Friday, August 29, 2014

The Culture that is Germany: The compassion gap

This is a old, but thanks to Emily Skarbek, I just saw it and I love it.

Each of the Euro countries polled think that their own country is the most compassionate in the EU, but 6 out of the 8 can agree on the least compassionate country.

Take a bow Angela, you even edged out France as "most arrogant"!

Also kudos to the Poles for apparently not understanding the first question.

Is Kim Williams in bed with Big Vegan?

Well he's the president-elect of the American College of Cardiology.

And he's a vegan.

So naturally, "some critics suggested that Dr. Williams and the college were “unduly influenced by industry,”"

Ah yes, he must be in the pocket of the notorious Big Vegan cartel!

Is this a great country or what?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dan Drezner's vocabulary problem

We all like to use big words and look cool, but we need to be sure we know what they mean or we can make some serious funny.

Take this doozy from Dan Drezner in the WAPO:

"Most political scientists are prodigious researchers"

Clearly Dan has no idea what at least one of the following three words mean, "most" "prodigious" or "researchers".

Let's help him out by making a more coherent and less inaccurate statement:

__________ political scientists are ___________    ______________ .

Give me your preferred styling in the comments.

By the way Polifacts has already rated Dan's statement as "Pants on Fire".

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I Will Choose Free Will

Free will is about choosing: The link between choice and the belief in free will 

Gilad Feldman, Roy Baumeister & Kin Fai Ellick Wong
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 239–245

Abstract: Expert opinions have yielded a wide and controversial assortment of conceptions of free will, but laypersons seem to associate free will more simply with making choices. We found that the more strongly people believed in free will, the more they liked making choices, the higher they rated their ability to make decisions (Study 1), the less difficult they perceived making decisions, and the more satisfied they were with their decisions (Study 2). High free will belief was also associated with more spontaneous associating of choice with freedom, and with the perception of actions as choices. Recalling choices (Study 3) and making choices (Study 4) led to a stronger endorsement of the belief in free will, and an additional effect of the level of choice involved in the choice. These findings suggest that the everyday social reality of beliefs about free will is a matter of how people think and feel about choice.

Monday, August 25, 2014

At Keith Gaddie's House

Here's what happens every fall at Keith Gaddie's house. 

His wife has to get him out from under the bed.  He makes a "fort" under there, with cushions...

Monday's Child

1.  Old guy, still working.  At 101.  It's not causal, in the sense that people who work longer live longer for that reason.  But it is true that people who live longer and feel better may enjoy working longer.

2.  I bet Mike Peterson is saying, "See!  SEE!"  About this.

3.  So, Dick Morris got in all sorts of trouble for toe-sucking.  But this marmot can go around lens-licking and there is no reaction?  Why do we even have a highly militarized local police force if marmots think nothing of lens-licking?

4.  Patents that kill...

5.  An interesting perspective.  If this is right, then it is the LIBERTARIAN part of the left that is prospering, and the statist part that is foundering.  I'd kind of like to believe that's true.


Friday, August 22, 2014

This week's sign of the apocalypse

People, it comes to us from Hinds Community College:

People if blatant discrimination like this can occur against innocent cute goats, why do we even have a government at all?

Hat tip to MK

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Funny, But a Bit Edgy

One of the great things about Chris Rock is that you can't quite be sure if he's laughing at you, or with you.

Especially smug white people (and that's me, I recognize).  What's really going on here?

NSFW.  Funny, but NSFW.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

How not to flip your classroom

Over at inside higher ed, Rob Weir reports,

Last spring, my best friend decided to flip his introduction to computer science class. He posted reading assignments and an online quiz on Friday, closed the quiz at 10:59 on Monday, and walked into his 11 a.m. class that day and introduced higher-level material based upon what students were supposed to have mastered. Some students did really well, some had tried taking the quiz without careful reading, and some simply didn't get what the text was telling them. One could take a hardball approach and say that those who tried to skip the reading got what they deserved and the clueless were in the wrong class. Insofar as my friend was concerned, though, flipping flopped.

People, this is a big fail. The guy is throwing away valuable information and is not really trying to help his students learn. In fact, he's kind of being a dick.

How about this? Post some short videos, instead of long reading assignments, have the online quiz due well before the next class, check the quiz to see what students are having problems with, start the next class by with a mini presentation on the problematic stuff, try some peer instruction on that material, give a mini presentation on some higher level stuff and follow that with peer instruction too!

 In Rob's, example, flipping didn't flop, the lazy-ass professor flopped.

Flipping is not "you go read the basics and then I'll lecture all class period on advanced material".

Flipping is "you get prepared before class, and then we will do problem solving during the class period."

Flipping does not excuse the professor from the responsibility of making sure the students understand and master the basic material. Flipping does not put a wall between the online and in-person components of the class.

It is actually much harder to run a flipped class well than to go the old "sage on the stage" route that Rob enjoys so much.

But I will say this, if you aren't going to put the work in, please don't "flip" your class.

Note: this is cross-posted at Cherokee Gothic as well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dolla Dolla Bill

Dollar stores got beef!

Dollar Tree had an agreement to buy Family Dollar, but nowDollar General is offering $9 billion cash for Dollar Tree.

So I guess we know how many items Dollar Tree has in its inventory, no?

No word yet about what the new conglomerate plans to do about 50 Cent.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The State is Not a Unicorn...and the Munger Test

Monday's Child

1.  News crew goes out to "investigate" app that identifies sketchy neighborhoods.  And their van gets robbed.  Surely this was a setup, right?  Nobody would leave that much electronic gear out in the open in a van.

2.  Duke basketball is "most hated."  Yes, it really is.  In other news, water is still wet.  On the other hand, the most-hated team in North Carolina is UNC, and the most-hated team in Washington state is U-Dub.  Interesting.

3.  Jealous dogs.  Skippy Squirrelbane is VERY jealous.  His bowling ball head is extremely useful for knocking down other dogs that get between him and petting.  He's not aggressive about it, just inexorable.

4.  "Clean energy" is not clean.  In fact, it's not even energy.  Some technologies, especially ethanol from corn, are a net waste of energy rather than a savings.

5.  Family friend and recent Duke grad Jacob Tobia on being "genderqueer at Duke."  Jacob is a terrific person, and was willing twice to give an excellent talk to my intro Econ class on the "Occupy" movement.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The tools of ignorance

I'm pretty sure Mungo was trolling me this morning with his retweets, but it worked anyway.

So let's take a look at the wonder that is market monetarism and its incredible abuse of graphs and accounting identities.

Our data come from Italy and here are the graphs in question:

OK, so the first graph is the path of Nominal income (PY) relative to trend. The second is the path of real income (Y) and the third is the path of prices (P). Nothing objectionable about the graphs in themselves.

You can see NGDP has fallen a lot (relative to trend), mostly due to lower real GDP. Since we are dealing with accounting here, we really only need two of these graphs. the third one is implied by the other two.

But people, what just sets my teeth on edge and puts a bee in my bonnet is the idea that, and I quote:

The message from the graphs above is clear – the Italian economy is suffering from a massive demand short-fall due to overly tight monetary conditions (a collapse in nominal GDP).

Nominal GDP IS nothing more than the product of prices and output. To say that a fall in nominal GDP relative to trend "caused" the fall in the path of prices and output relative to trend is just gibberish.

Try it in the abstract without the sacred labels. "The fall in XY caused the fall in X and the fall in Y".

Ummm, maybe the fall in Y caused the fall in X and as a result XY also fell??  Or the fall in X? Or some third factor caused both X and Y to fall and as an unavoidable consequence of arithmetic, XY also fell?

Labeling PY as "Monetary conditions" and then saying Y fell because PY fell and blaming that on monetary conditions is not an economic theory. It's not even an un-economic theory.

Here's another example of the twisted logic of market monetarism:

One can obviously imagine that the Italian output gap can be closed without monetary easing from the ECB. That would, however, necessitate a sharp drop in the Italian price level (basically 14% relative to the pre-crisis trend – the difference between the NGDP gap and the price gap).

Thats a doozy.

Output is 14% too low so prices need to fall by 14%, doing this will leave NGDP unchanged and the output gap will be eliminated.

The basic problem comes from here:

It is no secret that I believe that we can understand most of what is going on in any economy by looking at the equation of exchange:

(1) M*V=P*Y

People, you can't explain anything about causation WITH AN ACCOUNTING IDENTITY!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

David Skarbek's Book Trailer

Pretty cool to have a book trailer.  *I* don't have a book trailer.  But David Skarbek does:

Friday, August 15, 2014

It could be worse, I could live in Dallas!*

LeBron points us to David Yves' 2012 paper on quality of life in America.  Tyler is interested in whether big cities are bad places to live (I read Yves as saying yes, unless they are on the ocean), but I am interested in how the piece illustrates my current situation.

Oklahoma City is ranked 137 (out of 276), right in the middle of the pack. Santa Fe is 6th.


However, my best employment bet in Santa Fe looks to be either community college instructor or free-lance woodworker, while Mrs. Angus and I have amazingly great jobs at OU. We also have season tickets for the Thunder.

People, we badly need one of those Elon Musk tunnels between Santa Fe and Norman.

(*FYCI Dallas is ranked 206!)

Separated at Birth?

(with thanks to Mark at )

Thursday, August 14, 2014

G-Bike Found?

You may recall the G-Bike.  It was a German girl's bike (actually, a German bike that happened to be set up for a girl.  I did NOT take a bike from a German girl).  Story and pictures here.  Last I knew of the G-Bike, it was stolen, in Erlangen. Stolen by the police.  Because I left it in a "no bikes" zone where there dozens of other bikes.  Okay, maybe not stolen, exactly.

Anyway, Tommy the Tenured Brit wonders if perhaps it has been found.  With John Kerry riding it.  And TtTB may be right.  But they took off the pirate flag, in that case.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Good Dog

The LMM went out to the mailbox, and found this:

Hi my name is Haley. I was going to leave a very important tract about our website at your door but your dogs were guarding the property. Here it is have a nice day.

And the "tract" was was a flyer from the "Jehovah's Witnesses."  Thanks, Skippy, you saved everyone some time!

The Anti-Science Left

The crude anti-scientism of the left is actually more dangerous than that of the right.

The creationists want to argue about evolution, but don't really have a forum where they can do much harm.

And the climate change deniers don't do much harm, because the interest groups that run Congress would prevent any action in any case.

But the left...the left keeps insisting that:

1.  kids should not get vaccines
2.  GMO food is dangerous

Well, they should, and it's not.

A very nice, short discussion by Neil deGrasse Tyson on the GMO idiocy.

Comparative Politics

As far as I can tell, this is a near perfect description of empirical work in comparative politics.

In honor of Scott de Marchi.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What Color is Your Unicorn?


The curious task of the liberty movement is to persuade citizens that our opponents are the idealistic ones, because they believe in unicorns. They understand very little about the State that they imagine they can design.

 The article is here.

Monday, August 11, 2014


What would Angus do?

This.  In a heartbeat.

Except he couldn't eat the pies.  But Paco might enjoy one.

With a nod to Angry Alex.  Would also do it, by the way.

Monday's Child

1. Only if the "gay agenda" involves speaking English... Those crazy Mormons.  (Or is there something more to the story....)

2.  U.S. Population center:  It's in Missouri.  But where will it go next?

3.  There's something wrong about this.  About ALL this.

4.  But there is even more wrong about this.  Ironing?  If that was your only cause for suspicion, sir, I think that the person you married was in some important sense a woman.

5.  This is why Mr. Overwater invented the internet.  Best line: "The video shows him sitting alone in a field playing his instrument."  No wonder the cows wanted to see that.


Thursday, August 07, 2014

The Libertarian Moment?

From NYTimes Magazine...

“Let’s say Ron Paul is Nirvana,” said Kennedy, the television personality and former MTV host, by way of explaining the sort of politician who excites libertarians like herself. “Like, the coolest, most amazing thing to come along in years, and the songs are nebulous but somehow meaningful, and the lead singer kills himself to preserve the band’s legacy. 

“Then Rand Paul — he’s Pearl Jam. Comes from the same place, the songs are really catchy, can really pack the stadiums, though it’s not quite Nirvana. 

“Ted Cruz? He’s Stone Temple Pilots. Tries really hard to sound like Pearl Jam, never gonna sound like Nirvana. Really good voice, great staying power — but the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts.” 

Oy.  No.  Ted Cruz is not Stone Temple Pilots.  Ted Cruz is Vanilla Ice, at best.

Nod to RS.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

We'll leave the light on for you

The NY times has proclaimed that moving inland, away from our coastlines is a new trend that's being driven by affordable housing in the heartland. Their poster child for the new inland meccas is none other than Oklahoma City!

The article actually cites 6 cases, which is a huge data set for a Times trends piece.

So come all ye coastals, cramped, beat down and hassled,
come ye, o come ye to Ok-la-home-ee.

If you want to fit in, here's a few things to remember.

If you want to tell someone they're a big ass*&(* just say "Bless your heart"

If you want to ask someone to lunch, just say "jeet yet?"

If you want to announce that you are about to engage in activity X,
just say "I'm fixin' to X" (eg. I'm fixin' to fix dinner)

Please be aware that there will be lengthy prayers before any and all athletic events.

Please be aware that noodling is a real thing.

Please be aware that you are now living in an irony-free zone.

Other than that you should be good to go!

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Save American squirrels from French kickers wearing underwear!

Headline:  "Grand Canyon Investigates Squirrel-Kicking Video."

Now I enjoy synechdoche as much as the next person (and, for you economists, that is not a city in upstate New York).

But the image of the Grand Canyon wearing a Colombo jacket and saying, "Now, dere's just one more ting I don't understand..." and springing the trap is irresistible in this case.

I also like where they say "Chances of finding the man are slim."  What about finding the squirrel?

Here's a story about the video.  I was down with the whole thing (I do NOT like squirrels, or deer.  They eat all my plants and bird food, and I would prefer to eat them, at least in the case of deer).  I should note that the pussweilers at YouTube removed the actual video.  Look: squirrels are vermin.  They need to die, or so say I.

UNTIL I learned from the video that the men "are believed to be French." Okay, wait a minute.  Really?  You Froggies wanna get all up in here and be kicking our squirrels around?  Why don't you stay home and step on snails?  They are more your speed, buddy.  I've seen your team play soccer, and squirrels you are NOT.

So:  Save American squirrels from French kickers!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Monday's Child

1.  Spock look-alike draws line at "The Vulgar Vulcan."  Yeesh.

2.  They's trahn to teach us Suhthahnahs to talk goodah.  Why would anyone be upset about that?  Nothing insulting or condescending in THAT idea, is theah?

3.  Just a fluke?  This does seem suspicious.  On the other hand, I'm not sure I can take someone seriously if he can't spell dinero.  Saying "mucho deniro" makes it sound like she's invoking the actor.

4.  There's a limit to how much you can abuse people and subject their children to indoctrination combined with horrible education.  But it's a shame that we are doing this in response.  Most folks--including me!--don't know enough to educate their own children in any broad way.

5.  Beta marriages?  Once.  And Twice.  And Three Times.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Dutch Boy and Jackie Blue

Apropos of nothing, I feel obliged to resurrect this photo of my high school bruhs Dutch Boy and Jackie Blue.  Check that hair.  And the amazingly politically incorrect sign.

Jackie notes that he is still supple.

Prof Strips down to "motivate students"

Um...gosh.  I'm pretty sure this would be a problem at Duke.

Presumably, the "motivation" is this:  If you don't shape up, I'll take off my shirt again.  ("No, no!  We'll be good!")

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Behavioral/Ideological Selection?

An interesting question:  Suppose all the people who believe abortion is okay to use as birth control actually do that.  And don't have kids.

And the people who disagree...DO have kids.

Over time, might the composition of the electorate change?

Differential Fertility as a Determinant of Trends in Public Opinion about Abortion in the United States 

Alex Kevern & Jeremy Freese 
Northwestern University Working Paper, July 2014 

Abstract: Differential fertility is frequently overlooked as a meaningful force in longitudinal public opinion change. We examine the effect of fertility on abortion attitudes, a useful case study due to their strong correlation with family size and high parent-child correlation. We test the hypothesis that the comparatively high fertility of pro-life individuals has led to a more pro-life population using 34 years of GSS data (1977-2010). We find evidence that the abortion attitudes have lagged behind a liberalizing trend of other correlated attitudes, and consistent evidence that differential fertility between pro-life and pro-choice individuals has had a significant effect on this pattern. Future studies should account for differential fertility as a meaningful force of cohort replacement in studies of public opinion where parents and children are likely to share the same attitude. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis