Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Fidelity Belly

CDs are dying, because they've fallen into the dreaded fidelity belly.

Say what?

You heard the man.

Maybe a picture would help?

Isn't that better?

LPs beat them on quality and digital recordings beat them on convenience so, so long to "perfect sound forever".

I don't think this is right.

CDs killed off Vinyl as a mass market product and MP3 players then killed off CDs. All because of convenience.

Vinyl has made a resurgence among hipsters, youth, hard-core audiophiles, and folks who want to roll the perfect blunt, but it is very much a niche product and will remain one.

By the way, if you have a hipster, youth, or blunt roller on your shopping list, the NY Times has some advice for you.

Friday, June 01, 2012

RC SR-71 Blackbird

Me gusta.

le deluge

I have said (and so has Angus) that Obama will win in November. That prediction was in part predicated on a belief that the folks in DC could put together some kind of cockamamie "Krugman Model" stimulus that would make measured growth appear to hit the 3% (or so) target required to get the idiots-who-make-up-the-electorate to vote for the incumbent.

Apres November, le deluge. The wheels come off, it gets bad. But not even THAT is happening. Golly. The jobs report is apocalyptic.

So, here is what I think is going to happen. (I have this talk I give to VC groups and annual meetings of investors, and it's really long and has lots of ppt slides. This is the summary, free for all you loyal KPC readers). (And I should also note that my own thinking was influenced by a dinner with LeBron a while back, though of course he is blameless for my getting this wrong).

Not the report we were looking for.

69,000 net new non-farm jobs in May. The prediction was for a relatively weak 150,000 and we didn't get to half of that!

April's number was revised down from 115,000 to 77,000 and March was revised down from 154,000 to 143,000.

To put all this in perspective, we should be seeing numbers around or over 250,000 per month in an "normal" recovery.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Euro Racists

Nice.  If you want to insult someone, you call them "Jew."  (Video is long, but very interesting; disturbing.)

The guy in the video explains that it's not meant to be an INSULT insult, just a terrible thing to call someone.


And of course all the things they call black people.  I'm pretty tired of Euroweenies calling Americans racist.
(Nod to Dutch Boy)

There must be something wrong with my iPad

Because it won't do this:

and apparently, David Hockney's will.

Hat tip to the Roving Bandit.

Links: Stupid Government Tricks

Wow.  Government 'round the globe have lost their mind.  But as usual New York leads the way.

1.  Thailand's rice policy...well, it's really dumb.

2.  New York I:  No more big drinks, you fat ass people.  Of course, you can always buy two small ones.

3.  New York II:  Sen. Schumer, NY's gift to the looney bin called "the Senate," wants to regulate metal grill brushes.  No, really, he does.  He wants FEDERAL regulation of grill brushes.

4.  The EPA actually uses helicopters, and sends agents armed with automatic weapons, to help regulate cows.  In Nebraska.  There are no mountains, and few forests, in Nebraska.  Why does everything have to be so militaristic?  If you want to blame GW Bush, okay, but that was a while ago now.  It's not getting better.

5.  I always say that actions taken by citizens are called "crimes" when the same actions taken by government are just "policy."  Like Pres. Obama's list of people he wants to murder, without due process or legal justification.  But here is an actual list of crimes committed by police over the Memorial Day holiday.  None of them will likely be prosecuted.  Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Someone else calls out Mr. Burns

From another perspective, here's some great invective about Christine Lagarde's tender feelings for the children of Niger.

Mo' Money

From LeBron's requests, "How do economics professors negotiate their salaries? Do econ professors share notes on this"?

On a year to year basis, there isn't much actual salary negotiation. The Dean will allocate a raise pool to the department along with instructions on how it is to be allocated. For example, there might be a 4% pool, 2% for across the board raises and 2% for merit (in recent years 0% raise pools have been common). Then the department chair or executive committee will review records and recommend an allocation of the money to professors which has to be approved by the Dean. Then every professor in the department goes to the chair and complains about their raise!

In the longer term, salaries are set by the market. Getting another offer can create competition and sometimes even bidding wars. Sometimes people make the move, other times they get a strong counter-offer and stay.

Econ professors talk about other professors' salaries a fair amount. When they talk about their own, I generally feel like they are, shall we say, less than completely honest.

If you work at a State school the information is public and every so often a newspaper might publish it.

Professors in departments that are hiring at the entry level often compare notes on what their departments are planning to offer new Ph.D.s and where the market for them might clear. New hires tend to negotiate more for 1 time expenses like start up money, moving costs, and temporary teaching reductions, and less on salary where schools often have less flexibility. Deans are seemingly more willing to agree to large-ish one time expenditures more than large recurring expenses like a substantially higher salary for new hires.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why the Thunder will win Game 2 tonight

Hat tip to loyal KPC reader R. E.

He was a Lego Man, but now he's an Ass Man

So, perhaps this is the problem, says Angry Alex:

But this seems a bit much

An executive at a Palo Alto software giant was charged Monday with four felony counts of burglary, after authorities said he allegedly made his own bar code stickers, switched the tags, and then bought boxes of LEGOs at Target stores for huge discounts.

The guy had nearly 2,500 boxes of LEGOs in his house, and he was selling them on eBay.  The thing is that if he was making $50 each, and he sold 2,500, that's still only $50,000.  How can that possibly have been worth the time and risk?  Amazing.

Hate is NOT a Crime

I took the tube back out of town
Back to the Rollin' Pin
I felt a little like a dying clown
With a streak of Rin Tin Tin

Well, this lady took the Tube back in to town, after having had too much to drink.   And she has a massive streak of Rin Tin Tin, no doubt.

And now she is going to jail. TO. JAIL. For 21 weeks. For causing "harrassment, alarm, and abuse" to the people who were around her. Hate is not a crime. She didn't assault anybody, she didn't harm anyone. She is an idiot, sure. But nearly half a year in JAIL?

The Brit press is quite supportive, surprisingly. So is the HuffPo, less surprisingly. With only a few exceptions, HuffPo writers would prefer to have the police be in charge of everything that anyone says.

As we hear from the Brit press:  "Condemning her showdown, District Judge Michael Snow at Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London, said: "Anyone viewing it would feel a deep sense of shame that our citizens could be subject to such behaviour who may, as a consequence, believe that it secretly represents the views of other white people.""

She has to go to jail because she made the judge feel guilty about being white?  When he should jail himself, because he feels guilty about being a moron?

A drunk woman being a loud idiot is unremarkable. An advanced nation jailing citizens for voicing opinions, without physical threats or violent actions, is barbaric. Even if those opinions are "hate." Judge Brandeis had this right: “If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.”—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1856–1941), Whitney v. California, 274 U. S. 357 (1927).   (Special bonus points because Brandeis said this in pirate-talk: "Aye, there be time!  Don't punish her.  Expose her to disagreement!  Aarrrrr!")

England chooses enforced silence, even though there was plenty of time to have a conversation about this. True, Ms. Woodhouse will avoid racist rants in the future. Out of the fear of the government and the fact that it has guns and strong-arm thugs to enforce their requirements of obedient silence. NOT because she learned anything, or was educated. But because she is afraid.

Selection or Accountability in Elections

Democratic Accountability and Retrospective Voting: A Laboratory Experiment
Jonathan Woon
American Journal of Political Science, forthcoming

Understanding the incentives of politicians requires understanding the nature of voting behavior. I conduct a laboratory experiment to investigate whether voters focus on the problem of electoral selection or if they instead focus on electoral sanctioning. If voters are forward-looking but uncertain about politicians’ unobservable characteristics, then it is rational to focus on selection. But doing so undermines democratic accountability because selection renders sanctioning an empty threat. In contrast to rational choice predictions, the experimental results indicate a strong behavioral tendency to use a retrospective voting rule. Additional experiments support the interpretation that retrospective voting is a simple heuristic that voters use to cope with a cognitively difficult inference and decision problem and, in addition, suggest that voters have a preference for accountability. The results pose a challenge for theories of electoral selection and voter learning and suggest new interpretations of empirical studies of economic and retrospective voting.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A new record

As "pro-bailout" parties take the lead in Greek polls, focus turns more to Spain, where the spread between its 10 year bonds and Germany's broke the 500 basis point barrier, hitting the highest level since the dawn of the Euro.

Spanish 10 year bonds are currently "yielding" 6.49%.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kindred spirits

Kindred and Thomas have a nice piece in FP about the peripheral-ness of Greece and the low likelihood that a Grexit will cause a global downturn like the US financial crisis did.

I largely agree with their points (though the 97 Asian crisis wasn't a small event to me), even though I recently put up a post asking "Will Greece be Europe's Lehman Brothers"?

Kindred commented on my post making many of the points in the FP piece, but now I can see that we were somewhat using the same words to talk about two different things.

In the US financial crisis, the political decision to let Lehman Brothers go, was the catalyst to all hell breaking loose in US financial markets. I was asking whether a political decision to let Greece go would be the catalyst to all hell breaking loose with the Euro (spurring contagion to produce multiple exits from the Euro)

I still think it could, but that is not to say the global fallout will be anything like the global fallout from the US financial crisis, which is Kindred's point.

Also of note, in this morning's NY Times, LeBron has a piece arguing that the Euro may fall apart altogether, which would probably have greater global consequences that just a southern member exit.