### Grant McDermott

Assistant Professor
Dept. of Economics
University of Oregon

# All Posts

## QuackChat slides

If it talks like a duck...

Yes I have an accent

## The blue paradox published in PNAS

Fishers go all in while the going's good

## Bycatch paper published in Science

Reforming global fisheries has important collateral benefits

## Intro to Global Fishing Watch and Google Earth Engine

My slides from AERE2017

## RStudio Server on Google Compute Engine

Say hello to cloud computing

## Quick thoughts on Brexit

How relevant is the Norwegian experience?

Spoiler: Correlation != causation

## Centralised versus decentralised

What is the energy future of sub-Saharan Africa?

## Climate capers at Cato

Dodgy statistics at the Cato Institute

## On economic "consensus" and the benefits of climate change

Matt Ridley's tenuous appeal to authority

## While I'd normally apologise for the lack of posting...

Preoccupied with more pressing matters

## A lemon market for poachers

Creating uncertainty in the rhino horn market

## Why are economic journal articles so long?

Supplementary materials FTW

## Ed Byrne on wedding planning

You wouldn't understand unless you've been there

## The life of a PHD... in GIFs.

Some of these are brilliant.

## Of Vikings and Credit Rating Agencies

The worst game of musical chairs ever

## Home bias in sovereign ratings

Rating agencies suffering from local blindspots

## Top posts on Stickman's Corral for 2013

The stats don't lie

## More good music for your listening pleasure

It occurs to me that I haven't mentioned my Noondaytune contributions in ages. Without further ado and including some snippets from my rather lyrical write-u...

## Publication/dissertation update

After spending nearly a year in Land Economics' publication queue, I'm pleased to say that my joint paper on "Electricity Prices, River Temperatures and Cool...

## Quote of the Day - Madiba

I was seven years old, and on the day before I was to begin, my father took me aside and told me that I must be dressed properly for school. Until that time,...

## Asimbonanga (Mandela)

Asimbonanga (We have not seen him)Asimbonang' uMandela thina (We have not seen Mandela) Laph'ekhona (In the place where he is) Laph'ehleli khona (In the plac...

## McDermott and Shleifer double-team Taleb and Kahneman

Not really. But I did enjoy reading the following passage from Andrei Shleifer's review of Daniel Kahneman's (superb) Thinking, Fast and Slow. To give contex...

## Why economists love auctions

Some background first: South Africa's power market is utterly dominated by (a) coal and (b) Eskom, the parasitical parastatal monopoly. In a bid to enco...

## Bad science: Paleo diet edition

A while ago, I wrote a post praising the scientific approach that advocates of the paleo diet appeared to be adopting in arguing their case. In particular, t...

## TEDxBergen

I mentioned the other day that I acted as moderator for the recent TEDxBergen conference. Videos of the various talks have now been posted online, but h...

## Joe Romm's cognitive dissonance on renewables, nuclear and shale gas

I used to be an avid reader of Joe Romm's "Climate Progress" blog. However, my enthusiasm has waned dramatically over the years due to his selective presenta...

## Manufactured controversy and the "hockey stick": A football analogy

Even if you're only vaguely aware of the climate change debate, then you will probably have heard of the "hockey stick". You know, this bad boy:Source: Mann ...

## Obligatory comment on the 2013 Nobelists

Seeing as it is very de jour to comment on this sort of thing in the econ blogosphere, here is a quick personal take:I know that this year's laureates have r...

## Predictable Nobel Prizes in the Economic Sciences?

The subject line is taken from an email sent around my department by one of the finance profs. Here's the email itself:A curiosity: In the very first edition...

## Quote of the Day - Privacy

"At a moment of austerity and with a general sense that our state's ability to guarantee prosperity for its citizens is in retreat, that same state is about ...

## Why a functioning electricity grid is crucial to economic development

... in two graphs:THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Decentralised power is a nice ideal $$-$$ and in some cases is the best option $$-$$ but it remains a poor alternative...

Busy times for yours truly over the last two weeks. Here is a list of things that I've been doing, plus one or two items that I spotted on ye olde internet.1...

## China to reduce coal consumption?

I've tried to emphasise the importance of relative concepts many times on this blog. However, there are occasions when relative measures can also be more tha...

## How methane emissions could actually be good for the climate

This was the title of a post I wrote last week for the Recon Hub.It may seem like I am merely trolling for viewer hits here. However, the logic behind this c...

Chris responded last week to my previous post on the empirical (ir?)relevance of ABCT. I've been too busy to reply properly until now. (To be honest, I ...

## Empirical evidence and the relevance of ABCT

A new study by Lester and Wolff (2013), hereafter L&W,  is set to cause a bit of a stir in Austrian circles. [HT: Daniel Kuehn]The paper, which...

The latest furore to erupt in the climate blogosphere concerns whether climate scientists undermine their credibility by engaging in advocacy? (For some...

## July playlist

My fellow Noondaytune.com contributors have outdone themselves with some very cool song choices during the month of July. I say this with some authority...

## Inflation-targeting, CPI measures and the poor

In a bid to get back to regular blogging, below is a comment that I've just left under a Daily Maverick column by Paul Berkowitz, entitled "Who benefits...

## Personal note

I'm not normally one for broadcasting personal information and relationship updates on social media, but, hey, this a big one.Very pleased, then, to say that...

My latest contributions to Noondaytune are a mix of classic rock and Nordic lo-fi (complete with a youth choir). Something for everyone!1) Crosby, Still...

## It's not every day that you're called an idiot by Nassim Taleb

Or a "bloggist" for that matter.Here and here.To be fair, Taleb has charged that many minds superior to my own are beset by idiocy, so I'm in reasonable comp...

## Happenings

Given the inadvertent success of my previous post, I've decided to take the philosophical route for this next one: My fifteen minutes of quasi-blogosphere fa...

## Econ blogosphere comment form

There is no cake-stagnation by Tyler Cowen Here. Paul Krugman writes about the virtues of black forest cake versus regular vanilla sponge. While I ...

## Are there any four-minute miles in economics?

3:59.4Roger Bannister's four laps of the Iffley Road Track on 6 May 1954 have been immortalised in the annals of sporting lore and human achievement. By beco...

## I, for one, welcome our new technocratic, environmentalist, socialist overlords

Any group that successfully manages to perpetrate a hoax involving tens of thousands of individuals from all over the world... would sure be able to elect a ...

## Video - Fracking chat with David Zetland

I had a long video chat with David Zetland yesterday, where we discussed fracking, water pollution, property rights and a bunch of related issues. David's ta...

## Recent Noonday Tune contributions

"Junk Bond Trader" $$-$$ Elliott Smith"Love Spreads" $$-$$ The Stone Roses(Worth clicking through for the descriptions alone!)

## Milestones

Just clocked up our 30,000th pageview here at The Corral.I feel that this a pretty respectable return for a (very) part-time hobby. It's certainly not someth...

## Fracking and water pollution

My new article for The Energy Collective is up: Hydraulic Fracking and Water Pollution.There's much debate about whether shale gas "fracking" (i.e. hydraulic...

## Am I being unreasonable?

See the back-and-forth here.Generally, I try to be as civil as possible when it comes to internet debates. (Often is the time that I've rewritten a resp...

## Monetary regimes and economic outcomes

Eric Rauchway has a post over at Crooked Timber that's generating a fair bit of interest, since it compares real economic growth and inflation for ...

## Energy Collective post - Natural gas and long-term climate goals

I should perhaps have mentioned this last Friday when it was published, but my new post for The Energy Collective is up: Bridging the Gap? Natural gas and lo...

## New writing gig - The Energy Collective

Some exciting news for yours truly is that I'll be writing a series of articles for the excellent energy and climate website, The Energy Collective, as part ...

## Noonday Tune

I get quite a bit of flack from (non-economist) friends and family whenever this blog goes too long without a music intermission... or some other distraction...

## Climate science is pseudoscience(?)

So says Ivo Vegter in his latest column, calling up the spirit of Karl Popper.I drop by in several places in the comments, saying that this pretty much utter...

## Chavez, Thatcher and the oil that binds them

Daniel Yergin (one of the world's foremost energy experts) tweeted yesterday: "Too soon to say what Hugo Chavez’ death means for oil prices but it is certain...

## Hardship on the slopes

The posts may have dried up a tad here at the Corral, but things have been busy for yours truly back in the real world. Most notably going away for our depar...

## More on inflation, violence and identification

Chris has responded to my previous post, which he frames as a criticism of his research. I should state upfront that this does not strike me as entirely...

## Did monetary expansion cause the Arab Spring?

South Africa's top economic and financial daily, Business Day, ran an article yesterday referring to research conducted in part by my old school friend and o...

## Quote of the Week - Schadenfreude

"[T]he British are the only people who indulge in schadenfreude – pleasure derived from another’s misery – about themselves."An oldie, admittedly, but nicely...

## A question for Nassim Taleb fans

I read an interesting article last night, detailing a public exchange between Daniel Kahneman and Nassim Taleb.[E]ach man was asked to write a biography...

## Backyard (royal) skulls

People seem to be pretty excited by the discovery of Richard III's skeleton underneath a Leicestershire car park. I suppose this would be quite interesting i...

## I was Ayn Rand's lover

Posted this on twitter a few minutes ago, but I've just stumbled on the best piece of satirical writing that I have read in ages: I was Ayn Rand's lover...

## Review - Economics Evolving (Agnar Sandmo)

Following an email exchange with Dan Kuehn and Jon Catalán, I decided that it was finally time to write up a review for Agnar Sandmo's "Economics Evolving" (...

## A journey through the seasons

After my previous Norway bump, here are two videos that seem appropriate. Both are taken from a new documentary by the Norwegian national broadcaster, NRK, ...

## Thinking of doing a PhD?

Well, then consider doing it in Norway.I've been quietly promoting this line for a while. So, alongside the regular factors for choosing a graduate program, ...

## A note on the Vegter review

I've been pleasantly surprised by how popular my review of Ivo Vegter's "Extreme Environment" has proven. I initially thought that only a handful of people w...

## Too good not to share

File this under the "Unintended hilarity" section. Via Ryan Coetzee, I see that South Africa's beloved Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikile ...

## Review - Extreme Environment (Ivo Vegter)

Extreme Environment (hereafter EE) is a book written by South African journalist, Ivo Vegter. I have mentioned Vegter before on this blog and he generously a...

## Unintended consequences

During the last year, South Africa has been in the throes of violent upheaval in the mining industry. Most prominently the "Marikana massacre", which receive...

## Electricity prices, river temperatures and cooling water scarcity

My paper on the water-energy nexus now forthcoming

Having said goodbye to family and friends after a wonderful holiday in South Africa, and then endured a 20-plus hour trip (two transit stops) back to Norway ...

## Gas booms and carbon leakage

Following what I hope is my last written exam ever earlier this month, I must apologise for the sporadic posting of late. You see, I've also made my way home...

## The limits of reductio ad absurdum

Unlearning Econ has a new post up on Milton Friedman in which he, among other things, criticises Friedman's use of reductio ad absurdum arguments to win deba...

## Natural monopoly and the electricity sector

Are there limits to market liberalization?

## Coffee drinkers and energy subsidies

Busy times over here with term papers due, TA work and finishing up some revisions for my current working paper. (Referee comments were pretty favourable, so...

## Debt and utility come alive!

As promised, here is an interactive Excel spreadsheet showing how utility changes in a debt-financing scenario versus the laissez faire case. Read my previou...

## The plot thickens in the debt debate

Since joining this debate, I have consistently argued that deficit financing is no less sustainable than taxation if economic growth is at least equal to the...

## Even more debt and inheritance (and sales)

Bob Murphy and another commentator have left some interesting observations underneath my last post. They basically want to distinguish between straight-up be...

## Debt and inheritance

UPDATE: Spotted an important typo in the text that I've now corrected for. I've also added a sentence or two to the paragraph before the Baker quote to hopef...

As a postscript to the previous entry, here's a quick story about a newspaper interview that I had last week. It was with one of the major bro...

## Review: Surviving Progress

Apologies for the lack of posting recently. Aside from research stuff, most of my "internet" time has been spent working on the RECONOMICS HUB.[*] We have no...

2 sqrt(-abs(abs(x)-1)*abs(3-abs(x))/((abs(x)-1)*(3-abs(x))))(1+abs(abs(x)-3)/(abs(x)-3))sqrt(1-(x/7)^2)+(5+0.97(abs(x-.5)+abs(x+.5))-3(abs(x-.75)+abs(x+.75))...

## Sam Harris on "Life Without Free Will"

He is on top form in this one.

## Are charts of oil priced in gold really that impressive?

Okay, one more gold-related post before I go home...Following on from my last post, I've just clicked through to Chris's website and seen a post titled, Petr...

## Gold: Demand, supply and price

My old school friend and unashamed proponent of all things gold, Chris Becks, has left a few comments underneath this post in which I criticized misleading s...

## Starting a new blog...

A group of us at my university have decided to start a blog dedicated to tackling environmental issues from an economic perspective. Things are still very mu...

## Quote of the day - Occam's Razor

Finally, in some areas at least, Nature seems to show an inexplicable simplicity. This is a brute fact, more or less of a bonus, which if it had not existed ...

## The problem with economic school-ism

Economists are a tribal bunch. The endless list of denominations, schools and sub-schools would be enough to make a Christian theologian blush.Unfortunately,...

## Is gold highly correlated with money supply?

Amidst all this talk about US Republicans eyeing a return to the gold standard, something on my twitter feed earlier this week caught the eye: A link to an o...

## Hibernation

You may have noticed that blogging activity around these parts has taken a marked turn for the worse lately. My life has turned into one soul-sapping assignm...

## Murphy vs Nordhaus vs Me summarized

It might be difficult to keep track of things in my previous post, because the lengthy discussion involves numerous claims and counterclaims. With the aim in...

## Nope, Nordhaus is still (mostly) right

[NB: See the UPDATE at the bottom of this post.]Following our previous tête-à-tête on the Heartland Affair, here's a response to Bob Murphy's latest post on ...

## If it worked for Casanova...

This might not hold much interest beyond some old school friends reading this blog, but flicking through channels this morning I stumbled on a CNN documentar...

## Sunday night music - Eddie Vedder & The Heartbreakers

Eddie Vedder really does have the most awesome voice around, doesn't he? [Note: I will fight you if you disagree.]Not that he does anything spectacular by hi...

I'm about to go into a pre-exam blogging hibernation, but here are some links to keep you interested:1) Ed Dolan gives a nice overview of the economic issues...

## Slogans for Heartland

Given my previous discussion of the Heartland Institute and climate change, I feel to compelled to comment on this latest development. From The Guardian:Hear...

## Quote(s) of the Day - Marxism

Just to prove my even-handedness on this issue of a priorism and empirical validation, here is the father of the falsification doctrine himself, Karl Popper,...

## Another post on empirics (and a priorism)

I was away last week in Amsterdam taking part in The Econometric Game, a competition involving 30 universities from around the world. Despite the... hmmm...&...

## More on Malthus

If you don't wish to take my word on Malthus, here's a snippet from Econlib's excellent encyclopedia entry that I've just stumbled upon:Malthu...

## Don't let be misunderstood: Malthus edition

Poor Thomas Malthus. Has there ever been a more maligned and misunderstood figure in the history of economics?With depressingly few exceptions, both his crit...

In reality high profits tend much more to raise the price of work than high wages. [...]In raising the price of commodities the rise of wages operates in the...

## Rhino poaching... Hope on the horizon?

A few months ago, I discussed the staggering increase in rhino poaching that is plaguing Southern Africa. According to the Dept. of Environmental Affairs, a ...

## Earth Hour: Sending the right message?

In the build up to this year's Earth Hour, humourless critics were once again up in arms about the fact that turning off the lights for one hour would have a...

## Casting further doubt on Bob's "Heartland" arguments

Bob Murphy's whole spin on the Heartland / Peter Gleick affair really bothered me. At first, I just dove straight into the responses without doing a lot of b...

## Bob Murphy on Heartland and Gleick

Bob Murphy is probably the one "Austrian" school blogger that I make a sincere effort to follow. I don't agree with everything $$-$$ or even most $$-$$ of wh...

## Quote of the day - Rebellion

After the previous post, I'm afraid it's unavoidable:"If they give you ruled paper, write the other way."- Juan Ramón JiménezThen, via the GF and her so...

Earlier today I read Bill Maher's op-ed in the NYT: Please Stop Apologizing. I deeply agree with his general point and am reminded of the way he put it $$-$$...

## At least our benevolent Google overlords care

about their water footprint.Like thermal-based power plants, data centers are thirsty bastards when it comes to cooling water. The above video comes via Forb...

## Libertarianism and the paleo diet - Natural or strange bedfellows?

I want follow up on the previous post by making a side observation on the paleo diet's marked popularity within libertarian circles $$-$$ especially ana...

## The language of science: Paleo edition

I've developed an armchair interest in the so-called "paleo" diet. Among other things, my curiosity was piqued when Tim Noakes $$-$$ one of South Africa's mo...

## International Energy Workshop in June

Sweet news.I'll be presenting my paper on electricity prices and water scarcity at this year's International Energy Workshop, which will be held in...Cape To...

## Why do we pay tax on plastic bags?

Because here's why:Forget the environment. This flagrant disregard for personal space must end!

## Climate mitigation as a secondary benefit

But keep it quiet.I spent some time last week with the Dutch economist, Johannes Bollen, who was visiting my university to present his research on the "co-be...

I hope my Irish forebears would approve.I make no apologies for this being my favourite version.~ As I was going over the Cork and Kerry Mountains ...

## Chief EU science adviser on GMO

Scottish microbiologist Anne Glover is the recently appointed chief science adviser to the EU. The below excerpt concerning GMO is taken from an interview&nb...

## The face of Gabriel

Jonathan Haid's comments on the spiritual nature of warfare reminded me of a passage in Captain Correli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. The chara...

## Great TED talk on the evolutionary basis for religion

..., spirituality and co-operation by the psychologist Jonathan Haidt. My economist self was particularly interested in his thoughts on free-riding. The rest...

## Housekeeping

Some of you may have noticed that I've changed the previous post $$-$$ on Invisible Children and James Inhofe $$-$$ around a bit since it was first publ...

## The real reason to be wary of Kony 2012

With the internet abuzz about Invisible Children's "Kony 2012" viral campaign, it was predictable that there would be some blow-back from critics. The m...

## Cover Thursdays - James Morrison edition

When James Morrison first came on to the scene, I was distinctly of the "meh" opinion. His debut album Undiscovered was everywhere I looked and, fo...

## We'll go no more a roving

In the rapidly fading twilight that is my 20s, please indulge me.~ So, we'll go no more a rovingSo late into the night,Though the heart be still as lovi...

## Kings of Convenience - Me in You

If for no other reason than my apartment gets some camera time.[*]Some very mellow Sunday night listening with suitably serene Scandinavian scenes.[*] I'm ba...

## Science and distortion

Below is a video of the late climate scientist, Stephen Schneider. Please watch it and tell me that scientists are the ones trying to polarize this debate an...

## Quote of the day - Let it stand

This one comes via my friend and rival literatus, Bloomsboy[*]. It concerns James Joyce's relationship with protégé and Waiting for Godot playwrigh...

## The best blog post that I've read so far in 2012...

... is really a reprint of this 1865 letter from an ex-slave to his old master. I'll let Letters of Note take it away:To My Old MasterIn August of 1865,...

## Cardinal sins

The French statesman Charles Talleyrand famously lamented of the Bourbons: "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing."Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Pé...

## Quote of the day - A priori reasoning

"The a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts won't fit in, why so much the worse for the facts."- Erasmus Darwin, writing to h...

## The Meters - Ain't No use

Because it's Sunday and you deserve it. Tragically unappreciated by the public at large. Spread the funky word..

## Walk Off The Earth - "Somebody that I used to know"

It may not be Thursday and the opening guitar riff is uncannily reminiscent of Baa Baa Black Sheep, but this is one of coolest covers I've heard/seen in...

## Low-cost lighting from used plastic bottles

As a general rule, bottled water is not particularly good for the environment. If I were the judgmental type, I might even chime in that buying bottled ...

## Irony

From the Wikipedia page on Agricultural Policy:Some argue that nations have an interest in assuring there is sufficient domestic production capability to mee...

## Economics > Doing the right thing

Drowning in university work here, so no time for any blog posts. In the meantime, read this article by Gernot Wagner, who has a new book out explaining why e...

## Facts vs Beliefs (George Monbiot edition)

When the facts, I change my mind. What do you do, sir? - Apocryphally attributed to John Maynard KeynesA criticism often leveled at envir...

## Homeopathic A&E

Following Monday's post, which touched on the murky world of alternative medicine... South African comedian, Warren Robertson links to a brilliant ...

## Quote of the day - Consensus

Reading through the comments on a YouTube video is normally enough to make you despair for humanity. Every now and again, however, you come across ...

## Rhino horn! Homeopathy! Psychics!

A few weeks ago, the South African government announced that it was appointing a team to reconsider the ban on the trade in rhino horn. In short, the idea is...

## Cover Thursdays - Ni' Zilund edition

In search for a unifying theme for this week's Cover Thursdays post, I suppose that I can do no better than tip my hat to the Rugby World Cup in New Zea...

## Support NZ for the World Cup... It's the right thing to do

So, South Africa bow out of the Rugby World Cup in a most frustrating and even inexplicable way. Yes, there is is justified cause for anger at the incom...

## A very interesting paper...

From the latest American Economic Review:Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States EconomyBy Nicholas Z. Muller, Robert Mendelsohn, an...

## A little bit of Friday awesome

That is all.Have a good weekend everyone.

## Easter Island - History revisi(onis)ted?

I've just handed in a fat micro assignment and thus finally seen the back of a hellish two weeks. Twelve-hour days (plus) have become the new norm... and the...

## First journal submission

In other news...I finally submitted my (co-authored) paper to a journal yesterday.Title: Electricity Prices, River Temperatures and Cooling Water Scarci...

## Happy birthday to Stickman's Corral!

Well, a day late... but that can probably only be described as fitting.Of course, recent postings have taken a severe backseat, as you might have observed. T...

## Like a kid on Christmas eve...

The Rugby World Cup 2011 starts tomorrow... BOOM!Good times... GOOD times.Will South Africa become the first team in the tournament's history to successfully...

## Krugman, Hotelling and gold

... and negative (short-run) supply curves.Paul Krugman's recent column, which links the high price of gold to a disinflationary environment, has generated a...

## Privileging theory over evidence

It's late and my brain is in desperate need of sleep, but I've just read something very interesting on the Mises.org blog (via Twitter). In particular, Bob M...

## Cover Thursdays - Poncey Dylan edition

Guest post.My mate, Poncey notes my calls for help RE this whole blogging thing and a lack of sufficient posting time. I would also let the record state that...

## Finally...

The academic paper that you've been waiting for! Zombie guru, George A. Romero, teams up with Columbia statistician, Andrew Gelman, as they seek to...

## Service, interrupted

You may have noticed that blogging's been a bit slow around these parts, lately. Please accept my apologies, but it's a hard thing to rectify given my curren...

## Quote of the day - Burning Bridges

May the bridges I burn light the way.- Anon.

## Cover Thursdays - Instrumetalist edition

And, yes, I did mean to spell it that way.Just got some time to squeeze this in before a self-imposed deadline... I feel it's high time we had something a li...

## Four-Year Plans...

So, my PhD programme began today. We're starting with a preparatory maths and statistics course, before getting into the core modules $$-$$ micro, ...

## Ideas, not people

Beyond the specific subject matter of my previous post, I think that the Paul Samuelson article inadvertently highlights something else of value... espe...

## Hayek contra Coase... on property rights?

Say it ain't so!Well... I guess it ain't technically "so"... but hear me out on this one.Noah Smith, citing his personal experiences in Japan, writes that ir...

## Ikea

Two things that I learnt about Ikea (and public transport) yesterday:1) Flat packed furniture may be much easier to move about than the ready-built stuff, bu...

## Cover Thursdays - 90s throwback edition

Super quick post as I'm off to catch a plane shortly, but here's a little something to take you back a decade or so:1) The awesome Karen O leads her Yeah Yea...

## Red House Painters - Have You Forgotten

Talking about the Vanilla Sky soundtrack, here's a great example of a "nearly perfect" song. I'm not sure where the problem lies exactly, but it's just missi...

## Changing Faces

I've just come back from London, where I was staying with one of my best friends from school. He is a professional rugby player and currently plies his trade...

## Perspectives

That the Oslo-Utøya killings were a heinous, monstrous act is beyond question. However, the sheer scale of shock cannot be separated from the fact that ...

## More on Norway, liberty and labels

UPDATE: Two very good additional posts by Daniel and Gene Callahan. In particular, will Breivik's quoting of Mises and Hayek be cause for reflection amo...

## Quote of the day - Terrorism

"You don't protect civilization by dismantling its civilizing achievements." - Tom Arnold, former member of the British Parliament.

## Oslo

Man oh man...Apart from the immediate concerns for the injured and dead, I dread some of the reverberations from the bomb attack in Oslo. Thankfully, it...

## Reconciling capitalism and environmentalism

Alternative subject line: Saving environmentalism from the environmentalistsMy attention has been brought to a new book by the British environmentalist and a...

## Cover Thursdays - Stripped Down edition

Coming attcha live from the beautiful Lake District in Cumbria, where I am soon to be attending a wedding, here's a little something to whet your appetite be...

## Hiatus and Happenings

I've been receiving abuse from various quarters lately for the lack of posting on this site. My apologies, but I'd sworn of any real computer activity for a ...

## Thesis = Submitted

Feels like a fat bloody gorilla climbing down off my back.I'm exhausted after working very late over the last couple weeks to get everything done in time... ...

## Cover Thursdays - Poncey Special edition

I'm in a world of thesis pain at the moment. My hand-in is just around the corner and I'm frantically making some revisions based on the last set of my super...

## Climate change & the balance of probabilities

Freeman leaves a comment under an older post, regarding my statement that "[...]there are uncertainties in climate science - as any climate scienti...

## Putting a price on nature (II)

Yesterday, I wrote a post in response to George Monbiot's recent column, "The true value of nature is not a number with a pound sign in front", which laments...

## Putting a price on nature (I)

George Monbiot has produced another thought-provoking column this week. However, rather than take his fellow greens to task for their irrational and&nbs...

## Should pregnant women be banned from smoking?

In several recent posts, Dan Kuehn advanced the notion that "the future" is, in some sense, an autarkic regime... Basically, that people in the future simply...

## A riddle: Hats and signalling

Some of you may know this one already, but a here's a favourite riddle of mine.Four prisoners are blindfolded and arranged as follows: Three of them are line...

## Bleg - LaTeX (plus Linux)

So, I'm thinking of making the big, bad move over to LaTeX. The document style and structure simply look too good for me to keep plugging away at Microsoft W...

In a few hours, the start to the 86th Comrades Marathon will sound off. This year is an "up run", as 18,000 runners of all race, creed and nationality set of...

## Cover Thursdays - Justin Vernon edition

Coming at ya live outta southern Denmark[*], a (very) quick Cover Thurdays edition to keep you interested.Most of you probably know Justin Vernon as the brai...

## Cover Thursdays - Leonard Cohen edition

[NOTE: This post did originally appear on a Thursday (May 12, to be exact), but has since been "moved" following the blogger spaz out over the weekend. ...

## The back burner

That special time of the year has arrived, when I'll be foregoing the pleasures of summer and reaping the rewards of procrastination. Yup, it's exam time for...

## Being back Bri'ish & other immigration debates

There's a lot of talk about immigration policy these days.I wonder, however, how many of you have ever found yourself on the wrong side of the, er... immigra...

## A thought on supply-side *micro*...

The Financial Times ran a story yesterday about Britain and Switzerland closing in on a deal regarding the taxation of the undeclared assets of wealthy indiv...

## The awesomeness of Frightened Rabbit

Commentator Dave asks a question on this post; what album would I consider worthy of the title "2008 Album of the Year"? (See the post for date context....

## Sustainability - Robert Solow's take

I wrote the bulk of the previous post before (re-)reading a Robert Solow essay that I'd largely forgotten about, Sustainability: An Economist's Perspective.P...

## Sustainability: Defining the undefinable

What does it mean for something to be "sustainable"? Does the term, as it is widely used in the public lexicon today, contribute anything useful to our every...

Steven Landsburg writes:When something is wrong on the Internet, bloggers love to pounce. But since no blogger is infallible, most of us can find ample fodde...

## Cover Thursdays - TV on the Radio edition

I was giving the new TV on the Radio album, Nine Type of Light, a listen/watch yesterday. I like the ambition of the concept...Nine Types of Light is as much...

## Avoiding hypocrisy on the big issues

Think of an important environmental issue. Now imagine that there is a large body of scientific research, underpinned by peer-reviewed literature, which has ...

## An oldie, but a goodie

Happy Easter, everyone.

## Cover Thursdays - Gaslight Anthem

The only logical step after last week's Springsteen edition is these fellas. (Well, logic and the fact that I'm still alarmingly short on time just before th...

## Snakes on a Plane: The (African) Sequel

Apologies for the lack of posting recently. To borrow a phrase, course work and project deadlines have been tearing me some new ones over the past two weeks....

## "Africa Black and White" by Nick Brandt

Africa Black and WhiteHT: Barry Ritholtz

## Cover Thursdays - The Boss edition

So, a few months ago the internets were alight about Jimmy Fallon's Neil Young impression... And I have to say, it's pretty damn good. Spookily spot on ...

## What BMT looks like

Four straight birdies to close out The Masters.Augusta Leaderboard 2011Charl Schwartzel, take a bow (and collect your jacket). An unbelievably cool performan...

## Links - Market Design edition

Regular readers[*] will know that a favourite theme of this blog is thinking about how $$-$$ and where $$-$$ markets function "optimally", versus cases where...

## "To the Moulin Rouge Dancers!"

That little beauty of a subject line is the title of an email that I received today. The message itself reads:Dear [XXX]You all were FANTASTIC on Saturday ni...

## Cover Thursdays - Plumpish and awesome edition

My mate Nic used to run a regular segment over at his blog called "Cover Thursdays". He's since put his musings on the back burner a bit, but I really like w...

## It's official...

You may have noticed that things have been a bit slow around the Corral lately. Primary reason being that I have been involved in numerous applications ...

## Tyler Cowen's favourite things South Africa

The alarmingly prodigious Tyler Cowen has a post up on his favourite things South Africa:I have yet to go, but here is what I admire so far: 1. Visual a...

## Quick links - History Repeats Itself edition

Some things that I've been meaning to write about, but short on time[*]...1) A heavily fancied South Africa bombs out during the knock-out stages of the Cric...

## Guess who has tickets to watch The National?

That would be me.Campo Pequeno, Lisbon. May 24.Possibly the coolest group of visibly uncool, thirty-something white guys to hit the music scene since Death C...

## Free will in a world of Mad Men

Mark Thoma links to a study discussing the limits $$-$$ or "origins" might be more correct $$-$$ of free will. I'll just highlight the snippet on implication...

## What's wrong with this paragraph?

From The Economist:Of the nuclear plants that provide about a third of Japan’s electricity (see chart), Fukushima Dai-ichi is not the first to be paralysed b...

## Aphorism of the Day - Harmonicas

A harmonica solo will improve a song's awesomeness by approximately 15%. Stick a Hammond B-3 in there and it'll boost you to 20%.[*]That is from l'il old me....

## Nuclear and Water

I've been drowning in work and other stuff lately, so no blog posts. Like everyone else though, I've been watching the unfolding tragedy in Japan and just ho...

## Quick links - Saudi Arabia edition

Two interesting takes on Saudi oil production amidst all this trouble in North Africa and the current oil price spike.1) Interfluidity ponders what the priva...

## What's in a (psuedo) name?

Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not "Mr. Lebowski". You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Duden...

That is all.

## The Castle: "It's the vibe"

Yesterday, I mentioned The Castle. If you haven't seen this Aussie comedy gem yet, I advise you rectify the situation ASAP. Your life will be better for it.T...

## Hippie Baptists and Libertarian Bootleggers

Like, take it easy, Man.Disclaimer: I've conflated a lot of libertarianism/Austrianism in post. This was partly for simplicity, but also because I'm recallin...

## xkcd - Beliefs

Can't believe I missed this one...HT: Lou Grinzo

## Action Axiom: Rothbard contra Mises/Kant

Okay, last thing I'm going to post on the action axiom for a while, but a friend (of unabashed anarcho-capitalist persuasions) emails me:You may fi...

## To PhD, or not to PhD

That is the question...

It's something of a point of pride that I don't wish this blog to descend into a polemic. In that spirit, here are several links to some interesting articles...

## George Selgin on the Action Axiom

Plus my reply.I was pleasantly surprised to see George Selgin leave a comment underneath my previous post concerning Mises's action axiom. In case you missed...

## Mises's action "axiom" or false dichotomy?

I've been watching the recent libertarian conundrum - concerning the morality of using taxes to prevent a killer asteroid from wiping out humanity ...

## Tort law is no panacea for the environment

Looking over the comments section of an old post, I realised that I had yet to make good on a promise to "flesh out my scepticism regarding the ability of to...

## Happy birthday to me

I feel you, brother.Still under 30.Just.I'd better start reading...

I'm a little short on time to post anything substantial, but I figure a music post is overdue anyway. And so, with the news that Bernie Madoff has claimed th...

## "Our climate isn't the only green concern"

UPDATE: The forest sell-off has been shelved following a massive public outcry.That's the title of a short article by Michael McCarthy, the environ...

## The "call on OPEC"

Reading through some of those Wikileaks' cables from last week on how Saudi Arabia has been... uh... massaging the true extent of their remaining o...

## Wikileaks: Saudis overstating oil reserves

... Apparently by as much as 40%.Heavy days.I've yet to read through the actual cables, but The Guardian's summary doesn't paint the prettiest picture:The US...

## Two quick links - Krugman edition

Paul Krugman is the ultimate polarising force. People either love him or loathe him. I suppose that's what comes with the territory when you are, a...

## Discount rates, relative prices and climate economics

Yesterday I wrote a bit about the "relative prices" argument for swift and decisive action against climate change. Some additional comments to provide c...

## Food prices and climate change (gasp!)

Secondary subject line: The relative prices argument for strong action against climate change.Paul Krugman must have been feeling more provocative than usual...

## Dumb regulation

As should be clear from some of my previous posts, I think that some areas of our economy are in need of regulation; others distinctly less so. Her...

## Torres on football clubs: "Romance is dead"

[HAPPY UPDATE: Well, well, well... What do you know? Perhaps romance isn't dead! Headline this morning: Torres endures nightmare debut as Liverpool regain ol...

## Karl Smith on the importance of maths-free papers

... And simple allegorical stories to help our intuitive understanding of economic concepts. Here is an excerpt:I posted a link to Bryan Caplan’s paper ...

## To the heart of the Euro crisis!

Well, maybe not the heart... Pancreas perhaps? After seriously hacking to sort out the correct visa (I <3 immigration bureaucracies), I'm off to Portugal!...

## Exploitation and Industrialisation

In the comments thread of the Meat and Veg(etarianism) post, I drew a parallel between the ethical treatment of animals and the banning of child labour. That...

## 2010 ties for hottest year on record

There or thereabouts. Just saying.PS - As for the floods in Australia, Brazil and elsewhere... I believe that those are the result of La Niña. I find it...

## Chirp of the Day - Australia

A Norwegian friend of mine was telling me about the first time he ever traveled outside of Europe, which happened to be a gap-year stint in Australia after f...

## Meat and Veg(etarianism)

UPDATE: I stumbled upon this George Monbiot post today (Jan 24) from a few months back, discussing what seems to be a very interesting book by one Simon Fair...

## New Year's Resolutions and Literary snobs

New Year's resolutions? Not a fan.Well, I say that but I'll probably try and harden my resolve in finishing up some things I've been putting off for a w...

## Quote of the Day - Idiots

"Never argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience."Not sure of the original source, but spotted this pithy little pie...

## Leaving Europe in a few hours

The taxi arrives in three and a half hours to be precise... And it's just gone midnight now, so you can guess how I'm going to be feeling after the 16-odd ho...

## Merry Engerland

Exams all done and dusted :)Went reasonably well. Some time issues for two of them, but that's nothing uncommon for me to be honest...Anyway, just a quick up...

## America is in good hands...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30cChair Apparentwww.colbertnation.comColbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionMarch to Keep Fear Alive[HT: A...

## Experts, democracy and public opinion

Consider this a follow-up, of sorts, to my Facts vs Beliefs post...Going over what I had written there and then partaking in the comments section, ...

## Facts vs Beliefs

I should really be studying... but my attention has been drawn to several articles and interviews over the last few weeks that coincide with a recurring them...

## Exams beginneth...

So posting is going to take a back seat for the next week or three. Well, not that I've been particularly prodigious in terms of output so far anyway......

## Daylight savings, cigarette bans and the freedom to choose

Over on the aguanomics blog, David Zetland has a post arguing that the concept of Daylight Savings Time (DST) is "rubbish". He says that it does not contribu...

## Solar thermal and water use in California

Having discussed some similar implications for the grandiose solar plans in South Africa, here's a snippet from an interview with Bright Source Energy CEO, J...

## Fancy a cruise?

This gets better and better...It's like watching a tennis match with humans and chairs. I enjoy how your man at the front desk is acting all chilled until he...

## Physics Envy (again)

Seeing as I've covered the topic a few times already, here is an interesting - and surprisingly amusing - presentation by Andrew Lo of MIT, based o...

## Carbon Price vs Technology (R&D) Initiatives

This coming in a few days late, but Rob Stavins continues with his series of excellent posts on environmental economics and policy instruments. In his most r...

## Movember

Anyone out there doing Movember?Movember (the month formerly known as November) is a month long moustache growing charity event held each year to help raise ...

## New Goldfish single - "Get Busy Living"

Very nice, chaps.HT: 2oceansvibe.Any readers that weren't previously aware of Cape Town's coolest electro-jazz duo - but like what they've heard so far - are...

## Currie Cup Final

After a great start to the 2010 season, South African rugby descended into disappointment and embarrassment. Still, there's light at the end of the tunnel as...

## SA planning world's biggest solar park

Very interesting:South Africa is to unveil plans this week for what it claims will be the world's biggest solar power plant – a radical step in a coal-depend...

## Why we need maths in economics 2(b) - Schelling's segregation model

Slightly later than planned... Here is the second example of a little maths helping to improve our analysis of a real economic problem. I received some compl...

## Sunday Soul Patch - The Sam Cooke edition

Sam Cooke.So many to choose from, but just keeping it relaxed tonight...

## God, morality and monkeys

And by "monkeys" I really mean "altruistic chimpanzees", but I'm a sucker for alliteration...I stumbled on a really excellent opinion piece in today's New Yo...

## More water issues in SA

(Semi) fresh on the heals of The Corral's coverage of an appeal to major water-using companies to fund "an extensive water monitoring project" in South Afric...

## Quote of the day - Fish

Speaking of life in the oceans..."Sharks are just evil bastards. I'm quite happy if all the sharks just went, because they eat fish and us... And we need the...

## The APS and others respond to the Harold Lewis resignation letter

As reported last week, a physicist by the name of Hal Lewis resigned from the American Physical Society, citing his belief that the APS has been irrevocably ...

## Paul Collier talk on "The Plundered Planet"

I went to a talk last night by Paul Collier. For those of you who don't know, Collier is a big cheese in the development studies world, probably best known f...

## Maths and Economics - The Interlude

Those of you paying attention may have noticed that I yet to deliver on my promise to provide a second economic-maths example. Apologies for the delay, but I...

## Passage of the day - Of Columbus, Conquistadors and Cruelty

So I'm a few days late, but Monday was Columbus Day for our friends over States' side. I know this because Aguanomics mentioned it at the time, offering the ...

## Climate Change - Two steps forward, two steps back

Sigh.After the "No Pressure" video debacle[*], you would think that this week had run out of shite hands to deal the proponents of the AGW theory. ...

## The Nobel Prize Winners in Economics for 2010

And, yes, I know that it's not *really* the correct thing to call it:Straight from the horse's mouth:The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memo...

## In honour of my Austrian visitors

So it seems that my "Why we need maths in economics" post was picked up by someone in the Mises.org community... Who, in turn, may have first read about it o...

## Story of the day - Man gang-raped by three women

Africa. Where men are men.And so, it seems, are certain women...The following link was posted on my facebook profile by an Italian friend:Man gang-raped by t...

## Why we need maths in economics 2(a) - The Oil Tank Model

As promised, here is the first example of a highly stylised model, which $$-$$ despite its unrealistic simplicity $$-$$ still produces valid (and unexpected)...

## Smokey Robinson - The Tracks Of My Tears Live (1965)

Sunday evening and a bit of Smokey in the background.Nothing wrong with that.How sweet are those moves?

## Why we need maths in economics

Secondary subject line: Why words and intuition aren’t always good enough.A lot has been written about the use of mathematics in economics. Much of it negati...

## Quote of the day

Well, more chirp of the day, but let's not split hairs here.So sharp...NMTB hasn't been quite the same since Simon Amstell left as regular host, but still a ...

## Water pricing in different sectors

My previous post linked to a new alarming/alarmist (potato, potahto) study of South Africa’s water pollution problems. I mentioned some economic elements tha...

## "South Africa facing water pollution crisis"

Supplies, supplies. (See what I did there?) So back home, more and more people are cottoning on to the fact that the local water situation ain't looking too...

## Has the last decade produced a better band than Arcade Fire?

No immediate candidates spring to mind.SUBURBAN WARLet’s go for a drive and see the town tonightThere’s nothing to do but I don’t mind when I’m with youThis ...

## Quote of the day - Experts

An expert is one who knows more and more about less and less.- Nicholas ButlerTake THAT Adam Smith!Mild sarcasm font over, there are obviously productivity g...

Smallpox pizza

## A word from our sponsors...

[Warning: One or two f-bombs in the above clip.]I have many uninformed opinions and, possibly, some reasonably enlightened ones. If anyone makes it over to t...