I love this sort of thing: here’s a map of the lower 48 states by median noise level.
I love tracing out the interstates, and identifying which little blogs are which cities. Everyone’s got their odd compulsions, right?
The place I live is the third little blob on the way from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City … tracing out I-15. I also lived in Tuscaloosa about 25 years ago, and that’s a fun one to spot too.
And here’s the map of the ambient noise without people.
The east is noisier because it’s denser with animal life.
FWIW: one of the most amazing natural things I’ve ever listened to was a boardwalk out into the prairie at Badlands National Park. You leave the parking area, and walk out a few hundred feet on this boardwalk, and the sound of the prairie is amazing: birds everywhere in the grass, and you would rarely see any of them … plus insects, and breezes.
FWIW2: I’ve been to Badlands twice. The second time, at the same boardwalk, out at the end were two older couples. And the women talked non-stop about how they were both from Connecticut! I actually asked them to stop, and they took offense, and refused. Their husbands got the message and eventually got them to go back to their cars. You’re not supposed to call little old ladies a**holes, but here goes: A**holes!
A few years ago, there was a push in Utah to move from caucus-oriented politics to primary-oriented politics.
I can’t speak for everyone, but the people and arguments behind this grass roots (or more likely, astroturf) push seemed awfully doe-eyed and innocent.
Unlike most Americans, I’ve lived in both primary-oriented and caucus-oriented states. The government is better, and politicians are less aloof in the latter.
The petitions were signed though, and it went up to Salt Lake, where the legislators … hmmm … I think the technical term is “shit-canned it”.
However, they did make some moves to adopt the worst of both systems as some sort of improvement.
Flash forward to yesterday afternoon …
I am in my driveway unloading groceries.
There is a black and white police squad car parked about 2 houses away (very unusual for my neighborhood).
After a few minutes I am approached by its driver: an off-duty police officer (I do think they are allowed to take their cars home for private use and visibility in my city).
The off-duty police officer calls me by name.
The off-duty policy officer asks me to sign a petition.
The petition is put forth by an incumbent politician. If he can get enough signatures, he is deemed popular enough to waive the caucuses, and face a primary instead. (Of course, incumbents love primaries, because not many people vote in them).
I refused, even though I like this politician. The off-duty police officer politely said his thanks, and left.
I have no doubts that the off-duty police officers actions were legal: he was on his own time using a company car. I am a registered voter and party member, so I am sure my name and address are publicly available for canvassing.
I do have doubts as to whether the use of police officers was entirely random. It seems to me that they constitute a group that is particularly easy for politicians to reach out to for free labor.
I brought this up with the soon to be 17 vXboy today. He saw right through it: what could possibly go wrong with a system where legislators use police to obviate democratic processes?
I’ve probably read about 10K words in memoriams to him over the last 3 days.
And not once have I seen mentioned a role that … tickled me. I thought it was so cool when watching the 2007 tv-mini-movie/super-episode “Atlantis Squarepantis” of Spongebob Squarepants, when I recognized Bowie’s voice as Lord Royal Highness.
What a cool guy.
I’m sure I man-talked the vXkids more than once about that one.
We all know what cognitive dissonance is: it’s having two thoughts that are in conflict with each other, and feeling uncomfortable about it because you’re starting to recognize there’s a problem.
Regarding macroeconomics, a lot of people believe things that inconsistent with each other: they don’t seem to have any sense of cognitive dissonance at all. Here’s Mark Perry:
He drew this from a post Don Boudreaux made at Café Hayek:
… I had a pleasant if brief conversation with a Danish-American woman. A fair summary of her views about government-provided welfare is the following:
(1) It’s a “right-wing myth” (her term) that generous unemployment and long-term disability compensation payments from government diminishes work effort. “People’s economic decisions are more complicated,” she insisted, than “right-wingers” believe them to be.
(2) A (the?) chief cause of crime is inadequate income. Welfare payments reduce criminal activity.
These two positions are widely held, and are typically held simultaneously by the same person – as, for example, they are held simultaneously by this woman. Yet there is a fierce – although largely unnoticed – tension between (1) and (2). (1) says that people don’t respond very much to monetary incentives; (2) says that people respond very much to monetary incentives. Put differently, according to (1), the prospect of receiving money from government does not significantly diminish the amount of effort people exert to get income from non-governmental sources, while (2) says that the prospect of receiving money from government does indeed significantly diminish the amount of effort people exert to get income from non-government sources.
Either incentives matter, or they don’t. But they can’t matter when it’s convenient to you, and not matter when it isn’t.
This is related to my earlier post that part of what makes macro so hard is the metacognition deficit of policymakers.
Related to this is an argument set forth by Ram (there’s a primer below the quote):
I'd contend that the main problem in America is that the public, including its highly educated members, is social-scientifically ignorant. Most people I talk to about policy do not even realize that there is anything non-trivial about policy analysis. They want the government to make sure that four phases of rigorously designed RCTs be performed before drugs are made available to the public, for fear of unintended consequences of intervening on a complex system like the human body, yet they think they understand the consequences of highly complex interventions on human societies by introspection alone. Not only do they think they understand the consequences of alternative policy choices, but they're so confident that their understanding is right and that its truth is so obvious that the only explanation for disagreement is evil intentions. When I point out that on virtually every policy issue, at least somewhat compelling arguments for many conflicting points of view have been made by relevant experts, people usually react in disbelief or denial, or immediately retreat to questioning the motives of these experts ("of course they say that, they're on the payroll of Big Business" or whatever). These patterns of speech and behavior are uniformly distributed across the political spectrum, even if intelligence and knowledge of well-established facts is not. Even many experts in particular areas of social science evince no awareness of the lack of expert consensus on almost anything in their field, and give the impression of unanimity to an unknowing public.
My guess is that if you were to convince a supposedly non-utilitarian person that their (e.g.) deontological prescriptions might have terrible consequences, then they would revisit them. Anti-consequentialism is easy to maintain so long as you believe the consequences of your proposals are desirable, but most would fold if convinced otherwise. [the emphasis is not mine]
There’s some highbrow language in here, so let me translate a bit for potential students.
When Ram uses the word “non-trivial” about policy choices, what is meant is that many people think policy choices are trivially easy: this one’s right, that one’s wrong, choose the right one. Does this sound like Donald Trump? When Ram says people don’t recognize that the choices are non-trivial, it means that there are lists of pros and cons that have to be weighed without solid information. It’s not completely guesswork, but some of it might be.
When Ram mentions RCTs, the point is the ridiculous level of testing that for-profit corporations have to go through to “prove” that their medications are safe (even though any yahoo down the road can sell you a poisonous plant and call it a medicinal herb without even having a license).
When Ram mentions introspection, what’s meant is “thinking about it a bit”. For example, Obamacare is an example of multiple “highly complex interventions in human societies”. But how many people do you know that have spent much time thinking about whether Obamacare will work or not, before deciding that they’re for it or against it?
Ram says that many people believe the “truth is so obvious that the only explanations for disagreement is evil intentions.” Is that an argument President Obama has used repeatedly?
Ram writes “if you were to convince a … person that their (e.g.) deontological prescriptions might have terrible consequences, then they would revisit them.” Deontological is college-level word that means that you justify the correctness of your actions because you followed the rules or orders. (You know, that’s the excuse the Germans made about things the Nazis did). The prescriptions are recommended policy actions (just like your doctor might give you recommended medication directions). So, what’s being said here is actually rather hopeful: if you can convince people that the bad policy choice they made was because they were just following orders, they might reconsider it.
Lastly, Ram mentions “anti-consequentialism”. You’ve probably heard the old saw: the ends justify the means. That’s consequentialist: it means that it’s OK to do something bad initially if it ends up good on net. For example, parents call this tough love. To be anti-consequentialist is to think that the means or motivations are all that count: basically, if you think you’re doing good, then you are. Ram is saying that only worrying about motivations rather than consequences (thus, being anti-consequentialist) is an easy viewpoint to stick with if you’re not inclined to ever check the results. At least on Iraq, it’s fair to say the Bush administration was anti-consequentialist.
Tie this altogether, and what Ram is saying (and what I’m applying to macroeconomics) is that world is a messy place, with a lot of gray areas, and there are way to many people acting as if the gray areas don’t exist at all.
It seems absurd to predict that the novel itself might one day become extinct, and yet Orwell was right to connect its heyday to the “Protestant centuries.” From Defoe and Fielding to Austen and Dickens, the stuff of the novel was the account of finding one’s place in the world—either through marriage, choice of profession, or journey of inner growth. In feudal Europe, however, one’s place in the world was fixed. Before the novel could come into existence, the specific course of the individual life had to become a thing of interest, and for this to happen, the feudal order had to fall.
With the development of internet technology, work at home jobs are increasing in the market. Also setting up small business online with ones own bank savings can provide excellent work at home opportunities. Apart from savings, banks offer0 credit card to cater to short term finance needs. Partial tax payments like tax credits are also available to promote online businesses. Market now offers several alternatives to traditional credit card debt which are helpful to work at home businesses.