Tuesday, October 31, 2017

An Econ 101 Question.....

Why is it that soda cans are sold in boxes that look like this....

But beer is sold in boxes that look like this....

My guess:  Soda cans are usually sold warm, and it is convenient to be able to put the whole box into the fridge and have it cool quickly. For that, you want more surface area. Beer, on the other hand, is often sold cold. You then transport the container to somewhere where (if you are, for example, Ben Powell ) you drink the entire 12 pack while you shoot your deer rifle at the power lines from your back porch, sitting in your underwear on a lawn chair. That would mean that you want LESS surface area for the already cold-and-you-want-to-stay-cold beer than for the warm, want-to-cool-fast, and only one or two cans a day soda. The surface of the beer box is 325 square inches. The surface area of the soda box is 365 square inches. You want the soda to cool fast, and you want the beer to warm slowly. So, there is 12% more surface area on the soda box, just as you would expect if Powell's Law ("Hey! We ain't done drinkin', son. There's still beer left in the cardboard box!") is correct.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.   7 Nihilistic Quotes That Only Brilliant, Misunderstood Young Males On The Internet Will Appreciate.

2. It's not so clear he DID know what he signed up for. Unless he signed up for random death and pointless violence, perpetrated by a state without any purpose or conscience.

3. By at least one measure, Trump actually is telling the truth about being the "DeRegul-Nator."

4.  Looking for something else, I came across Malcolm X's  1964 "Ballot or Bullet" speech. Don't know why I didn't already know it. I'll be using it in class now....

5.  I taught Chris Freiman everything he knew. Fortunately, he learned a lot more. An interesting discussion of "luck egalitarianism." And then there's his terrific book....

6.  The Angus/Mungowitz grad alma mater has decided to enter a sucking contest, on speech codes. And I have to admit that Wash U really does suck pretty hard.  Trying to be #1 at SOMETHING, perhaps?

7.  The problem:  We have produced so many artificial snowflakes.  The solution:  van Jones, with whom I agree on almost nothing, crushes this out of the park and into low-Earth orbit.  Brilliantly said, Mr. Jones. We should not pave the jungle for our young people.

8.  Was this Jeff Flake's equivalent to riding down the escalator?

9. The transaction costs economy and unintended consequences of policing Craig's List.

10. Should insurers manage the opioid epidemic? The "other" Dr. Michael Munger offers some views.

11.  National book publishing rates per million of population. The English-speaking countries are hard to interpret, because market is so big.  But Turkey is surprisingly highly ranked, given repression on most speech. And Denmark:  Wow. Pretty impressive.

12. Aussie report on productivity. Overall, not too bad. But multifactor productivity growth is essentially non-existent. That's not good. (Tomorrow 3.0, on the horizon?)

13.  Millenials feel entitled to use the word "entitled" without being ashamed of how entitled they feel.

14. Impeach-O-Meter: The jerk doesn't fall far from the jackass tree.

15. The corruption of the National Book Award.  Pretty powerful indictment.

16.  Blockchain, supply chain.

17.  You may recall the butter crisis in Norway. Which prompted this, one of the all time best videos to appear at KPC.  Epic. A plea from the heart. Etc.

Well, there's a new butter crisis.  And it's equally hilarious, in terms of the solutions proposed.

18. The U.S. is on the verge of its own "Cultural Revolution." On the obligation to speak up....

19.  Our attic has been living a lie. Almost verbatim the thesis of my new Cambridge book, in one pithy cartoon.  With thanks to the LMM.

20.  How smart do you have to be to be famous for being smart without ever having actually done anything?  Pretty smart, I'd say.  I did try to warn people about this classic type, though, right here, at #5.

21.  I often hear of people who are excoriated for "advising" dictators. The problem with that criticism is that growth usually produces democracy. So advising dictators how to grow the economy is corrosive to dictatorship (or maybe it is). (It's true that the U.S. government advised dictators on how to torture, but what do you expect from the state?) The oddest thing, though, is that for some reason telling outright lies in support of the Soviet regime was cause for Pulitzer prizes.

And the grande lagniappe: For Halloween tomorrow: 50 most excellent pun costumes.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  Just as Skippy suspected, squirrels chunk their nuts.  Little b***ards.

2.  In which Prof. Thomas Wood of OSU makes a claim.  A pretty sound spanking is administered by Columbia Prof. Musa Al-Gharbi here. (Lagniappe: More of Al-Gharbi's work. Nicely done...)

3. Planetary Resources: the first deep space commercial enterprise?

4.  The neo-Tollison post of the week: a perfect metaphor for the rent-seeking society.  Guy who had actual talents diverted to unproductive but highly remunerative tax shelter writing.  Now, guy is "too fat to jail."  Bob, get that bourbon and diet Coke and toast the world for us.

5.  Against the enemies of modernity.

6.  Hollywood appears to hope that if Harvey is burned at the stake, all the other abusers will just get a pass.

7.  Really? If "Wolfenstein" offends you, you are a snowflake. A Nazi snowflake, to be sure, but a snowflake nonetheless.

8.  Turo! Has anybody used it? Has anybody heard of it?  Seems interesting.

9. Might legalizing cannabis help reduce opioid use?

10.  Many of my colleague on the Left firmly believe in the value of international institutions.  I differ. I believe in their potential value. Their actual value is pretty low.  As evidence, I give you Robert Mugabe, "Goodwill Ambassador" for the WHO.

11. I'm wondering if this isn't the psychology equivalent of "broken window fallacy." The paper seems to say that social deviance can have positive social effects.  In particular, "gossip may be a mechanism through which deviance can have positive downstream social consequences."  Well, a hurricane likely causes increased social cohesion among survivors. But that just means that there is less harm than you might expect, NOT that there are "positive downstream social consequences."

12.  On the other hand, gossip may be beneficial all by itself.

13.  Trial by ordeal.

14. In which legal marijuana is discussed, and Jeff Sessions tells a "joke." Warning: I'm not sure it was a joke.

15. One problem with politics is that it's better to win elections than to lose them. Everything else is secondary.  Having started the "identity politics" crap, the Dems are horrified at the implications.   But it's pretty obvious that if your side depends on identity politics of minority groups, you are going to get hammered.  Yes, it's a shame that your enemies can use weapon that you used first. But the point is to win. That's why I don't trust majoritarian politics as a way of organizing society.

16. Almost Like Praying...

17.  FREE FOOD! In the staff kitchen! (I hear there's cupcakes, Mark!)

18.  Raleigh and the "Research Triangle" are often yammering about light rail. Always makes me think of the experience of Springfield.  Plus, there's a song.

19. KPC fave pmarca is, as usual, on firm ground. It may be true that software eats the world, but it's also true that the next morning there is another new world to be eaten...

Finally, congrats to those terrific Astros, for making the NY Yankees look like this:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

It's back.  Monday's Child is full of links.  You're welcome.

1.  Frampton comes back!  Here at KPC we covered the travails of one UNC physics prof., Paul Frampton, in Argentina.  So here, and then here, and then here. and then here.

But, now, he's BACK!  Ready to get back in the game. No, really, he rallied. All this texts that he called "jokes" at his trial? Those were fake!  And, to be fair, they were a bit odd.  It's all ridiculously entertaining.  Clearly should be a movie, with Will Farrell playing the lead role.

2.  Viewpoint diversity is important. But "affirmative action for conservatives" would just double down on the existing problem.

3.  Binders full of asinines.

4.  We're just wrestling, son!

5.  Apparently, the only important "diversity" is diversity of hues. Diversity of views or experiences doesn't count. And if you think it does matter, you will be forced into a Cultural Revolution style "Struggle Session" to be humiliated and forced to apologize.

6.  Robotics is not going to end the world.

7.  My man Sam Bowman explains what the word "endogenous" means.  And he's right.

8.  Did you know this? "Railfans" are people who like trains. But they scorn "Foamers," who really really like trains. Sometimes, railfans feel persecuted and misunderstood.

9.  The awesomely awesome Megan McArdle on EconTalk?  Two of my favorite people talking to each other? Where do I sign up?

10.  This....THIS is what made me decide that "Monday's Child" still has a place in a world of Twitter. Because sometimes you just need links.  Here's the story.  For those of you too young to remember, here's the correct historical reference:  "With God as my witness..."  That may have been the single best moment of television in the late 1970s, a time when television comedy ruled.

I want to end the new beginning of Monday's Child with a request:  Please send me links that belong here.  send to mungowitz at gmail dot com.  Thanks!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Bob Tollison is saying, "I told y'all so!"

Angus and I had a great friend, Robert Tollison, who died last year.

An article of faith for Bob, a core of his belief system, was that Dean Smith had somehow managed to corrupt and coopt the NCAA, and all basketball functionaries.  That is, it's not just that Dean and the UNC administration cheated. They had become the secret rulers of the whole process.

As you may know, there has been a scandal at UNC for the past five years or so.  Classes that didn't meet, had no requirements, and had papers written by TAs.

Thursday, the NCAA decided that there was nothing to be done. No sanctions, no punishment for basketball.   This is quite a surprise. It would NOT have surprised Bob.

Bob:  get a celestial bourbon and Diet Coke, and enjoy your vindication.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

People who believe in magic really do believe....

Connecting the Dots: Illusory Pattern Perception Predicts Belief in Conspiracies and the Supernatural
Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Karen Douglas & Clara De Inocencio , European Journal of Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract: A common assumption is that belief in conspiracy theories and supernatural phenomena are grounded in illusory pattern perception. In the present research we systematically tested this assumption. Study 1 revealed that such irrational beliefs are related to perceiving patterns in randomly generated coin toss outcomes. In Study 2, pattern search instructions exerted an indirect effect on irrational beliefs through pattern perception. Study 3 revealed that perceiving patterns in chaotic but not in structured paintings predicted irrational beliefs. In Study 4, we found that agreement with texts supporting paranormal phenomena or conspiracy theories predicted pattern perception. In Study 5, we manipulated belief in a specific conspiracy theory. This manipulation influenced the extent to which people perceive patterns in world events, which in turn predicted unrelated irrational beliefs. We conclude that illusory pattern perception is a central cognitive mechanism accounting for conspiracy theories and supernatural beliefs.