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Tom Lum Forest
Forest Grove, Oregon, USA
MIT-Sloan alumni, reluctantly joining the adult supervision
Interests: natural science, economics, politics, world history, System Dynamics
Recent Activity
The racial differential is -5 anti-Black +2 Black enthusiasm = net -3 Obama
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Rather than a gradual decline, the Maya experienced a precipitous collapse when that happened, at their own hands. When Israel, or Pakistan, or the USA uses its nuclear weapons, it will be our fate also. Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2012 at Winnowing Wheat from Chaff
With Reynaud, I am referring to the sociopathology of CEOs: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/the-stack-the-psychopath-test-by-jon-ronson-07212011.html
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W: as a 50+ computer programmer who has resisted the temptation to become a middle manager and still writes code, work is pretty easy to come by as long as I stay on the version treadmill and keep up with the latest Microsoft tools (ASP.NET 4.0, MVC 3, yadda yadda) - The Year We Almost Died (2009) excepted. It's kinda like construction work that way, with designed obsolescence as a key marketing strategy. I also agree that 'secret code' is not too valuable without patents and other anti-competitive measures. Reverse engineering can take awhile, but is a well-understood and oft-used process. Daniel G says most of what I'd like to say here. But let me add that while the Internet provides plentiful cheap data, it does not provide heuristic capabilities beyond searching. Any kind of work that requires mastery of heuristic complexity is if anything made more valuable by the internet: more data to apply the heuristics to. Redundant data entry and outsource-able server infrastructure are the kinds of jobs that the Internet puts on the block. To extend the medieval analogy, Reynaud would have become a Wall Street sociopath. Programmers would be craftspeople. Economists would've been in the Church somewhere, maybe as monk in one of the Holy Orders. It's not the informationally-capable, but the heuristically-capable, who will do well in the future.
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Pope Urban II would have been quite surprised to hear Santorum's interpretation. From whom, exactly, would the Eastern Churches be liberated if not from the Infidels? The GOP theme song should be Sam Cooke's "What a Wonderful World it Would Be," singing to equally well-informed Tea Partiers: "Don't know much about history Don't know much biology Don't know much about a science book Don't know much about the French I took "But I do know that I love you And I know that if you love me too What a wonderful world this would be "Don't know much about geography Don't know much trigonometry Don't know much about algebra Don't know what a slide rule is for" Too bad he doesn't mention economics in there. PS Funny bit now about slide rules, which no one under 50 has the faintest idea about.
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Tom Lum Forest is now following ehrenreich
Feb 3, 2012
I understand that the next edition of Mankiw's book will say that corporate taxes fall through to shareholders and thus tax burdens should shift from humans to corporations.
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Apparently the FOMC ignores FRB - SF: particularly, this paper from October 2004 which *cough* said at the time that "if the [price-rent] ratio is to return to its average level, it will probably do so through slower house price appreciation." http://www.frbsf.org/publications/economics/letter/2004/el2004-27.html
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That's disappointing. I was hoping for recess appointments - Diamond and Stein :-(
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Tom Lum Forest is now following LindaMBeale
Dec 26, 2011
Conspicuously missing from discussions of UI is that it pays HALF of previous wages, or (in Oregon) $482/week, whichever is LESS. With single-digit savings rates, very few Americans can 'relax' or take extended vacations on unemployment without drawing down savings. Let me also add that the employer's unemployment tax is a trivial fraction of salaries. The taxable ceiling is $7,000/quarter, and a high assessment would be 5% of that. So we're talking about a $350/quarter tax per person. A rate hike of 0.1% on a payroll of 1,000 people earning > $28K/year each would be... $7,000/year. If laying off one person causes that 0.1% bump, and all that was saved was 90 days of wages, it's a break-even. In practice, it takes much more than that to get the experience rating bump / tax hike hit, so it's hardly a factor in the layoff decisions. Finally, though there are exceptions, my (relatively upmarket) experience is that employers don't fight too hard about layoffs, even 'layoff of one' situations, as employers fear lawsuits about wrongful discharge.
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Tom Lum Forest has shared their blog Winnowing Wheat from Chaff
Dec 30, 2010
A drink from the Wikileaks firehose: "'The intersection of terror and proliferation is nowhere more evident than in Pakistan,' said Mark Fitzpatrick, a former US state department non-proliferation official now at the International Institute for Strategic Studies." WikiLeaks cables highlight Pakistani nuclear terror threat North Korea has a few nukes... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2010 at Winnowing Wheat from Chaff
Tom Lum Forest is now following Donald Krahmer
Dec 29, 2010
Tom Lum Forest is now following Tom Fiddaman
Dec 29, 2010
Tom Lum Forest has shared their blog Winnowing Wheat from Chaff
Dec 28, 2010
In the New Year, I'll move my political and economics posts from Facebook to here. Hopefully, it will be easier to use, easier to manage, and facilitate more sustained and better-focused discussion. Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2010 at Winnowing Wheat from Chaff
Housing prices have nowhere to go but down. http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2010/12/summary-for-week-ending-december-25th.html Especially notice this chart http://cr4re.com/charts/charts.html?Existing-Home#category=Existing-Home&chart=VisiblePendingAug2010.JPG which shows that the inventory coverage numbers dramatically understate the problem. The shadow pending inventory further up the pipeline of seriously delinquent and foreclosed properties has grown 10x in the last four years and now accounts for ~2M additional units. That would bring the backlog up to >14 months.
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Tom Lum Forest is now following Mark Thoma
Dec 28, 2010
Ummm... typo in the title. Should be Dysfunctional.
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You wrote: "every time one support for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is knocked out," not understanding that nothing has been knocked out. From http://www.grist.org/article/there-is-no-consensus/ "[T]he 'consensus' about anthropogenic climate change entails the following: * the climate is undergoing a pronounced warming trend beyond the range of natural variability; * the major cause of most of the observed warming is rising levels of the greenhouse gas CO2; * the rise in CO2 is the result of burning fossil fuels; * if CO2 continues to rise over the next century, the warming will continue; and * a climate change of the projected magnitude over this time frame represents potential danger to human welfare and the environment. "While theories and viewpoints in conflict with the above do exist, their proponents constitute a very small minority. If we require unanimity before being confident, well, we can't be sure the earth isn't hollow either." You also said: "the amount of revalidation by people outside the climate science echo chamber is very much less than normal." That shows a lack of understanding for peer-reviewed science, which is as from being an echo chamber as anything in the world today. Validation can ONLY happen withing the peer-reviewed community of climate scientists. They ARE the experts, and appeals to non-authority experts like Al Gore, broadcast meteorologists (who are science news reporters, not practicing scientists) or anyone else BUT climate scientists is fallacious. What should I believe instead, non-peer reviewed "studies" funded by Exxon-Mobil through non-profit shell corporations? The IPCC summarizes research, but there are thousands of peer-reviewed papers underlying that summary. Those papers inform and undergird the consensus outlined above. For instance, the casual non peer-reviewed statement about how soon the Himalayan glaciers might disappear says says minor things about the preparation of the summary, rather like Reader's Digest getting criticism for an unfaithful abridgement, but say nothing about the underlying content.
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Tom Lum Forest is now following J. Bradford DeLong
Apr 24, 2010
Here's Campbell's page from his campaign site on the topic: http://www.campbell.org/ideas/environment "Most scientists who study climate change, even those critical of the IPCC, believe that global climate is changing. It is generally acknowledged that after a period of warming early in the 20th Century followed by cooling from 1940 to the mid 1970s, the globe warmed to its highest levels in the last century by 1998; changes since then have been subject to debate.[5] Most of these scientists also believe that human activities, especially the production of greenhouse gases, including CO2, contribute to climate change. There is, however, a wide range of views regarding the extent to which human conduct is a major contributing factor and the pace at which the climate will change given the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere" The only points I would argue are "changes since [1998] have been subject to debate" and "There is...a wide range of views regarding the extent to which human conduct is a major contributing factor," which I won't do here but are well done elsewhere: http://www.grist.org/article/global-warming-stopped-in-1998/ and http://www.grist.org/article/natural-emissions-dwarf-human-emissions/. Regardless, he considers human CO2 emissions to be a real, substantive issue meriting government action, including a proposal to "tax the generation of CO2"
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Tom Lum Forest is now following The Typepad Team
Apr 8, 2010