Monday, January 22, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  The second-hand clothing market is collapsing. Partly because new clothes are so cheap. If you think that's a bad thing, you need to rethink.

2.  Florida Man!  Dude just wanted a burrito. Didn't want any trouble.  With thanks to MS for the assist...

3. On being a little more careful about "life span."

4.  Please watch the video, and then read the story. I think she may even be serious. Who says millennials aren't entitled? I mean, you heard her: She's an INFLUENCER. She shouldn't have to PAY. In a related vein, I'm not even sure what this woman actually wants.  But she definitely wants it.

5.  Megan McArdle is en fuego. Just read down the stream as she live-tweets events in DC during the shutdown.

6.  The. THING. Itself. Why would you expect anything different?

7.  Civil asset forfeiture is straightforwardly "for profit" policing. It doesn't have to be private to be a revenue-maximizing activity. I'm always surprised when people think anything public is NOT revenue-maximizing. Why wouldn't it be? Anyway, a ray of hope.

8.  King of Jordan pretty much says, "Pence, you ignorant slut..."  I'm paraphrasing, but only a little. (If you are too young for the reference....)

9.  I don't know about this. I'm willing to believe that California has the highest poverty rate, because if you subsidize something you get more of it. And CA has a great climate and is kind to panhandlers.  But is it really true that people would be better off if they were forced to work?  Isn't that just a different take on the paternalism the article decries in others?

10. Two words you may not know: Bideshedding versus Yak-shaving. The distinction may be important!

11.  If things like this can happen (and they CAN happen!) why do we even HAVE a government?

12.  Why it's so hard to figure out what college actually costs: Because it's more like medical services (highly protected and noncompetitive) than it is like a market (where you get information because competition forces providers to give out information).

13. How could you say that Argentinan "gradualism" is WORKING? Just because it's not Venezuela?   If only we knew something about the history....

14.  You can't make this stuff up. Folks: New Jersey and the (incomplete) I-95!

15. On dating Aziz Ansari. And another date with him.

16. James Buchanan, Public Choice, and the Political Economy of Desgregation.

17. Price elasticity and the opioid crisis.

The Grand Lagniappe:

If you see it, please call it in. The owner REALLY needs it!

Saturday, January 20, 2018


I'm afraid that, in spite of Prof. Grier's epic "po-mouthing" that he is clearly winning, not losing, the citations race. Consider the two screen shots:

I would say there are two primary ways of judging impact in academic political economy: (1) number of contributions with >= 1,000 cites, and (2) h-index.

Prof. Grier has a 1,000 cite piece; I do not.  And the h-indexes are essentially tied.  AND the "since 2013" h-index is not even close. The difference between 21 and 18 is NOT "3," in any linear sense. He is running away with this, if you take the thing seriously.  I have little prospect of breaking 1,000 with anything any time soon. And he has several papers that were published in very visible places and will likely soon hit the post-2013 h-index.

(If you don't know what an h-index is....)

I guess that I'd go a different way, though. Two knuckleheads who shared an office in a basement 1983-4, who both failed their econ prelims (and deserved to) EACH now have an h-index over 30.  In some larger sense, an h-index over 30 is at least moderately bad-ass. Jim may not have been completely astonished at how Angus turned out, but I know Herb was surprised I ever got a job at all. So, here's to Angus and me, for surprising everyone by not being in jail!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

We'll make Millions!!

Mungowitz doesn't know it, but he and I are locked in a brutal citations battle.

It's brutal because, on a lifetime basis, he's KILLING me (they don't call him Killer Grease Mungowitz for nothing, people).

As of today, he strides the earth like a colossus with 7315 citations while I slink around with 5872.

However, slowly but don't call me Shirley, I'm catching up! in the last 5 years it's 1772 for me and a mere 1766 for KGM. Even better, for 2017 its 314 for me and 284 for him (as of today).

Let's say in a best case scenario, I keep up the 30 cites per year lead. I'm in a 1433 cite hole, so it will take almost 50 years to catch him.


So without further ado, let me present my idea, the amazing Citation Counting Tombstone!

Front of the stone contains an electronic display of your cites, alone or in comparison to any rivals you desire. Inside the stone a device running a python script to scrape the relevant info from Google Scholar (oh and a cell / wifi connection).  Back of the stone is a solar panel to power the various gizmos.

Given my intimate knowledge of the arrogance and insecurity of academics, this will sell like the proverbial hotcakes. Looking for a couple angel investors to finance a first round.

Phone call for @PMARCA!!!!! We can even put the word "blockchain" in the prospectus to drive the crowd into a frenzy.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links

1.  Giant spider (it was nearly 5 inches across its legs) causes person to go nuts, try to kill it with a blowtorch. Successfully set spider on fire. But spider then set rest of apartment on fire. Could this happen in the Mungowitz house? Probably not, because the LMM is afraid of blowtorches. But there might very well be ax marks all over the place if a spider were to show up.  Just to close the loop here, the females sometimes carry their young around. This can happen.

2. Really, Huma? You just can't pull the trigger and divorce him?  D2B, I guess.

3. Like a tower defense video game come to life. Three professional soccer players against 100 children.  The children are playing a 30-30-30-10 formation. Um, don't bunch up, kids. Stay spread out.

4.  Florida man! Pardon, is that a full rack of ribs in your pants, or are you just glad to see me?

5. Academic big leagues? Does this advice ring true to you, old folk academics?

6. My parents (dad: upstate NY; mom: rural IN) grew up in places that at that time were not doing well economically. They could have stayed there and hoped that the government would make it possible for them to stay in those places, because...I'm not sure why it would do that, actually. Why not go somewhere else? They did. If you live in place with no economic opportunity, move.   The old Sam Kinison line ("You live in a DESERT! Move to where the food is!") is unfair in Africa, because it's not possible to move. But in the U.S.? Our choices are to help people move, or to provide artificial reasons to stay in places that suck.

7.  It is plausible to call Haiti a sh*thole.  But if it is, it may because the U.S. dug the hole, and then sh*t in it.  Further, it is plausible to call the poor parts of India a sh*thole. But by and large Indian immigrants come to the U.S., create wealth for themselves and value for everyone else.  May their legion increase.

8. If you add constraints--in this case, sappy and soggy leftist views required--you limit responsiveness, adaptability, and achievement of the objective.  Surprising how many people advocate diversity of hues, but not of views.

9. There are plenty of actual eugenicists in the U.S. They were called "Progressives."

10.  I predict that this Florida man will NOT have a life of joy. We all want to be the lottery winner, but it's not really that fun, I bet. That's what I'm telling myself: I would hate to get $282 million in cash when I was 20. That's what I'm telling myself. Hate it, I would.

11. Enacting rituals to improve self-control.

12.  You can't wear a p**syhat to protest Trump's comments, because it might offend people who don't have...well....p**sies? His comment was about women who DO have those things, and there are lots of those people. Not every protest has to be intersectional. WTF?

13. If California is so rich, why is it so poor?

14.  Canada has its limits....

15,  Of crudeness and truth....

16. If it's on Amazon, it must be real. Should ship in March!  

The Grand Lagniappe: I think they are taking this whole "shovel ready project" thing too far.... Or else they just wanted to take the "fork in the road" up a notch.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  Inflatable unicorn horn for cats.  The look on the cat's face pretty much tells you why I think all cats should have one...or several. But then I don't really like cats much.

2.  Economists "say" a lot of things. Many of those things are wrong.

3. The impact of divorce laws on the equilibrium in the marriage market.

4.  In which Tim Worstall comments. On this remarkable call for "new economics." We don't see calls for new physics based on ethical problems (gravity pulls fat people down more than skinny people; is that fair?) But people think when it comes to economics they can just make sh*t up.

5. In a world of Babel, price is the only language spoken by all.

6.  They may thaw out and attack.  That's some Florida, raht thair.

7.  Kenny Loggins, King of the Movie Soundtrack.

8.  Witches.

9.  This reminds the LMM of someone she knows. I have no idea of whom it reminds her.

10.  Woody Harrelson. I thought his performances in Zombieland and Three Billboards are among the best, in such different ways, I've ever seen by an actor. Very different genres, obviously, but that's the point.

11.  This...I had no idea. A whole world of gross foolishness, all contained just in Scotland. Irn-Bru at the center of a full-fledged kerfuffle.  Tim Worstall wonders, what in the world did you expect? Plus, two extra points because he said "bleatings." I like it when people say "bleatings."

12.  Econ(Slovak)Talk.

13. A "Jubilee" for email debts.  (And a note on "Jubilee.")

14. Cassette tapes? Really?

15.  That stupid chart "showing" that productivity gains have all been stolen by the rich.

16. On Al Roth's Presidential Address at AEA. And the importance (implicitly) of PPE! On the other hand, much of what economists say is not really right.

17.  The right has abandoned the coastal cities.

18. Banning the book "The New Jim Crow." And also "Walking While Black." The problem is that laws give discretion to police, because the laws are so stupid that no one could expect them to be uniformly enforced. Or so I claimed, long ago.

19.  It's easier just to assume that anyone who disagrees with you must be evil. Because the alternative is that you might be wrong, and that just CAN'T be true.  So you should feel free to punch folks who are wrong.

20.  I'm happy to help out with mocking Trump's claim that he is either a genius, or stable, or both. But medicalizing disagreement with "Progressive Truths" is not that different from medicalizing disagreements with "Socialist Orthodoxy."

21.  Maybe Persia could build a wall, and make the West pay for it?

The Grand Lagniappe:

(I had wondered about this: does the meme work better if it is flipped like this?) The usual way of presenting it:

Monday, January 01, 2018

Monday's Child is Full of Links!

1.  An exam on asking questions at public events. Many students would benefit from taking and passing this class. But pretty much ALL faculty would benefit.

2.  This would be interesting, if it weren't such a misguided and misdirected critique of something that is actually NOT the problem at all.

3. It does seem that if Steven Spielberg thinks Ellsberg was a hero, then he has to admit Snowden was a hero. He could be wrong that Ellsberg was a hero, of course. But then he wouldn't have a very good movie.

4.  On how Taiwan made the switch to single-payer.  I'm not necessarily a fan of single-payer, but I do think it would be better than the current dog's breakfast of subsidies and regulations.

5. My good friend "Humean Being" on net neutrality.

6.  Obit of a great, great man: Nat Hentoff.  An original thinker utterly without a desire to please others by pretending to agree.

7.  New York is extremely safe. Even though there are people many different colors and religions there. So please, no fearmongering about guns or foreigners.

8.  Fragile, your younglings are.  Afraid, they will be.

9. In the 100 Acre Wood, things are bad. Very, very bad.

10. A very odd discussion, under #QuestionsForAProstitute hashtag.

11. Couple charged for gettin' busy at a Domino's. For the record, their pizza order? Yes, it was. Stuffed crust.

12.  How smart is your dog?

13. Mostly Weekly, from Reason.

14. The uninhabitable Earth?  In which we are told (1) climate change is caused by man; (2) climate change has always happened on Earth; and (3) climate change is happening on Venus.

15. Vin Scully doing the play-by-play of Koufax's perfect game, the 9th inning. "29,000 fans and a million butterflies." Koufax was 82 on Friday.... Seems like longer ago.

16. Florida Man! Dude (quite a handsome fellow, btw) got TOO MUCH cash from the ATM. So he beat up the ATM with his fists. There's nothing that makes any sense here, except that since it happened in Florida we just know that the rules are different.

17.  The myth of the male feminist.... (Gated)

18. The dogs of 2017.

19. Interesting example of LeBron's observation about homogeneity of markets. It's true that this "Irish Pub in a Box" creates similarity across "Irish Pubs," whether you are in Singapore or Buenos Aires. On the other hand, there are reasonably accurate versions of "Irish Pubs" in Singopore and Buenos Aires.  That's heterogeneity, not homogeneity.

20.  I had not heard of this part of the tax reform package, the "Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform" part. Me gusta.

21.  The "Lazy Millenial" on New Year's Resolutions....

22.  Golly. Heather Mac Donald has an explanation for why crime in NYC has fallen.  Simplifying only slightly: All the black folk moved out.  Yes, really. This response on Twitter shows that not all things on Twitter are useless or devoid of information.

23.  Mattress Woman, as a performance artist.

24.  The FIRE year in review.

25. The thing itself! In which an employee of the state, having been coached on how to testify, by attorneys being paid out of taxpayer funds, demonstrates the utter disdain in which the public is held.  Just so they could charge $2/page for...what? "Xeroxes."

26.  The David Collum Year in Review. Part One.  And Part Deux

Grand Lagniappe:  A Duke student on Jeopardy. Couldn't have done better myself....