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EclectEcon
I have "delusions of adequacy."
Interests: economics, policy, theatre, music, hiking, geocaching
Recent Activity
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What a beautiful snowfall last night! And since Remembrance Day (Canada) [Veterans Day in the US] is just a few days away my first snow stomp art of the season is Kilroy: The story of "Kilroy was here" from Wikipaedia: Kilroy was here is an American symbol that became popular during World War II, typically seen in graffiti. Its origin... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at EclectEcon
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We were at a birthday party last Sunday evening, and as part of the party, my son brought out some pie with this contraption on top of it. It started out as a closed flower, and when it was lit, a sparkler went off, then the petals dropped, and the candles on the petals were automagically lit. In addition to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 23, 2019 at EclectEcon
According to this article in The Boston Globe, one reason Harvard won its affirmative action defense in the suit launched by Students for Fair Admissions was that they presented testimony from African-American and Hispanic students to the effect that their admission to Harvard was tremendously beneficial to them. To combat the statistically heavy case presented by two experts from Students... Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2019 at EclectEcon
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At the end of this month, I get to make a ten-minute PowerPoint presentation to an international conference about how stricter housing codes contribute to homelessness and reduce the supply of affordable housing. Seems like a no-brainer to me, but I expect few if any of the other participants will even agree that perhaps one cause of homelessness and the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 11, 2019 at EclectEcon
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During the past year I tried my hand at writing some mystery dinner theatre plays. The first one, Shrink-Wrapped Murder, involves some semi-famous psychologists meeting for a dinner symposium. The second and third ones are variations of the theme of Murder at the Office ______ Party. One is for Christmas and one is for New Year's Eve, and other variations... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2019 at EclectEcon
Last night I saw "A Red Plaid Shirt" by the late Michael Wilmot, a London Community Players production at the Palace Theatre. It is a truly brilliant play and the acting is excellent. The play involves two couples, all four of whom have retired. The women seem to have adjusted reasonably well, but the men are lost without their careers,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 20, 2019 at EclectEcon
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I am the Esquire Bedel for The University of Western Ontario. That means I carry the ceremonial mace for many events, mostly convocations*, walking in front of the Chancellor, replicating the old role from centuries ago when an Esquire Bedel walked in front of a dignitary, carrying a seriously real mace to clear the rabble from the way and to... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2019 at EclectEcon
When Fred Young narrowly escaped being killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, he decided to escape his old life and start a new one, as Carl Jacobs. He wasn't sure where to go to begin his new life, but he ended up in Jacksonville, Florida. As Carl was looking for a place to live, a waitress... Continue reading
Posted Aug 30, 2019 at EclectEcon
Recently, Jack sent me this link to a Forbes article that purports to list the 25 smartest countries. I have no idea why someone chose to make this ranking, nor do I know how or why they chose the criteria they used. The list includes no countries from Africa, Central America, South America, or the Middle East (other than Israel).... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2019 at EclectEcon
I hate the new-styled paper straws that are increasingly becoming the only option in some fast-food restaurants (or cities or states?). I haven't always hated paper straws, though. I loved the paper straws we had back when I was a teenager. I could pinch one end of the straw, poke holes in it, and play music on it, a la... Continue reading
Posted Jul 21, 2019 at EclectEcon
I have met both Joe Stiglitz and Stanley Fischer. I trust and respect Fischer. Stiglitz not so much. Stiglitz gave the economics profession the theoretical framework called "asymmetric information", according to which sellers often have much better information about their products and therefore are in a position to take advantage of less-well-informed buyers. His solution? Gubmnt intervention. The George Stigler... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2019 at EclectEcon
In 1969, I was in gradskool in Ames, Iowa. I was pretty well on my way to drifting away from being an idealistic young socialist and toward becoming a small-gubmnt libertarian. That drift made me far less enamoured of the moon programme than many of my friends were. I didn't see the point of going to the moon (still don't,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 14, 2019 at EclectEcon
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I love pizza. The carbs in the crusts are a tad high, though. A few years ago, we experimented with making pizza crusts using riced cauliflower. The pizza tasted okay, but the crusts weren't firm, and we had to eat the pizza with knives and forks. Recently, Pizza Pizza has been advertising "Super Plant" pizza, made with cauliflower crust, plant-chorizo... Continue reading
Posted Jul 6, 2019 at EclectEcon
I laugh every time I see this ad. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsMB5Y-FLUA Continue reading
Posted Jul 5, 2019 at EclectEcon
Remember these arguments in the 1950s-70s? "Oh we have nothing against negros and we'd be happy to hire some. It's just that our customers are racist, and we'd lose business if we did hire black people." Such statements were understandably ridiculed by people in the civil rights movement. But nowadays, that same argument is used about Jews [h/t EL]. The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2019 at EclectEcon
We are constantly being lectured about how we need to cut down on our use of plastics so we can save the oceans. It's like lecturing everyone who shows up at a meeting on time about how horrible it is to be late all the time. To all my friends who use plastics, let me quote Robin Williams from Good... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2019 at EclectEcon
Via Daily Alert, a daily news aggregator with news (good, bad, otherwise) about Israel: Germany's Merkel Admits Threat to Jews German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was interviewed by CNN's Christiane Amanpour in Berlin, condemned the rise of anti-Semitism in the country, saying Germany "always had a certain number of anti-Semites among us, unfortunately." Merkel also condemned the fact that, "there... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2019 at EclectEcon
Once again, EclectEcon has been named one of the top 100 economics blogs. Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2019 at EclectEcon
Recent correspondence with my sister reminded me of a special cheer my dad and the students from Albion College used to chant, (and still do!) "Io Triumphe!"* After essentially being kicked out of Hannibal Junior College and then being told by a chemistry prof after two years at Drury College (Springfield, MO) that he would never get his degree there,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2019 at EclectEcon
There is little doubt in my mind: the film Strange Brew captures the unique essence of the Canadian Cultural Identity. But even though this film was a minor commercial success, there are many people in the culture industry who claim they absolutely NEED subsidies from the rest of us taxpayers to help preserve the national cultural fabric, whatever the heck... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2019 at EclectEcon
Not everyone responds the same way to changes in incentives, but some do. An example sent by my friend Jack: Overheard at a shopping mall today: Two mothers, looking around 16 years old, one with three young kids about a year apart, the other with two. The one with three says to the other “ you should have another one.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2019 at EclectEcon
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Have you ever thought of getting away from it all and starting over again? Think it through carefully. It isn't easy finding a new place to live when you have very little money and no references. It isn't easy finding a new job when you have no credentials or work history. And it isn't easy striking out alone when you're... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2019 at EclectEcon
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It snowed last night!!! Yea!!! It isn't much snow, but we're late in the season and since tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, why not? Here are links to my previous Snow Stomp Art (although this was really more Snow-Shuffle Art): Happy St. Patrick's Day, 2019 (this post) Spring is Sprung You Wanted Spring? Too Cold to Build a Snowman Simply... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2019 at EclectEcon
The recent scandals involving wealthy people trying to use bribes to open a "side door" into universities for their children amused me. The problem for me went beyond the moral issues, the impact on their children, and the general amount of unspoken favouritism shown in the admissions process. So why did it amuse me? Because if parents want to bribe... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2019 at EclectEcon
My sister recently decided to embark on a programme of studies for a divinity degree, beginning with a course on the Old Testament. She wrote to ask me why I decided to go to theological seminary in 1965. Here is what I answered (only slightly edited): This is somewhat embarrassing. Oh well, here goes: As an undergraduate in the early... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2019 at EclectEcon