20 September 2011

Digest: 20 Sep 2011

YouTube | Buchan39 | Tom Selleck's Mustache Super Cut


Envionrmental Graffitti | Michele Collet | Exploring the Secret River Flowing Beneath London

"The"? secret river? Aren't there a dozen of these culverted things?


Remind me of Neverwhere. And TMNT.

(Did you know Mike Carey and Glenn Fabry did a Neverwhere graphic novel? It was pretty good stuff. I'd recommend reading the novel, but this is a good way to revisit the story later without having to re-read the whole thing.)

Rhymes with Cars and Girls | Sonic Charmer | Environmental Pet Peeves

I actually got the third of these through to an environmentalist friend of mine this weekend. Of course, he's of the old-school conservationist sort, who's fine with things like (actually) sustainable logging.

The Big Questions | Steve Landsburg | Compassion Play

This is too good to excerpt. Not to be missed.

The meaning of peace is the absence of opposition to socialism. ~ Karl Marx
Puts all the "Work for Peace and Justice!" stickers in perspective. Peace = shut up and agree with me.

This is such a perfect encapsulation of how many people I run into on the Left act that I suspect it might actually be fake.* Too good to check (more thoroughly), though.

* I also suspect that if I lived in the Bible Belt I would feel differently about who likes to play the "let's all lay down our arms and do what I want" gambit the most.

Marginal Revolution | Tyler Cowen | Do all serious economists favor a carbon tax?

Also a very good post.

The Economist: Free Exchange | G.I. | Who wants to tax a millionaire?

I'm surprised to see The Economist being as hard on this proposal as they are.

EconLog | Bryan Caplan | The Bizarro Blitzer Interview

This Blitzer/Paul thing has got a surprising amount of legs.

Reason: Hit & Run | Shikha Dalmia | Nice Try Libs, But Social Security is no 401-k

I'm getting tired of saying this, but not to tired to repeat it one more time: Social Security ought to be a much, much bigger deal for my age cohort. As Dalmia points out, it's existence is inseparable from demographics. That ought to interest the demographic group who's going to be left holding the short end of the stick.

Hipster Libertarian | Bonnie


iSteve | Steve Sailer | Asians, aptitude, and achievement: a positive sum reform proposal

I first came across this idea in relation to lending standards, but I think it applies to education as well. Any theory about the gap between caucasians and blacks & latinos based on privilege and oppression and racism must also attempt to explain why the the dominant racial group would build a system in which Asians do ever better than them. I'm not saying this can't be done, just that I rarely even see it attempted.

Blog Maverick | Mark Cuban | The Most Patriotic Thing You Can Do
Bust your ass and get rich.
i.e. produce more than you consume.

I don't know about this "patriotism" talk though. Someone getting rich through production is good for the whole world, not just the people with the same passport as the rich guy.


I made a similar point several years back:
Is [my paid tutoring job] "community service?" Almost everyone would say no, of course not you capitalist lout, you got paid. Okay, let me put it another way. Was that work making the community a better place? I argue it was. A member of said community was willing to part with some of their wealth in order to see it happen, so to them, I was improving the community. What ever consumer surplus existed in my tutoring transaction is a community service. And since there is no collective democratic consciousness deciding what counts as improvement and what doesn't, and all we have (or should have) are individual decisions and peaceful arrangements between consenting parties, I argue that's as close to serving the community as anything else.

So my advice to all the potential servitors is to forget the volunteering, and get a job, sir. Deliver a paper. Mow a lawn. Paint a house. Sling some fries. Forget about asking what you can do for your country, and start asking what you can do for another individual. Maybe they want to compensate you for it, maybe they don't. That's between you and them, and that kind of individual, private transaction is what really improves society, not "national service" or "community-based experiential learning" or "moon shots" or five year plans. Tell McCain, and Obama, and "the community" they can all go screw.
Above the Crowd | Bill Gurley | Understanding Why Netflix Changed Pricing

By the way, we would all do well to recall Paul Graham's advice on pricing. Paraphrasing: set your prices so your customer complain but keep buying. Right now Netflix has lost some customers, but six months ago they weren't complaining enough. It's possible they've made a big mistake, but it's also possible they're slightly over-charging now after having been drastically under-charging.

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