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Blog Profile / Marginal Revolution

Filed Under:Academics / Political Science
Posts on Regator:6629
Posts / Week:36.5
Archived Since:July 6, 2011

Blog Post Archive

What I’ve been reading

1. Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden, Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology.  How quantum effects can matter for biological phenomena.  No, it doesn’t mean Roger Penrose was right (and this book usefully tells you why not), but still this is a stimulating book for tying together two apparently disparate areas […]

Assorted links

1. The troubles of Russia.  And Krugman’s notes on Russian debt. 2. Searching for (Canadian) Elizabeth Gallagher. 3. Qatar soccer markets in everything. 4. Prosecutors and defense lawyers on Serial. 5. “It’s the people that are carrying stuff like chainsaws that make me wonder.” 6. The 109-year-old tuatara virgin. 7. George Clooney on Sony and North […]

Predatory Fining and Mass Surveillance

In Ferguson and the Modern Debtor’s Prison I noted that Ferguson raises an unusually high rate of revenues from fines. You don’t get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. You get numbers like this from bullshit arrests for jaywalking and constant “low level harassment involving traffic stops, […]

Printing Cancer Killing Viruses

Cell biologist Andrew Hessel of Autodesk is designing viruses in software to attack a specific individual’s cancer and then using DNA Printers to create the viruses as a drug. Here from an interview with New Scientist (gated). It’s really about making a specific medicine tailored to one person–”N-of-1? medicine–rather than try to make it a best fit for […]

Testing peer review by running submissions through the process twice

In particular, about 57% of the papers accepted by the first committee were rejected by the second one and vice versa. In other words, most papers at NIPS would be rejected if one reran the conference review process (with a 95% confidence interval of 40-75%) Here is another framing: If the committees were purely random, […]

Why is tipping for service assistance spreading?

I now regularly find that when I buy something from a cashier — especially small ticket items — that I have the option of tipping the salesperson.  There will be a cup for tips, or the space to write a tip into the credit card transaction.  If I buy a gelato, or a newspaper in […]

How bad are currency mismatches these days?

The words of Gillian Tett are worth a ponder: …corporate leverage in regions such as Asia is considerably higher today, relative to gross domestic product, than it was before the 1998 Asian financial crisis, as Frank Neumann of HSBC notes. What is even more alarming is that these numbers might understate the risk since many […]


On the topic of pallets, Jacob Hodes writes: There are approximately two billion wooden shipping pallets in the United States. They are in the holds of tractor-trailers, transporting Honey Nut Cheerios and oysters and penicillin and just about any other product you can think of: sweaters, copper wire, lab mice, and so on. They are […]

Assorted links

1. Don’t let your Texas plumber truck end up in the Syrian war. 2. An outsider looks at the upcoming AEA job market.  And Yakut ponies are cold. 3. The best book covers of 2014? 4. Vera Te Velde says visit Cuba now.  And Daniel Drezner on Cuba. 5. Mobile phone data and African food […]

Smuggling Cubans

This post isn’t about smuggling Cuban cigars it’s an incredible story about smuggling Cuban baseball players. The average wage in Cuba is about $20 per month so a typical Cuban might earn 50 times more in the United States but a star Cuban baseball player (who also earns about $20 per month in Cuba) might earn 10,000 […]

Taxing the safe haven demand

Switzerland is introducing a negative interest rate on the deposits it holds for lenders, its central bank said on Thursday, moving to hold down the value of the Swiss franc amid the turmoil in global currency markets. The Swiss National Bank said in a statement from Zurich that it would begin charging banks 0.25 percent […]

The culture that is Dutch

This cracks me up: The illustrations on the banknotes show generic examples of architectural styles such as renaissance and baroque rather than real bridges from a particular member state, which could have aroused envy among other countries. “The European Bank didn’t want to use real bridges so I thought it would be funny to claim […]

Who will win and lose the Facebook attention lottery?

Felix Salmon writes: Facebook’s algorithm is already working overtime on trying to slim down a virtually infinite range of possible News Feed posts to a much smaller number. A significant chunk of the NewsFeed is already ads, so in order to make it into the News Feed if you’re not an ad, you need to […]

From the archives, on Cuba

Here is a Cuban joke which we hope will become obsolete: One Cuban young woman complains to another. “He lied to me! He told me that he was a luggage handler! It turns out, he’s nothing but a neurosurgeon!” Here are many other Cuba posts from MR, interesting throughout!

Assorted links

1. Jeff Bezos is smart. 2. Hyper-realistic cartoon eyeballs. 3. A variety of reflections on Jean Tirole (pdf). 4. The poor do indeed face higher rates of inflation. 5. There is no hidden bottle of scotch in your shoe stagnation. 6. Why isn’t Germany a bigger fashion player?

How to make America more like Disneyland

David Cay Johnston takes a trip to Disneyland some 60 years after his first visit. It looks better than ever, even as America has declined. Every night Disneyland gets freshened up. When the park closes at midnight, the lights go up, and crews steam gum off the sidewalks, daub fresh paint where needed, water the […]

The Russian ruble

From Neil Irwin: As Russia has deployed its reserves to (so far unsuccessfully) stop the currency collapse, it has made traders betting against the ruble richer while leaving the Russian government poorer. Poorer by $80 billion, to be precise. Paul Krugman has a good treatment of the basic theory, scroll through a few of his […]

Joseph Grundfest responds on the SEC, Bebchuk, and academic freedom

I received this email: A colleague forwarded your post this morning, and there is an easy reply to your concerns. Nothing in our analysis implicates academic freedom in the least, and the paper addresses this point directly in the text at page 12: “The Harvard Proposal’s incomplete and categorical analysis of the academic literature could […]

Tuesday assorted links

1. The opening chord from Hard Day’s Night. 2. Dutch bankers take religious oaths. 3. Restaurant discounts based on weight (can you guess which way they go?) 4. Can the umbrella be improved? (yes) 5. Do neural networks now have a chance of beating the best human players at Go? 6. Should they rid New […]

Modern Principles, 3rd ed!

The third edition of the best written, most interesting principles of economics textbook Modern Principles (economics, microeconomics and macroeconomics) hits the shelves any day now. The 3rd edition features a brand new chapter on asymmetric...Show More Summary

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