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EclectEcon
I have "delusions of adequacy."
Interests: economics, policy, theatre, music, hiking, geocaching
Recent Activity
Most of my friends know that I've been a small-time baseball stats geek for decades. It all started when I read a Bill James Baseball Abstract in the mid 1980s and then became somewhat active on the usenet newsgroup rec.sport.baseball, which was full of lively, brilliant, and very informative discussions. One thing I learned and have used from those early... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2017 at EclectEcon
Recently I received a list of numerous household cleaning/repair tasks that WD-40 can be used for. That message reminded me of how the first time I used WD-40, it smelled exactly like the waxy cloths we used in 1961 to wipe down and clean the stainless steel walk-up window counters at McDonalds. And after reading the list (but see below).... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2017 at EclectEcon
And it isn't because of blockades or anything else. It's because of autocratic, hate-filled mismanagement From the Daily Express: UN Report Highlights Hamas Failure in Gaza - Luke Baker A decade after the Islamist group Hamas seized Gaza, the situation is deteriorating "further and faster" than was forecast only a few years ago, the UN said in a new report.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2017 at EclectEcon
It was 50 years ago that the Six-Day War of 1967 was so effectively won by Israel. If that war had never happened, if Syria, Jordan, and Egypt (and the rest of the Arab League had recognized Israel's right to exist), things would be very different. From an op-ed by Bret Stephens in the NYTimes, Israel is not a nation... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2017 at EclectEcon
Some provocative questions from The Elder Ziyon. He notes there is a UN Forum to mark 50 years of occupation and then continues, Of course, they mean 50 years of "occupation" by Jews. Because no one was overly concerned about the previous 19 years of "Palestinian territory" being annexed or administered by Jordan or Egypt. Or the 30 years of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2017 at EclectEcon
I mentioned earlier that I will be playing Noam Chomsky in a play at the 2017 London Fringe. The play is called "Noam Chomsky vs. Rush Limbaugh", and is a political comedy loosely based on Chomsky and Limbaugh. Long-time readers of EclectEcon know full well that I am no fan of Chomsky. [For example, see this and this]. I know... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2017 at EclectEcon
Nearly 12 years ago, I was writing on the blog to pooh-pooh the notion of peak oil (see below). Now it looks as if large numbers of forecasters are in fact not worried about peak oil (the notion that we will run out of oil) but instead are writing about peak oil demand. [via JR, my favourite drug dealer] The... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2017 at EclectEcon
The "martyr fund" creates incentives for people to become martyrs in Palestine. One way to become a martyr? become a terrorist.Yes, the martyr fund induces people to become terrorists. From The Hill: [via Jack] ... That night, while Hallel slept, a young Palestinian named Mohammad Tra'ayra ... managed to climb over the fence that encircled Kiryat Arba. Tra’ayra was armed... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2017 at EclectEcon
I recently came across an article in The Telegraph that purports to list (the?) top 30 places for afternoon tea in England. It was admittedly not systematic, based on the opinions of "experts" at The Telegraph; at the same time, my experiences with many places were similar but with some major differences. The article ranked the following London places at... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2017 at EclectEcon
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[If you are seeing this on FB, click through to see the full set of photos] About a month ago, I had let my hair and beard grow a bit to appear as Old Gobbo in a modern adaptation The Merchant of Venice: Knowing that my next role would be as Bart Chumley, a more-than-slightly unsophisticated wild-west rancher, I asked... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2017 at EclectEcon
A stanza from "A Roadside Stand", appearing first in The Atlantic Monthly in 1936, Farmers are to be moved: It is in the news that all these pitiful kin Are to be bought out and mercifully gathered in To live in villages, next to the theatre and the store, Where they won’t have to think for themselves anymore, While greedy... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2017 at EclectEcon
I may have missed a few things but here is a possible back story for the United Airlines scenario: A person who is a doctor books one of the cheapest tickets possible, not realizing that doing so means he opens himself up to the risk of being among those who are most likely to be involuntarily bumped from a flight.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at EclectEcon
The other day Otis sent around this piece bemoaning the fact that undergraduates are unable to engage in critical thinking and that they don't learn a thing about critical thinking at college or university. Some excerpts: ... [A]lthough faculty in the humanities and social sciences claim to be teaching critical thinking, often they’re not. Instead, they’re teaching students to “deconstruct”—to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2017 at EclectEcon
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Two years ago, I saw "Midsummer Night's Dream" in Stratford. I gave it a 3/5 star rating. The acting was superb but the cross-gender casting was annoyingly gimmicky. It made no sense. Fast forward two years to the upcoming performances of "The Merchant of Venice" at The Arts Project in London, produced by Crow Bait Productions. In this adaptation by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2017 at EclectEcon
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One of the very rewarding aspects of teaching is seeing one's students success. Even more rewarding is their thanks when they assert that one played a role in their success. Such is the case with Harold Winter, a student in a course on law and economics that Stan Liebowitz and I team taught at UWO back in about 1980. Harold... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2017 at EclectEcon
The news media have been full of stories and hand-wringing about the high prices of homes in Vancouvre and Trono. From Lawrence Solomon [via Dr J]: The Greater Toronto Area is heading into a catastrophic housing bubble, some experts warn, pointing to a raft of scary statistics, such as the sale of detached homes averaging $1.2 million in February, a... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2017 at EclectEcon
I led off one of my early publications with this paraphrase of a poem written by Dennis Robertson When I had scarcely learned to toddle, my parents handed me a model with lots of little leads and lags and pretty [hyperbolic] bags. Robertson wrote the piece in frustration because he was skeptical about the mathematical and econometric modeling that was... Continue reading
Posted Mar 9, 2017 at EclectEcon
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All the snow melted yesterday afternoon, but we had more snow overnight, enough to do another snow stomp art piece (albeit barely enough). The bitter wind and cold, coupled with the snow, makes people think of escaping to warmer climates: Three interesting things about doing these pieces of snow art: Today's work was not technically snow stomp art. There wasn't... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2017 at EclectEcon
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I am currently appearing in the play "Caught in the Net", and so it seemed appropriate when I saw the snowfall this morning to write that title in the snow: The play is a really fast-paced farce about a man who has two wives and families, one in Wimbledon and the other in Streatham. But the deception is about to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at EclectEcon
Just don't try to force all of the rest of us to eat it that way. The Philistine Liberation Organization, of which I appear to be the de facto chair, celebrates differences in tastes and preferences. From our original mandate: The Philistine Manifesto I have been subjected to the biases and special pleadings of the artsy culture vultures long enough.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 28, 2017 at EclectEcon
I've been wearing bright, patterned sox almost exclusively for several years. I guess my doing so means something: Despite our conforming attitudes, a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research[1] investigated the theory that people who are nonconformists can potentially be viewed as being more high status and more competent than those who conform to social norms. So what... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2017 at EclectEcon
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Yesterday morning I woke early and looked out the window. Yea!! Lots of new snow on the lawn in front of our building. So I dressed quickly and went outside to do some snow stomp art. I knew the temperatures would rise this coming weekend, and that made me think of surfing. The street lamps were still on, and the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2017 at EclectEcon
The basic premise of economics (and many other social sciences) is that "People Respond to Incentives". Here is another example (via Jack): [W]hile Manitoba offers legal aid to refugees, the provincial government confirmed in an email that Saskatchewan is one of four provinces that does not. ... "If someone is making a refugee claim in Saskatchewan they have to spend... Continue reading
Posted Feb 12, 2017 at EclectEcon
Prices change. Sometimes the price change is caused by a shift in supply, sometimes it is caused by a shift in demand, and sometimes both supply and demand change, leading to uncertain ambiguous results. We try to drill these basics of supply and demand over and over in our introductory economics classes. But these lessons seem to escape many students... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2017 at EclectEcon
Here is more evidence that the best use of investment funds for the long term is low-cost (low management fees) index funds and passive management. The big endowment funds that used active management were out-performed over the past five and ten years by smaller endowment funds that relied more heavily on passive management, index funds, and low MERs [Management Expense... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2017 at EclectEcon