A short film by Tatia Pilieva in which 10 pair of strangers are asked to kiss. Cute, sweet, and somewhat uncomfortable yet very compelling viewing. It made me all misty … perhaps it will do the same for you.
Do note that Chicago is considered to be a conservative university with a conservative law school.
And applaud Henderson for (finally) making a connection that economists trumpet routinely:
… I was struck by the paradox in the proposed remedies for these two problems by politicians. The first problem is income inequality, and the remedy is to set minimum contract terms. The second problem is externalities from carbon protection, and the remedy is to tax output levels. In both cases, the solution is to raise firm costs. The assumption driving the policy prescription for a Pigovian tax on carbon is the idea that higher costs will spur innovation in ways of reducing carbon output. Of course, that private firms subjected to higher costs will innovate in ways to reduce those costs is precisely the problem with minimum wage legislation, as you point out. This is an obvious point, but my mind never made the connection before.
Ummm … yeah. Increase the costs to firms of using carbon and they’ll innovate ways to avoid using carbon. Increase the costs to firms to use labor and they’ll innovate ways to avoid using labor.
It isn’t that hard.
What’s hard is that most people are innocently unaware of how blinkered their view of practical economics actually is.
Disclaimer: I can be a bit of a conservation scold, so I have no problem with the intention of the literature … just with its stupidity.
Anyway, this was an 8 page flyer passed out to elementary school students. It’s written for kids, but I wonder if it was written by kids as well.
My biggest complaint is with this stunner:
First it tells you to total up your number of bulbs by type. Good, so far.
If I can go so far as to use spreadsheet labeling, you’ve just filled in A1 and A2, and summed them to get A3=A1+A2.
Then it tells you to multiply those totals by the annual cost of electricity per bulb. Still good. You now have your total cost of electricity for all bulbs of each type in your house.
Continuing the spreadsheet theme, you’ve just made D1=A1*C1 (and D2=A2*C2).
Lastly, it tells you to multiply the entries in column D by the total number of bulbs (line 3). Make no mistake about it: that’s a direction to multiply by A3. This means that you’ll have E1=(A1+A2)*A1*C1 (and something similar for E2).
Yes, you’re reading that correctly: they’re telling kids that the way to measure the cost of energy is to square the number of light bulbs they have.
BTW: Column B is pointless if they’re going to direct you to use Column C.
The rest is small beer … but it sure is fun.
Efficiency just must not be selling as a buzz word these days:
Why call it wattsmart if you’re already calling it efficient? And, if it’s such a big deal to call it wattsmart … wouldn’t you title the section that way? I mean … they titled the whole booklet with it:
I’d think this already puts wattsmart above energy efficiency in the pecking order. Perhaps putting both italics and bold typefaces into one word just addled the author’s brain.
This appears alongside a graphic showing windmills, solar cells, and dams:
Yes, we make a big stink about our renewable sources of energy, and then tell the kids that we don’t use anything renewable to make electricity. Perhaps this is a Freudian slip (if I can project that behavior onto a firm).
I do sort of get the point of this one: that we turn primary/natural resources into a secondary/useful resource:
But having said that, is it OK to call electricity a resource? And, if, say coal and the electricity from coal are both resources, aren’t you double-counting?
Here’s how to keep the heat out:
Most middle-schoolers know that once the infared radiation gets inside the window, it’s in for good. The blinds just keep it … on the other side of the blinds.
I don’t even know where to start with this one:
Hmmm. Using both crude and unrefined is repetitive. How is petroleum different from oil (again, remember the target audience)? Isn’t refined oil already a petroleum product? Is there any such thing as refined oil? Isn’t the whole point that most of it isn’t oil any more … thus the different names?
Now, I know we could quibble about this one:
But … do you know of any nuclear plants that don’t use uranium? Yes, they can use plutonium … but why not say that? Plus, to me the wording suggests that some nuclear plants might just be using coal. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have a subsidy scheme in Europe that can make that a viable alternative.
This is really a disaster:
Hydropower is not “energy from water”. It’s the conversion of the potential energy of water at one altitude into kinetic energy by letting it drop to a lower altitude. In short, it’s capturing gravity with water.
From the department of redundancy department:
Read that one again: “Wind is energy from the wind”. Yes, it really does say that.
Now perhaps I’m a little nitpicky we these, but it seems to me if you’re going to give a bullet list under a heading, the first item shouldn’t be repeating or defining the heading:
I didn’t selectively edit those: reuse and recycle have one suggestion, but reduce only has an alternative definition.
Here’s how to save water (I can see that the power company might want me to save hot water, but not just any water):
That’s right! The glass is half-full with less water, and half-empty with more air.
You’re gonna’ love this one. They recommend you use CFL’s instead of incandescent bulbs. Fair enough … but we all know about the disposal issues, and they’ve go that covered:
Go ahead, click this link http://www.getenergysmart.org. It redirects an interested junior CFL recycler in the intermountain west to this New York State government site … with 355 words … not one of which is either CFL or disposal. If you put in “CFL disposal” into its search bar, you do get 3 links on the same site, and if you click through again … you get a map of places to safely dispose your CFL’s in New York. I’ll make sure to have the vXgirl bring any dead CFL’s I have in Utah when I visit Buffalo. Oh … one thing … where do I found out if it’s safe to bring a CFL in her Hello Kitty luggage?
And omigosh … it gets so much better. It shows a map of New York, and a text box where you can enter your zip code. And if you enter one that’s not in New York … it crashes!
And you gotta’ love the ending:
That’s right kids! If you fill out the survey about how to save energy, we’ll give you a nightlight to save less of it!
N.B. I wrote this a year ago, and am posting it now that my daughter is out of that grade and school.
The Teaching, Research, and International Policy (TRIP) Project at the College of William & Mary held a snap poll among international relations scholars, which asked: “Will Russian military forces intervene in response to the political crisis in Ukraine?” The results, reported in Foreign Policy, were disheartening: only 14 percent of the 905 interviewed scholars answered affirmatively on the eve of the intervention. (The poll was conducted from 9 p.m., Feb. 24 to 11:59 p.m., Feb. 27. Russian forces controlled the Sevastopol airport on Feb. 28).
The postscript is amazing:
On request: in a multiple regression analysis (whether by OLS or (ordinal) logit) the two covariates that have robust sizable and significant (p<.01) negative effects on predicting a military intervention are being at a Top 25 institution and self-identifying with the Liberal school of international relations.
Here’s a plot of the voting showing the subcategories they were able to obtain:
Hmmm. We have a president who was on the faculty at a top 25 school, and who self-identifies as a liberal.
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect works as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward-reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story-and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read with renewed interest as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about far-off Palestine than it was about the story you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
That is the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. I’d point out it does not operate in other arenas of life. In ordinary life, if somebody consistently exaggerates or lies to you, you soon discount everything they say. In court, there is the legal doctrine of falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus, which means untruthful in one part, untruthful in all.
My wife has a funny personality quirk, and perhaps there’s now psychological support for how it works out in the end.
So here goes: she likes to argue at bedtime. Not even bedtime really … often at lights out, or 5-10 minutes after. She’s got something to get off her chest, and she’s going to do it.
I have no doubt that it annoys her greatly that I’m not usually game by that point in the day.
Anyway, that’s the skinny. But I’m not really interested in that.
What I am interested in is that, almost always, after a good fight … she falls deeply asleep rather quickly.
This is interesting because she has quite a lot of trouble falling asleep most other nights. And it’s important to me: I’d wish her a good night’s sleep no matter what went on the day before.
And it really doesn’t seem to matter much what I do: argue back, respond passively, concede defeat, even just roll over and say I’m tired and I can’t do this right now. If she comes to a boil, she falls asleep afterwards. If she doesn’t come to a boil, her sleep pattern is more normal (and not that great in the way that is common for people in middlle-age).
This behavior extends to anxiety as well. If she’s anxious at night, and can’t sleep … she’ll often fall asleep after some emotional outburst at, say, the neighbor’s dog, or the TV.
So now, there’s new research showing that if you have performance anxiety, the advice to calm down and focus really isn’t helpful. Instead, you need to pump yourself up emotionally.
… Author Alison Wood Brooks, PhD, of Harvard Business School. ‘When people feel anxious and try to calm down, they are thinking about all the things that could go badly. When they are excited, they are thinking about how things could go well.’
‘When you feel anxious, you're ruminating too much and focusing on potential threats,’ she said. ‘In those circumstances, people should try to focus on the potential opportunities. It really does pay to be positive, and people should say they are excited. Even if they don't believe it at first, saying 'I'm excited' out loud increases authentic feelings of excitement.’
What I wonder, is if the excitement of the argument helps counteract the excitement associated with her anxiety? How else can I explain that sometimes she comes to bed pumped up (about me, about the kids, or whatever), and that when she pumps it up even further, she sleeps well?
Article: "Get Excited: Reappraising Pre-Performance Anxiety as Excitement," Alison Wood Brooks, PhD, Harvard Business School; Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, online.
Nation’s Math Teachers Introduce 27 New Trig Functions
All Graduating Students Must Master Gamsin, Negtan, Cosvnx, 24 Others
The vXboy is 14 now, and decent at math. A couple of weeks ago he asked me to explain triangulation. I started with “Have they taught you sine and cosine?” He’d never heard of them. I’m not sure he understands triangulation, distance estimation, depth perception, or any of the related topics.
As part of the same discussion, I asked him if he knew how to use a compass to determine a baseline. Nada.
FWIW: Several years ago I was told that my state’s math curriculum eliminated the topic of commutativity. You know, that 3 times 4 is the same as 4 times 3. This has repeatedly created problems for college students in my classes (in fact, a marketing professor down the hall felt that one of our “brighter” students actually became abusive because he was so certain that commutativity did not hold – that student later got an MBA from us).
There’s a common argument that the labor market is a lot looser than the unemployment rate would suggest: loose in the sense that there’s unemployed people all around that are a good fit for a job.
The current unemployment rate of around 6.5% isn’t great, but it isn’t that bad either … especially considering that we’re riding down a demographic wave* in which our population is, on average, less likely to be working.
If the labor market was loose — so that people were really worried about losing their jobs because the slack would be taken up by someone else — then they’d be less likely to quit. Here’s Soltas’ chart:
The market would be loose if the red dot was below the blue cloud of points. It isn’t. This suggests that the labor market is behaving normally … and is not loose, as many would have you believe.
Now, we don’t know the “right” level of unemployment: it’s been lower than this quite a bit over the 2001-13 sample shown here, but that was when we were higher on the labor participation wave than we are now. But, if we move to the left, we should also move up. Perhaps I’ll come back and reexamine this data with next year’s class.
* I found out something interesting reading a novel this past winter. The word I want here isn’t wave at all, it’s scend. The wave is the water. The scend is what something on the water does when the wave passes. That’s where ascend and descend come from: the ship’s deck ascends and then descends as the wave passes by (note that we don’t “awave” and “dewave”). Anyway, I still used wave here because clearly that’s the word we use in 2014.
Cross-posted from SUU Macroblog, which is required reading for my macroeconomics classes.
Oregon State University researchers flew drones this summer over potato fields to monitor for disease. Oregon nurseries have also partnered with researchers to test unmanned technology to count potted trees.
In Florida, farmers and researchers have used small unmanned helicopters equipped with infrared cameras to monitor orange trees for the deadly citrus greening, a bacterial disease that kills the trees. Greening begins at the top of the tree.
The author of the article is clearly focused on farming; there’s nothing about ranching. Imagine the usefulness of drones to finding cattle that are on the open range, or of delivery water or hay to where the cows are waiting for it (for those not from the West, free range cattle do remember where supplies were last dropped in the winter, and will congregate in those spots … often miles from nowhere in particular).
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