Reading Feed (September 2017)
A collection of things that I was happy I read. Views expressed by linked authors are chosen because I think they're interesting, not because I think they're correct, unless indicated otherwise.
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Why do Swedes support their far-right parties? — "Using Swedish election data, I show that shocks to unemployment risk among unskilled native-born workers account for 5 to 7 percent of the increased vote share for the Swedish far-right party Sweden Democrats. In areas with an influx of unskilled immigrants equal to a one standard deviation larger than the average influx, the effect of the unemployment risk shock to unskilled native-born workers is exacerbated by almost 140 percent."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | I find it remarkable that cement is exported at all — "Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of cement during 2016..."
Blog: Magic Daily | The September 15, 2017 Update — The full-art lands for Unstable are really pretty!
Blog: Marginal Revolution | A simple point about corporate tax reform — "There is a genuine question whether you should side with the theory or the empirics here, and I am myself agnostic. "
Blog: Marginal Revolution | The education culture that is China — A small anecdote here: I once went to get a new school ID without any other forms of ID whatsoever. The ID office clerk pulled up a picture from the system, compared it to my face, decided that I was in fact Ross Rheingans-Yoo, and issued me a new ID (for a replacement fee). It's heartening that computers have finally caught up to the task.
Comic: xkcd | What to Bring
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Canada Imports Precious Bodily Fluids — "In 2004 Canada prohibited paying Canadian sperm donors, leading to a tremendous shortage as I had predicted in 2003 (see also my post, The Great Canadian Sperm Shortage)..."
Blog: Agenty Duck | Softs Review: Noise Cancelling Wireless Ear Buds — tl;dr Sony WI1000X noise-canceling earbuds are good.
Blog: Bits and Pieces | Motion update — tl;dr the Crimson reports (and Harry can't confirm) that the motion will be discussed at the October factulty meeting and voted in November.
Blog: Schneier on Security | Hacking Voice Assistant Systems with Inaudible Voice Commands — from the comments: "To be precise, those systems are not listening for inaudible frequencies. Microphone hardware is slightly nonlinear, this allows specially crafted sound to be demodulated to audible frequencies inside the microphone circuits."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Using tax data to measure long-term trends in U.S. income inequality — "This study re-estimates the long-term trend in inequality after accounting for changes in the tax base, income sources missing from individual tax returns and changes in marriage rates. This more consistent estimate suggests that top one percent income shares increased by only about a quarter as much as unadjusted shares."
Blog: Ghost | Lead Product Designer at Ghost — Make my favorite blogging software better, maybe?
Blog: Luke.Muehlhauser | Hillary Clinton on AI risk — "Every time I went out to Silicon Valley during the campaign, I came home more alarmed about this. My staff lived in fear that I’d start talking about 'the rise of the robots' in some Iowa town hall. Maybe I should have. In any case, policy makers need to keep up with technology as it races ahead, instead of always playing catch-up." -- What Happened, p. 241.
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Gorbachev: His Life and Times — "At first I didn’t want to read it, feeling I was already too familiar with the topic, but it was a fascinating treatment throughout, with many revelations. It is perhaps the best overall treatment of how the Soviet Union collapsed, and the parts on Gorbachev’s early career provide a superior look at how Soviet bureaucracy and the Communist Party actually functioned."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Will China invest $30 billion in Haiti? — pace Betteridge.
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Florida price gouging by the airlines? — "Airfare data by Hopper shows that the price hikes that took place this past week are similar to those from two weeks ago, suggesting that the price changes are typical for a week of departure flights."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Tesla’s Damaged Goods Problem — Props to Alex; this did turn into a cluster of critical pieces angling to stir up controversy.
Blog: Kalzumeus | Identity Theft, Credit Reports, and You — "[O]ne of my hobbies is that I used to ghostwrite letters to credit reporting agencies and banks. It is suddenly relevant after the Equifax breach, so I’m writing down what I know to help folks who might need this in the future."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | How much does Fox News matter? — "We estimate that watching the Fox News Channel for this additional 2.5 minutes per week increases the vote share of the Republican presidential candidate by 0.3 percentage points among voters induced into watching by variation in channel position. The corresponding effect of watching MSNBC for 2.5 additional minutes per week is an imprecise zero."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Alan Krueger on opioids and labor force participation — "Krueger suggests that the increase in opioid prescriptions from 1999 to 2015 could account for about 20 percent of the observed decline in men’s labor force participation during that same period, and 25 percent of the observed decline in women’s labor force participation."
Blog: Schneier on Security | Research on What Motivates ISIS -- and Other -- Fighters — "We reveal three crucial factors: commitment to non-negotiable sacred values and the groups that the actors are wholly fused with; readiness to forsake kin for those values; and perceived spiritual strength of ingroup versus foes as more important than relative material strength."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Social media are making price gouging too difficult these days — "Instead of raising prices to very high levels, let’s say that the local big-box store sells out quickly during an emergency and has empty shelves for water. If those photos circulate, they will be interpreted as signs of general tragedy and want, rather than selfish corporate behavior. It’s too subtle an image to snap the price tag at pre-storm levels, contrast it with the empty shelves, and lecture your Facebook friends about the workings of market-clearing supply and demand and the virtues of flexibly adjusting prices."
Blog: Fake Charity Nerd Girl | On diversity hiring -- "[W]e can actually get more minority candidates without lowering the bar by investing (a lot) more time. I’d be reluctant to say it’s obligatory for companies to do this, because that is valuable time your engineers could be engineering. But it’s a thing you can do."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Does the National Flood Insurance Program Have Redistributional Effects? — "Our findings indicate that premiums as a percentage of coverage purchased are regressive: premium shares are larger than income shares for lower-income zip codes. Payouts, however, also as a percentage of coverage purchased, are progressive, meaning lower-income zip codes receive a larger portion of claims paid. Overall net premiums (premiums – payouts) divided by coverage are also regressive." cf. Politico | How Washington lobbyists fought flood insurance reform.
Blog: Marginal Revolution | French cities are Roman sites rather than by the sea — "Here is the amazing fact: today, 16 of France’s 20 largest cities are located on or near a Roman town, while only 2 of Britain’s 20 largest are. This difference existed even back in the Middle Ages. So who cares? Well, Britain’s cities in the middle ages are two and a half times more likely to have coastal access than France’s cities, so that in 1700, when sea trade was hugely important, 56% of urban French lived in towns with sea access while 87% of urban Brits did."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | The new world of monopoly? What about flying? — "I frequently see airlines cited as an example where the American economy is obviously more monopolistic. By some metrics, yes, but what about the final deal?"
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