles, the impact on our other venues, it makes tremendous sense. We have now opened a Cleveland office [of Quicken Loans] and that's tremendously successful. Our employees love it that we're associated with the Cavs and can come to games -- that helps us attract and keep better people. There are a lot of non-profit things that can be done with pro sports. It brings an unbelievable amount of excitement."

Quote is from here.

Two interesting Malcolm Gladwell NBA posts are here and here.

Double Fail

We all know that the Middle East is full of fail, but sometimes the fail is too good to pass up.

Consider first the "Palestinian Spring" story.

So here's an entrenched calling for his own ouster? After all the Arab spring involved deposing existing leaders.

Next up is that well known reformer King Abdullah giving women the right to vote.

Not in the upcoming election of course, but later. This will make a big difference in Saudi policies I'm sure as votes mean so much in the Kingdom.

PS: If you are wondering where I get off calling a geriatric despot a "reformer", it's right in the AP story linked to above:

"The right to vote is by far the biggest change introduced by Abdullah, considered a reformer, since he became the country's de facto ruler in 1995 during the illness of King Fahd."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Vegan Strip Club

This review (sent by Raoul) is...I suppose "serious" is not quite the right word. But it is not a hoax, it seems.

The reviews are the best part. For example: "if you like naked ladies and chili cheese fries, come check it out."

UPDATE: (Yes, cheese is not vegan. However, "cheese" could be. Soy "cheese," that sort of thing).

And Kindred points us to this, to be filed, as he notes, in...whatever category it is already. (No fur jokes, please)

Are markets like the honey badger?

Jerry Evensky says yes:

In my introductory economics class I explain that markets are amoral – not moral, not immoral ... amoral. In that sense they are like computers ... incredibly powerful at processing immense amounts of information in useful ways, but totally agnostic as to the use. Computers can be used to educate, to elucidate, to heal ... or to develop weapons of mass destruction. They don’t give a damn, nor do markets ... nor does homo economicus.

(that's the full quote, the "... " parts are in the original. I have enlarged the money part)