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« Food-Prep for Newbies | Main | The Sign on the Can »

April 20, 2006

Elsewhere

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Once again back on the boards, Colleen comes out with a beautiful posting about performing, energy levels, and more.

* The country-music biz is having a harder and harder time breaking acts in the home of country music. Scott Chaffin thinks he knows why.

* Should humans adapt to avant-garde fashions, or should architects learn how to serve well-established human needs and pleasures? Tatyana takes a look at the statements and the work of Rem Koolhaas.

* The idea that architecture ought to express the "spirit of the times" was one of the doctrines responsible for a lot of the building-and-urbanism horrors of the 20th century. Alas, this silly contention hasn't died yet. John Massengale spells out the basics here and (at the bottom of the comments thread) here.

* Nature-girl Searchie does battle with the Squirrel from Hell.

* The Microsoft image editor on my work computer is not only lousy, it no longer works. Luckily, this online photo editor does the job well enough.

* Dean Baker thinks that NAFTA hasn't done Mexico any favors, and that Mexico's economy is in the doldrums. A nice quote from Dean on another posting:

Less-skilled workers in the United States have to worry about competition from undocumented workers, while the people who design and debate immigration policy (economists, lawyers, reporters) donít have to worry about professionals from developing countries slipping over the borders and undercutting their wages.

* Peter Brimelow rehearses the many reasons why Ted Kennedy should be jeered whenever he starts to talk about immigration issues.

* Tyler Cowen writes that some economists are finally catching up with what marketers have always known. Welcome to "neuroeconomics."

* This is great: The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra is dedicated to preserving and presenting great film and TV music.

* Here are some cute and clever photos (NSFW). Posing for these shots must have been a real test of the models' patience.

* Is the porn industry the media business's real technological innovator? (Link thanks to FvB.)

* The Telegraph's Clive Aslet reviews the world's largest collection of erotic art, soon to go on sale at Christie's in Paris, and wonders if there's finally any difference between erotic art and pornography. Interesting to learn that the collection was put together by a Swiss department-store heir.

* "Posh porn" may be the hottest thing since chicklit. As the co-author (with The Wife) of a recent erotic novel, I certainly hope so.

* Was Hitler a Christian? The Straight Dope thinks the answer is complicated.

* Will Duquette recommends a P.G. Wodehouse novel that sounds like a very unusual one.

* Google now offers a snazzy-looking Calendar feature.

* Random numbers are fascinating, aren't they?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at April 20, 2006




Comments

Aw, shucks...if I wasn't such a narcissistic hambone, I'd be blushing.

Posted by: communicatrix on April 20, 2006 7:11 PM



Picasa may be worth a try for quick-n-dirty image editing.

Posted by: Jonathan on April 20, 2006 10:53 PM



The neuro-economics stuff sounds like a story with legs. It may well take 50 or 100 years, but I'm guessing that eventually knowledge of how people make decisions will re-structure not only economics but also political institutions. It's funny (albeit in a painful way) to read 'philosophical' books on political theory, and to realize just how unhooked all of it is from any kind of historical context. As a first step in reforming such theories, all political philosophers desperately need to do several years reading in the fascinating topic of state formation (how governments have actually come to be in the real world), an emerging historical speciality. And even that is at best a first step, a slight intellectual corrective to insane theory-mongering in a vacuum visible in, well, just about every discussion of political theory I've ever read.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on April 21, 2006 10:13 AM



I don't understand where this idea that economists don't have to worry about "foreigners undercutting their wages" comes from. The job market for economists is entirely international, and we're all better off for it. A consulting firm or university is willing to hire an economist whether he's a Chinese, US or Brazilian citizen. Given the limited number of US-citizen economists, I don't doubt that wages would go up if US firms couldn't hire foreigners in the short run.

Of course, in the long run, the situation would be exactly the same for economists as it is for other professions - the US would no longer lead the world in economics work as "top firms" (or universities at the top of the rankings) began to be dominated by places like LSE and Peking University rather than Harvard and MIT.

(That said, the concern that "white collar" labor isn't open to free trade is certainly true in many sectors. Why does the government prevent Swissair from NYC to LAX, for example?)

Posted by: cure on April 21, 2006 2:43 PM



Also, the tech industry in the US is being flooded with highly qualified candidates from all over the globe, particularly India. While it may have been true in the past that white-collar jobs were safe from globalization, that certainly isn't the case anymore. Thank God I'm in a position where native fluency in English is a requirement (tech writer). So far, at least.

knock on virtual wood

Posted by: the patriarchy on April 21, 2006 3:33 PM



Cure is completely correct. I am starting graduate school in economics this fall, and I guarantee less than 30 percent of my starting class will be United States citizens. The schools don't discriminate (well, maybe slightly, but not much), and we have to work our butts off to get places.

Seventeen of the top twenty programs are in the United States. http://www.econphd.net/rank/rallec.htm
Connection, maybe?

Posted by: Chris on April 21, 2006 4:45 PM



Why does the government prevent Swissair from NYC to LAX, for example?

Great question. Here's a follow-up: why does the American government prevent Southwest from DAL to LAX? Answer to both: protectionism and cronyism, now institutionalized. Yet another one the economists missed. Call them historians and let's all move on, so we can get some bidness done, what say?

Posted by: Scott Chaffin on April 21, 2006 10:51 PM






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