Reading Feed (October 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 | Is the World Bank lending too much to China? — "As I understand it, the World Bank makes money on these loans and there is a cross-subsidy of other Bank activities, most of all aid. A World Bank that stopped such loans would be poorer and less skilled, and over time could devolve into one of the poorer, less effective poverty-fighting parts of the United Nations, without much of a political power base at that."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Blade Runner 2049 (some Straussian spoilers) — "It hardly makes any concessions to the Hollywood vices of this millennium and indeed much of the Tysons Corner audience seemed to be baffled."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | The High Cost of Good Intentions — "The subtitle is A History of U.S. Federal Entitlement Programs, and the author of this new and excellent book is John F. Cogan of Stanford University and the Hoover Institution. It is the single best history of what it covers, and thus one of the best books to read on the history of U.S. government or for that matter American economic history more generally."
Blog: Schneier on Security | My Blogging — Title's a misnomer; Bruce Schneier's writing a book, currently titled Click Here to Kill Everybody: Peril and Promise in a Hyper-Connected World.
Comic: xkcd | State Borders — "It was scary when graphic designers seized control of the country, but it turned out they just wanted to fix some things about the state borders that had always bothered them."
Blog: Shtetl-Optimized | Not the critic who counts — "By contrast, when you read sowa’s blog, for all the anger about the sullying of mathematics by unworthy practitioners, there’s a striking absence of mathematical exposition. Not once does sowa ever say: 'OK, forget about the controversy. Since you’re here, instead of just telling you about the epochal greatness of Grothendieck, let me walk you through an example. Let me share a beautiful little insight that came out of his approach, in so self-contained a way that even a physicist or computer scientist will understand it.'"
Blog: Tyler Cowen @ Bloomberg View | Cities and Suburbs Are Becoming Pretty Similar — "A few decades ago the choice for most people was pretty simple: either the city or the suburbs. The city was exciting but a little dangerous. The suburbs were comfortable but bland. These days our suburbs and cities are converging, which is narrowing our lifestyle choices."
Blog: xkcd | Logical
Blog: Marginal Revolution | The culture and polity that is China — From the comments: "This is exactly what China needs. Another incentive for saving more and against risk taking"
Blog: Bits and Pieces | Professor Allen's Puzzling Motion, Part 2 — "When I introduced my motion, I referred to Professor Allen’s motion as 'astonishingly sweeping.' Yet I did not appreciate how sweeping it was until a student asked me a question. Before I report her question, let’s back up and parse the motion as best we can..."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Does Online Dating Increase Racial Intermarriages? — The answer is yes, note that the strength of weak ties is likely significantly stronger than you think.
Blog: Ben.Kuhn | How bad are bad fundraising terms? — Between 0% and 200%, says Gornall and Strebulaev (2017) apparently.
Paper: McGuirk, Hilger, Miller | No Kin In The Game: Moral Hazard and War in the U.S. Congress — "We test for agency problems by comparing the voting behavior of congressmen with draft-age sons versus draft-age daughters. We estimate that having a draft-age son reduces legislator support for pro-conscription bills by 10-17%." h/t Tyler Cowen. cf. also My Faults My Own | Provide for the Common Defense from last year.
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Nobel Prize awarded to Richard Thaler — cf. Marginal Revolution | Richard Thaler Wins Nobel!, by the blog's other author.
Blog: Bits and Pieces | Remarks of Professor James Engell at the October 3 FAS meeting — cf. Professor Jason Mitchell's Minority Report; Professor Eric Nelson's remarks at the Faculty meeting of October 3; Professor Steven Pinker's remarks at the October 3 Faculty meeting
Comic: xkcd | Jet Lag
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Sunday assorted links — includes Gun research has not been shut down for 20 years, Using violence to force the retraction of peer-reviewed articles, and Will AI be able to identify partially concealed faces?, pace Betteridge.
Blog: Marginal Revolution | The End of Free College in England — "It seems to have been a largely pro-education, egalitarian development, at least according to a new research paper by Richard Murphy, Judith Scott-Clayton, and Gillian Wyness..."
pdf: McCloskey | The Natural — "Bower thinks that we can teach economics to undergraduates. I disagree. I have convluded reluctantly, after ruminating on it for a long time, that we can't. We can teach about economics, which is a good thing. The undergraduate program in English literature teaches about literature, not how to do it. No one complains, or should..." h/t Tyler Cowen
Blog: Marginal Revolution | Baseball fact of the day — "Statistics showing precisely when starting pitchers become less effective have prompted teams to remove them from games earlier than before. That has increased one of the biggest drags on pace of play: pitching changes..."
Blog: Schneier on Security | HP Shared ArcSight Source Code with Russians — "This is one of the areas where open-source software has a security edge. If everyone has access to the source code -- and security doesn't depend on its secrecy -- then there's no advantage in getting a copy. As long as companies rely on obscurity for their security, these sorts of attacks are possible and profitable."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | The Catalan and Spanish language issue, from the comments — "60% of Catalan children has the Spanish language as mother tongue (30%, Catalan language) All primary and secondary schools use Catalan as vehicular teaching language (with an hour a week of Spanish… or nothing) Basically, in practice, you are not allowed to decide in which language do you want your children to be taught. I am sure most of you will think that this cannot be true in a democratic country."
Blog: Marginal Revolution | What does democracy call for in Catalonia? — "Most countries we consider to be democracies have rather stringent restrictions on when referenda may be held and what they may be used to decide." and "Isn’t the truly democratic procedure to let all of Spain vote on Catalonian independence? Maybe you don’t think so, but that begs the question."
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