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EclectEcon
I have "delusions of adequacy."
Interests: economics, policy, theatre, music, hiking, geocaching
Recent Activity
First, let me say, I can't believe there have been 50 Superbowls, following the merger of the AFL and NFL. Second, let me say that the spread sure has changed a lot over the past two weeks. Right after the conference championship games, the spread shown on Yahoo Sports opened at Carolina by 4. If I had made my pick... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at EclectEcon
It shouldn't need repeating. The Economist has a good article about academic freedom in this week's issue. The Chicago Statement on Academic Freedom as summarized in the article: “It is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive,” it states. “Concerns about civility and... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at EclectEcon
For the past several years, Amazon.ca has ranked Canadian cities according to their "romantic-ness". According to their criteria, these are the top twenty Canadian cities, in descending order: Victoria, B.C. North Vancouver, B.C. Waterloo, Ont. Vancouver, B.C. Saskatoon, Sask. Calgary, Alta. Kingston, Ont. Guelph, Ont. Oakville, Ont. Edmonton, Alta. Lethbridge, Alta. Kelowna, B.C. Regina, Sask. Red Deer, Alta. Nanaimo, B.C.... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at EclectEcon
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Bryan Caplan has a very interesting and very provocative post at Econlog challenging the standard, typical medical classifications relating to mental illnesses in general and to ADHD in particular. I have come to respect Caplan's work, and so I never dismiss anything he writes without giving it careful consideration. His material in this post seems generally right to me. Two... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at EclectEcon
Naive, retired teacher! I wasn't exactly typecast (close, though), and I am thrilled to have been offered the role of Tom in 1-900-Dee-Lite. I'll be working with several talented friends with whom I've worked before, along with a couple of newcomers to the theatre scene. In the play, Dee (a widow) earns money selling sex talk through a 1-900 phone... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at EclectEcon
According to this post at the Washington Post, people who smoked pot regularly for at least five years had some (slight?) short-term memory problems in middle age, compared with those who didn't. But the posting also notes some caveats concerning the study: One important caveat is that a study like this can't determine causality. It could be the case that... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at EclectEcon
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There is a famous statue/fountain in Brussels of a little boy urinating; it is called Manneken Pis. I often wonder if the condo management where I live would be willing to put a replica of the statue in our lobby. I'd be willing to contribute more than my pro-rated share if they would. I was reminded of this statue/fountain when... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2016 at EclectEcon
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There is a famous statue/fountain in Brussels of a little boy peeing, called Manneken Pis. I often wonder if the condo management where I live would be willing to put a replica of the statue in our lobby. I'd be willing to contribute more than my pro-rated share if they would. I was reminded of this statue/fountain when I saw... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2016 at EclectEcon
This morning my online statement from Rogers Bank (a Mastercard offering 1.75% cashback, which I can apply to pay my Rogers bill) says: Current Balance: $xxx.xx Due Date: 01/25/2016 Minimum Due: $10.00 Past Due Amount: $0.00 I wrote them to ask how I could have a balance due five days before today. Their canned response was that the "Due Date"... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2016 at EclectEcon
Jack sent me the following message yesterday: Bernie Sanders' Longevity Stats Issues He will be 75 if he assumes the Presidency. Based on life table info for the USA http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_21.pdf He has a 17% chance of dying in his first term, and a 24% chance of dying before the end of a second term. His chances for major pathology short... Continue reading
Posted Jan 30, 2016 at EclectEcon
In the summer of 2012, I gave a public lecture at The University of Regina. In that lecture I criticized higher education because most people don't remember much of what they studied as undergraduates. As an alternative, I emphasized signaling theories of education. I also emphasized the importance of learning-by-doing and the importance of learning from one's own mistakes. Below... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2016 at EclectEcon
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We had more snow than expected overnight, so I hustled out to the condo lawn to do this snow stomp art this morning: I like some of the patterns, and I may try to work on it some more this afternoon. Previous examples of my snow stomp art: Happy New Year, 2016 The House of the Rising Sun Easter Eggs... Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2016 at EclectEcon
45 Years ago today I visited London, Ontario, on a recruiting trip to The University of Western Ontario. I think I had probably been through here once as a child, but this trip was essentially my introduction to the city and to the university. I flew into town the evening of January 24th, 1971, spent the day of the 25th... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2016 at EclectEcon
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I have railed relentlessly in the past about "Storm Porn" and about how forecasters and mediots so often focus on worst-case scenarios --- forecasters because they don't want to be held responsible if things turn out to be worse than forecast [someone called it CYA forecasting]; mediots because drama sells and pumps up ratings. [see this, this, and this] For... Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2016 at EclectEcon
I went 2 - 2 last weekend, which is a whole lot better than 0 - 4 the previous weekend. The spread on Sunday's games hasn't budged all week (not yet, anyway) according to Yahoo Sports. New England at Denver [3pm EST]. The spread says New England by 3. This despite their earlier loss in overtime in Denver. New England... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2016 at EclectEcon
From the Washington Post. I confess that until a few years ago I used one of these for one of my accounts. I changed it then, after reading an article like this one, but I really hate having to remember 130 different passwords. 8-) Here are the 25 most popular passwords discovered in data breaches in 2015, according to SplashData:... Continue reading
Posted Jan 22, 2016 at EclectEcon
It would seem unlikely with today's technology that sailors could convince a mapmaker to put an island on the map that didn't exist; it would seem even more unlikely that mapmakers would remove an island that actually existed from a map. Both have happened, though. And in rare instances, these errors have continued to plague cartographers: Non-existent islands were a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2016 at EclectEcon
Regular readers of Eclectecon know that I have championed academic freedom for decades. They also know that beginning with very early posts, I vehemently opposed any attempts to ostracize or boycott Israeli scholars. I went so far as to obtain academic affiliation (albeit nominal) with Bar-Ilan University and the University of Haifa, just to make the point that anyone who... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2016 at EclectEcon
The Economist has a recent article about the agglomeration economies experienced by high-tech firms as they gravitate to certain geographic centres. The article refers to "Clusterluck". DISTANCE is not dead. In biotechnology, as in other tech-based industries, the clustering of similar firms is more important than ever. Some American biotech startups are based in the San Francisco and Silicon Valley... Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2016 at EclectEcon
New evidence suggests that people who live above the third floor of high-rise buildings have a lower chance of surviving a heart attack. From Science Daily, The further a patient with cardiac arrest is from the ground floor, the lower the survival rate. Of 8216 people who had cardiac arrests in private residences and were treated by 911-initiated first responders,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2016 at EclectEcon
Short answer: no. An article in today's Financial Post suggests some economists think that currency instability is "now a serious concern" for Canada. They are wrong. The rapid drop has been exacerbated by crumbling oil prices and monetary divergence, as a strong American labour market and solid economic growth led the U.S. Federal Reserve to increase interest rates in December.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2016 at EclectEcon
After having gone 0-4 with my NFL picks last weekend, I thought I'd take another shot this weekend. The spreads I'm using are from the Yahoo Sports application on my iPhone. Kansas City at New England. The odds makers have set New England by 5. Regular readers of EclectEcon, as well as my Facebook friends, know that I am a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2016 at EclectEcon
I have long favoured awarding the prize to Richard Posner, but increasingly I think I would favour awarding it to Deirdre McCloskey. Note that I have made the appropriate change in the brief post under the banner for this blog. I'd be especially happy if the Nobel prize were awarded to the two them jointly. I discussed these views and... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2016 at EclectEcon
Here are my picks for the NFL playoff games today and tomorrow [the spreads shown on Yahoo Sports are in brackets]: Kansas City at Houston [KC by 3]. Houston is pretty good and they have an all-star defensive player. Also Houston has home field, which is generally worth 5-7 points. I'll take Houston plus the points. Pittsburgh at Cincinnati [Pittsburgh... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2016 at EclectEcon
Gubmnts have run up massive debts, increasingly so after 2007 and the Great Recession. A recent study by The Fraser Institute (reported here in the NatPost) points out that the total amounts currently being spent on just the interest payments on gubmnt debt now surpass the total amounts being spent on K-12 education in Canada. Imagine what the interest costs... Continue reading
Posted Jan 5, 2016 at EclectEcon