Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Theory-Consistent Three-Way?

There are two sentences here I never thought I'd see in an academic paper.  "Genital salience" and "A theory-consistent three-way."  Academics is a lot fun, folks!

Sex-linked mating strategies diverge with a manipulation of genital salience 

Adam Fetterman, Nicole Kruger & Michael Robinson
 Motivation and Emotion, February 2015, Pages 99-103

Abstract: Trivers (Sexual selection and the descent of man, Aldine-Atherton, Chicago, pp 136–179, 1972) proposed that evolutionary factors should favor divergent mating strategies for males versus females. Such differences may be less pronounced among human beings than other animals and social norms and sex roles are also pertinent influences. The present experiment (N = 133 college undergraduates, 74 female) sought to bypass some of these other influences. Participants were randomly assigned to a condition designed to increase attention to the genital region (a downward pointing arrow) or not (an upward pointing arrow). They then reported on their interest in short-term (e.g., a one-night stand) and long-term (e.g., a potential marital partner) mating opportunities. A theory-consistent three-way interaction occurred such that the genital salience manipulation primed a shorter-term reproductive strategy among men and a longer-term reproductive strategy among women. The results provide unique support for evolution-linked ideas about sex differences in the form of a role for bodily attention.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mardi Gras

Jackie Blue made it Mardi Gras.  And little Jackie was in the baby holder.  Jack looks pretty good for a grandpa, don't he?

I bet that cigarette wasn't even lit.  Much.

New KPC baby

People, we have a new mascot! Noah Smith, one of my favorite bloggers, sent us this great impersonation of Baby Patton and we are proud to fly him on our masthead!

If you'd like to be memorialized in this fashion, send your photo to me or Mungowitz and we will see what we will see.

(As always, KPC employees and their families are not eligible for this promotion)

Friday, February 20, 2015

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Pick your favorite stupid part of this act....

Several obvious possibilities:

A.  There were skid marks UNDER the ice.  A mystery that would require Sherlock Holmes to figure out....not.

B.  The guy already had his shirt off, in case he was going to be on C*O*P*S.  In spite of the 15 degree F wind chill.  So, the only thing he actually planned was the shirt-off thing.

C.  They kept the buckets in the back seat of the other car.

D.  The friend, who showed up later, was ALSO drunk and was also charged with drunk driving.

E.  The artificial black ice could quite possibly have caused another car to run into the guy who had faked the accident.  Perhaps it wasn't C*O*P*S, but a Darwin Award, that he was going for all along.

F.  For reasons that escape, women seem to LIKE this kind of guy (hey, he was creative, and he had a BMW until he wrecked it, faked an accident, and had to go to jail!).  So maybe it's not even a Darwin Award, but a highly effective redneck mating dance.  Leaving me to draw the conclusion that, once again, women are the very hardest thing to understand or explain.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pretzel Logic

Apropos of at least a few things, here is a very funny story from Michael Crichton:

A man goes on vacation and leaves his cat with his best friend. And he’s on vacation and the friend calls him up and says, “Listen. I’ve got some bad news. The cat got up on the roof and we can’t it down. We called the fire department. They came. The cat jumped to a tree. They went up the tree, but anyway, the cat fell, the cat’s dead.”

They guy said, “Oh, my God! How can you tell me in this way?”

He said, “Well, how should I have told you?”

He said, “Well, you have to prepare me. The first day, you should have called and said, listen, the cat’s on the roof and we can’t get her down. Then the second day, you call and you say the fire department’s here and the cat’s jumped to the tree, and the third day, you call me and you say the cat died, and by then, I’m prepared.”

The guy said, “Oh, that’s the way you want it?” He said yes.

He continues his vacation. Gets a call a week later, and his friend says, “Listen, your mother’s on the roof and we can’t get her down.”

The whole Crichton talk is pretty fun.

When The Internet is Regulated....

When the internet is regulated, only the regulated will have internet.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Socialist Paradise

They been spending most they lives, living in a socialist paradise.

But now they have slogans.  That will help.

"Let us turn ours into a country of mushrooms..."

Okay, so maybe it won't help.

"Let us establish the climate of attaching importance to military affairs more firmly across society!" 

Hey, wait a minute.  That's what the U.S. has been doing.  Don't steal our slogan, Big Un!

"Let us build a fairyland for the people by dint of science!"

Hey, you stole that from our "climate scientists"!  This is getting very close to copyright infringement.  Make up your own government pathologies, North Korea!

(Nod to M.K.)

Friday, February 13, 2015

I'm not bossy, I'm the boss

KPC 2013 music fave Speedy Ortiz is back with a new album in April. Here's the first song they've released from said album.

Sounds like the lovechild of Liz Phair and Steve Malkmus, no?

This is good stuff people, don't snooze!

When Owls Attack: Sign of the Apocalypse

Angus has been a voice in the wilderness for years, calling our attention to the world-wide scourge of owl attacks.  If a toddler has one, in fact, there is real danger.

But can it really be a "thing," to the point that there are signs warning of owl attacks?

Yes.  Yes, it can.

(Nod to the LMM)

Twin Brothers from Different Mothers?

A reader ( @formfunctnform ) suggests the following comparison:

Steve Carrell in "Foxcatcher":


Thursday, February 12, 2015

you can't stop Children of the Revolution

So McDonalds is running a big sale on French Fries in Korea and Japan.

And apparently some young people have a very elastic demand curve for fries.

Here's a recent picture from Japan:

(I think they might need some more ketchup)

and from Korea:

these kids have been getting a lot of heated criticism on social media for these "stunts", but people, come on. This is awesome. It's better art than anything Ai Wei Wei has done in years and it's just not hurting anybody (yes I know "crowding out" and all that but please).

So I salute you, cheap fry loving Asian youths! Long may you reign, and watch out for diabetes and hypertension.

Wetrock Farm in Durham

A friend of ours is developing an area that will be called "Wetrock Farm."  It sound pretty interesting.

Durham is actually a very nice place, becoming more so recently.  I think the change dated to Angus and Ms. Angus staying here, nearly 10 years ago now.  That had to be it...  Hipsters attract hipsters, it's a law of nature.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Markets in Everything: Uncle Boonmee edition?

Thailand is a fascinating country that I very much plan to visit again. This past weekend, Tyler convinced Mrs. A and I to watch "Uncle Boonmee who can recall his past lives" on Netflix.

It's different and to American eyes way out there, but we loved it.

Lyrical and funny, with many scenes as beautiful and moving as I've ever seen. I'm looking forward to checking out the director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul's other films as well.

I'd call him the Jim Jarmusch of Thailand.

However, this article in the NY Times made me think that the plot was not as "out there" as it seemed to me. Apparently Thailand is crawling with ghosts,

"There are more than 100 types of ghosts in Thailand, he says, including the Pi Pob, which enters human bodies and possesses them; the Preta, a tall, thin ghost that seeks vengeance among the living; Phi Lung Kluang, a variety from southern Thailand that takes a human form with a hole in its back, exposing its skeleton; and widow ghosts, prevalent in northeastern Thailand, which seek to steal men away from their families.

The belief in the supernatural, ghosts and otherwise, infuses daily life in Thailand. Ministers inaugurate their offices at auspicious times, and powerful generals have been known to consult seers before a big decision, such as launching a coup — a relatively regular occurrence in Thailand. Fortune tellers are consulted by everyone from business executives forging multimillion-dollar deals to students facing uncertain careers and couples wanting to conceive."

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Twin Brothers from Different Mothers?

Consider:  Franz Liszt

Gerald Gaus

Clearly, Jerry is a vampire, a continuation of the life-force of Liszt from long ago.  Not sure about that grad student, though.  Looks confused with his head all cocked over like that.

This week's sign of the Apocalypse

Let me see if I got this straight, Chicken Flavored Vegetarian Ham?

People, if crap like this can happen, why do we even have a government at all?

Monday, February 09, 2015

Gosh, Who Would Have Thought?

Peter Overby did this story this morning on National People's Radio.

In it, he laments the fact that McCain-Feingold has destroyed party structures, especially in the states.

But when I tried to make this case, in my Senate testimony before the Rules and Admin Committee, in April of 2000, it didn't get very far.  The thing is that it was absolutely clear--fifteen years ago!-- that the BCRA was a party-killing incumbent protection bill.  That Caesar of the Senate, John McCain, just finds competition very inconvenient. It's not an accident that now most contributions to candidates, and therefore to incumbent candidates.

So, forgive me.  But I TOLD YOU SO.  We even did a letter, fergoshsakes

Burn it with Fire: Friday classes edition

Here's a graph of attendance over the semester from a large Harvard class:

Students don't come to Friday classes. This is freakin' Harvard. It's much worse at State U.

Plus, 50 minute MWF classes are a hard way to get a lot of material covered. Between the settle down and the throat clearing and the review and the get-away, you got like 35 minutes to do real business.

There's just no need for them. Schools should go MW and T/Th and be done with it. Friday's are for seminars, grading, meeting with your advisees, and having lunch with some colleagues.

My Power Gets Me High

I almost always find myself inspiring.  Is that so WRONG?

Power Gets You High: The Powerful Are More Inspired by Themselves Than by Others 

Gerben Van Kleef et al. 
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming 

 Abstract: Inspiration is a source of admirable creation — but where do people get it from? We propose that power allows individuals to draw inspiration from the self. Four studies involving different social settings and operationalizations support this idea. Study 1 revealed that greater power is associated with more self-derived inspiration and less other-derived inspiration. In Study 2, participants with a higher sense of power were more inspired by their own than by their partners’ stories in face-to-face conversations, whereas lower power participants were not. In Study 3, higher power people spontaneously generated more inspiring stories involving themselves than did lower power people. Finally, participants in Study 4 felt more inspired after writing about their own experiences than after writing about someone else’s, especially after having been primed with high rather than low power. These findings suggest that powerful people prioritize themselves over others in social interaction because this is emotionally rewarding for them. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis, who also inspires me.

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Headlines from Florida

The woman didn't know she was pregnant.

And the baby weighed 14 pounds.

Speculate about the set of things that would have to be true for those facts to go together.

But both appear to be healthy, and that's the main thing!  As always, so proud of Florida.

At the Movies, with your host Leo Strauss

Watched "The Drop" last night with Mrs. Angus and Tyler. At its core, the film is a geo-political morality play where the US impresses China but horrifies Europe by killing Putin (and admitting to having done such killings in the past). However, the US has a very cute puppy and Europe comes back to us in the end. In his last ever role, James Gandolfini plays Japan.

Tyler seemed to think it was about the external benefits of gentrification, but what does he know? I'm pretty sure Tyrone agrees with me.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Truck-stop goat biryani

Tyler is visiting us here in the 405, so we had to get creative for lunch.

Chicken tikka, paneer mattar, and goat biryani at Corky's grill. Corner of MLK Blvd. and East Reno.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

KPC at the CFA: Angus edition

Got all gussied up last night to speak at the Oklahoma CFA Association's annual dinner:

The Topic of the evening was "The Fed and its Critics", with the secret subtitle of "Monetary Cranks".

Oxen were gored, fortresses were plundered, and at dinner we debated which country was more overrated, Mexico or China?

Thanks to @swinkler78 for the invitation and to the good people of the Society for putting up with me.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Sunk Costs in a Basketball Economy

Are Sunk Costs Irrelevant? Evidence from Playing Time in the National Basketball Association 

 Daniel Leeds, Michael Leeds & Akira Motomura 
Economic Inquiry, forthcoming 

Abstract: We use playing time in the National Basketball Association to investigate whether sunk costs affect decision making. Behavioral economics implies that teams favor players chosen in the lottery and first round of the draft because of the greater financial and psychic commitment to them. Neoclassical economics implies that only current performance matters. We build on previous work in two ways. First, we better capture potential playing time by accounting for time lost to injuries or suspension. Second, we use regression discontinuity to capture changes when a player's draft position crosses thresholds. We find that teams allocate no more time to highly drafted players. 

Nod to Kevin Lewis

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Odds are Good

This is annoying, because it (again) shows that people have an impoverished sense of what probability means.

Because they can't wrap their head around an "event."

The incident:  Michigan lottery "picks" same 4-digit number two days in a row?  What are the odds of THAT happening?  It must be (pick one:  God.  Fraud.  Sign that probability isn't real.  Etc.)

Well, it depends on what you mean by "THAT" in the paragraph above.  Consider:
  • 44 US states have lotteries. Let's say they all have a 4-digit game, to keep things simple.
  • There is a lottery result every day, all 365 days per year.
  • The chances of hitting any given number is 1/10,000  (because 0000 is a possibility, up to 9999, by ones)
 So, if "THAT" is the chance of the Michigan lottery having exactly the same number two days in a row, then THAT is pretty unlikely.  It's 1/10,000 every day, because it's the chance of hitting yesterday's number again today.

But if we are talking about one state lottery somewhere (there was nothing special about it being Michigan, ex ante) on some day in given year (there was nothing special about those two days), then THAT is just the chance one lottery out of 44 picks the same number on consecutive days, out of 365 (since it could happen on the first day, but that would be across years).

If there are 44 4-digit lotteries every day, and the probability of getting a different number in each particular lottery is 9,999/10,000, that means that the probability of duplicate numbers in SOME state (out of 44), on a given day, is .00439.

But we do that 365 times per year.  Since the chance of no duplicates in all 44 states, on a given day, is .9956, the chances of no duplicates for a year is .9956^365 or .2007.

If that's right (and I'm just doing this back-of-the-envelope, so I've probably made a mistake in logic or calculation!), that means that in any given year the chances of a duplicate lottery, two consecutive days the same number, in some state, is about 80%.

Does that sound right?  If you carry out to multiple years, say 5 years, the chances of getting at least one duplicate in at least one state are better than .999.  It will be a little more complicated in real lotteries, because they are not all simple "pick four digits between 0 and 9," but the same sort of logic applies.

With the caveat, again, that I have likely made a mistake.  The question, then, is whether consecutive duplicates are really as common as this calculation implies.  Thoughts?

Example.....  Example.....  Example..... Explanation.

Excellent example...

Lagniappe:  Scott de M suggests an exercise, left to the reader:  Prove that some athlete, somewhere, in some sport, has a jersey number that matches both  his age and number of wins he has played in.