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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 14:55
We all like to use big words and look cool, but we need to be sure we know what they mean or we can make some serious funny.

Take this doozy from Dan Drezner in the WAPO:

"Most political scientists are prodigious researchers"

Clearly Dan has no idea what at least one of the following three words mean, "most" "prodigious" or "researchers".

Let's help him out by making a more coherent and less inaccurate statement:

__________ political scientists are ___________    ______________ .

Give me your preferred styling in the comments.

By the way Polifacts has already rated Dan's statement as "Pants on Fire".
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)" Tags: "political theatre, You keep using that w..."
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Date: Wednesday, 27 Aug 2014 12:14

Free will is about choosing: The link between choice and the belief in free will 

Gilad Feldman, Roy Baumeister & Kin Fai Ellick Wong
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 239–245

Abstract: Expert opinions have yielded a wide and controversial assortment of conceptions of free will, but laypersons seem to associate free will more simply with making choices. We found that the more strongly people believed in free will, the more they liked making choices, the higher they rated their ability to make decisions (Study 1), the less difficult they perceived making decisions, and the more satisfied they were with their decisions (Study 2). High free will belief was also associated with more spontaneous associating of choice with freedom, and with the perception of actions as choices. Recalling choices (Study 3) and making choices (Study 4) led to a stronger endorsement of the belief in free will, and an additional effect of the level of choice involved in the choice. These findings suggest that the everyday social reality of beliefs about free will is a matter of how people think and feel about choice.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "psychology"
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Date: Tuesday, 26 Aug 2014 09:00
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "the rule of law is a mighty thin reed, T..."
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Date: Monday, 25 Aug 2014 23:54
Here's what happens every fall at Keith Gaddie's house. 

His wife has to get him out from under the bed.  He makes a "fort" under there, with cushions...
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "Okie horn blowing"
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Date: Monday, 25 Aug 2014 08:00
1.  Old guy, still working.  At 101.  It's not causal, in the sense that people who work longer live longer for that reason.  But it is true that people who live longer and feel better may enjoy working longer.

2.  I bet Mike Peterson is saying, "See!  SEE!"  About this.

3.  So, Dick Morris got in all sorts of trouble for toe-sucking.  But this marmot can go around lens-licking and there is no reaction?  Why do we even have a highly militarized local police force if marmots think nothing of lens-licking?

4.  Patents that kill...

5.  An interesting perspective.  If this is right, then it is the LIBERTARIAN part of the left that is prospering, and the statist part that is foundering.  I'd kind of like to believe that's true.


6.  If this truck slows down...just gun it.

7.   Where did you say you were from?

8.  "The most transparent administration in history..."  The only thing transparent about the Obama administration is its blatant corruption.  The point is not that it is worse than Bush II; it's not worse.  The point is that it's no BETTER.

9.  I'm not sure that government is to blame for this, really.  If we set up a state that only hires idiots, you can't really blame the operatives for being idiots.  To avoid this, we would need to settle on a conception of the state that is limited, but honorable, instead of unlimited and corrupt.  (Still, you might give some training that allows TSA people to identify the different states and territories of the U.S.)

10.  Deflation:  it can't stop, it won't stop.  Actually, that was Puffy, but you see my point.  (For people over 40, the Puffy reference...)

11. Buzz-kill.

12.  I'm not that disturbed the theft, since the property was returned.  I'm a little creeped out by the idea of the statue, however.   The owner's account:  "It's Obama.  Everybody loves Obama.  Well, I do."  Her polling technique needs work, I think.

13.  When citizens are asked to report weapons, we do need to be careful to tell people that Star Wars was not a documentary.  Light sabers don't exist, except as toys.  Yes, it would be cool if they did, especially if you could get one of Samuel L. Jackson's special "Shaft Purple" edition light sabers.

14.  The LMM wants to get married again so she can wear this dress.  I'm worried, though.  It's not clear what my role would be--if any--in this new wedding.

15.  Stress, mood, and health are related in complex ways.

16.  In praise of efficient price-gouging.  It's not complicated.  The problem is that people want unicorns:  low price, zero scarcity, no wait times.  Unicorns don't actually exist.  Well, except in your imagination.

17.  Jeez.  Get some WD-40, man.  For the swing, I mean.

18.  You can be a litter narc!  Rat out your enemies, on charges real or imagined.

19.  You MUST give us your information, even the most sensitive.  And we will pledge to safeguard it.  Except that we don't mean the second part, and if we get hacked you have no recourse.  Have a nice day, citizen.

20.  It's ridiculously easy to hack, delay, destroy many of the things we depend on.  But we will continue to focus only on airports, because it's fun.

21.  Never reason from a BOND price change...

22.  Falling teen pregnancy rate....why?

23.  Q:  How much do I want to ride in this?  A:  A lot.

24.  I guess I can imagine stealing an electric shopping cart.  Maybe I can imagine using to go places in public, but probably not.  I cannot imagine taking it to go see my probation officer. I have to admit, however, I would absolutely consider doing this.
25.  50 Shades of Gay.

26.  Pranking Gatorade buyers.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "links"
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Date: Friday, 22 Aug 2014 12:00
People, it comes to us from Hinds Community College:

People if blatant discrimination like this can occur against innocent cute goats, why do we even have a government at all?

Hat tip to MK
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)" Tags: "sheep go to heaven but goats can't even ..."
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Date: Thursday, 21 Aug 2014 09:30
One of the great things about Chris Rock is that you can't quite be sure if he's laughing at you, or with you.

Especially smug white people (and that's me, I recognize).  What's really going on here?

NSFW.  Funny, but NSFW.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "I DO fault the police, race"
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Date: Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 13:33
Over at inside higher ed, Rob Weir reports,

Last spring, my best friend decided to flip his introduction to computer science class. He posted reading assignments and an online quiz on Friday, closed the quiz at 10:59 on Monday, and walked into his 11 a.m. class that day and introduced higher-level material based upon what students were supposed to have mastered. Some students did really well, some had tried taking the quiz without careful reading, and some simply didn't get what the text was telling them. One could take a hardball approach and say that those who tried to skip the reading got what they deserved and the clueless were in the wrong class. Insofar as my friend was concerned, though, flipping flopped.

People, this is a big fail. The guy is throwing away valuable information and is not really trying to help his students learn. In fact, he's kind of being a dick.

How about this? Post some short videos, instead of long reading assignments, have the online quiz due well before the next class, check the quiz to see what students are having problems with, start the next class by with a mini presentation on the problematic stuff, try some peer instruction on that material, give a mini presentation on some higher level stuff and follow that with peer instruction too!

 In Rob's, example, flipping didn't flop, the lazy-ass professor flopped.

Flipping is not "you go read the basics and then I'll lecture all class period on advanced material".

Flipping is "you get prepared before class, and then we will do problem solving during the class period."

Flipping does not excuse the professor from the responsibility of making sure the students understand and master the basic material. Flipping does not put a wall between the online and in-person components of the class.

It is actually much harder to run a flipped class well than to go the old "sage on the stage" route that Rob enjoys so much.

But I will say this, if you aren't going to put the work in, please don't "flip" your class.

Note: this is cross-posted at Cherokee Gothic as well.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)" Tags: "flip this class, peer instruction, teach..."
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Date: Tuesday, 19 Aug 2014 13:06

Dollar stores got beef!

Dollar Tree had an agreement to buy Family Dollar, but nowDollar General is offering $9 billion cash for Dollar Tree.

So I guess we know how many items Dollar Tree has in its inventory, no?

No word yet about what the new conglomerate plans to do about 50 Cent.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)" Tags: "go on take the money and run, is this a ..."
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 17:42
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "articles to read, unicorns and rainbows"
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Date: Monday, 18 Aug 2014 09:30
1.  News crew goes out to "investigate" app that identifies sketchy neighborhoods.  And their van gets robbed.  Surely this was a setup, right?  Nobody would leave that much electronic gear out in the open in a van.

2.  Duke basketball is "most hated."  Yes, it really is.  In other news, water is still wet.  On the other hand, the most-hated team in North Carolina is UNC, and the most-hated team in Washington state is U-Dub.  Interesting.

3.  Jealous dogs.  Skippy Squirrelbane is VERY jealous.  His bowling ball head is extremely useful for knocking down other dogs that get between him and petting.  He's not aggressive about it, just inexorable.

4.  "Clean energy" is not clean.  In fact, it's not even energy.  Some technologies, especially ethanol from corn, are a net waste of energy rather than a savings.

5.  Family friend and recent Duke grad Jacob Tobia on being "genderqueer at Duke."  Jacob is a terrific person, and was willing twice to give an excellent talk to my intro Econ class on the "Occupy" movement.

6.  Interview questions you should be able to answer...

7.  A rant about airplane etiquette.  And, I do myself wonder:  why do Europeans, especially Germans, simply ignore the obvious "wait until the row ahead of you clears."  The answer is that Germans consider people they don't know to be human speed bumps, or worse.  It's a strange disconnect, since Germans are otherwise quite considerate, pulling over out of the left lane when American just hog it.  This drives Germans nuts (and rightly so, since it's dumb and rude).

8.  A classic "correlation does not imply causation" study.  To be fair, the editor of the journal and authors of the study are quite careful about this.  One can think of several explanations for the correlation.  An interesting classroom exercise, perhaps.

9.  An Al Roker corn maze (a mais maze?).

10.  Local "Freedom of Information" laws are useful.  Says SOMETHING that NY calls it the "FOIL."  As in "I FOILed those citizens again by refusing to provide any information," said Andrew Cuomo.  Cities should be more open.  Folks can find out what contingency plans are in place to be used in case of dragon attack, for example.

11.  I am the Eggman, they are the Eggman, We're all the Unicorn.  Goo goo goo joob.

12. Fair trade....cocaine!   Don't forget this fact:  you can't get it back.

13.  Woman wants to see boyfriend, steals wine. Um, ma'am, I don't think it works like that.

14.  This video has been doctored up, with music.  But just the video is pretty bad.  

15.  A high trust country has a shorter constitution.  Or do short constitutions make for more functional countries?

Headlines:  (Sounds like that SNL skit, where Willie and Frankie would say (in this case), "You know how when you're trying to land a plane, and your arm comes off?" "Oh, yeah, I hate it when that happens.")  Pilot's Artificial Arm Detaches While Landing. (Note, it was a commercial flight.  The pilot was braver than I would have been.  So let's give him some credit, too.)

Speaking of SNL, this guy ("Maserati Patrol Car Raises Police Suspicions") mus have said, "The police?  Yeah...I'm HELPING the police.  Yeah, that's the ticket."  (As in when Tommy the Pathological Liar Meets Jerry Hall in a bar...)

"Colorado town sues voters."  I may try that myself.  You voters are goofballs. Somebody ought to pass a law.

"Florida man accused of killing his friend asked Siri where to hide the body, court hears."  Protip:  If you kill your friend, don't ask Siri where to hide the body.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "links"
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Date: Sunday, 17 Aug 2014 16:43
I'm pretty sure Mungo was trolling me this morning with his retweets, but it worked anyway.

So let's take a look at the wonder that is market monetarism and its incredible abuse of graphs and accounting identities.

Our data come from Italy and here are the graphs in question:

OK, so the first graph is the path of Nominal income (PY) relative to trend. The second is the path of real income (Y) and the third is the path of prices (P). Nothing objectionable about the graphs in themselves.

You can see NGDP has fallen a lot (relative to trend), mostly due to lower real GDP. Since we are dealing with accounting here, we really only need two of these graphs. the third one is implied by the other two.

But people, what just sets my teeth on edge and puts a bee in my bonnet is the idea that, and I quote:

The message from the graphs above is clear – the Italian economy is suffering from a massive demand short-fall due to overly tight monetary conditions (a collapse in nominal GDP).

Nominal GDP IS nothing more than the product of prices and output. To say that a fall in nominal GDP relative to trend "caused" the fall in the path of prices and output relative to trend is just gibberish.

Try it in the abstract without the sacred labels. "The fall in XY caused the fall in X and the fall in Y".

Ummm, maybe the fall in Y caused the fall in X and as a result XY also fell??  Or the fall in X? Or some third factor caused both X and Y to fall and as an unavoidable consequence of arithmetic, XY also fell?

Labeling PY as "Monetary conditions" and then saying Y fell because PY fell and blaming that on monetary conditions is not an economic theory. It's not even an un-economic theory.

Here's another example of the twisted logic of market monetarism:

One can obviously imagine that the Italian output gap can be closed without monetary easing from the ECB. That would, however, necessitate a sharp drop in the Italian price level (basically 14% relative to the pre-crisis trend – the difference between the NGDP gap and the price gap).

Thats a doozy.

Output is 14% too low so prices need to fall by 14%, doing this will leave NGDP unchanged and the output gap will be eliminated.

The basic problem comes from here:

It is no secret that I believe that we can understand most of what is going on in any economy by looking at the equation of exchange:

(1) M*V=P*Y

People, you can't explain anything about causation WITH AN ACCOUNTING IDENTITY!
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)" Tags: "accounting is overrated, macro is not th..."
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Date: Saturday, 16 Aug 2014 09:00
Pretty cool to have a book trailer.  *I* don't have a book trailer.  But David Skarbek does:

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "books to read, prisons"
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Date: Friday, 15 Aug 2014 13:54
LeBron points us to David Yves' 2012 paper on quality of life in America.  Tyler is interested in whether big cities are bad places to live (I read Yves as saying yes, unless they are on the ocean), but I am interested in how the piece illustrates my current situation.

Oklahoma City is ranked 137 (out of 276), right in the middle of the pack. Santa Fe is 6th.


However, my best employment bet in Santa Fe looks to be either community college instructor or free-lance woodworker, while Mrs. Angus and I have amazingly great jobs at OU. We also have season tickets for the Thunder.

People, we badly need one of those Elon Musk tunnels between Santa Fe and Norman.

(*FYCI Dallas is ranked 206!)
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Angus)" Tags: "always look for the union label, always ..."
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Date: Friday, 15 Aug 2014 12:25

(with thanks to Mark at http://www.gameofthriving.com/ )
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "cats, separated at birth"
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Date: Thursday, 14 Aug 2014 09:30
You may recall the G-Bike.  It was a German girl's bike (actually, a German bike that happened to be set up for a girl.  I did NOT take a bike from a German girl).  Story and pictures here.  Last I knew of the G-Bike, it was stolen, in Erlangen. Stolen by the police.  Because I left it in a "no bikes" zone where there dozens of other bikes.  Okay, maybe not stolen, exactly.

Anyway, Tommy the Tenured Brit wonders if perhaps it has been found.  With John Kerry riding it.  And TtTB may be right.  But they took off the pirate flag, in that case.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "an appreciation, deutschlandiana, transp..."
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Good Dog   New window
Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 15:40
The LMM went out to the mailbox, and found this:

Hi my name is Haley. I was going to leave a very important tract about our website at your door but your dogs were guarding the property. Here it is have a nice day.

And the "tract" was was a flyer from the "Jehovah's Witnesses."  Thanks, Skippy, you saved everyone some time!

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "our dogs DO own our house, religion"
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 09:30
The crude anti-scientism of the left is actually more dangerous than that of the right.

The creationists want to argue about evolution, but don't really have a forum where they can do much harm.

And the climate change deniers don't do much harm, because the interest groups that run Congress would prevent any action in any case.

But the left...the left keeps insisting that:

1.  kids should not get vaccines
2.  GMO food is dangerous

Well, they should, and it's not.

A very nice, short discussion by Neil deGrasse Tyson on the GMO idiocy.

Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "science"
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Date: Wednesday, 13 Aug 2014 08:30
As far as I can tell, this is a near perfect description of empirical work in comparative politics.

In honor of Scott de Marchi.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "applied statistics"
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Date: Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 09:00

The curious task of the liberty movement is to persuade citizens that our opponents are the idealistic ones, because they believe in unicorns. They understand very little about the State that they imagine they can design.

 The article is here.
Author: "noreply@blogger.com (Mungowitz)" Tags: "unicorns and rainbows"
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