18 November 2011

Digest: 18 Nov '11

This isn't nearly enough writing to help me build up a full head of steam, but it's feels better than nothing.

Nature: News | Eugenie Samuel Reich | Quantum theorem shakes foundations
The wavefunction is a real physical object after all, say researchers.
I can't even begin to grok the implications of this, but it's still fascinating.

Reason: Hit & Run | Mike Riggs | Occupy Wall Street Response Suddenly Causes Middle Class White People to See Law Enforcement In New Light

I haven't posted at all about use of violence by police toward Occupationist protestors. Mostly because ... come on, really? You're just figuring out the police are unnecessarily violent? Where have you been?

Riggs and others seem optimistic that these events will open the eyes of the white, privileged protestors about how violent the cops often are. I'm doubtful. I think they'll conclude the cops are counterrevolutionary thugs, rather than simply thugs full stop.

Rhymes with Cars & Girls | Sonic Charmer | The Protest Ritual
Theories about how nowadays the mere act of ‘occupation’ is so laden with such meaningful political significance (&c.) that in our modern, internet-dominated age you don’t actually need to make any actual points, arguments, or demands about anything anymore. Theories saying indeed that a lack of tangible, cogent demands or arguments for or against anything is a sign of great strength in a movement.
OWS: All pathos, no logos.

Rhymes with Cars & Girls | Sonic Charmer | The McMansion/Stability Exclusion Principle

We weren't as rich as we thought we were.

EconLog | Arnold Kling | Is the Government an Efficient Charity?
Tyler Cowen agrees with me that the most interesting sentence in Shikha Dalmia's essay is
in 1979, households in the bottom quintile received more than 50 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, similar households received about 35 percent of transfers.
[...]I think that government is a lousy vehicle for redistributing income. Any private relief organization that gave only 35 percent of its transfers to the neediest households would be viewed as scandalously mismanaged. Donors would withdraw support and give their money elsewhere.
(1) Dalmia deserves wider recognition.

(2) I'd love to see a book that eschewed all the moral arguments about dirigisme, and focused entirely on the premise that the state just isn't any good at this.

The Gormorgons | Dr J | You're a mean one, Mr. Obama...

I believe the administration has backed off their Christmas Tree Tax plan after receiving heavy fire abut it, but this is still a good analysis.

ProfessorBainbridge.com | Stephen Bainbridge | The moronic campaign against corporate personhood

This is very worth reading.

PS Larry Ribstein argues that eliminating corporate personhood would actually make it easier for corporation to speak, which is not exactly what MoveToAmend has in mind.

American Scientist | Brian Hayes | An Adventure in the Nth Dimension

Grantland | Michael Weinreb | Growing Up Penn State

Whatever | John Scalzi | Omelas State University

Scalzi makes the perfect literary reference for this situation.

Data Pointed | Stephen von Worley | My God, It’s Full Of Blocks: Population Density Meets The Tile Space

Coyote Blog | Warren Meyer | Stupid Math Tricks

Gizmodo | Jesus Diaz | Why Is China Building These Gigantic Structures In the Middle of the Desert?

Reason: Hit & Run | Shikha Dalmia | Treasury Admits What Everybody Already Knew: Taxpayer Losses On GM Bailout Are Going to be Massive
The Treasury Department yesterday revised its loss estimate for the Government Motors bailout from $14.33 billion to $23.6 billion, thanks to the company’s sinking stock price. [...] As I explained previously, Uncle Sam’s special GM bankruptcy package allowed the company to write off $45 billion in previous losses going forward. This could work out to as much as $15 billion in tax savings that GM wouldn’t have had had it gone through a normal bankruptcy. Why? Because after bankruptcy, the tax liabilities of companies increase since they have no more losses to write off.

This means that the total hit to taxpayers, who still own about a quarter of the company, could add up to $38.6 billion.
How's Occupy RenCen coming along?

EconLog | Bryan Caplan | How Elite Firms Hire: The Inside Story

Interesting. Too late for me to do much about it, but interesting.

Studio Shelter | Keep Drawing

Wow. Just wow.

That is all.

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