Monday, May 29, 2006

Random blogwalk

John Quiggin makes a sensible re-post on the nuclear power debate and on connections with global warming denialism that I found sharp. It gives a good general perspective. The New York Times discusses issues of carbon capture in coal-fired plants – the most plausible alternative to nuclear but a technology which is not catching on in the US. Finally, The View from Benambra has a couple of interesting posts on nuclear power including a suggestion to compensate those living close to a plant to offset NIMBY sensitivities.

Some top posts at Truck and Barter. Mainly economics - but other things as well. There are numerous good posts. The post on Russian demography reflected something I was vaguely aware of – but this makes it precise. I am a big fan of Daniel Barenboim so these broadcasts (cited by T&B) interest me. More excellent stuff at New Economist on the ‘resource curse’ and a good reference to Economist’s Views on the positive role of blogging in economics. Jason Soon makes a nice post on Nietzsche’s views on complementarities between pleasure and displeasure and I liked his subsequent post on the political attitudes of economists – we are a lovable, broadminded lot as I argue in the ensuing comments section.

Ken Parish makes sensible remarks on remote aboriginal settlements at Troppo that help put the issue in context. James Farrell subsequently wrote a nice post on the same topic but I can’t link to it since Troppo went troppo. The Four Corners show tonight on the aboriginal settlement Imanpa said a lot in terms of the hopelessness of the aboriginal situation. Political failures in a small, partly corrupt, generally incompetent community that has terrible financial problems and which sniffs petrol. I found this one of the most confronting Four Corners shows. No good ideas, no smart theories, I have no idea. This is tough.

Tim Blair provides a good example of the standard debauched leftwing thinking on Iraq.

Via Andrew Leigh I got useful links for graduate students in economics from Greg Mankiw which if you teach economics you should stick on a noticeboard – I will. Mankiw also has a nice piece on how to avoid wasting time. Joshua Gans has spawned a sub-blog on the game-theoretic consequences of spawning that creates some nostalgic memories. He also links up with Andrew Leigh on a joint post on queuing in supermarkets. I liked this as it is fun and reflects a weekly decision problem for me as I do the weekly shopping. Their theorem is that when working out which checkout queue to select you make a choice and stick to it. I often do this but don’t always select the shortest queue – I always position myself closest to a large set of non-operating queue lines on the off chance they will open them – this often happens. Also if there is a good enough looking ‘checkout chick’ I’ll pick her queue irrespective of queue length. Finally, I sometimes do switch from one queue to another even though there are switching costs. Most switching costs are sunk and should not influence your current checkout choice – particularly if the nubile checkout operator you select, while superficially attractive, turns out to have pimples. There are niche habitat selection issues here that also might drive a switch – one niche looks good but then you find (on closer inspection) it is not so good and hence switch.

Larvatus Prodeo is becoming a drivel blog – the Women’s Weekly blog of Australia’s political left. And Tim Dunlop seems confused – he can’t work out why the Australian Labor Party wants to avoid electoral irrelevance. He continues with an awful, vulgar post expressing his hatred for John Howard. Tim Lambert is on about being ‘wrong and foolish’ on global warming at Deltoid – he has focus I’ll give him that – it is just unrelenting. Crooked Timber has abundant words but low content – this piece cited is about buying cheap collections of DVDs and then forcing yourself to watch them – ‘snarking-out’ it is called – but just silly – the author follows up with a piece recommending cheap graphic novels - comics. Currency Lad makes good points on the mess in East Timor but has a narky anti-left political aspect.

And that was my somewhat random walk around the blogosphere this evening.

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