Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"pretense of knowledge + Math = Economics"

"Having proven the theory, both by stating it and imagining it to be true, I want to move directly to policy implications" ~ Zach Weinersmith

Kudos to you sir. Well done.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grit, Guts, and Vanilla Beans: Godly Masculinity in the Ex-Gay Movement

Okay.  I think this is an actual article, and not a parody.  First of all, "the Ex-Gay Movement"?  What the heck?  But of course I'm just ignorant, and it's a thing.  It may be a good thing, or a not-so-good thing (I'm skeptical), but it's definitely a thing.  A history, though one with a clear perspective.

Anyway, there are apparently distinctions that had not occurred to me:

Grit, Guts, and Vanilla Beans: Godly Masculinity in the Ex-Gay Movement 

Lynne Gerber 
Gender & Society, February 2015, Pages 26-50 

Abstract: Ex-gay ministries, like many evangelical groups, advocate traditional gender ideologies. But their discourses and practices generate masculine ideals that are quite distinct from hegemonic ones. I argue that rather than simply reproducing hegemonic masculinity, ex-gay ministries attempt to realize godly masculinity, an ideal that differs significantly from hegemonic masculinity and is explicitly critical of it. I discuss three aspects of the godly masculine ideal — de-emphasizing heterosexual conquest, inclusive masculinity, and homo-intimacy — that work to subvert hegemonic masculinity and allow ministry members to critique it while still advocating for innate gender distinction and hierarchy. I conclude by arguing that gender theorists need to be more precise in distinguishing conservative religious masculinities from hegemonic ones. 

I had not seen "masculinity" used as a plural before, and certainly not with three different competing adjectives.  I think I'll just go watch some football.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Repeat after me: Kevin Durant is not an all-star, Kevin Durant is not an all-star, Kevin Durant is not.....

Every year, KD goes to the all-star game, kicks ass, and then comes back home exhausted and plays bad (by his standards) for a couple weeks. The Thunder accordingly have a post all-star swoon (by their standards). [I am way too lazy to look this up, but it is based on my experiences and memories as a 6 year Thunder season ticket holder]. Durant hoists a ton of shots over the weekend and then his in game shooting suffers (especially behind the arc) when the season resumes.

Fair enough. He is amazing and it's been a blast going to Thunder games with him on the team.

But this year we can't afford it. The Thunder are 22-20, and sitting outside the playoffs and that's before having to play ATL and CLE on the road this weekend!

KD needs to kick back, rest his foot, and take it easy during the All-star break. Maybe even come down to the Riverwind and play some poker with me, Mark Kaplan, Jim Traber, and Russ!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Angus returns to the NBA

Even though Bill Simmons has severely truncated me and Tyler's hustle, I still get to do some fun economics of sports stuff now and again.

Heres a link to the recording of my lengthy interview on BYU radio. We start at the 24 minute mark of the recording.

I try to explain increasing returns to talent, the median voter theorem, and the difficulties involved in getting people to pay for public goods, all in the context of why top NBA stars are likely underpaid.

I also enjoyed briefly getting to compare the socialist NFL to the much more Darwinian English Premier League.

Thanks to the folks at BYU radio for having me on.

Mere Liberty

C.S. Lewis is a very interesting thinker.

Here's a lecture by David Theroux of Independent Institute on "C.S. Lewis on Mere Liberty and the Evils of Statism."

It's pretty long, but you can download it as an MP3 and listen to it as a podcast.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sharing and Dating

"What's your price?" is a dating site, sort of.  You decide what it is.

I wonder if the name comes from this famous (and apocryphal) anecdote.   I have heard Churchill, but I think "Lord Beaverbrook" is my new favorite source for something that the source never said. 

How different from paying for dinner, the show, and maybe some jewelry?  Yes, actually, it is.

When Owls Attack!

Angus has pointed out the owl scourge that threatens America before.

Now, a new attack.  Guy thought it was an enormous bat.

Why do we even have a government, if owls are allowed to attack innocent people like this?

Tale o'the tape.  GH Owls can weigh more than 5 pounds.  That's a big bird.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Congrats to Andreas P!

          They hatin'............

Book Prize Winner: 2 million!

The WINNER of the faaaaabulous prize is Andreas P, from Alexandria, VA!

He'll be receiving a copy of each of the following two books:


2.  Munger and Munger CHOOSING IN GROUPS

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Winner, Winner, Literary Dinner!

By my (not exactly perfect) detective work to discover the winner of the


prize for 2 millionth visitor to KPC, that winner is:

Comcast Cable  IP:  73.201.#.#

Mount Laurel, NJ

Dear Mount Laurel:  Excellent insanity, refreshing your page 119 in less than 10 minutes.  That was some OCD there, friend.

You have until Monday at 9 am to contact us ( munger @ duke dot edu ), and supply the last two (hidden above) portions of your IP address.

If you do, you will receive the ####-Grier and Munger-Munger books, at an address that you specify.

Congratulations!  And thanks to everyone for playing.

Hasta La Victoria Siempre

Carnival of Endogeneity: Kevinismus Edition

This is so great, people. Apparently Kevinismus is a rare German illness than manifests in parents giving their kids weird "american" names like Kevin (by the way it's Irish which infuriated my Scottish grandfather to no end).

Here's the linky


"At some point in the last couple of decades, parents in Germany started coming down with Kevinismus— a strange propensity to give their kids wholly un-German, American-sounding names like Justin, Mandy, Dennis, Cindy, and Kevin. Kids with these names tend to be less successful and have more behavior problems in school. Studies of the Kevinismus phenomenon attribute these effects to a combination of teachers’ prejudices toward the names, and the lower social status of parents who choose names like Kevin."

Hat tip to the one and only Mrs. Angus!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Countdown to Destiny....

As Angus noted, we approach the 2 million visitor level.  You can follow progress down toward the middle-right of the page, on the red "SiteMeter."  That number will be the official number, and we will identify # 2 million soon!

In addition to the REAL book on offer as a prize (with piece of tape, illustrating Angus's lefthanded tearing skills, strategically hiding an offense against nature), there will also be this book delivered to the winner:

That's the powerful Bill Evers holding the book over his head, in triumph.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

A tale of two Krugmans

"If the economic news has been better lately, it’s probably in part because of the fact that federal, state and local governments have finally stopped cutting. And spending cuts have, in particular, cost a lot of jobs." ~ Paul Krugman, January 11, 2015

"Since Obama took office, we’ve gained 6.7 million private-sector jobs, compared with just 3.1 million at the same point under Bush. But under Bush we’d added 1.2 million public sector jobs, while under Obama we’ve cut 600,000." ~ Paul Krugman, December 28, 2014

Wait, what?

So the spending cuts have "cost a lot of jobs", but there's been 6.1 million new jobs total under Obama (6.7-.6) versus 4.3 million under Bush (3.1+1.2)? That's around 42% more total jobs (1.8 / 4.3) from Obama than Bush, but spending cuts have "cost a lot of jobs"?

Does PK think that if public sector jobs had been 1.8 million higher than actual under Obama that private sector job growth would have been unchanged?

The graph of private sector jobs vs. real government spending is kind of interesting:

From 2008 to the end of the sample, the correlation between the two series is -0.75!

Now sure, the government could be reacting to the job movements by increasing spending when jobs are falling and then tapering off when jobs are increasing. That makes sense, it's called counter-cyclical policy and it's generally what we want.

But PK is railing against the tapering of government spending (austerity) saying it "cost a lot of jobs", even though, as he pointed out, job growth under Obama is quite a bit higher than under Bush (and lord knows Bush didn't cut spending) and that private jobs grew strongly during our era of austerity.

Now one can always construct the convenient "counterfactual" that job losses would have been worse without the stimulus and job gains would have been stronger without austerity, but it requires some pretty difficult mental gymnastics. If $700 billion in stimulus over 9 quarters didn't notably stem job losses, how can $325 billion of austerity over 14 quarters notably hurt job growth? Or putting it the opposite way, if the small amount of austerity killed jobs, how could the much larger amount of stimulus not notably stem job losses?

It's pretty tough to have it both ways, but PK is sure giving it his best shot.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ad for Angus

I can imagine Angus muttering "Goldarn kids!" and aiming the Daisy through the upstairs window at the kids on the cul de sac.  "They'd better not step on my nasturtiums!"

Only in Norman, though.  Not many kids around in Santa Fe.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Spectacular KPC 2,000,000th visitor massacre!

People, the sublime mess that is KPC keeps on chuggin'.  Sail on o ship of state and all that.

To partially thank our loyal, wonderful, (likely damaged) readers, we are going to give away two new Cambridge Press books to our awesome, divine, god-like two millionth visitor.

We could "spread the wealth around" and mail a page to each of you but that just not how we roll.

The first book is Munger's "Choosing in groups" (which is joint with the EYM. I wonder how many second year PhD students have CUP books out?).

But wait, there's more!

Since I can't write anything over 25 pages long and have no children, I've gotten Mrs. Angus to toss in a copy of her new Cambridge book, "The long process of Development"

Hey, I just thought of a joke:

Q: What's long and hard on a country?
A: Development!

So keep visiting KPC for your chance at these faaaabulous prizes.

I am not making this up. We will track our 2,000,000th unique visitor and upon contacting them and getting their info, will hit them with this awesome prize package. All decisions will be made by Mungowitz and are final. KPC employees and their families are ineligible.

(Technical detail:  the tracking info includes location and most--except last field--of the IP address, so we KNOW who you are, just like the freakin' NSA!  So no scamming, please.  We know your city and IP, and that will be your ticket to books.  If #2m does not contact us, we'll go to #2m+1, and then #2m-1, until we get a winner!)

Thanks for tuning in and don't touch that dial.

No Pride Anymore

There's no pride anymore.  I don't get any good "I'm a Nigerian prince!" spam any more.

And even the phishing is as limp and worn out as...well, the band Phish.  (Tofe, you know it's true).

I got this:  (click for an even more half-hearted image).

So, this is supposed to be from The Google, from Gmail, right?  And the idiot phisher  can't even bother to get a free fake gmail account, even just as a "reply to" address?  They have to send it from OUTLOOK?  How lazy do you have to be to think, "Ah, spoofing a gmail account would take an extra 30 seconds..."

There's just no pride anymore.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

What is Dead can never Die: American Austerity Edition

Yesterday, Sir Mathew Yglesias proclaimed that "2014 is the year American austerity came to an end"

Which kind of cracked me up. I guess the syllogism is (1) we had austerity, (2) austerity hurts growth, (3) growth picked up in 2014. (4) Therefore Austerity is over.

Here's the data series from 2000 through q3 of 2014 (and it's the same data Matt is using):

From this graph I concluded one of two things must be true depending on one's definition of austerity.

Either austerity means nominal cuts and we never had any of it, or austerity means cuts relative to trend and we are still savagely in its grasp.

Relative to the 2000-2009 decade trend, total government spending is roughly 35% lower in q3 of 2014 than it should be. Hard to say austerity is over by that metric.

When I tweeted this at Sir Mathew, he responded that it "seemed like semantics". One of us, and it could easily be me, does not know what that word means.

Gavan Duffy Plays the "Red House"

My Texas colleague, and now Syracuse prof., Gavan Duffy.

If you knew Gavan, you would know why having him play "The Red House" is pretty funny.  Still, the hot redhead with the red shoes playing harpoon is a nice touch.

Gavan Duffy Plays the Red House from Matt Bonham on Vimeo.

Friday, January 09, 2015

Click This!

Clicker fraud at Dartmouth.

In the "Sports, Ethics, & Religion" class no less!

Students didn't go to class but their clickers did and other students multi-clicked.

People, I have a serious question:  If you cheat in a total joke class is it really wrong?

According to the Chronicle, "The popular class was initially designed to help the college’s athletes, many of whom struggled with freshman-year coursework."

64 of the 275 students enrolled are accused.

Dartmouth needs a "keep the jocks eligible class"? Really?

And it's in the Religion department?

Oh, my.

In the classes where I use classroom response systems, I've found it pretty easy to compare the number of people in the room with the number of people signed into the system. So far, that's been pretty fool-proof.

I am guessing this "absentee clicking" was tacitly condoned and the reason there is a problem is that some non-jocks wandered into the class and complained.

I guess this is why we can't have nice things.

I guess this now rockets Dartmouth past Cornell into the "least plausible member of the Ivy League".


Thursday, January 08, 2015

Liberals are WEIRD

Liberals Think More Analytically (More "WEIRD") Than Conservatives 

Thomas Talhelm et al. 
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming 

Abstract: Henrich, Heine, and Norenzayan summarized cultural differences in psychology and argued that people from one particular culture are outliers: people from societies that are Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic (WEIRD). This study shows that liberals think WEIRDer than conservatives. In five studies with more than 5,000 participants, we found that liberals think more analytically (an element of WEIRD thought) than moderates and conservatives. Study 3 replicates this finding in the very different political culture of China, although it held only for people in more modernized urban centers. These results suggest that liberals and conservatives in the same country think as if they were from different cultures. Studies 4 to 5 show that briefly training people to think analytically causes them to form more liberal opinions, whereas training them to think holistically causes shifts to more conservative opinions. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Monday, January 05, 2015

Write It Out

My friend Kathrin DePue does a Taylor Swift parody.  But it ends being not really funny, and kind of poignant.  You really do have to write it out.  And that other stuff has to happen,too.  The words are good.  Plus, Kathrin can sing pretty well.