Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Mid week responses

Busy this week with administrative, research and teaching duties. As usual I am interested in your views on my blog or any other matter. An open forum!

The situation in Iraq dominated my focus this week. The left (and some of the right blessed with ex post wisdom) have decided the situation in Iraq will be improved if the US exits soon - a policy I think is morally wrong and confused given the terrible events in that country over the last 100 days and the prospects of descent into civil war. The link I provided showing the young Shia boy ordered to watch his family murdered when the US had repeatedly refused help to the local Shia community is compelling.

The bigots on the 'left' will be happy to see the Americans humiliated and themselves vindicated (on the basis of the 'wrongness' of the invasion decision) even if that means civil war in Iraq and lots of massacres. I am pleased to see there are many who disagree. The main points of the debate are simple (i) the correctness of the intervention decision must be based on an ex ante assessment of the comparative costs of intervention versus containment policies (the Davis et al (2006) approach have a sound methodology right even if some of their parameter assumptions are questionable) and, (ii) irrespective of the correctness of this decision, what matters now are costs and benefits now not sunk costs. Simple logic might lose out to the ' 'aint it awful' brigade.

On the blogging front I learnt a few new tricks with the Blogger software I use including how to write extendable posts (thanks Laura). I read two books on blogging. One by Elizabeth Castro, Publishing a Blog with Blogger , was easy where it is obvious but difficult in areas where I did need help. The other by Brad Hill, Blogging for Dummies, was a good survey of various blogging software packages. I have developed an operating blog with Wordpress and will probably publish this blog there once I get around some of its geekish features. Blogger, despite its quirks, is easy and Wordpress has learning costs.

Old cobber Jack Rozycki sent me this on the impact of blogging on journalism. I was also fascinated to read a Business Week article where the editors asked a contributor with some unconventional economic theories (measuring intangible investments, savings and 'dark matter' in current account deficits) to respond to blogger arguments in the text of the magazine. He did so in 'Do I Deserve a Wedgie?'. Its a good read.

Finally, Clarke Mansions in Ivanhoe (Kalimna) has a cockroach plague that seems to be concentrated in my home office. As I have not changed my bathing habits I don't know what brought it on. I released an insect bomb in the office and it fumigated for 12 hours. Lots of dead cockroaches when I returned but, in my new insect-free zone, my damn office computer wouldn't start. Consequence of the bomb or delayed effects of a virus from surfing the web? I don't know - but for the last few days pecking at a wretched laptop borrowed from the office.

Have a good week all!

1 comment:

P.A. Coplay said...

We (in a nearby suburb) have had cockroaches - in our local newspaper this was mentioned as a general problem because of a particular set of weather conditions (warmth was part of it)

I also enjoyed the music clips - particularly the one about looking for something to eat (otherwise (the horror) my collarbone will show!!!)