2 minute read

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) I moved apartments! More or less the same size as our old place, but more comfortable and modern. Here is a little photo taken from the (car-free) route that I cycle to school everyday. Not too shabby, eh?

2) I had the pleasure of acting as moderator for the inaugural TEDxBergen conference. (My school has actually been hosting TEDx events for a while, but they've now expanded to include the other educational institutions in the city.) The speakers were all very interesting, with two or three in particular being excellent. I believe the video(s) for the event will be made available shortly, so I'll link to them then.

3) I gave a lecture on shale gas (and fracking) to the master's class in Petroleum Economics this week. My slides are here!

4) On a more prestigious note, two Nobel laureates recently gave lectures at my school. (i) As I pointed out on Twitter, Chris Sims is sounding an awful lot like an MMTer /Post-Keynesian lately. (ii) Finn Kydland makes a provocative claim that we are more resilient to energy price hikes today than we were in the past. His argument is that the adverse economic effects of the 1970s' oil shocks largely manifested themselves as inefficient tax rises due to the monetary and fiscal systems of the time. This in turn caused investment and employment to fall. I'm entirely not sure about this story — the declining energy intensity of our economies would seem to play a bigger role — but it's an interesting idea.

5) As predicted, some people are using the terrible events at the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi to disparage "interventionist" foreign policy. I'm not saying that they don't have a point — although, the ongoing anarchy in Somalia is certainly destabilising to the area and has negatively affected Kenya's economy. I'm saying that if blowback is the measure by which policy is to judged, then consistency dictates that one should make equally narrow arguments against (say) liberal immigration policy, subsidy revocation or economic austerity. What's sauce for the goose, is sauce for the gander after all.

6) To my American friends that have to suffer through the asinine politicking of the Republican party and the twilight-zone-thought-vacuum of Fox News, you have my sympathies.