Saturday, December 28, 2013

your doctoral thesis in a sentence!

Here's a great website where people describe their dissertations in a single sentence.

This is what mine would have been:

"Modeling the Fed as a bureaucracy subject to systematic political influence increases the accuracy of macroeconomic forecasts"

Not too many LOLs there, but that's the pithy essence. Please share your one sentence thesis in the comments!


Friday, December 27, 2013, exactly?

A most excellent example of the headline meme.

NSFW, and actually pretty disgusting.  My question, and no doubt your question also,  How did this work, exactly?  How did he beat off the police while he...well, you know.

Nod to Angry Alex

Retraction Penalty

The Retraction Penalty: Catastrophe and Consequence in Scientific Teams 
Ginger Zhe Jin et al. 
NBER Working Paper, October 2013 

 Abstract: What are the individual rewards to working in teams? This question extends across many production settings but is of long-standing interest in science and innovation, where the "Matthew Effect" suggests that eminent team members garner credit for great works at the expense of less eminent team members. In this paper, we study this question in reverse, examining highly negative events - article retractions. Using the Web of Science, we investigate how retractions affect citations to the authors' prior publications. We find that the Matthew Effect works in reverse - namely, scientific misconduct imposes little citation penalty on eminent coauthors. By contrast, less eminent coauthors face substantial citation declines to their prior work, and especially when they are teamed with an eminent author. A simple Bayesian model is used to interpret the results. These findings suggest that a good reputation can have protective properties, but at the expense of those with less established reputations.

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Miracle on Wall Street

Actually, it's no "miracle," it's just theft. (Nod to WH)


The "Get Enrolled!" "ad" for Obamacare.

1.  Did they actually think this was a good ad?  Is it a spoof?

2.  Is there any gay stereotype left out here?  Is this as offensive as it seems, to an outsider?  (That's not "out", but "outside"?)

3.  This seems to me to be a reasonable reaction.  But then I have never understood the ability of the left to suppress outrage at outrageous things done by "friends" of the left.

4.  Consider a heterosexual version of this ad, just as revealing and just as objectifying.  Would THAT be okay?  (No, it would not).  So why is it okay to treat gay people this way?

5.  Whatever else is true, these are some mighty attractive young folks.  Tommy TTB, what say you?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Death of Writing as a Career?

Interesting post, on FB of all places.

Richard Russo, "An Open Letter to My Fellow Authors"

What the Apples and Googles and Amazons and Netflixes of the world all have in common (in addition to their quest for world domination), is that they’re all starved for content, and for that they need us. Which means we have a say in all this. Everything in the digital age may feel new and may seem to operate under new rules, but the conversation about the relationship between art and commerce is age-old, and artists must be part of it. To that end we’d do well to speak with one voice, though it’s here we demonstrate our greatest weakness. Writers are notoriously independent cusses, hard to wrangle. We spend our mostly solitary days filling up blank pieces of paper with words. We must like it that way, or we wouldn’t do it. But while it’s pretty to think that our odd way of life will endure, there’s no guarantee. The writing life is ours to defend.


Nod to Pietro PC

Deficit Smaller Than Some People Predicted (But DEBT is Still Large and Growing)

Today's budget deficit, as seen from 2009.  

I like Bruce B., and sometimes agree with him.  But in this case his blind cheerleading for Obama is a little over the top.  Sure, yes, GWB was very bad.  But there are structural problems that Obama has not only done nothing to fix, but actually refuses even to mention. 

Those problems are (1) tax code/rates; (2) entitlement spending; (3) military spending.

(I'm not counting health care costs, though ACA is a disaster as well.  But Obama has mentioned it.  He lied about it, but he did mention it.)

Obama's policy (and Bruce B's defense of it) goes something like this.  There is an enormous iceberg ahead of us.  The previous president/captain steered us straight toward the iceberg, at very high speed. 

We changed captains, and now we are moving toward the iceberg somewhat more slowly.  But the current captain refuses even to discuss changing direction.  And he's trying to blame the previous captain.  Sure, the previous captain was a stone idiot.  But YOU are the captain now, Mr. Obama.  And bizarre, tone-deaf cheerleading from Bruce B. and the rest of the cast of the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party won't change that.  We need to change direction, not speed.

Build a Better Cardboard Box....

If you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.

If you build a better cardboard box, the world will watch it on YouTube.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Christmas Eve from Charles Bukowski

12 - 24 - 78

I suck on this beer
in my kitchen
and think about
cleaning my fingernails
and shaving
as I listen to the
classical radio
they play holiday
I prefer to hear Christmas
music in July
while I am being threatened
with death by
a woman.
when I need it -
when I need
Bing Crosby and the
elves and
some fast

now I sit here
listening to this
slop in
season - it's such
a sugar tit -
I'd rather play a game of
ping-pong with
the risen ghost
of Hitler.

amateur drunks run their cheerful
cars into each other
the ambulances sing to each
other outside.

News: Men are "Kind of Pathetic"

If women are around, men act differently.

I'm not sure it's really "pathetic."  It just means that evolution rewards offspring.  So taking risks of being injured, but buying attention and increased mating opportunities, even just in expected value, is an increase in fitness.  There's no fitness payoff to dignity, or living to 80.  Fitness is just more chances at the bouncy-bouncy.

Interesting, though, that men are so....well, responsive.

Risk and Human Perception of Risk

I have a good friend who I met once in DC for a baseball game.  We were going to park near my hotel on Capitol Hill, and Metro to RFK where the Nats played back then (the new park opened in 2008).

My proposal was just to leave my bags in his car.  He insisted that I should check my bags at the hotel, because "Capitol Hill is so dangerous!"  Now, this was 2006, long after 9-11; Capitol Hill was NOT dangerous, at all, especially not during the day.

He brushed aside my protests.  "You don't live around here.  I'm always reading about crimes and violence in the paper."  I asked how he could read about NOT crimes and NOT violence in the paper, since those things are never there.  The fact is that the crime rate (robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts) had fallen dramatically in the area, but that's not "news." (The comparison I was making is 2001 vs. 2006). 

Crimes and violence are news.  But no neighborhood in DC makes the top 25 "most dangerous" list.  Even though it's true "you always read about it."

More recently, I had a conversation with a staff person.  She says she never flies. I was sympathetic:  "Yes, the indignities of TSA and those cattle car planes are pretty bad."  She protested:  "No, that's not it.  I'm afraid of getting killed.  All you ever read about is all those crashes!"  Yes, I suppose that's all you "read about."  Because "another 30,000 planes land safely" (the actual number of flights in the US each day) is not very newsworthy.  Flying is a ridiculously safe way to travel, compared to driving to work (which this woman does every day).

The fact is that the "epidemic" of school shootings is not an epidemic at all.  They are very infrequent, occur for essentially random causes, and are not even worth considering as a public policy problem.  Violence, deaths, injuries...almost any measure you can think has gotten much better, at the same time that we are obsessed with school shootings.

Would I be upset if my son, or someone I knew, were killed?  Of course.  Do I have the right to divert public policy discussions from real problems, like drunken driving or the insane war on drugs, because of a low-probability random accident less likely than a lightning strike?  Of course not.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Nut, But not JUST a nut. Troll, but not JUST a troll.

Okay, so my man Windwheel is a nut.  But he's not JUST a nut.  And he's a ridiculous, scabrous troll.  But he's not JUST a troll.

He is also a performance artist.  It's NSFW, it's deeply offensive.  And you will have fun.  I'm sorry, you will never get that 20 minutes back.  But check it out.

The idea of Socio-proctology alone is worth the price of admission (i.e., free).

Monday's Child

1.  Which state has the worst drivers?

2.  Wrong answers may not be bad.  In fact, some are genius.  #2 is a joke I make all the time, and #7 and #8 are especially well played.

3.  Conservative marriage gap.   Single women are Democrats, but many become Republicans if they have daughters.

4.  I assume Angus has already investigated "And Vinyly".

5.  So rich folks really believed that "If you like your health care, you can keep it?" crap?  Somebody has to pay for all this.  And if we are going to give huge subsidies to the poor, who is going to pay for it?  You can favor this if you want, but why think it would be free?


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Real depreciations and exports

While I wasn't looking, my latest paper with my friend and Matlab coding genius Aaron Smallwood appeared in the JIMF:

Exchange rate shocks and trade: A multivariate GARCH-M approach
Kevin Grier & Aaron Smallwood.
Journal of International Money and Finance, Volume 37, October 2013, Pages 282–305

(ungated version available here)

We show that while positive shocks to the real exchange rate almost uniformly reduce exports in our 27 country sample, the effect is not symmetric. That is, negative shocks do not always create increases in exports and when they do the positive effect is notably smaller than the negative effect from increases in the RER.

Because we are using a non-linear model, a traditional, symmetric, impulse response function is not appropriate, so we use generalized IRFs to obtain these results.

The Dog House

NOBODY Gets Out of the Dog House.  Hey, Dualbag!

Nod to WH.

 At my house, the "Review Board" meets every day. And it only has one member. But otherwise this video is pretty much a documentary.

Return to the Dog House!

Stay out of the Dog House, with the "Manslater."

UPDATE:  The choices a young faces....a debt, or a penalty.