A friend sent this around earlier today. Since tomorrow is a holiday in Canada and the weekend will be a holiday in the US, I hope some people will try this:
A friend sent this around earlier today. Since tomorrow is a holiday in Canada and the weekend will be a holiday in the US, I hope some people will try this:
As I have written before, the US tax treatment of its ex-pats is draconian and stupid. We end up paying accountants hundreds of dollars each year only to learn we might owe the IRS some paltry some like $67, if anything.
To makes things even more stressful, the implementation of FATCA [the US tax on off-shore assets] swings into full effect starting on July 1, 2014. This drag net, enacted to catch non compliant U.S. taxpayers with funds located abroad, is causing many U.S. citizens living in Canada sleepless nights in anticipation of a call from the IRS.
I have seriously considered renouncing my US citizenship as a result of this law. But it turns out, I may decide not to do that after all. Here is why [from this site]:
Assuming that the proper tax compliance steps have been or will be taken to avoid the imposition of the exit tax under section 877A, the actual process of renouncing one's U.S. citizenship also has immigration issues of which to be wary. Under the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act,35 additional amendments were added to deny re-entry to the United States if it was determined by the U.S. Attorney General that the former citizen renounced their U.S. citizenship for the purpose of avoiding U.S. tax.36 [emphasis added] This provision became known as the Reed Amendment because of its introduction by then U.S. Representative Jack Reed of Rhode Island. Although it appears that this law is seldom enforced, there is no guarantee that it will continue to be in the future. Under this provision, an individual who is found to have renounced for U.S. tax avoidance purposes will be denied access into the United States and will be considered "inadmissible" for immigration purposes. The Reed Amendment is intended to prevent a tax motivated expatriate from returning to the United States. Representative Reed, in proposing the amendment stated:
"In an instrumental way, I would hope in the future if those very slick and smart tax lawyers advising their clients about how to avoid their taxes suggest expatriation they should also indicate very clearly that the consequences are you cannot return at will to the United States."37
Well hell. The only reason I'm going through all this nonsense is so I can freely visit my son and his family, who live in the US.
I could argue that I renounced my US citizenship not to avoid paying US taxes but to avoid having to pay accountants to demonstrate that I no longer owe the US any taxes. But I wouldn't want to take a chance on winning that argument at the border.
And since I have made it quite clear on this blog that the only reason I would go through the process of renouncing my US citizenship is to avoid having to file US tax returns, I would be clearly in sights of the Reed Amendment.
A few weeks ago I saw this question posed on Facebook:
Would you give up the internet for $1million?
I don't know what it would mean exactly to give up the internet.
I'm not sure where the line would be drawn. However, despite this incomplete understanding of the conditions, I doubt if I would take the deal. I'd rather have the internet than have someone give me a million dollars.
I asked several of my friends (via email, of course) if they would take the deal, and they all said "no".
That means the internet is generating one heck of a lot of consumer surplus (roughly speaking, the difference between what something is worth to us and what we pay for it). If having the internet is worth more than a million dollars to millions of people, then the total consumer surplus must be gazillions of dollars.
Interestingly, this exercise does not work symmetrically: I would not be willing to give up $1million to have the internet; if I had to pay $1million to be able to use the internet, I'd give the internet up in a flash. The wealth differences between having the internet and not having it are so large, the situations are not comparable.
So here's another way to consider the exercise:
If someone said you must pay $1million for the internet and at the same time that person gave you $1million, would you use the money to buy access to the internet?
I'm not sure I would. But that raises questions about the validity of my initial answer, since the situations are financially identical.
Part of the reason for my hesitation in this second scenario is that if I have the internet, I have something called "the endowment effect" --- I'd be reluctant to give it up if I have it; but if I don't have it, I might also be hesitant about buying it.
Part of the reason might also be that I would be upset about someone else getting all that money (the dreaded economics and politics of envy) that could have been mine.
In the old days when the rational expectations cowboys dominated the economics profession, they would merely have pointed out that the inconsistency in my answers shows I'm not being rational (in fact am being pretty stupid) without examining the nature of human behaviour in general.
Increasingly, though, economists are recognizing that most people have these tendencies (see behavioural economics) and that our assumptions of rational maximizing and rational expectations, while very useful, do not explain all of human behviour.
Addendum: Including data plans for our phones and our household internet plan, Ms Eclectic and I are paying perhaps as much as $2000/year for access to the internet. If those fees can be expected to persist and if we expect to live a long time, the present value of those fees at a real interest rate of 1% would be less than $200,000. So we are, indeed, paying a lot for the internet, but nowhere near $1m.
I was born in the United States. I emigrated to Canada over 40 years ago. Nearly 15 years ago, I took out Canadian citizenship. When I did that, I was under the mistaken belief that doing so meant I was de facto giving up my US citizenship.
Apparently for tax purposes, I was wrong. The US is one of only a few (two?) countries that tax on the basis of citizenship, not on the basis of residence and not on the basis of where you earn your income. They assert that even if you take out citizenship in another country, if you were ever a US citizen, you are still a US citizen (at least for tax purposes).
This situation presented no problem for me until a few years ago. The taxes in Canada are higher than the taxes in the US, and so I never owed them anything. In fact, until two years ago, I stopped even filing a return (again believing that I no longer had to file since I am a Canadian citizen and have had no US income).
Things have changed. Margaret Wente is in the same situation (only more ridiculously so, since she left the US when she was 14):
Welcome to the nightmare of U.S. citizens abroad. There are hundreds of thousands of us in Canada, and millions more worldwide. Most of us are law-abiding people. But the U.S. government is treating us like tax cheats. It also says that any “U.S. person” (meaning anyone born in the United States, or even anyone with American parents) must keep filing U.S. tax returns, forever – or else. ...It gets worse, because now there will be no place to hide. On July 1, the loathsome FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) kicks in. It requires banks around the world to cough up the financial information of any client suspected of being a U.S. person. This means your RESPs, your mutual funds, your bank accounts. To its shame, Canada did not resist this extraterritorial abuse of power and privacy. The banks can’t resist, either – they’re on the hook for heavy fines if they don’t comply.
When I first heard about this stuff a couple of years ago, I thought it was a paranoid fantasy. But it was for real. When I wrote about my own dilemma about whether to comply, I was inundated with e-mails from terrified little old ladies who were afraid they’d be arrested at the border on their way to Florida. They won’t be. But the truth is bad enough. Even though the IRS has now promised not to treat them like criminals, simply complying with the law can cost thousands of dollars. On top of that, some people have been on the hook for taxes on assets that are tax-free in Canada. Plus, all the assets you hold jointly with your spouse have to be reported as if you owned them all.
These new US tax laws are an expensive pain. To cope with them, we have put all our US-taxable financial assets (including savings accounts that are tax-free in Canada as well as registered savings plans for grandchildren) in my wife's name, and I have moved all my Registered tax-free savings plans (including retirement savings) out of mutual funds (which the IRS declares to be "off-shore trusts").
It still costs me nearly $1000 a year for an accountant to prove to the IRS I don't owe them anything. As a result, I am seriously considering spending the money to renounce my US citizenship.
The only reason I bother with all this is that I have a son who lives in the US, and I would hate to be detained at the border on the way to visit him. Otherwise I would ignore the whole thing and just stay out of the US. "People respond to incentives."
And you know what? Before I emigrated, I don't think I contributed enough or long enough to collect Social Security from the Farghin Bastidges.
from PhD Comics via Brian Ferguson,
My favourite photo of me in my regalia is this one with former UWO President, Paul Davenport (note my Ricky Henderson-type crouch):
Albania was the only European country whose Jewish population after the Holocaust was far larger than that before the Holocaust.
Although a predominantly Muslim country, Albania practices a tradition known as Besa, or faith, in which hospitality and taking care of the needs of others and ensuring their safety and security is paramount.
The first Jews came to Albania in the second century CE and, according to Ditmir, there has never been any history of anti-Semitism in the country.
“Nations that have suffered themselves understand the pain and suffering of others,” said Bushati, adding that Albania demonstrates the goodwill of one nation to another and serves as a model of tolerance and compassion.
Albania’s accession to the European Union will be reviewed this week, and if all goes well, the country will not only be a beneficiary but will also be able to influence European policy against the spread of anti-Semitism, Bushati said in response to a question.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal nails it. (via Art Carden)
And a reminder that I'm still available as a commencement speaker. From an earlier posting:
Invite me to give the commencement address at your school.
Here are some reasons you should invite me:
1. I have a cap and gown that have been described as cool or sexy (click here to see a photo). [that link seems to no longer work. Here's a photo:
2. I look very professional and academic with my gray beard [much grayer now than in this photo] and glasses.
3. I have considerable experience listening to bad commencement addresses, so I know what not to do or say.
4. I am an award-winning professor, with considerable acting and speaking experience.
5. I promise not to cuss (unless you want me to).
6. I will charge no fees (until the demand increases considerably)
7. I will pay (some of) my own transportation expenses, within reason
8. You have your choice of opening lines (and topics):
- "Never apply latex paint over glossy alkyd enamel."
- "There are no refunds for losing lottery tickets."
- "If you're going to save the world, do it yourself — don't ask the gubmnt to do it."
If red wine has all these health benefits, then surely if I drink two glasses a day, I'd be saving my drug plan lots of money. It follows they should pay for my wine.
From the Daily Mail [via MA]:
[Dr William McCrae] claims the antioxidant properties of red wine have reduced the risk of a second heart attack in his patients by half - and the risk of a stroke by 20 per cent.
And the sight of the cardiologist pushing a trolley laden with 125ml glasses of cabernet sauvignon has become a familiar sight at Great Western Hospital in Swindon. ...
A small amount of alcohol reduces blood pressure and therefore lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes, as well as relaxing anxious patients, he added.
The skins of certain red wine grapes, which are used in the fermenting process, are rich in flavonoids which are known to have health-boosting properties.
Red wine also helps keep the inner lining of blood vessels smooth, which also helps prevent blood clots.
Dr McCrea recommends health-conscious drinkers quaff red wines with the highest antioxidant concentrations, which tend to come from high altitudes - such as Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile and Shiraz and Pinot Noir from South Africa.
Younger wines are apparently better because older vintages lose their antioxidants in the barrel and corked wine is not recommended as the cork absorbs antioxidants.
Wine also has to be drunk soon after opening, as it loses its antioxidant properties with exposure to the air.
There are zillions of socionomology majors floating around, and the demand for them by employers is not very high. Consequently, socionomology majors don't earn much and, by implication, receive a low financial return on their investiment. From Lifehacker [via JR]:
Not surprising. And yet so many socionomologists refuse even to try to understand economics and end up complaining that because they have a BA and because they borrowed and spent so much money they somehow deserve better and more than the rest of world is willing to pay them.
However, as the article concludes, financial return on investment isn't everything.
A followup, via a comment from MA, from Wikipaedia,
Western University may refer to:
- University of Western Ontario, branded as Western University, a university in London, Ontario, Canada
- Western University (Azerbaijan)
- Western University of Health Sciences, a private graduate school in Pomona, California
- Western University (Kansas), a historically black college operating from 1865 to 1943
- Western University of Pennsylvania, a former name of the University of Pittsburgh from 1819 to 1908
Yes, Azerbaijan! And this listing doesn't show all the other universities referred to as "Western".
Taxi drivers across the world went on strike last week to protest the growth of Uber, a car-ride-share service based on smartphone apps. The result? Customers, already frustrated with problems in the taxi industry became even more upset with the licensed taxis, and many of them switched to Uber. It strikes me as unusual, to say the least, that a business providing customer service would shut itself down to protest the inroads into their business by upstart innovators.
It was as if they were saying,
We're angry about the increased competition, so we are going to force you to try using the services of our competitors just to see how much they can improve the product we have been providing under the protection of entry regulation and licensing.
Uber has been a game changer...[A]t the end of the day, the story is rather simple and similar everywhere. The number of taxiS allowed to operate has been limited over time. Black cars were forbidden to pick up passengers on the street. Now technology makes that available, but also allows for simple citizens to attempt to provide a similar service, if they want to (UberPop). In the world of GoogleMaps and GPS, you don't need to paint your car white (as in Milan) or black (as in London) to signal that you'd be happy to transport people if they're to be charged. ...
Is Uber the taxi of the future?
We don't know, but certainly the company is pretty smart in managing the protest. Instead of building bridges with taxi drivers, Uber used the strike as a marketing device, offering big discounts to clients and attracting new ones. So theWashington Post reports that "Uber's British ridership went up 850 percent yesterday thanks to black cab protests that left Londoners snarled in traffic".
Look for increased sabotage, violence, and many more legal challenges.
Addendum: Interestingly, there is no mention of Uber in the Wikipaedia entry for "Taxicabs of the United Kingdom"; at least there was no mention as of last weekend.
A couple of years ago, The University of Western Ontario rebranded itself as just "Western University". The change cost a lot of money in planning, reprinting documents, etc. [my guess is that it was over $1m], and it was a ridiculous exercise.
The change formalized the name that people in Ontario and other places in Canada had already been using. In Ontario, "Western" has long been synonymous with "The University of Western Ontario".
But in Michigan, "Western" means "Western Michigan University"; and in Illinois, "Western" means "Western Illinois"; and for all I know in Belize, "Western" means "Western Belize". Or as one former colleague suggests, Western University might mean some place in Western Azerbaijan.
The point is that there was no reason to make the change. Everyone in Ontario (if not Canada) knew what you meant when you said "Western". But now what do you tell someone from another country about where you teach (or in my case, taught)? And what institutional affiliation do you list when you write something? In my case, I list The University of Regina and The University of Western Ontario; I don't say "Western University" because nobody has a clue what or where that is.
I asked them, and my former colleagues also list their affiliation as "The University of Western Ontario".
As Ms Eclectic often says, "Change for the sake of change..." A freakin' waste!
Those of us who are "under 90" face the prospect of having to take an actual road-test driving test at some point in the future if we wish to renew our drivers' licences. And, of course, the road test invariably includes parallel parking.
I don't mind parallel parking. I used to be pretty good at it, and I'm still ok at it on the very rare occasions when I do it.
I had figured that when the time comes, we would just buy or rent a car with the automagic parallel parking feature, but I gather that strategy is not allowed. :-( When our oldest granddaughter took her driving test, she was told explicitly that she could not look at the back-up-camera screen on our car and that an automagic parking feature would have to be disabled in any car used for a road test.
So, here is a nice, simple set of instructions and diagrams for parallel parking. You may have to click on the image to see the instructions.
Our run at the London Fringe Festival is nearing its close. It has been a great run with some very talented fellow actors. I'll miss it and them.
The play is a romantic comedy about a theology professor who is on sabbatical leave. An attractive female Romanian graduate student wanders into his office looking for help with conversational English. Much hilarity, confusion, tenderness, frivolity, joyful awakening, and compassion ensue.
The last chance to see our show is this evening, 5pm at the Spriet Theatre (above the Market).
I'd never heard of it until about a week ago, but it is clear from this article [via Jack] that I suffer from nomophobia.
Brought about by such triggers as a lost phone, poor reception, interrupted coverage, dead batteries, or lack of account credit, the condition — known as nomophobia — is characterized by the disproportionate “discomfort, anxiety, nervousness, or anguish caused by being out of contact with a mobile phone or computer,” ...
“Generally speaking, [nomophobia] is the pathological fear of remaining out of touch with technology,”....
Like internet addiction, it is a modern malady, arising from changes the mobile phone has made to human habits, behaviours, identity, and “common ways of perceiving reality.”
Sure, I'm addicted to the internet. I have been for decades. In fact, one reason I put off getting a smartphone several years ago was that I knew I would be on it a lot of the time. My signs of nomophobia:
My cap and gown are one of the stage props for the play Academia Nuts. We have two more performances: tomorrow night at 8:15pm and Friday at 5pm, in the Spriet Family Theatre above the Market in London, Ontario.
The play is a romantic comedy about a theology professor (me) who is on sabbatical leave. An attractive female Romanian graduate student (Tiffany Blom) wanders into his office looking for help with conversational English. Much hilarity, confusion, tenderness, frivolity, joyful awakening, and compassion ensue. For more about the play and about Out of Sight Productions, see this.
When grade 8 students play games and taunt Jewish students with "get in the oven", that's anti-Semitism, not just bullying.
Apologies. I omitted a link to the article. I'm not sure if this is the one, but there were several.
It's an old joke, but with the Ontario provincial elections coming up this Thursday, I thought I would pass it on:
While walking down the street one day, a Member of Parliament is hit by a truck and tragically dies.
His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
'Welcome to heaven,' says St. Peter. 'Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you.'
'No problem, just let me in,' says the man.
'Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.'
'Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,' says the MP.
'I'm sorry, but we have our rules.'
And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.
They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.
Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly & nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go.
Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises....
The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.
'Now it's time to visit heaven.'
So, 24 hours pass with the MP joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.
'Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.'
The MP reflects for a minute, then he answers: 'Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.'
So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.
Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage.
He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.
The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder. ' I don't understand,' stammers the MP.
'Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?'
The devil looks at him, smiles and says, ' Yesterday we were campaigning…..
Today you voted.’
The reviews have praised the acting in this romantic comedy about a theology professor who lost his wife two years earlier and whose grieving solitude is interrupted by an attractive grad student from Romania seeking help with her conversational English.
The show is fanciful, amusing, and has all the elements of fun: compassion, confusion, romance, belligerence, deception, and a pleasant afternoon tea with a bishop.
Academia Nuts, at The Spriet Theatre (second floor of the Covent Garden Market, London, Ontario), Identified as Venue #1 for the Fringe Festival, has three performances remaining:
- Monday, June 9, 8pm
- Wednesday, June 11, 8:15pm
- Friday, June 13, 5pm
Ian Klymchuk no longer has access to a place to publish his reviews, so I have agreed to post his reviews here on this blog. It's nice to see him reviewing things and places again after all these years.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Persephone – A lot of skin and muscle
A review by Ian Klymchuk
So Heather and me was sitting on a patio enjoying a cool beverage when who should stroll by but our good friends Ben and Dottie. So we asked ‘em to come on in and enjoy a brew or two with us.
They came into the patio, but Bennie has all them heart and stomach problems, so he had a “fizzy water” – club soda. Dot had a white wine, and we settled into enjoying the weather and the atmosphere.
Then Dottie, bless her blessed soul, says, “We’re going to see at dance show at the Convention Centre. Why don’t you two come along? “
Me: What??? You want ME to go see some dance nonsense??? You gotta be kidding me.
Finally, Heather makes it clear that she wants to go with Ben and Dot to see this show (it’s part of the London Fringe, 2014). It’s called Persephone. I kept calling it PER-seh-phone, but I guess the right way to say it is Per-SEH-fo-knee. What do they know, hunh? So to maintain marital harmony, I go along.
On the way there, I says to Benny, “What are you doing? I can’t stand this stuff, and I know you can’t either!”
Benny says, “Yah, I know. But the Jays played this afternoon, so I didn’t have an excuse. What’s worse, they was shut out.”
So we get to the place where the dance is gonna be. … they call it a “venue”. We can’t go in when we get there. HUH?
We can’t buy a beer. We can’t even buy a friggn white wine, like them artsy types drink. We gotta wait until five minutes before the show starts. Then we can go in. Man, this is gonna be torture.
So we go in, and we make sure our cellphones are turned off. And we’re chattin’ away like we always do before a show.
And then suddenly it hits me that HEY! Those are bodies laying around all over the stage! And they ain’t got much on.! Wow, is that ever cool! I’m sort of excited and I nudge Benny, thinking maybe this will be pretty something, if you know what I mean.
The lights go down and the music starts. The bodies start moving. When there are lots of bodies on stage doing stuff, they actually impress me. There’s something that looks like them famous art prints the way they moved [EE: Ian had seen my book of M.C.Escher prints; I think he was referring to some of those], and even when they wasn’t quite together, I figured they planned that cause they moved together right after that.
I liked the group stuff better than the solo stuff. Maybe that’s because sometimes it reminded me of the CFL cheerleaders, who look real good with all them moves and throwing their hair around. Or maybe it’s because it reminded me of synchronized swimming. I don’t know what it was, but it was pretty nice. And I liked how they used the stage and the front row space for a bunch of the dancing.
And, I gotta admit, the concluding formations was really something. And another good thing? It lasted only about 40 minutes.
Me, I don’t much like watching dancing. But I did like watching all them young dancers who was so fit. And I did like watching all the coordinated moves they made.
But I got two questions.
- - - - -- - -- --- - - - - - - - - --- - - - - - - -
Ian Klymchuk is president of the Lucan Chapter of the Philistine Liberation Organization. After a nearly two – decade hiatus, he has decided to start writing reviews again. His early reviews can be seen here: http://home.cabletv.on.ca/~econoclast/plo/Klymchuk/klymchuk.html
Unfortunately, neither he nor I have access to that site any longer, so I’ll probably just post his future reviews here on EclectEcon.
Let me add that Ms Eclectic and I dated for awhile, then didn't see each other for a couple of years. When we got together again, we became good friends... and I was suddenly struck that I had fallen in love with her... and we've been together over 32 years.
People on both sides of the global warming debate have seriously and egregiously tried to bully me. The phrase "settled science" annoys and disturbs me to the point that I resent the positions of people who use it. Further, the behaviour of some of the scientists supporting the IPCC just adds to the skepticism one must have for their views.
At the same time, receding glaciers and the dramatic loss of glacial shelf ice in the Antarctic make it difficult to be completely oblivious to, or in denial about, the possibilities that global warming has happened and may continue.
My own views are far from settled [see this, which I wrote nearly 5 years ago].
Over the past few years, I have been drawn increasingly to the writings of Bjorn Lomborg. He takes a very detached view, not necessarily pushing any agenda other than analysis and dealing with feasible alternatives. Recently he pointed to this interview with Judith Curry. Excerpts:
TONY THOMAS: If the skeptic/orthodox spectrum is a range from 1 (intense skeptic) to 10 (intensely IPCC orthodox), where on the scale would you put yourself
(a) as at 2009
(b) as at 2014,
and why has there been a shift (if any)?
JUDITH CURRY: In early 2009, I would have rated myself as 7; at this point I would rate myself as a 3. Climategate and the weak response of the IPCC and other scientists triggered a massive re-examination of my support of the IPCC, and made me look at the science much more sceptically. ...
THOMAS: Re the halt to warming in the past 15-17 years, has this been adequately explained to the public? If it continues a few more years, is that the end of the orthodox case?
CURRY: Regarding the hiatus in warming, I would say that this has not been adequately explained to the public, the IPCC certainly gave the issue short shrift.
The hiatus is serving to highlight the importance of natural climate variability. If the hiatus continues a few more years, climate model results will seriously be called into question. When trying to understand and model a complex system, there is, unfortunately, no simple test for rejecting a hypothesis or a model.
THOMAS: What empirical evidence is there, as distinct from modelling, that ‘missing heat’ has gone into the deep oceans?
CURRY: Basically, none. Observations below 2 km in the ocean are exceedingly rare, and it is only since 2005 that we have substantial coverage below 700 metres. ...
THOMAS: Since the first IPCC report a quarter century ago, what has been the most significant advance in the case that 50+% of recent warming is human-caused?
CURRY: The period of global warming from 1976-1998.
THOMAS: Similarly, what has been the most significant advance in the case that 50+% of recent warming is NOT human-caused?
CURRY: The stagnation in global temperatures since 1998 is causing scientists to take a much closer look at natural climate variability.
Contrast the statements and analysis of Lomborg or Curry with the histrionics of Desmond Tutu, who clearly has little idea about economics OR science.
Recently, Milos Zeman, President of the Czech Republic, made a very strong statement about Islam, Israel, and Anti-Semitism [via MA]. Here are some excerpts:
“The only holiday of independence which I can never leave out is the celebration of the independence of the Jewish State of Israel,” Zeman said.
“There are other nations with whom we share the same values, whether it’s free elections or a free market economy, but no one is threatening to delete those states from the map. No one shoots at their border towns and no one wants to see the citizens of those nations driven out of their country.”
“There is a term called political correctness and I consider it to be a euphemism for political cowardice. So I refuse to be cowardly.”
“It is necessary to name the enemy of human civilization and this enemy is international terrorism associated with religious fundamentalism and religious intolerance. ...
“I am not reassured by the claims that this is the work of only a small fringe group. Quite the contrary. I believe that xenophobia, racism and anti-Semitism stems from the essential ideology that these fanatical groups are based on.”
“And let me provide a proof of this assertion in a quote from one of its sacred texts. ‘The Jews will hide behind stones and trees. Then the tree will call out, ‘A Jew hides behind me, come and kill him.’ The stone will call out, ‘A Jew hides behind me, come and kill him.’
“I criticized those who call for the killing of the Arabs, but I don’t know of about any mass movement that calls for the mass murder of Arabs. I do however know of an anti-civilizational movement which calls for the mass murder of the Jews.”
“One of the articles in the Hamas Charter calls for killing Jews.”
“Do we really want to pretend that this is only a small group of extremists? Can we really be politically correct and insist that they are all good and that only a tiny number of the extremists and fundamentalists are committing these crimes?” [emphasis added]
A Facebook friend recently posted that she, "Might be a bit shopped out," after having spent a day or two in intensive shopping. Here is what she really meant, in econ-speak:
At the time that I posted that status update, the expected additional or incremental benefits from additional shopping were out-weighed by the expected additional or incremental costs of additional shopping, and so I decided to stop shopping even though I fully understand that if I had continued to shop I would likely have acquired additional information and that by stopping now I might miss out on some good buys.
Note the importance of the word "expected". She didn't know for sure, but she had formed an estimate of the relevant probabilities in her own mind. Based on those expectations, she decided to quit.
And even though the rational expectations cowboys of the economics profession don't like to admit it often, she undoubtedly formed her expectations based on her past experiences and acquired information; i.e., most rational shoppers have adaptive expectations.
We had a great tech-dress rehearsal yesterday and are all set to open our entry in London's 2014 Fringe Festival. We open tonight, 5:30pm at The Spriet Family Theatre (though this is not exactly what one might call a "family" show). It is being produced by Out of Sight Productions, a name which is both fun and fitting for the group
I am delighted to be working with the other four actors in the show. Ken Parsons, who is totally blind, plays a blind bishop who also happens to be a lecherous, dirty old man. He is absolutely hilarious. Roger Khouri plays the head bishop. Rose Bonner plays a cleaning lady who seems to have kept her job despite being a cantakerous, disagreeable sort. I play Roger, a theology professor who is on sabbatical and who lost his wife two years earlier. And Tiffany Blom plays Sonia, a Romanian graduate student who happens into Roger's office, leading to companionship and friendship between the two.
Four words describe the play: confusion, compassion, lust, and dust.
Google often has fun with its various maps. I recall some directions that suggested swimming to Japan or jetskiing to China. But check this out [via MA]:
Travelling from the Brecon Beacons to Snowdon in Wales would take 21 minutes by dragon.
Riding Nessie between Fort Augustus and Urquhart Castle, which sit on Loch Ness in Inverness, Scotland, would take 28 minutes - four minutes faster than taking the bus.
Punting between Magdalene College and Mathematical Bridge in Cambridge takes 45 minutes, versus 18 minutes on the UNI4 bus.
While Magdalen College to Wolfson College on a punt in Oxford, weaving around the River Cherwell, takes 1 hour 32 minutes.
And it takes 1 hour 16 minutes to travel along the M4 between Windsor Castle, and Buckingham Palace.
Dragon travel is shown on this map:
Over the adult years of my life, my weight has yoyo'd a couple of times between highs over 200 and lows near 150. I once figured I had gained and lost maybe 200 pounds or so as an adult.
But then I realized these weight gains and losses were not smooth; there have been ups and downs along the way, and actually I have probably gained and lost closer to 400 pounds.
"But wait. There's more."
During each day I gain and lose several pounds, depending on my diet and exercise. Those fluctuations alone mean I've probably lost and gained maybe 1000 pounds each year, over 40,000 pounds in my adult life.
It all reminds me of fractals and measurement. When measuring a coastline, the finer the measurement, the longer will be the measured length of the coastline. And similarly, when measuring weight changes the total variation will be much greater if measured every hour than it would be if measured just once a month.
Addendum: my latest weight loss success was motivated by my role in Academia Nuts, opening June 4th in the 2014 London Fringe Festival, in which I appear somewhat scantily clad in a brief scene.
We need to stop relying on politicians and gubmnts to create jobs. Interestingly, my Facebook friends from both the left and the right clicked on "like" when I posted this meme. I think my leftish friends in Ontario especially liked it because the leader of the conservative party here has promised to create a million jobs if he is elected. My rightish friends liked it because they(we) agree that the best thing the gubmnt can do is create an environment that gets out of the way of private entrepreneurs and that encourages innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic growth.
Yes, gubmnts can create some jobs. We saw it in the US in the depression, we saw it during WWII as military jobs were created. But for the long run, the best thing a gubmnt can do is create environments that encourage businesses. These environments do NOT involve corporate handouts or subsidies, for those policies depend on gubmnt deficits or taxes. Instead, the more successful environments are those that cut the red tape and reduce bureaucracy.
Many of my more leftish friends feared the worst when Thatcher and Reagan were elected, but those leaders had the right idea.... and in the end, they implemented policies that promoted growth and hence job creation. They didn't create jobs directly; instead, they tried to implement policies that would be conducive to job creation in the private sector.