Econstudentlog

An interesting observation

This had not crossed my mind.

David Friedman notes:

A recent post on FuturePundit cites some interesting calculations by CalTech professor Dave Rutledge. Using the estimation approach on which current, widespread concerns about running out of petroleum are based, he finds that the IPCC global warming calculations overestimate future hydrocarbon burning by a factor of at least three or four–because the hydrocarbons are not there to be burned.

We have here two different arguments leading to the same conclusion and believed, on the whole, by the same people. One argument is that we are running out of hydrocarbons and should therefore reduce our use of hydrocarbons, reduce energy consumption and switch to alternative energy sources. The other argument is that we are, by burning hydrocarbons, increasing the amount of CO2 in the air and warming the planet, and we should therefore reduce our use of hydrocarbons, reduce energy consumption, and switch to alternative energy sources.

Both arguments claim, with some justification, to be based on scientific calculations. Both are, on the whole, believed by the same people. But, if Rutledge is right, the two sets of calculations are inconsistent with each other. Nobody who believes one ought to believe the other.

Which may reflect the fact that, once you know what conclusion you want to reach, there is always some way of getting there.

June 27, 2007 Posted by | global warming | Leave a comment

“Fair trade” revisited

The Fair Trade experiences of Costa Rica and Guatemala leave several lessons for producers, buyers, and consumers to consider:

i) A one-size-fits-all organizational structure, as imposed by Fair Trade rules, discourages competition in the global coffee market.

ii) The rules of Fair Trade, at least in the coffee industry, do nothing to address the situation of the industry’s poorest segment.

iii) Fair Trade may encourage the employment of scarce resources in high-cost, low-quality growing areas that could find better uses than coffee production, thereby limiting the long-term success of the individuals it is attempting to help.

iv) Only a small portion, if any, of the price increase goes directly to poor farmers.

v) Artificially raising the prices for coffee can lead to many unintended consequences, such as creating an incentive to increase supply, which would lead to even lower payments to farmers in the future.

Fair Trade coffee should be commended in so far as it is analogous to the efforts of voluntary private charity. However, if the desired goal is to alleviate poverty, Fair Trade is perhaps not the best way to achieve that goal in the long run. Indeed, it is unclear whether Fair Trade eventually leads to improving the lives of those it intends to help.

From a new mercatus-publication (pdf). HT: Overcomingbias.

June 25, 2007 Posted by | economics, tradeoffs | Leave a comment

Flemming Rose has a blog

Glenn Reynolds made me aware of it. Here it is. This post in particular deserves mentioning.

June 21, 2007 Posted by | blogging, freedom of speech | Leave a comment

Candidate matches, round 2

It’s way too hot and wonderful to be blogging these days, so just a quick note:

The Candidate matches are half way through round 2. Annotated games collected here. We have seen a few short GM-draws in less than 20 moves, but not too many. During the 3.rd matchround I followed extensively what I believe were the two most interesting games; Gelfand-Kamsky and Aronian-Shirov. Kamsky had what might be considered a mental breakdown against Gelfand, making him reach move 24 with only 2 minutes left on the clock. He kept playing – this was indeed what made it interesting; it was quite fun to follow his near-bullet play against Gelfand – and he did manage to reach it to the time control, but eventually resigned. Aronian blew it against Shirov by playing 61.f6?? Another kibitzer noticed at the time he played it, that the exact same position with Kc6 is actually in Panchenko’s endgame-book and is a textbook win for white. I don’t own Panchenko’s book myself – I play too much and study too little and anyway, most of what you learn by studying, you can learn the hard way through experience by playing (except perhaps the things FM’s and above need to know, like how to win insanely complicated queen endings with little time left on the clock) – so I have to take his word for it; but it was a russian GM that said this, so I shall assume he knew what he was talking about.

The results and position can be found here. Leko looks sharp, but this might have something to do with the fact that this match is the one with the widest elo-gap. Who do I expect to move on to round three? Leko, Aronian, Grischuk and Gelfand. Surprice! They have the higher elo’s, and they are already in the lead.

As usual, Danish commentary is to be found here.

June 9, 2007 Posted by | Chess | Leave a comment

Eraserhead

I recently saw the movie Eraserhead for the first time. This movie is, just like most of Lynch’ movies, not for everyone. How many people ie. have the patience to watch a movie that goes on for ten minutes before you hear the first sound of a human voice?

I did not enjoy watching it – yet I couldn’t look away. The “enjoyment factor” is irrelevant: David Lynch has rightfully described the film as “a dream of dark and troubling things”. This movie was never supposed to “give you a good time”. It’s one of – if not the most troubling movie I have ever seen, and I can only imagine how much more horrifying it would have been to watch it thirty years ago.

If you like Lynch’ movies, this is a must see. A few of the effects could have been done better, but it doesn’t really matter.

June 7, 2007 Posted by | movies | 1 Comment

The move is complete

Given that I have imported all posts and comments from the old blogger account and have by now given even the very casual readers time to figure out that the blog has moved, I found that it was about time I deleted the old blogger site. The internet is crowded enough as it is, and there’s no reason why two sites should display the same content – one will do. I have left one post linking to this site, but that’s it.

I know that some of the people who have me on their blogroll still links to the blogspot site. If you have not yet changed the link, now would be a good time to do so.

June 4, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment