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Our Last 50 Referrers

« Sixties Stuff | Main | Turkey and the EU »

November 19, 2004


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

A busy week is making it impossible for me to pull together a posting with a through-line of its own. Hey, life's not supposed to interfere with blogging. But nothing's going to stop me from passing along a few links anyway:

* Have you watched the latest Amazon short-movie presentation? Talk about the most advanced technological pizzazz being put at the service of nothing at all ... Wow: the colors, the editing, the sound -- dazzling, if also annoying to the max. But the story, the acting, and the psychology are on the embarrassing level of what I and my fellow 19-year-olds were doing when I spent a few minutes in film school decades ago. And those interactive end credits -- which have to be seen to be understood -- are freaky. Which came first: the movie or the product placement?

* Thanks to ALD for pointing out this good Lynn Hirschberg rant about what's become of American movies. Hirschberg's useful and smart on how the need to appeal to a world market has affected the kind of product Hollywood makes. I'm hoping Tyler Cowen will see fit to respond; Tyler generally makes the case for the cultural benefits of globalization.

* Jane Galt's posting about what can be done about the poor has attracted a lot of notice around the blogosphere. Tyler comments here. Arnold Kling comments here.

* A with-it young friend alerted me to this new blog for gamers.

* I love the site of the young graphic designer Tatiana Arocha. Her own art has a lot of hotsy-totsy flair and personality. But I also admire a couple of other things about Tatiana's site: the entrepreneurial way she's set her site up as a virtual gallery for the work of other artists and designers too; and her openness to all kinds of visual expression -- t-shirts, jewelry, photography, webwork, and graphic design, as well as the more traditional arts. Now there's post-modernism in its best possible form.

* Note to self: think twice before wearing biking shorts.

* Bryanna Bevins notes that the Arizona Border Patrol apprehended over 2000 illegal immigrants with criminal records in October alone. Greg Ransom argues that "illegal foreign labor is the force driving down wages and driving native born Americans out of a job."

* If Britney starts wearing her pants any more low-slung they're going to vanish up inside her.

* GWBush's war in Iraq has so far cost your household almost $2000.

* Thanks to Steve Sailer, who pointed out this q&a with the Berkeley history professor Yuri Slezkine. Slezkine has just published a new book, "The Jewish Century," and is brilliant and to-the-point about Jewish history, the modern world, and how (in his view) we're all becoming Jewish. Bex Schwartz' posting about what it's like to be a "bad-girl Jew" is a whole lot less scholarly than Slezkine's q&a, but maybe even more fun.

* Belgium's highest court has just outlawed one of the country's biggest political parties. Where Belgium's elite is concerned, being anti-immigration is a serious no-no.

* Mike Hill remembers an era when New York City was a lot less safe than it is today.

* Should economics concern itself with wealth and trade as they relate to human well-being generally, or limit itself only to what can be "objectively" measured and quantified? I can see both cases being made, even if I can't imagine why anyone would want to skip the "well-being" part of the conversation. Still, I got a lot out of reading this Wikipedia entry on Green Economics, and exploring the links it supplies.

* Felix Salmon loved the Met's new Julie Taymor-designed production of "The Magic Flute."

* George Hunka has posted some well-put thoughts about what it is to get something emotional out of a work of art. His recent reflections about art, culture, and religion are pretty wonderful too. As well as daring -- the kinds of bigcity artsies George and I spend a lot of time around are generally rabidly anti-religion.

* I thought Kelly Jane Torrance's review of Barry Schwartz' book about choice was the the most open and level-headed of the many reviews of that book I've read.

* I found this Flash-enabled twist on the traditional jigsaw puzzle ... Well, I don't know, really. Kinda fun and kinda unnerving.

* Yahmdallah takes a chance on Vegas.

* Confirmed cake-frosting-hater Fred Himebaugh wonders where ganache has been all his life.

* A blog by a novice Rockette!

* I'm betting that this category of product -- memory-card-based combo still-video cameras -- is going to be big. Or maybe I should just say that I really, really want one, once they become cheaper and better-designed.

* Razib wonders how sociopaths managed back when humans lived in small groups.

* The Book Babes yak enlighteningly about bestseller lists. How accurate are they? Why aren't they better? Here's my own posting about bestseller lists.



posted by Michael at November 19, 2004


What did you get out of the post on green economics?

I found the whole area quite frustrating. Environmental economics is for me one of the more interesting areas of economics, it's a place where a lot of the theory in micro-economics gets applied and tested and where people really have to grapple with trade-offs amongst what theoretical writers are all too likely to claim as priceless and more theoretical economists leave as unestimable. The green economics links that I've explored on this page don't seem to add anything to that. I feel like grabbing the authors and shaking them and yelling "Okay, you've deemphasised the value of resource, commodity, and product measures, and systemised your connection with the rest of the community. What does that mean for. e.g. how fisheries should be managed? And don't give me any answers that talk about how fisheries should be managed in a holistic manner, what actual rules should be used? What will a fisherman do differently in the morning they get their boat out compared to what they do now?"

E.g. "Some really interesting new thinking is happening at the moment which will lead to a radical reform of economics and a major change in how we lead our economic lives. " Okay, what is the new thinking? Don't just tell me that it's going on, tell me what it is, before I burst with frustrated curiousity (or decide that there's nothing there at all but smoke oil).

Compare these sorts of statements to, e.g. Coase's Theorem. Coase's analysis of how property rights could be used to efficiently manage externalities under some circumstances. It changed how economists view environmental problems by leading them to ask questions like "in this situation, is there a problem with unspecified property rights? Or are too many people involved or the transaction costs too high to negotiate on a piece-by-piece basis?". This was a change from the earlier view that if there was pollution then the government should therefore (almost automatically) apply a tax.

Of course this is all probably showing my bias towards things you can kick, or at least write down in an equation, rather than long complex sentences. But what do you get out of these discussions?

Posted by: Tracy on November 29, 2004 6:40 AM

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